Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sydney - Walking south from Barrenjoey

No doubt you have never heard of Barrenjoey. It's a headland at the northern tip of Sydney and is the northern start to the Sydney Coastal Walk which I have been thinking about doing during the three weeks we are in Sydney.

Sydney Transport has a very good web site and app that can map out the best way to get from point A to B in this very large city. I therefore knew that it would take quite a while to get from Marrickville to Barrenjoey to start the walk. I set off a bit after 7 am, walked to the train station, took a train into the city and then bus L 90 all the way out to Palm Beach where I took this photo. It then took an additional 30 minutes to reach the lighthouse. The entire journey took three hours!

You can see a map of the 34 mile journey here. It is helpful to click on the link to get a sense of the geography of the area. Since I am over 65, I  could use a Senior's ticket that allows unlimited train, bus and ferry travel in the Sydney district. It costs just $2.50.

View to the headland with the lighthouse on top. A couple of days later a bush fire was burning out of control on the headland. News article and photo here.

The houses along the coast are something to see. We are not talking of a million dollars here. We are talking of multiple millions of dollars for a house with a view of the ocean.

Flying boat over the inland area of water known as the Pittwater.

The path to the light house starts from the Pittwater side of the peninsula.

Sandy path.

It's a 350' climb to the light house and fortunately, this paved road makes it relatively easy, even though the climb is steep.

The Pittwater.

Finally the light house comes into view.

View to the south of the peninsula.

Views to the north over Broken Bay.

The light house came into operation in 1881.

Grave of the first keeper, George Mulhall.

The Pittwater.

Park employees carrying machetes, hopefully to be used on cutting back foliage and not tourists.

This shed certainly has a wonderful view.

The shed belongs to this old ramshackle house which is just beside the start of the climb to the light house. The house would not be worth much but the land would be worth a fortune.

There were quite a few people trudging along the beach to climb to the light house. This week was a holiday for school children and there were quite a few doing the climb.

Eventually I got back to the ocean side of the peninsula and headed south.

Surf life saving club. Most Sydney beaches have one. The ocean was very calm this day but often the waves are significant and rips are common. If you ever come to Australia and go swimming in the ocean, stay between the flags that the life savers set up to mark where it is safe to swim.

Most NSW beaches have huge Norfolk pines like these.

The houses on the cliffs above the beach are something to behold.

If you like beaches, Palm Beach is a lovely example.

Of course you have to pay and display to park.

Rock swimming pools are common in the Sydney area as well as along the NSW coast. This one was empty while repairs were under way.

The official walk headed inland through a park at the southern end of the beach.

It was a pleasant walk through the cool rain forest. Temperatures were well into the 80's so it was quite hot walking.

Quiet street on top of the cliff down to the ocean.

Most of the houses are relatively modern. The sites would be quite difficult to build on.

Steps to one house. Where they park is a mystery.

I liked this art deco house.

Looking across Whale Beach to Careel Headland.

Path down to Whale Beach.

Intriguing house.

It was about noon and I needed a rest and some nourishment so I ordered a milk shake and sat down under the shade umbrella to rest for a while. The milkshake was really cold and quite delicious.

The local life saving club. They raise heaps of money by installing poker machines.

 Suitably refreshed, I continued south. This rock swimming pool was being used. Most Australian children are taught how to swim so these pools would be safer to learn in than the ocean.

Children lined up on their skate boards. On a signal, three of them would set off towards a large blue plastic sheet lying on the ground in front of them. A man picked up one corner of the blue sheet and formed a curling wave that the children skated through. I thought I got a photo of the wave but apparently not which is unfortunate since it was quite spectacular.

I headed south and climbed the headland.

Some of the houses have car parks at street level above their houses.

Some have inclined planes to carry heavy objects down from the street to the house.

Look at the size of the vegetation compared to the letter box in the middle of the photo.

Avalon Beach.

By now I had seen enough beach and so I took an easy stroll in a park behind the beach.

Eventually I reached the southern end of the beach and of course, it had a rock swimming pool too.

The pool. These beaches and the headlands are really beautiful. It would be very nice living in the area provided you did not have to go to the city.

It was now after 1 pm and quite hot. I looked at the map and realized that I was getting too tired to continue enjoying the walk. There was a bus stop close by so I hopped on the next bus and headed home. It took over two hours and I was well and truly sick of the bus and its bumpy ride by the time it arrived back in the city. So I have decided that I am not going to do the whole walk since I don't want to take the bus back to the point where I finished this day's walk.

There are plenty of other walks to do in Sydney. Stay tuned.

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