Sydney Walks

A little aside from the usually travel post until we head to Burma over the Christmas/New Year period. Over the past few months we have been enjoying the great outdoors and doing a bit of exploring a little closer to home. Benefiting from the beautiful Spring weather, we have been spending our weekends doing a series of walks around Sydney. Here are a few of our favourite (and some of the Instagram photos I took along the way).

Royal National Park

Located south of Sydney, this National Park has a plethora of walking tracks to explore. The coastal walk, starting at Bundeena, takes you along weather beaten coastal vegetation and spectacular rugged cliffs. Depending on how long you want to walk,  you can walk for about 1.5-2 hours and turn back in the same direction, or you can complete a loop, going all the way to Wattamolla Beach.  Stop at the information centre at Audley when entering the National Park and ask for a map. 10404249_10152281427530544_7336009455081714731_n

West Head, Kur-ring-gai Chase National Park

Again, this is another National Parks which is dotted with spectacular walks. Ask for a list of the walks from the information booth upon entering the park. This guide explains each walk, its duration and level of difficulty. All the walks are clearly sign posted along the road, so they are not difficult to locate. Don’t miss West Head Lookout, with it’s spectacular views onto Pittwater and Palm Beach Lighthouse. 10003988_10152293879745544_8810428419472530380_n 10423750_10152293950215544_6420437849163333322_n

Spit Bridge to Manly

Start at either Manly or the Spit for this stunning coastal walk. Walking between The Spit and Manly is about 10km and takes about 3 hours to complete. Download the Manly Scenic Walkway map from the Manly Council website before you go. Buses connect Manly and The Spit if you’re too exhausted to return the same way. 10484509_10152108524760544_1408797141693708907_n

Double Bay to Watsons Bay

I’m not sure if we’re crazy or not, but we spent one Sunday walking from Double Bay to Watsons Bay and back, and arrived home utterly exhausted. Walking along New South Head Road, follow the promenade at Rose Bay continuing until you get to Kincoppal School. Go along Vaucluse Road/Wentworth Road/Fitzwilliam Road, stopping at Nielsen Park and Parsley Bay. Continue along Hopetoun Avenue until you get to Watsons Bay. This walk takes you through some of the exclusive eastern suburbs – we spent the day admiring the houses and gardens we passed. 10527298_10152409464925544_781127559665545944_n

Bradleys Head Walk – Taronga Zoo to Chowder Bay

Another must do walk when you’re in Sydney is the Bradleys Head Walk from Taronga Zoo to Chowder Bay through Sydney Harbour National Park. This well maintained walkway gives up spectacular views of Sydney city and its world renowned harbour. If you still feel energetic after your ice-cream stop at Chowder Bay, you can continue the walk to Balmoral Beach for some fish and chips. 10580016_10152269360020544_6687051038959203806_n

Bondi Beach to Clovelly Beach

This popular walk is popular for a reason – the walkway is fantastic and the scenery even better. Try going in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. The crowds usually thin out by the time you get to Bronte Beach. If you have time, spend a while exploring the historic graves at Waverley Cemetery (an incredible location for a cemetery!). For a few weeks, usually in October/November, this walk is also the site of the fabulous Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. 10644671_10152224908520544_2387103584722432799_n

Newport Beach to Avalon

This is my local – walking from Newport Beach, over South Bigola Headland, along The Serpentine to AJ Small Lookout and then on to Avalon. When in Avalon stop for a bite to eat at Nourish Cafe (serving fantastic healthy food. A great place if you’re on a vegan, gluten free, sugar free or raw diet). 10670246_10152342513800544_932375545179395327_n

La Perouse

I’ve lived in Sydney almost my entire life, and I think this was the first time I had ever been to La Perouse. I was so impressed with Little Bay Beach and Frenchmans Beach – it’s almost like a little world unto its own (other then the airport/port botany eye sore). There are a few short walks you can do to Congwong Bay and Cruwee Bay. photo

Palm Beach Lighthouse

From the carpark at the base of the headland, take a short walk along the beach on the Pittwater side of the Peninsular until you reach to path to the light house. There are two routes you can take, the narrow path, or the paved fire track. From the top, you have a 360 degree view over Palm Beach, Pittwater and the Central Coast. Stop at The Boathouse for a coffee overlooking Pittwater for an afternoon snack on your return, or a couple of drinks at Cranky Fins.

