SYDNEY HARBOUR DAY 12 – the best bushwalking so far

That's North Head in the distance. The end of the road is in sight.

If you want a nature walk by Sydney Harbour, this is as good as it gets. The ten kilometre track through the national park from The Spit to Manly is easy to walk if you don’t mind a few steps, gives lovely views out over the water and offers a useful coffee stop by the water at Clontarf.

Picking up the route from Balmoral was a bit of a bore, since I soon had to turn away from the coast and trudge uphill, then wind my way through suburban streets. A little bit of bushy track down to Chinaman’s Beach was a welcome break from the bitumen-bashing and after that the Spit Bridge was within, well, spitting distance.

Spit Bridge marina


Past the bridge and around the corner, things became considerably nicer. Fisher Bay and Sandy Bay led me to Clontarf and the aforementioned coffee stop. There was not even an extra charge for an extra shot in a large flat white.

Around the depths of Balgowlah Heights a track winds up into Sydney Harbour National Park, at Grotto Point suddenly opening out onto an area of Aboriginal rock art.

Aboriginal rock art at Grotto Point. Explanation is below...

It's a kangaroo or wallaby, standing on its head from this angle.

Around Dobroyd Point there are brilliant views across to the heads, with the Pacific Ocean beyond. That’s one of the views in the photo at the head of this post.

Banksia serrata - scary banksia men.

At high tide, there’d be more of that road-slogging needed to get around to Manly, but at the time I was there it was possible to rock-hop around the points.

I could have continued up onto North Head, but there’s enough up there to explore another day. I particularly want to have a look at the former Quarantine Station, now converted to holiday apartments which visitors can share with smallpox-ridden ghosts.

For now, the ferry is waiting…

Sir, your ferry is ready for boarding.

The route from Balmoral to Manly.

Travelled this stage – 13.6 kilometres

Total travelled to date – 171.8

Coming up – the final stage – Manly to North Head.


Filed under Hiking, Travel-Australia

2 responses to “SYDNEY HARBOUR DAY 12 – the best bushwalking so far

  1. Stan McDonald

    Richard, when you go to north head,be sure to locate the “third cemetery”,started for the 1881 bubonic plague victims.You will know you have found it when you see the obelisk built for Henry Hicks (with great views south). By the way, although there are moves to mess around with the genus banksia,the plant you photographed is still B. serrata.

    • Wow – thanks for the tip, Stan and for reading so carefully. You are right about the Old Man Banksia – slip of the keyboard there, after writing about angophora costata. Correction has been made.

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