Manly Coastal Walk

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
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Trip End Feb 27, 2006


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Friday, February 17, 2006

We'd done a lot of the touristy things in Sydney itself, so on Monday we decided to take a ferry to Manly as there was a 10km coastal walk that I really wanted to do. It was another beautiful day, and the conditions were somewhat different to some of the ones I'd experienced in New Zealand (my first trip to the Abel Tasman springs to mind!).

After the 30 minute boat journey, we walked over to the gorgeous stretch of sand that is Manly Beach, and I cooled down by walking in the water. We found a nice shaded area and sat down for a while, gearing ourselves up for the walk and watching the surfers in the sea.

I had a hefty slice of pizza before we went to the supermarket, stocking up on water, chocolate and meusli bars (plus a couple of Chupa Chup lollies!). We were all set, and began our walk in the soaring heat just after midday, which in hindsight probably wasn't the best idea...

Regardless, we didn't really encounter any problems along the way, presuming of course that the large lizards weren't poisonous. We managed to get some good close up photographs of them, but still no snakes unfortunately!

The scenery reminded me of the Abel Tasman/Noosa National Park, and we had plenty of stops in the coves for a relax. As the walk progressed, we came across fewer and fewer people, and I was surprised just how peaceful it was. Perhaps the heat had deterred people from doing the whole track? Either way, I wasn't complaining, and we did quite a few little detours to get to a variety of lookouts.

When we reached civilisation again, about 4 hours later, we were shattered! It must be the number of KFCs we'd been eating. It wasn't clear where the bus stop was on completion of the walk, and we stumbled across a couple who were also struggling. We walked across the bridge and eventually found one, although it took two buses to get us back to the city centre.

After our exertions in Manly, we proceeded to have a quiet couple of days in and around the city, starting with a stroll to Kings Cross on Tuesday...for our sins. We'd been told not to go there on a night unless you wanted to be offered drugs or propositioned by prostitutes, and as neither of those options took our fancy, we opted for a morning visit. There were indeed some strange characters hanging around, much to our amusement. One guy was dressed in a police uniform, though clearly not in the police force, and another was in what appeared to be a Royal Navy uniform. As they walked past eachother, they gave a salute as if they were on official duty! It was quite bizarre.

It seemed a bit seedy, and not really our kind of place, but we enjoyed roaming around and seeing another side to the city. The restaurants were all really cheap though, and we got another pizza and ate it next to the fountain. Sounds idyllic, and it was nice...despite someone being completely laid out on the grass in front of us, presumably after a heavy night!

We'd passed the Australia Museum on the way to Kings Cross, and for the sake of $10 we decided to go inside on our return. I persuaded Rie to pay $5 extra to gain access to the "How to create a monster" section, and it was a great move as it was very entertaining with lots of interactive displays, my favourite one being where you controlled a lifesize crocodile's movements! I was in my element...

We were there for about 3 hours in total, as it was a large place with plenty to see. There was a huge room full of amazing nature photography, and a library that allowed you to look through microscopes and research the animals on the computers. It was definitely an unexpected, but very welcome treat.

On Wednesday, Rie and me mooched around the shops a bit, looking in some cheap CD stores that may tempt me at some point. In the afternoon, I'd had enough of the crowds and so retreated to the Botanic Gardens for some peace and quiet, leaving Rie to shop 'til she dropped.

I then went to the cinema again in the evening to watch Brokeback Mountain, and it was another success. I've not seen many bad movies of late, and this epic love story was no exception. Luckily Rie had chosen not to go as I think she'd have struggled with the accents...even I did sometimes!

I called in at the internet cafe on the way back to the hostel, and checked the weather forecast for the next day. We'd arranged to go to the Blue Mountains, and were due to meet in the kitchen at 7.30am the next morning. However, when I saw the words "thunder" and "storms" mentioned, I thought it best if we postponed the trip until the next day. So I sent Rie a text message at 10.30pm, and thankfully she wasn't asleep, and she agreed with my assessment.

It turned out to be the best decision I've made for a long while...
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