A Scenic Walk in Manly

On our final day in Sydney we took the ferry from Circular Quay across the Harbour to the seaside resort of Manly. On one of the headlands at the entrance to Sydney harbour it has beaches facing both the Harbour and the open sea.

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The ferry journey takes about half an hour and gives a great view of Sydney from the water

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Arriving in Manly, our plan wasn’t to spend time lounging on the beach, but to follow part of the Manly Scenic Walkway up on to the North Head, one of the headlands that form the 2 km wide entrance to Sydney Harbour

We set off along Manly Beach where groups of schoolchildren were taking surfing lessonsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was a strong offshore wind and the sea was quite rough. The lifeguards were broadcasting stern warnings for bathers to stay within the flags or the beach would be closed.

We followed the coastal pathOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApassing artworksOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand local wildlifePC012643.JPGalong to Shelley beach, a more secluded inlet with calmer watersPC012647.JPGWe than began the climb up into the wilder country on the on North HeadIMG_4059.jpg

 

 

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Although only a short distance from “civilisation” it felt as if we were going up into the “bush”

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Due to it’s strategic position overlooking the entrance to Sydney Harbour, there had been military installations on the North Head for a good part of the 20th Century. We soon cam across evidence of this – abandoned gun emplacements.

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We carried on following the path through the bush

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A little further on we reached the Modernist style former army barracks

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Our route took us straight across the parade ground

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Today, the buildings are occupied by a private school and various small businesses, including an art foundry

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We stopped for a while to look at some of the art works on display.

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Carrying on through more bush

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views of Sydney opened up

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A short distance further on and we reached some more former military buildings where the North Head Visitor Centre is located as well as a café, so we stopped for a brew overlooking Sydney Harbour

Rejuvinated, we continued on with our walk, the route taking us along Australia’s Memorial Walk, a paved pathway with five monuments to remember the major military conflict periods in Australia’s history.

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Carrying on through the bush towards Fairfax Lookout at the end of the headland and looking out over the Harbour and open sea

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Having reached our objective it was time to head back. We could have followed the loop and walked back down to Manly, but we cheated. There’s a road up the North Head and there’s a regular bus service, so feeling hot and a little tired, we waited a short while and hopped on the next bus that took us back to Manly and the ferry back to Circular Quay.

 

A walk in Manly

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7th of October 1987. I was one of the 36,895 Rugby League fans who Packed into Central Park to watch Wigan take on Manly, the Australian Rugby League champions in the first Rugby League World Cup Challenge. It was a memorable occasion. A hard fought. very aggressive, contest which Wigan won 8 – 2. No tries scored, but decided on penalties (unusual for a game of Rugby League).

The nickname of the Manly club is the “Sea Eagles” as they hail from the a beach-side suburb of northern Sydney of the same name, right on the edge of Sydney Harbour next to the North Head.  Manly is is a popular sea-side resort and destination for day trips from the Circular Harbour via the half hourly ferries. A trip out on the ferry was a must during my stay in Sydney to see the town and to experience the views of Sydney from the water.

This was my view from the ferry, coming into Manly Cove

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The town is on a narrow strip of land north of the North Head. There a beaches on the Harbour and Ocean sides. the latter being particularly popular for it’s more dramatic waves.

It was only a short walk from the ferry terminal to the Ocean beach

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where I stopped for a short while to eat some takeaway fish and chips. I then set out to walk up through the National Park land on the North Head.

The route took me along the rocky shore to Shelly Beach

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and then started to climb up the headland

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Cutting inland, the path soon started to pass into bushland.

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It was hard to believe I was only just over 10 kilometres away from the Central Business District.

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Much of the cloud had cleared and the views out to sea were outstanding

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The North Head is a strategic location overlooking the entrance to Sydney Harbour, so, not surprisingly, there was a military base  and gun emplacements (the remains can still be seen) located here.

The base is abandoned today, but my route took me across its parade ground.

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Back into the bush

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Soon dramatic views over the harbour, towards the South Head and out to sea were revealed.

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The strenuous climb and ht conditions started to take their toll and my blood sugar level had dropped. I was running low on supplies, but, luckily, there’s a cafe close tot he top of the headland  so I stopped for a coffee and a cake and had soon recovered.

I took in the views for a while before heading back down towards the town. Ignoring the most direct route, I cut down a road through the bush towards the Harbour side coastline

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reaching the peaceful sandy Spring Cove.

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I followed the coastline back towards the town

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Past some expensive houses and boats moored in the bay

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Reaching the town centre I sat and waited for the ferry to arrive to take me back across the water to the city centre.

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This is the route I took (from here)