Coogee to Manly Walk (April 2023)

Bondi to Manly Walk: “The Bondi to Manly Walk is an epic coastal and harbour-side walking track between Australia’s two most famous surf beaches, Bondi Beach and Manly Beach. For its entire length the Walk is on public land, with the vast majority of its 80km on existing well-made and well-maintained bush walking tracks.” We added the Coogee to Bondi Eastern Beaches Coastal Walk.

Here’s the plan:

Plan distances from the B2M website, actual distances recorded on Garmin FR245M watch and uploaded to Wikiloc

23/04/23SunCoogee Beach to Bondi Beach6.0
24/04/23MonWatsons Bay13.4
25/04/23TueDouble Bay11.4
26/04/23WedCremorne Point18.6
27/04/23ThuManly Wharf26.4
28/04/23FriManly Beach10.2
29/04/23SatMosman parkrun5.0

Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach

Sunday 23 April 2023

Distance: 7.1 km Time: 2:10 Ascent: 200m Descent: 200m – Wikiloc

We took a bus from Sydney Airport to Coogee Beach and followed the Eastern Beaches Coastal Walk past cliffs, bays, beaches and pools to Bondi Beach. An “add on” to the Bondi to Manly it’s popular and a great coastal walk.

Descending to Giles Baths on the northern headland of Coogee Beach
Gordons Bay lined with racks of boats from the local fishing club
Endangered Eastern Suburbs banksia scrub is found only in Greater Sydney
Ponds in sandstone whose origins can be traced back 300 million years
Clovelly Surf Life Saving Club
Waverley Cemetery is a heritage-listed cemetery on top of the cliffs at Bronte
Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club, home of Winter swimming since 1929
For over 90 years, the Pavilion has been a central part of life on Bondi Beach
We spent the night at the historic Bondi Hotel overlooking the Beach

Bondi Beach to Watsons Bay

Monday 24 April 2023

Distance: 12.5 km Time: 4:00 Ascent: 530m Descent: 530m – Wikiloc

The first section of the Bondi to Manly Walk leaves the Beach with a climb up through suburban streets, slightly interesting with mixed styles of houses. It then follows along the spectacular cliff tops overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the Sydney Harbour South Head and finishing at the popular Watsons Bay.

The route is not especially well waymarked so the Bondi to Manly book and/or APP with GPS are necessary. There were two bits closed for maintenance but signs indicated the way around.

Too cold for us but plenty of people enjoy an early morning swim
Seagull enjoys the beach too
The famous Bondi budgy smugglers
Rock engravings at North Bondi are believed to be 2000 years old
Vegetation creates a “no go” zone to restrict access but these unprotected ancient and unique carvings are threatened by erosion and vandalism
First sighting of Sydney Harbour and the Bridge we’ll cross in a few days
Vaucluse is one the most affluent suburbs in Sydney
Macquarie Lightstation is Australia’s first lighthouse
Completed in 1818 designed by Francis Greenway, a convict convicted of forgery
Red Wattlebird enjoying a Banksia flower
Entrance to Sydney Harbour, North Head in the background
A Nankeen Kestrel looking for prey soars above the cliffs
Over a 45 year period Don Ritchie (1926-2012) who lived nearby rescued at least 160 people preparing to suicide from these cliffs near The Gap
The Gap is a dip in the sandstone cliffs at South Head ….
… below which extends a wave cut shelf
“This tiny beach packs a mighty punch with spectacular views” NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (it’s a nude beach)
Hornby Lighthouse at South Head in Sydney Harbour National Park
It was built in 1858 following the wrecking of the Dunbar at the foot of South Head
The Hornby Keepers cottage (1858)
The first Keeper was the sole survivor of the Dunbar
Camp Cove
The First Fleet rested for a night here before sailing into Sydney Cove in 1788
The famous Doyles Seafood Restaurant in Watsons Bay
The Doyle family have been serving seafood from the site since 1885
Doyles $51.90 Fish and Chips tastes better than it looks
Sydney CBD across the Harbour from Watsons Bay

Watsons Bay to Double Bay

Tuesday 25 April 2023

Distance: 12.5 km Time: 4:00 Ascent: 245m Descent: 245m – Wikiloc

Today’s walk follows the Sydney Harbour foreshore so it’s going to be flat. Wrong, there are a lot of steps! The route takes in secluded beaches, bays and parks with views of the city and its harbour. Part of it is along the Hermitage Foreshore Track through the Sydney Harbour National Park. There’s some urban walking to enjoy the Depression-era “Sydney Red Brick” art deco buildings.

