General, Travel

Sydney: Part 2: A Beach Bonanza

After our 3 crazy, mad-busy days in the city, we decided to take to the beaches and have a more relaxing, chilled weekend. Not that it entirely happened, we were still so busy that we were limp-running around the city from one event to another.

Day Four:

Coogee to Bondi Walk: Coogee, gordons, clovelly, bronte, tamarama, mackenzie’s point, bondi

Once again,, Sydney’s cold weather woke me up early. Rather than waste time lying in the cold, I got up at 6:30am, did some washing (after begging for the correct change off passers by) and read while it finished. Jade emerged after an hour and a half and we got ourselves redy to leave. When we got to the station, we discovered there were rail replacement buses running all weekend. After the first bus, we realised that if we got an actual rail replacement, the journeys would be free all weekend. Bonus.

When we arrived at circular quay to get our bus, it turned up less than a minute after we did. I’d call that decent timing! It didn’t take us long to make it to coogee beach, and only cost $1. Coogee beach is the starting point (or the end if you flip it round) of the Coogee to Bondi beach coastal walk, voted the number one thing to do in the whole of Sydney.

We lounged on Coogee beach for a while, reading our books and watching the swimmers go by. This coastliine is full of great beaches, lagoons, and beach side pools that are free to use and made for swimming. I wish we had, or could have, that in the UK. We set off up the cliff to start the coastal walk that would see us walk the 6km from Coogee to Bondi.

Despite the drunk guys on the cliff edge, the views were amazing. We walked from Coogee beach to Gordon’s bay past countless runners. The small bays along the coast are unbelievably picturesque. We walked passed Cloverly bay and saw swimmers in a naturally enhanced swimming lagoon.

When we arrived at Bronte beach, we saw some signs for summer swims between there and Bondi. We also saw our first surfers in this coastal section. We sat and watched them for a while as they tried to catch waves that didn’t crash into the rocks.

When we rounded the headland we hit the first of the two beaches I knew (from Bondi Rescue). Tamarama beach, often nicknamed glamarama, is only small, but is set between steep cliffs and has big waves for surfers. It was a seriously nice beach, even though it was small. There was also a lifeguard station, which meant I could get a picture of the hut I’d seen in the show.

Once we rounded the final headland and over the last small bay at Mackenzie’s Point, we were overlooking Bondi beach. I knew it was a big beach, but it stretched an awful lot further than I thought it would do. The number of surfers in the water was simply insane. As much as I am able to tell, the surf looked good, but it’s a miracle you could do anything there and not crash into somebody. It’s a good job there were no swimmers in the mix.

We walked along Bondi until we hit the surf rescue post. It’s a shame none of the lifeguards were visible to take a photo of, but it was still fairly cool. We walked up onto the esplanade, and after smelling chips and standing along a beachside, we decided that fish and chips was an absolute must. Even half way round the world, fish and chips at the seaside feels right.

We caught a bus back to the city, and were a little disappointed to find that the journey back cost a lot more. My knee was starting to really hurt and Jade’s wasn’t great either, which made the effort to try and get to the pylon lookout before it closed that much more annoying when we found the gate locked. As annoyed as we were, we didn’t have time to waste, so instead of climbing the pylon, we wandered around some of the souvenir shops in search of boomerangs and postcards.

By the time we had limped round half the shops, it had gone dark and we were running out of time to get to Liverpool street and back over the bridge to Luna Park. Jade has wanted a picture in front of the face since before we arrived, so we set off while we could set it lit, and opted to skip the rest of our souvenir hunting until another day.

When we were across the bridge, we found our way underneath to a vantage point that allowed us to photograph the city lit up behind us, with the Opera House and the bridge in the background too. We then went under the bridge and got Jade’s photos at Luna Park, before sitting outside and watching the firework display above Darling Harbour.

Day Five:

The rail replacement buses were still running, I was still up early, and Sydney was still cold. I used my early morning time more wisely again and managed to ring, and complete a conversation with, my Aunt and Uncle.When we set out, we had much less ambitious plans for the day, and would hopefully be able to rest our ailing knees.

We arrived at Milson’s point again so that Jade could get photos of Luna Park in the day. I also wanted to get some photos of the bridge with the opera house under it again, so we chose to get the ferry over to Darling Harbour rather than walk and use the buses. It seemed to cost a lot, but the journey exceeded the cap for the day (Sundays are cheap in Sydney to travel) so we ended up getting all our other journeys free for the day.

