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.
The ferry journey takes about half an hour and gives a great view of Sydney from the water
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 lessonsThere 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 pathpassing artworksand local wildlifealong to Shelley beach, a more secluded inlet with calmer watersWe than began the climb up into the wilder country on the on North Head
Although only a short distance from “civilisation” it felt as if we were going up into the “bush”
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.
We carried on following the path through the bush
A little further on we reached the Modernist style former army barracks
Our route took us straight across the parade ground
Today, the buildings are occupied by a private school and various small businesses, including an art foundry
We stopped for a while to look at some of the art works on display.
Carrying on through more bush
views of Sydney opened up
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.
Carrying on through the bush towards Fairfax Lookout at the end of the headland and looking out over the Harbour and open sea
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.