29 November 2012

Manly Beach, Sydney - A Perfect Day

Today's post was inspired by my friend Maggie's post: A Perfect Day, Krakow.

The day began with a "long black" coffee and muesli with yogurt at Jet, a cafe in the QVB (Queen Victoria Building). The cafe is located just behind the statue of Queen Victoria where sometimes there are skinny teenagers performing Beatles tunes.

After breakfast we ambled down York street and picked up a bus to Spit Bridge and the start of the scenic walkway to Manly Beach.

Walking from Spit Bridge to Manly Beach

In case anyone has come across this post by googling for info on this scenic walk, a few pieces of advice:

  • Start from Spit Bridge, don't start from Manly. You'll want to finish your 3-4 hour walk where there a numerous beer / food / gelato options. There isn't much around Spit Bridge.
  • From Sydney CBD, take bus 178 or 179 from either the QVB or Wynyard station. Tell the driver you'd like to get off at Spit Bridge. It takes about 30 min from town to reach the bridge. Then it's 3-4 hours walking depending on if you stop to take photos, have a picnic, swim, etc.
  • Wear hiking footwear! Sneakers/trainers are fine, flip-flops are not. Most of the trail is not paved.
  • Water, sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat are a must. I spent the summer cycling for 5-6 hours at a time and have a pretty good base tan. I wore a hat and sunscreen but sweated some of my sunscreen off and got a mild sunburn.

Walking along the trail you can't help but imagine what it must have been like for the first explorers in Australia.* The trail is clear and paved in some places, but you're surrounded by dense brush and unfamiliar animal sounds. It isn't until you hear a ferry horn or come close to a road that you're reminded - oh yeah, I'm in a city of 4.5 million people.

* Incidentally, if you've ever wanted to know more about the history of Australia told in a humorous way, I enjoyed In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson. 

Below is an example of one of the more amazing views from the trail. Email subscribers may need to click through to view the images in this post.

I believe this is Dobroyd Head. So, if I were to tilt the camera back a little, you'd see Manly Wharf and the long expanse of cute houses, gelato places, etc. across the water. Behind me, however, were bushes, tall grass and gum trees. It was like being in the woods; I even saw an Australian Brush Turkey (see below). I didn't take this photo...

The Brush Turkeys were back in a little clearing. Their red heads were all I could see at first, then I noticed one had (what looked like) a yellow Hawaiian lei. Their tails look like a shorter version of American turkeys, but they're smaller overall, more like a vulture.

After three hours we popped out at Forty Baskets Beach. I was ready for a gelato and a nap - which is exactly what I got! Here I am with my two scoops of gelato and magazine of celebrity asses. About fifteen minutes after this photo was taken I was asleep on the grass.

That's a terrible hat, is it not? I needed one for sun protection and this boxing kangaroo number was only $8AUS. It also doubles as a beacon, that bright yellow color can be seen from space.

After the nap, we took the ferry back to Sydney Harbor. The MyMulti1 pass covers all buses, ferries, and the subway within central Sydney. It's about $25US per day, but the 7-Day pass for $50 makes more sense.

The ferry from Manly drops you right in Circular Quay. It passes the  Botanical Gardens and the famous Opera House. The afternoon sun lit it up nicely, wouldn't you say?

We had a beer in a pub at The Rocks, then headed to a cheap Japanese Noodle place on George St. (in the Skyview Building behind 85 Degrees Bakery). It's called Mappen and I haven't seen anything like it in the US.

Dinner at Mappen is a steal - $31AUS total for two people including drinks. You choose hot or cold noodles and then add whatever toppings you want - kitsune, tempura, etc. The topping choices are mostly deep-fried, but hey I walked for three and a half hours, I earned a slab of fried sweet potato and a fried manju. 

After that it was back to the room for a shower (I smelled like fried sweat) and a relaxing end to the day.


Unknown said...

That's awesome! How long are you there?

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

We arrived last Friday and leave tomorrow (Saturday). So we are/were here about eight days. I wish I were able to take more vacation time and stay longer. That said, it's REALLY expensive here!

Unknown said...

I love ferry rides!! And unpaved trails - it makes me feel more adventurous, even if I'm in the middle of the city (see, e.g., Forest Park).