New Year's Day was bright, sunny, and perfect for heading to the beach in Sydney. Thousands and thousands of other folks had the same idea. So, when we arrived at Bondi, we found the sand covered in what can only be called "a mass of humanity."
|People baking in the sun at Sydney's Bondi Beach|
Bondi has so much to offer in addition to the sand and surf. Tons of restaurants and shops line the street leading up to the beach. We paused at a skate park near the water to watch guys glide up and down the cement bowls. Much to my kids' dismay, getting into the surf wasn't in the plans for this hiking trip. Later, we were quite glad about this decision.
From Bondi, we took off on the paved trail -- well, okay, it's pretty much a sidewalk -- down the coastline. First up was the famous Bondi Icebergs Swim Club and Bistro. Being New Year's Day, quite a party was already going on in the middle of the afternoon. Or maybe that's what it's always like. Past that, I began to appreciate the natural beauty of the area. I could see why the aborigines named the area "Bondi" which means "water breaking over rocks." Do Sydneysiders know how lucky they are to have gorgeous beaches, aquamarine water and cool rock formations so close to the center of town?
|Climbing up beside the footpath past Bondi Icebergs|
|Looking back at Bondi Beach with water breaking over rocks|
As we started rounding the headlands at Marks Park, we heard a loud siren coming from the beach. Turning back, we saw a bright, yellow and red, Surf Patrol boat moving back and forth along the shore, and people started running out of the water. A smaller boat assisted with the stubborn surfers who initially refused to exit. Up above, a helicopter swooped in and started patroling, too. After a while, a news helicopter joined it. What in the world was going on? When we got back to the hotel, we discovered that a 2 meter long shark had been spotted in the water near Bondi. They suspect that this was the same shark that had taken a big bite out of a lifeguard's surfboard a couple days earlier. Thirty minutes later, the all clear sounded, and people were permitted to get back in the surf. (But seriously, if it were me, that would have been the end of playing in the water. Would you be brave enough to get back in?)
|Walking from Bondi Beach towards Marks Park|
The next beach is MacKenzie's, named after the nearby MacKenzie's Point. It's one of the smallest beaches in New South Wales and is only accessible at low tide. Because there's alway a rip, swimming is not recommended, but it seemed like many folks didn't really care. A few surfers were also threading their way through the rocky, shallow water.
|MacKenzie's Beach is only revealed at low tide.|
Tamarama Beach is in the upper, left corner.
Tamarama Beach is only 100 meters past MacKenzie's. We ended up spending most of our time here watching all the sporty action on the beach as well as enjoying the playground in the pocket park. The kids got a big kick using all the fitness equipment set up next to the path, too. After spending the past year in Malaysia where people don't drink the tap water, and you have to buy the bottled stuff at restaurants, I was quite excited to see a Drinking Water station for us to refill water bottles. For free! My admiration for Sydney continued to grow.
Our last stop was Bronte Beach. It is home to the Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club which was established in 1903 and is the oldest surf lifesaving club in the world. After our 2 km trek, the kids were ready for a snack. My friend, a former Sydneysider, highly recommended dining at one of the cafes across the street, but alas, the kids had their eyes locked on the ice cream at the beachside concession stand. Picnic blankets covered the grass of the park behind the beach, and folks busily grilled their holiday meals. I could see another playground at the back of the park, but we were ready to head back to the hotel at this point. We strolled through the tall Norfolk pines up to the bus stop to catch a ride to Bondi Junction railway station and bus terminal. While we didn't make it all the way to Coogee as I had planned, this walk was definitely all about the journey and not the destination.
|Bronte Beach was much less crowded than Bondi and, as a bonus, had no shark sightings this day.|
If you are planning to take this stroll, check out The Bondi to Coogee Walk website for practical information about the trail, beaches and nearby restaurants. While the footpath does include some steep steps, you can carry a lightweight stroller up it if need be.
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox, Travel Photo Mondays at Travel Photo Discovery, and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.