Hello Sun, Sea & Manly Beach!

Trip Start Nov 29, 2012
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What I did
Collins Beach

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Saturday, March 23, 2013

The difference in temperature between Sydney and Melbourne is marginal but it's the humidty that adds to the heat. It was 8am and already roasting so I sat outside under a palm tree in the courtyard to enjoy my free breakfast. This was something the hostel had provided in Melbourne and was well impressed to see that they had laid on free toast and jam and cereal for the punters here in Sydney too. As I sat munching my toast, a ridiculously tanned and topless man came and sat next to me. He was so dark I thought he was Brazilian or Argentinean at first but it turned out he was actually a fisherman from Spain called Oliver. Over the course of the next few days we were to become great friends and I later christened him: 'Mr You like Party??’ because whoever he met, including me, this was inevitably the first question he asked them. He was spending three months in Aus and was leaving the following week.

We decided to spend the day at Manly, I’d been before but wanted to see it when it wasn’t swarming with tourists. Mr You like Party?? Was crazy for walking and insisted we have a jaunt to Circular Quay where the ferry to Manly left from. This gave me the opportunity to visit Darling Harbour, an area I had somehow managed to miss on my first visit to Sydney. Despite the fact it was overly developed and was full of overpriced bars and restaurants, the views of the CBD and the boats were seriously impressive. Definitely a worthwhile detour.

The ferry ride to Manly is always part of the fun and offers stunning views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was the weekend so the usual crowds were out but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been at New Year at Manly and I only got rammed by one buggy on the ferry which I thought was pretty good going! Oliver and I went for a scenic walk which involved getting lost in a cul-de-sac before accidently stumbling across a near deserted beach. It was a beautiful little inlet cove with the skyscrapers of Sydney and a handful of boats on the horizon. Sunbathing there was bliss and neither of us really wanted to leave. When a few clouds came in, we grudgingly grabbed our towels and headed back to the Corso (the main promenade in Manly). On our way, we were meandering along when I saw a tail poking out from the undergrowth. To my amazement, on closer inspection I realised it was a pretty big lizard and grabbed Oliver’s arm, ‘Look at that!’ I said excitedly. In typically Spanish fashion, he simply shrugged his shoulders and went ‘Oh yeah, they’re everywhere, you see them all the time.’ And kept walking. Transfixed, I just stared at this little creature. It wasn’t until I spent a couple of days at Manly that I realised they are quite common and actually called Sea Dragons and there’s a 3000 fine if you’re caught stealing one of them!

Once we reached Manly beach (which needless to say, looked like a bad day at Blackpool) we walked along the promenade to Shelly Beach which is famous for snorkelling and scuba diving. Despite the sand being almost gravelly, we decided to catch some more rays. Then the weirdest thing happened. It was baking hot and then it started to hammer it down with rain, even though the sun was still out. It was the strangest sensation on my skin and we joined the hoardes in grabbing our towels and making a dash for it. By the time we reached Manly beach again, it’d stopped so we sat on the sand for a couple of minutes. As we were sitting chatting, a flock of seagulls flew over and one of them took it upon itself to crap on me!

Severe epic fail.By some miracle, the little blighter missed my head but all the same, I was rather unimpressed and jumped into the sea to wash it off, much to the amusement of Mr You like Party?? I was completely mortified. Even though, it was quite nice to spend the day with a rather good looking gent, even if he laughed at my rather severe misfortune.


Once back in Sydney, we received a tip off at the hostel that there was going to be fireworks at Darling Harbour that evening. Apparently it’s a weekly tradition every Saturday evening So Mr You like Party? and I headed down and waited and waited. I went to get some sushi and we waited some more. Then, the person next to me turned and said ‘Oh there aren’t going to be any fireworks tonight because it’s Earth Day.’ I mean, seriously?! Bloody typical.
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