The path to Parsley Bay Bridge which was built in 1910
“When an Irish knight was caught kidnapping a local heiress, his punishment was swift: exile to a single-storey cottage in NSW.” Over 50 years the cottage became Vaucluse House, now a museum.
The path via Shark Beach was closed so we diverted through Nielsen Park
Hermitage Foreshore walk is one of Sydney’s great coastal walks
It runs 1.8 km from Nielsen Park through National Park
Heritage listed 19th-century Strickland House
Fisherman taking a photo of his catch
Rose Bay beach
Rose Bay Water Airport was Australia’s first international airport and the starting point for the Qantas Empire Airways Sydney to London flights from 1938 to 1955
Ansett also operated flying boat services to Lord Howe Island from 1953 until 1974
Rose Bay Promenade built from 1924 to 1926 is heritage listed
Metropoliton Board of Water Supply and Sewerage (MBWS&S) 1924 utility building
Clark Island was cultivated as a vegetable garden in 1789 by Lieutenant Ralph Clark, who arrived with the First Fleet the year before
City of Sydney: “We’re modernising our streets and creating better amenities for residents, visitors and businesses by installing new bus shelters” – let’s hope this one survives
1930’s “Sydney Red Brick” art deco apartment buildings
We enjoyed the Double Bay 18 Footers Club as the sun set

Double Bay to Cremorne Point

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Distance: 19.0 km Time: 6:10 Ascent: 830m Descent: 820m – Wikiloc

A longer walk today but we couldn’t leave too early as Harry’s Cafe de Wheels pie cart doesn’t open till 9am!

The route follows the Harbour fairly closely and it’s a good day’s walk, crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge a highlight.

The day’s walk starts with a climb up the steps from Double Bay
Double Bay terrace houses
Rushcutters Bay used to covered in tall rushes used by early settlers for thatching houses, now it’s covered in yacht masts
Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, opened in 1936, is an iconic pie cart located near the gates of the Woolloomooloo Naval Yard
Tiger Pie with mash, peas and gravy
We didn’t want to miss out so we timed our departure from Double Bay to arrive for the 9am opening
The harbour-side path
The Opera House and Bridge were in sight most of the morning
The day’s highlight – walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge
View from the Bridge
The walk takes us past Kirribilli House, residence of Australia’s Prime Minister
The path through Cremorne Point Reserve …
… with glimpses of yachts moored at Shellcove …
…and boat sheds …
… to Cremorne Point Lighthouse, opened 1910 and still active

Cremorne Point to Manly

Thursday 27 April 2023

Distance: 27.8 km Time: 6:10 Ascent: 880m Descent: 890m – Wikiloc

We were looking forward to today. It’s years since we’ve carried a pack this far and knew it would be a challenge physically and mentally.

The previous days were along the ocean, the harbour and through urban areas. Today was almost all bushland with a lot of flowering shrubs even in Autumn.

We knew we were in for a long day so we left Cremorne early
Last look at the Bridge before we turn the corner
Yachts moored in Sirius Cove
There are some signs marking the way but not enough to navigate
There’s a good path and some very nice bushland around Taronga Zoo
The path to Bradleys Head was our favourite
It’s a special area of remnant bushland where little has changed in 200 years
Bankias overhang the path
Gnarled Sydney Red Gums dominate near the Head
There’s glimpses of the Harbour – the ferry taking visitors to Taringa Park Zoo
Back in the bush and up the steps
Ghost fungus glows in the dark
Taylors Bay, one of the many harbour bays that line the lower north shore
Sediments sank to the bottom and, over time, formed layers which cemented to form sandstone
Pelican on a pole at Clifton Gardens Beach
The day is staring to get warm but it’s shady and cool in the bush
There’s a lot of steps today
Inner Middle Head fortifications on Georges Heights were built in 1877 and later upgraded but the guns were never fired
These underground rooms were used to store ammunition for the guns
From the Headland, a steep descent to Balmoral Beach …
… where we had a late breakfast/early lunch
The Spit Bridge, a low-level bridge with an opening span – only 10k to go to Manly
The Manly Scenic Walkway
The water in the Harbour is surprisingly clear
Water Dragon sunning itself
The Grotto Point Aboriginal engravings are about 1,000 years old
The path goes through attractive scrub land …
… with beautiful flowers
It’s low tide so we can go this way
Looking back at the South Heads where we were 3 days and 60 km ago
Kay-ye-my people met, fished and hunted at this place at Manly for 20,000 years

Manly Wharf to Manly Beach

Friday 28 April 2023

Distance: 10.0 km Time: 3:00 Ascent: 250m Descent: 250m – Wikiloc

Today was an easy day, we left our packs behind, for another day of mostly bush walking to the North Head and return.

Walking out to the North Head, another day in the bush
A pair of Rainbow lorikeets with a nest in a old gum tree
The grid protects the ground, allows sun and rain in but is very slippery to walk on
Some of the flowers on the North Head
The entrance to Sydney Harbour viewed from the North Head to the South Head
The Third Quarantine Cemetery at North Head Sanctuary, established in 1881 for victims of a smallpox epidemic
Hanging Swamp completely out of place surrounded by dry land vegetation
New Holland honeyeater thrives on the local Banksias
A well formed path leads down to the Pacific Ocean
North Head cliffs
Our 6 day, 90 kilometer walk from Coogee finishes at Manly Beach

Mosman parkrun

Saturday 29 April 2023

Distance: 5.0 km Time: Jeff 0:40, Pam 0:30 Ascent: 90m Descent: 90m – Wikiloc

Mosman parkrun, a nice course 3 times around The Spit Reserve but with 3 hills
Before parkrun