Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

Beaches and Bays

Well now, today got off to a unique start. I had set the radio alarm for 0700, but the volume control was set to ... zero! I eventually came around about 0730 and was somewhat confused for a few seconds! No harm done, but I'd better watch that one tomorrow.

As I've said before, I think of Sydney as one of the three great bay cities of the world and today I wanted to explore the bay area and the beaches. Not that I wanted to do a serious bout of sunbathing; if that happens at all on this trip it will be right at the end in Barbados. No, it was still going to come under the heading of sightseeing. While making my way to Circular Quay to catch the Manly ferry, I was to bump into an old acquaintance. No, not a person - a ship! Remember the Crystal Harmony, which was anchored in Milford Sound, in New Zealand's Fiordland? Well, here it was tied up in Sydney Cove, utterly dwarfing all the local ferry boats.

Although it was a free fares day on the CityRail system in compensation for a recent period of disruption, I thought it was best to buy another Daytripper ticket. (A simple return to Manly on the ferry was AUD11.60, but I could have the freedom of the entire network all day for AUD15.00) Another surprise awaited : due to a technical fault with one of the vessels, certain sailings to Manly were being substituted with Jet Cats, and indeed two of them were operating the 1030 service. What I missed on fresh air was made up for by speed; I was in Manly by 1050. Manly, of course, has the luxury of having both a bay beach and an ocean beach, with the latter being by far the more popular. But I like the quieter bay beach, so that's where I spent most of my time. I ventured down to the ocean for a quick look at lunchtime, then had an al fresco lunch of Salade Niçoise.

I returned to Circular Quay on the 1345 service on a conventional ferry and then set off immediately, by a combination of train and bus, to Bondi Beach.

I only made a short stop there, however, because my main objective was Watson's Bay, a new destination for me. The plan was to take a bus along the coastal route and catch a ferry back to Circular Quay. The first part went well enough and when I got to Watson's Bay, I felt I had made something of a discovery. It is a most beautiful little bay and appears to be off the main tourist trail - certainly for the beach crowd, at least. Further interest is provided on the ocean side where, unlike at Manly, the coastline is one of sheer cliffs. The only thing that went wrong was that, at just after four in the afternoon, I had missed the last ferry! I opted instead to return all the way to Circular Quay by bus which, although it sounds like a long way, took less than an hour. I will certainly return to this spot on a future visit, but will take greater care with the planning!

When I got back to the hotel, I realised that I had never got round to checking out the rooftop terrace and pool area. I went up and took a few pictures just as the daylight was starting to fade. As indeed was my stay in Sydney, surely one of the greatest destinations in the world

Thursday 25 Mar

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