By now we had had enough of the hustle and bustle of city life, and the druggies, homeless and drunks in the Kings Cross area of Sydney, so we decided to take a day trip out to get away from it all. It was a good decision and we ended up having a lovely relaxing day out, where we began to fall in love with Sydney after the false start.
We walked down to Circular Quay from Kings Cross, a 20 minute walk, and then caught the ferry to Manly Wharf, about 30 minutes away. The ferry ride itself was incredibly picturesque passing through Sydney Harbour and passing by many other ports and beaches along the way.
As soon as we landed in Manly, we could feel the relaxed vibe and knew we were going to enjoy the day. After double checking with the tourist information centre about our planned route, we set off to walk the 10km ‘Manly Scenic Walk’. As it was not a circuitous route and we needed to catch the ferry back to Circular Quay at the end of the day, we were advised to catch the bus first to the start of the walk and then walk the 10km back towards Manly Wharf.
So after a 20 minute bus journey, we found ourselves at the start of the ‘Manly Scenic Walk’. I lie, we didn’t actually find the very beginning of the route, but we did join it near the beginning after wandering around a housing estate trying to find the cut-through down to join the coastal path.
Once out and about we soon began to feel the Aussie way of life. All houses overlook the gorgeous bays and face the water, all parks and picnic areas that we walked through had gas or electric barbeques provided by the council for public use, and everyone we passed said ‘Gday’ and had a smile for us. I don’t think we actually asked for help or directions at any point, but we did get plenty of advice along the way anyway from the locals – ‘You can’t get through that way at the moment, it’s high tide, you’ll have to walk up that road over there and join the path further down’ and other such local information that saved us walking the wrong way or getting wet!
We followed the MSW all the way around the coast, taking in the beautiful scenery along the way. A few kilometres of the walk ran through a National Park, where I was hoping to see lots of wildlife, but I was disappointed. No kangeroos nor koalas today! Just lots of birds, and the other odd hiker. Another disappointment was the aboriginal carvings area that had been sectioned off to preserve it and to promote aboriginal history/understanding amongst people. Although I well and truly agree it is a good thing to do, it just seemed like an afterthought on the part of the Council as it wasn’t very well constructed or looked after. Plus it wasn’t very photographic - this carving of a fish was the most recognisable amongst the kangaroos and other animals/land/seascapes. Nevertheless, it was good to see as we had just read about Australia’s aborigine history earlier that week at the Museum, so we felt the carvings had a context.
It was dusk by the time we got back to the ferry stand, but instead of hopping on the next ferry ‘home’, we popped over to the other side of the town to see Manly’s main beach. It was our first experience of Australian beaches and we were incredibly impressed. A long stretch of soft clean sand bordering a gorgeous blue sea. Locals and tourists were enjoying the beach and promenade: playing volleyball, surfing, jogging, walking. It was obvious this country enjoys an outdoor way of life.
We forked out for fish ‘n’ chips from a local takeaway to eat on the beach front, and were as horrified as we had been since arriving in Oz at the ridiculous prices. I shall never complain about the prices in England ever again! After our romantic take-out on the promenade, we headed back to the Wharf and caught the next ferry back to Circular Quay. As it was now dark, we were able to take in views of Sydney Harbour by night as we cruised back into town, with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House looking amazing. With the lights of the big city in view our day out was over, except for the 20 minute walk home uphill. I fell into bed exhausted, but much happier to have seen a nicer side to Sydney.