Cockatoo Island & The Biennale of Sydney 2012

We couldn’t have chosen a better day to wonder around Cockatoo Island and indulge in a bit of art. Every second year, the city of Sydney hosts one of the most prestigious contemporary arts festivals – The Biennale of Sydney, now in its 18th year. The festival runs for a number of months and showcases the works of some of the leading contemporary artists from all over the globe. In addition, the festival organises artist talks, film screenings, performances, family events, and so on. This year the Biennale of Sydney is spread over five major venues, including the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art (don’t forget to have a look at its recent refurbishment), Pier 2/3, The Carriageworks and Cockatoo Island. This year the Biennale is held between 27th June and 16th September. And since I’m going overseas for 2 months in a week’s time, and had not yet had the chance to see it, I though I better make use of this stunning day, head into the city and check it out.

Since I had never been to Cockatoo Island – my friend Kylie (a talented artist herself – keep an eye out for the name Kylie Barber over the next few – we’re expecting some amazing work from her) could not believe this – we decided to dedicate the day to exploring the island, whilst admiring the art on display.

Cockatoo Island is easily accessible from Circular Quay. For the duration of the Biennale, there is a free ferry from Wharf 6, which departs every 45 mins. The line for this ferry service tends to be rather long, especially on weekends, and there is a good chance that you may have to wait for one or two ferries before reaching the front of the line. If you do not want to wait, there is the regular Circular Quay-Cockatoo Island ferry, departing from Wharf 5, which only cost $5 each way. And for those who’d like their own silver service and are happy to pay for it, you can take the water taxi across from most of the wharfs and jetties in Sydney Harbour.

Cockatoo Island is located in Sydney Harbour/Parramatta River, about 2km west from the Harbour Bridge, between Woolwich and Birchgrove. The island has an interesting and varied history. From the first settlement of Sydney, it was utilised as a jail, where inmates were put to work building barracks, military buildings and official residences. From then it became an industrial school for girls and a reformatory in the 1870s, and a site for naval dockyards and a ship building facility from 1900. The island was left abandoned in the 1990s, until in 2001 it was taken in the care of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and major restorations took place. Today the island is used  for art exhibitions, concerts, comedy nights and other special events, are as simply a nice spot on the harbour to spend a day (or camp out at night).

We were so incredibly lucky to have such a stunning day to visit the island. Although it was a rather cold day, the winter sun shone with all its might. There was hardly a cloud in the sky to dampen the day. Aside from some amazing artworks, most notably the works of Philip Beesley, Monika Grzymala and Jonathan Jones (see photos below). These were by far my favourites of the day. Philip Beesley’s work especially. It was absolutely stunning, and worth the visit in itself. I was fascinated with the island. Its history, its geography, its stunning views, its old industrial architecture and objects (such as the old cranes which are the subjects of a number of the photos below), I found the entire place incredible (poor Kylie had to listen to me oooh and ahhh for a good half of the day). So maybe enough of me expressing my awe and amazement for one day – instead of listening to me, take a look at some of my photos in the post, enjoy, and get out to Cockatoo Island yourself on the next sunny day you don’t have anything better to do – and hopefully that falls before September 16, so you can see the collection of artworks on display as part of the 18th Biennale of Sydney.

Susan Hefuna, Celebrate Life, 2011

Jonathan Jones, Untitled (oysters and tea cups), 2012

Cal Lane, Domesticated Turf, 2012

Philip Beesley, Hylozoic Series: Sibyl, 2012

Monika Grzymala and Euraba Artists and Papermakers

Ed Pien with Tanya Tagaq

Latifa Echakhch

Ricardo Lanzarini

Words and images by Jade Spadina