Sue had left by the time we got up this morning…we usually manage up around 8:00 am…definitely not morning people! So, we had our usual relaxed morning; a couple of cups of coffee, shower, breakfast, and then on with the day. Today, Ray and I set of for Manly, one of the beach suburbs of North Sydney. We were going to do the Manly to Spit Bridge walk – about 10 k or 3 – 4 hours. We caught the bus to the ferry at Woolwich Wharf, headed into Circular Quay where we were fortunate enough to glide off our Woolwich ferry on to the Manly ferry – and 30 minutes later arrived at the dock in Manly. The ferries are the heart and soul of Sydney Harbour. There is an extensive ferry route, and harbour side commuters are able to travel to and from work without the headaches of snarled up traffic.
We, along with hundreds of other tourists/locals unloaded and made our way out of the ferry terminal to the information booth where we picked up a map and some info for the walk and around Manly ….and off we went.
You can see the interesting beachside scenery in the pictures: ocean swimming pools, golden sand beaches, surf clubs, and serene oases. We hadn’t been walking very long when the black skies rushed over, streaks of yellow light torpedoed to earth in the distance, and the sound of crashing clouds filled our ears. Then…of course…..the rain! We were prepared though and pulled out our rain capes, but it was not very wise to continue along the ocean, up the cliffs, and through the forests in the middle of a lightening storm, so we sheltered underneath the stoop of an apartment. It looked all locked up, so hopefully the owner didn’t mind. The storm lasted quite a while, so we sadly gave up on our walk and headed back to the harbour once again avoiding the puddles, but keeping quite dry underneath our plastic covers!! We stopped at the ferry building and had some lunch, after which the rain disappeared, the skies brightened, and the sun came out!
We didn’t want to go too far, as by this time it was around 2:00 pm, so decided to go overland to the Manly Beach and walk back around the North Head. I can’t really tell you where we went as nothing we saw on the walk matched the map we had, but suffice it to say we saw the eco sculptures in Cabbage Tree Bay and Shelly Beach before we headed up the cliffs to the heathland above and some spectacular look out points.
|The Pines on Manly Beach|
|Eco Scupture - The Little Penguins|
|Pacific or Pied Heron....maybe|
We also assumed that there may have been military stuff going on up there (as in defence) as we came across a deserted stone wall that looked like battlements but may be a former school of artillery, gun emplacements, and “headquarters”. We also saw many beautiful coloured birds, scaly reptiles, and exotic flora. So we discovered that the story is that is was a WWII fort ….and sadly, we missed the underground tunnels!! Oh well!!!
We caught the 5:35 pm ferry back into Sydney and then walked up George St. to Dymocks, a huge bookstore on two floors that sort of resembles Chapters in Canada, bought some road maps for our trip, and caught the 7:15 pm bus back to Ryde Road. Jim wasn’t in, so we quickly washed our hands and headed down to the village for a beer and dinner. Australians clearly love to eat out and love to “socialize”. The restaurants are always busy, the chatter level high, and the food reasonably good, but expensive! We got home after 9 and watched the tennis match between Andy Murray (British…and a good Scot) and Milos Raonic (Canadian)…..but couldn’t stay awake to watch the end.
|Cruise Ship in Sydney Harbour|