If you’re over at Instagram and are a travel enthusiast like me, you may also be following Condé Nast Traveler. Currently, they are having a series on Australia, which they have declared their Destination of the Year. Yesterday were photos featuring Sydney, and the famous Bondi Icebergs were featured (but of course) amongst other things, like surfers and coffee.
As a side note, I have never heard known a more cohesive group of coffee snobs than the Antipodeans (I say this lovingly, as my husband is an Australian, along with his family and friends who are Kiwis and/or Australians) — everyone is in agreement that coffee in any of the popular London coffee chains are rank.
Anyway. So the photo of the Bondi beach surfers was the last straw — and I fully gave myself up to reminiscing of my initial trip Down Under. I visited my S.O. (then boyfriend) in his home city Sydney at the beginning of Australian summer in 2013, and it was glorious (if you’ve experienced London summers, you will know what I’m talking about). Not a cloud in the sky, one brief spell of rain in the week-and-a-half long visit…and the sun! The sea!
J was at his 8-6 job for most of the weekdays, so he took me around during the weekend, and I marvelled at how massive Sydney was, with all its little suburbs far, far away from the city centre. It wasn’t just a city, after all, it was also a state. I fended well for myself when he was at work, and did some walks on my own. One of the most unforgettable was the Bondi to Watsons Bay walk, which has utterly magnificent views of the sea. You walk very close to the cliff side most of the time, which gives you unimpeded views of the blue, blue sea.
I got off the bus on north Bondi, just a few minutes walk from the beach (I saw some locals just padding down to the beach, barefoot of course). I got to the top of a hill and took in the views, and cut through a fenced dog park which had shrubbery along the cliff side, blocking views. It was nice to see some dogs getting walked, but I was a bit surprised there weren’t as many of them as when I would run around Hampstead Heath (think it must have been Raleigh Reserve).
I left that park reserve, down a residential street, towards Dudley Page Reserve, which is a small flat park with great views of the city. Apparently, people crowd here during New Year’s for the fireworks display (much like our local Primrose Hill, I suppose).
From there, I went back to the cliffs, and walked up along it all the way with nary another person in sight. Oh, the feeling.
I mean, you walk down that expanse of green with just those seemingly empty and very still houses on one side, and the wide, open sea on the other, and I was filled with so much wonder. I wanted to shout, I wished I was with someone I could just say to, “LOOK AT THIS!!!”, but at the same time I liked that I was there all by myself. I imagined little tiny me, walking solitarily down those stairs, probably a small speck when viewed from high above. It makes you feel incredibly small, but my heart was swelling up with the thrill of witnessing it all.
I ended up going down to Watsons Bay, and searched for the famous Doyles on the Wharf, known for their fish and chips. There were lots of people, the restaurant was full, and the takeaway queue was long. I didn’t mind waiting; unfortunately, the deal breaker was that they had no cider vinegar to go with it! I can’t quite remember if they use mayo with theirs. They had white vinegar, but I’ve already tried it previously and was disappointed; it just didn’t have the same tang.
I took the ferry from Watsons Bay back to Darling Point. It was an eight-kilometre walk, a bit longer than the Coogee to Bondi walk I did a day before (a post for another day), but I didn’t feel as tired. I’d like to do this walk again when I go back for a visit, maybe with J as he says he hasn’t done it before (for shame).
Have you been to Sydney? If so, have you done this walk? If not, what were you thinking of seeing?