When we got to Darling Harbour, we frog-marched as quick as we could to all the souvenir shops we wanted to go to and finally had everything we wanted to buy from Australia. By the time we had got back on the ferry to Circular Quay and then onto the Manly service, we were hungry, it was lunch time, and we looked like we had gone through a wind tunnel.

Manly is a nice seaside place just North of Sydney on the coast. I hadn’t really heard of it before we arrived, but Jade wanted to go, and I thought it sounded nice, so we hopped the commuter ferry and went to the harbour. The wharf looked nice, but it was a little too cold and windy to walk round and enjoy it, so we took a stroll down the main street and ordered a Mexican take-out for lunch; a lovely busker from South Wales was finising his set as we ate.

After lunch, we took our shoes off and braved walking along the beach with our feet perilously close the absolutely freezing sea. If the beach wasn’t so nice and the sun so bright I would have been fooled that we were back in England it was that chilly. As we had forgotten the pylon voucher, we sat on a park bench and read while Mothers enjoyed days out with their children; it was mother’s day in Australia.

When we returned to the city, after napping on the ferry, we headed straight back to the campsite. We both had video calls with home scheduled, so we moved half the van into the TV room for warmth, and snacked our way through the calls until midnight.

Day Six:

A lie-in. An actual, proper, not cold lie-in was achieved this morning! Maybe it was because we were up so late calling people last night?! For our last ful day in Sydney, we had the Pylon Lookout and Palm beach left to do, so we set off not long after waking up.

We received a voucher to go to the pylon lookout free with our bridge climb. We didn’t want to waste it, and after 2 failed attempts at making it on time, we decided to start our day by going. We climbed the 200 stairs to the top, and looked out over the harbour and the bridge. We got some more photos, but got down swiftly before we were blown off the top.

After we had looked at the museum exhibits on the way down, we made our way to Wynyard station and caught a bus to Palm Beach. The 90min journey provided us with perfect time to nap and do a little reading. Palm beach is just North of Sydney along a spit, and is where they film the soap Home and Away.

When we arrived, we were unsure of what stop we were supposed to get off at. When we did decide, we got off on the edge of palm beach b y some media trucks; they were filming a scene right there. We decided to sit down and watch, enjoy the view, and read for a while. One of the actresses passed to do a costume change, and on the way back offered to stop for a photo. Lucky us, Georgie Parker plays Roo on the show, and is one of the most long running characters in Home and Away.

Once they had stopped filming their scenes, we walked along the beach towards Barrenjoey lighthouse. We went in search of the famous beach walk on path, but we couldn’t find the exact one, probably because they all look the same. We did find the surf club though, complete with authntic paintwork on the outside.

The walk up to Barrenjoey lighthouse was a steep climb up a cliff face stair case. It did nothing to help our bad knees, and was a difficult trek. The views fromt he top were stunning though, and it allowed us to spot another location regularly seen in Home and Away. Despite being swept everywhere by the wind, we could see over shark point, and see both side of the spit that culmunated at the headland.

When we arrived at the jetty, it was getting a little late in the day. We popped in the shop to look at what tat they sold and to get a drink; just as we were about to walk onto the jetty to get pictures, filming crews, and Georgie turned up to film a scene before the sun went down. We must have looked like stalkers. After watching the, (quickly) film a scene, we got out onto the jetty just as the sun set, and got oour pictures before we had our panic about missing the last bus. Turned out it was much later than we had feared it might be.

The journey back felt a lot longer than the journey there. Unfortunately, we were 8cents shorts of our fare on our opal cards, so we caught a train to the stopo earlier and decided to buy a bus ticket back to our stop, knowing it should be cheaper. The bus driver had no idea where we wanted to go, but let us on anyway, and then when we asked him where to gte off he said we had passed the area and told us to get off at the next stop and catch 2 buses back.

We didn’t know the area, it was absolutely freezing, and it was 8:30pm. Istead of wait round, we decided to try our luck knocking on a house door for directions. The first family didn’t offer anything, but the second guy told us directions to walk back instead of catch a bus. It saved us money, even though we got home really late, and left us with just enough time to wqtch the last episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D that we had left before going to bed. It was on the way back that we had our first mexican stand-off with a possum.

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