Manly BeachEric | January 2nd, 2006 | 4:31 pm
Angela and I took off to see a beach last Friday. We decided to go to Manly, as it’s just a ferry ride across the harbour and was hopefully less crowded than Bondi is supposed to be. It was a hot day and the ferry ride over was packed (about 1,000 people). We found two of the last few remaining seats inside, although what we really wanted was to be able to ride outside in the breeze. It was a bit stifling, but we were soon to be at the beach, so no worries.
On the ferry from Sydney to Manly Beach
Upon arriving at the shore, we hiked across a short arcade that lead to the beach. It was extremely crowded with all 1,000 of our fellow passengers making the same trek. We decided to find a place to eat and happened upon a Mexican restaurant of all places. We have been dying for a good Mexican restaurant here and thought we’d give it a try. Unfortunately it wasn’t that great, but the view of the beach was top notch. The beach at Manly was packed with people and the sand and ocean were full as far as the eye could see. It was quite festive and most everyone was eager to get out of the heat and into the water.
We decided to walk down the beach to a little cove called Shelly beach. It was supposed to have crystal clear water and be a bit more secluded. It was a beautiful walk along the shore to get there and a pleasant breeze off the water kept us cool enough. When we got there we shed our shoes and trotted across the blazing hot sand to a clear spot near the water. The sand was very corse, unlike Manly’s, and the beach was only slightly less crowded, but the spot felt secluded enough. Sunbathing is top-optional and we shared the beach with several enthusiast. The water was brisk, but refreshing from the hot sun.
House overlooking Shelly Beach
Sculpture framing playing children
Small sculpture of divers, which was nestled along a rock wall
And here is a panoramic image that I pieced together from shots of Shelly beach. Click on the image to see the full version.
After sitting in the sun for way too long for our bright white skin, we decided to take a hike up into the park behind Shelly beach. It seemed like a good idea on the way, but we quickly learned that we were entering into deep brush with the temperature easily in the 100’s. Breaking our way through the undergrowth we pushed on out to the cliff face which gave welcome relief to the heat. The cool air coming in off the ocean was fantastic and refreshing. But as soon as we came in off the edge, the heat was unbearable.
Cliff face on the North Head
Angela overlooking the sea
Our hike took us across the top edge of the North Head, which is the top of the mouth of Sydney Harbour. We came across a young woman hiking the other way and she let us know that there was a road ahead which lead back to town. It seemed like a better idea to push ahead than go back, so push ahead we did. Just before reaching the road we came across an old military bunker. It was pretty cool, but very isolated and the heat had finally taken its toll. We could hear the traffic from the road nearby, so we headed quickly off and made our way back to town.
Bolts used to hold a long gone turret
We never got to see the Bandicoot
On our way back, the sun had started to set and the beach at Manly was gaining great amounts of shade. After our hike a quick swim in the ocean sounded good, so we set our stuff down on the beach and headed into the surf. The ocean was more wavy here and the undertow was strong. Although you could walk out about 50 meters and still have sand to stand on, it was tough to make your way back to shore due to the current. I got just as much a work out getting back to dry land as I did on our hike through the tanglewood.
The undertow was fierce, but the water was shallow
We were fortunate enough to get a seat outside on our way back, but oddly there was absolutely no breeze to be had. It was like the heat gods were conspiring against us. The sun was shining on us the whole way back but relief came as soon as we hit the city and walked back to the flat shaded by all the skyscrapers.
All in all it was a fun and adventurous day out, but we were sunburnt, hot, and tired by the end. It felt good to get a cold shower and the soft caress of cool A/C.
You can see all the pictures of our beach adventure here, although be forewarned that they contain some partial nudity on the beach.