Watson’s BayAngela | September 18th, 2005 | 9:20 am
We went on another outing in the Belair yesterday with Manuel. It was a beautiful sunny day, but with strong winds. We drove out eastward through the Paddington and Woollahra neighborhoods, fighting the Saturday market traffic, but enjoying the view of the main shopping strip along Oxford Street. The Bellair is certainly a stylish cruiser for a leisurely drive, and has the effect of turning heads at every stoplight. We caught the Old South Head Road and followed it out to the peninsula at the easternmost edge of Sydney Harbor.
What you must understand about the glorious Sydney Harbour is that it is a far more complex waterway than most of the major city harbors we know. Rather than a single bay rounded by protective land, Sydney Harbour splays out in a series of fingers that ripple up and down into the land mass for several miles. The author Bill Bryson has noted that the actual amount of coastline that lines Sydney Harbour is something like 240 miles– for a body of water that measures roughly 6 miles across.
The North and South Heads poke out from the easternmost point of the Harbour, forming a kind pincers that act as a gateway. As “Port Jackson”, it was here that Governor Phillip sailed into Sydney Harbour for the first time with a shipload of prisoners in 1770. The settlement was later named after his friend, Viscount Sydney. None of the tour books say if the harbour had a name prior to colonization, but there was a small settlement of aboriginals there called the Eora.
So that’s the context. We arrived out in this pretty seaside community of Watsons Bay with charming clapboard cottages, parked the Belair (no mean feat for such a boat of a car on narrow, winding streets), and walked over to a popular seafood restaurant called Doyles, which overlooks the bay and ferry landing, and tucked into a very substantial fish & chips lunch, with a glass of semillon.
After lunch we set out for a walk around the park, which begins at a cozy little beach called Camp Cove. As we climbed up the rocky head on the eastern side of the park, we had commanding views of the Sydney skyline, and looked down the steep rock face onto sheltered coves for swimming and clothes-optional sunbathing. We rounded the point, directly opposite the North Head, to watch the dramatic crashing of sea waters against the headland, and rounded out our walk on the western side of the park, looking out over the endlessly indigo Tasman Sea.
It was great to be out in a non-urban setting for a day, and we really got a more nuanced understanding of the geography and flora of the area, noting lots of interesting and unknown plants and trees.
After a wonderful day out, we finally headed back home.
You can see the whole collection of pictures on our photo website.