NORTHERN BEACHES ESCAPADE

Trip Start Mar 15, 2011
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Trip End Jun 11, 2011


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Where I stayed
Flat de Matt

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If there was one thing we were sorely lacking on this leg of the world tour, it was pub quiz!  And Matt clearly came to the rescue by inviting us along to his weekly fixture at the 'Harbord Hilton' in Freshwater.  Nestled under the screens beaming the greyhound and harness races to the punters, we chomped happily on a schnitzel and put the grey matter to the test.  It was a great performance by all!  We ended up placing fourth in a rather stiff field  - well done Team Ted!

We thought we'd stay intermittently at Matt's place during the week, and it's a hard place to turn down.  Not just for the excellent company (and delicious breakfast smoothies he made for us) but it possesses a rather excellent location, being a corner apartment right on the beach at Dee Why.   It's pretty much impossible to not be happy when you've got that view!



With the beach of course comes excellent eateries, particularly breakkie for the early morning ocean-going crowd and so first thing Wednesday morning we took a stroll to Matt's best recommendation for a delicious morning meal: Seachange.  It was truly hard, sitting in the sun, reading the paper, tucking into a gigantic Spanish-inspired omlette between us (honestly, how are these sizes for one person??) while looking out at the beach.  Matt clearly has a fairly unfortunate life here! 



What happened to make it a hell of a lot more interesting that day was that a gigantic swell had arrived.  A heap of Sydney beaches were closed (for swimming) for the day due to dangerous conditions - the waves were simply massive.  So as we were stuffing ourselves once more, we watched one of the Sydney TV choppers hover above the beach, filming one of the braver surfers who'd been towed out by a jet ski to catch some giant waves offshore.





There's a terrific walk from the point at Dee Why to the next beach towards the city, North Curl Curl (great name!) along the cliffs so we carried on to do that.  When asked about the walk, the tour guide said "Oh, its about 15 minutes" and "yeah... its on a path, pretty easy, I did it in thongs last time."  However, the last time she completed it with Matt, the walk culminated with a beer in the rock pool at North Curl Curl, and therefore her accuracy might have been modified somewhat.



So it was along some stunning cliffs, and well, a little longer than she thought.  She probably should have advised against the tourist wearing dress shoes (we were dressed for lunch!) - the 'path' was a little rockier than she remembered!  So at half an hour, we were about halfway to the next beach on our leisurely walk, so we decided to turn back in order to get back to the flat in time for lunch.  Taking a well-earned break from work, Matt ferried us into Manly - the hub of the northern beaches - for a delicious lunch in a local brewery!





That evening we returned to Manly to catch the ferry over to the city to meet up with Mel and head to the Art Gallery of NSW for its late opening.  The ferry ride is one of the must-dos in Sydney  - a daily occurence for all commuters in Manly and surrounds but also one of the best ways to see the harbour.  We'd set sail just on sunset, so managed to arrive of the other side with still a bit of light in the air with the additional glow from the city on the water.  Awesome.
We caught up with Mel at a great place we stumbled along the way - the Museum of Sydney bar at happy hour! - before wandering across the Domain to the gallery.  Much fun! We wound up the evening grabbing a drink on the way back to Circular Quay in 'suitland' - one of the bars solely frequented by the corporate crowd and us interlopers!

Alas, at this point in our journey it was starting to hit that we'd have to return to reality soon, and there was some boring admin stuff to do.  Most of this was done on Thursday!  How very exciting!  But we also spent some awesome buddy time - hanging out with Kym at her place for lunch on Thursday, and hanging out with Jo at hers on Thursday evening.

Friday we had lunch with Erin's old boss Lloyd at a great pub in the Rocks, which was excellent.  Alas, she stupidly did not bring her camera to the occasion, and so has no documentation of what followed in the afternoon - Lloyd's tour of East Sydney.  He very kindly offered to take us around in his car to as-yet explored areas, and so we cruised the eastern side of the harbour, past the yacht clubs and mansions, through to South Head (where we tried to go the other week!) and the Gap (Sydney's most famous suicide spot), out to Bondi and then back.  A long time news man, he was able to offer much more information than the tourguide can usually provide, along with some fantastic sensational and scandalous facts about the various establishments we were passing!  It was a terrific afternoon.

Friday night we had a date with Erin's great buddy Sally, to grab a Japanese feast at Mizuyas on George Street and then head out to some wine bars for some beverages.  The restaurant (brought to Erin's attention by Jo the last time she was there) is brilliant - full of fake cherry trees and featuring a touch screen menu at each table.  Sashimi, sushi, delicious sticks of meat and cocktails arrive within miliseconds and you can buy beer in the shape of a Buddha.  Awesome.  A few more visits to some local bars and we were done!

Saturday we returned to Matt's to soak up some more sun and surf - Justyn typically jumped in the water for a late afternoon dip, but being practically winter, the tour guide played it safe on the sand!  That evening, the three of us caught the ferry back into town to meet up with our buddies Dylan and Renae for dinner at the Belgian Beer Cafe in the Rocks.  Twas an excellent meal and even better company!  Hilariously, the place that offers 40 or so different Belgian beers had about half of their menu available.  Weird!!



Because we eat so rarely, it was our task on Sunday morning to hit the Frenchs Forest organic markets for breakfast, only a stone's throw from Dee Why.  We had an excellent wander around the markets which were absolutely brimming with rather delicious food!  One of the best was a chick from Seattle selling some rather delicious mexican salsas.  It may surprise you all to hear that we ate our bodyweight in breakkie before saying our goodbyes and heading... to a BBQ.
Kym had very kindly offered to host a barbie in our honour at her place, and so had put on the most delicious spread!  It was a terrifically fun afternoon and evening, spending some great time with great friends.  Thanks Kym and Steven!!



Then it was back to Jo's to start packing for crocodile territory: the next day we were off to Port Douglas in tropical North Queensland...

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