Sydney: Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Travel Period : 1 May – 7 May 2014

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Day 3 

[ Getting There ]

Bondi (pronounced as ‘bon-dye’) Beach, a popular beach located about 7 km east of the Sydney central business district, where we were staying at.

Our Original Plan (aka ‘in the ideal world’) — Go there straight from Paddington Markets, where we already were (Distance: 1 km).

What Actually Happened — Returned to our hotel, before returning in the same direction to Bondi Beach, due to some unplanned stuff. (Distance: 8 km).

End Results — Arrived at Bondi Beach at almost 5 pm (sun started to set at around 5.30pm), instead of an hour earlier.

The Windy Bondi Beach

“Time to wake up… We’ve arrived!” I whispered to my two dear family members, who fell asleep during our bus journey. I wished I could join them too, but then we would probably end up somewhere around the terminal stop. ^^|

Alighting from the bus, we found ourselves on Campbell Parade, where lines of shops and restaurants were. This would be a brilliant place for some snacks or meals (especially when there’s branch of the famous Hurricane’s Grill here too!), if not for the fact that we were already behind schedule and we were men and women on a mission — To conquer the coastal walk from here all the way to Bronte Beach.

Just as we were ready to begin our adventure, we felt the chilly winds blowing at us from the sea. Brrr…. We quickly zipped up our coats and covered our heads with our hoods (that’s why it’s important to get jackets with hoods). It was autumn nearing winter, so the beautiful stretch of sandy beach was void of summer beach-goers and sun-tanners (unless they didn’t mind turning into ice cubes).

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Beautiful seagulls were everywhere in Sydney!

To our amazement however, tens of board surfers were still having fun (I assumed they were having fun and not trying to torture themselves to death, since we couldn’t really see their expressions from far) in the freezing sea water, braving the strong waves and surfing! Although they were wearing their full-body surfing suits, I was already shivering at the thought of myself being in their shoes suits. *teeth chattering* (Temperature was around 17 degrees Celsius and lower)

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After crossing the road, we climbed down a gentle grassy slope and stepped onto the walkway alongside the sandy beach. Along this walkway was a wall full of really beautiful graffiti, especially one which featured four huge, life-like dogs that immediately caught our attention! We had not expected to find such gorgeous art and talent there! I would have torn down and brought that wall back home if I could. ^^|

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We began walking southwards to begin our coastal walk towards Bronte Beach.

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Surfing the Waves; see how far some surfers went!

After walking up a flight of stairs from the beach onto Notts Avenue, our eyes were immediately attracted to an infinity pool right at the edge of the sea, belonging to the Icebergs Dining Room & Bar. I was envious of those who could swim there with a gorgeous view overlooking the Tasman Sea! (of course, I’m referring to the summer time)

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Looks like a cake with icing from far too

We continued walking along a narrow pavement by the road, watching Dar closely as vehicles were zooming past us. At the end of the road, a short flight of stairs led us back down to the coastal area again.

This was the start of the Coastal Walk.

Coastal Walk

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At this time, the sun was already setting quickly and skies darkening. We quickened our pace as we knew there’s still a lot of distance to cover.

“Wow! Look!!” I exclaimed, after we passed the Hunter Park and came onto a path lined up with magnificent rock formations!

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These art masterpieces crafted by nature made us look in awe and it was a fantastic feeling to be able to admire them up-close without fences or security guards stopping us! Since there was no out-of-bounds area, we started getting adventurous and climbed onto some of these rocks, checking them out closer and snapping some nice photos!

We got even more daring and went off the path to climb down towards the sea, where enormous rock structures were laid along the coast! I had intended to go down alone since the rocks were uneven but surprisingly, that did not deter Dar as he eagerly asked to follow me down. Cat and I agreed and I held him closely and watched him take every step down the sometimes slippery rocks. We then stood on them while enjoying the vastness of the sea as we faced them.

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However, that wasn’t enough to quench Dar’s thirst for adventure, as he requested to go even further! “No.” We firmly turned him down, knowing it would be unsafe to proceed any further, especially when the ground ahead was even wetter and more slippery, filled with sharp rocks and there was low visibility due to the darkening surroundings. Looks like Dar had treated this place as his huge, natural playground! (Note to self: To bring him for rock climbing when he’s older ^^)

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We didn’t know he actually liked exploring and walking on the rocks!

After successfully persuaded him to get back onto the main path, we moved on, climbed up more stairs and arrived at Marks Park, which offered an amazing lookout point!

Though the surroundings were almost pitch dark by now (it’s 5.40pm), it actually helped attentuate the beauty of Bronte Beach’s night scenery, with the lights from the buildings strewn across the horizon like glittering stars! What a beautiful sight to behold! Our camera was not good enough to capture the beauty though.

We continued our journey towards Bronte Beach, which looked close on the map but felt far when we were actually walking the journey. Besides wondering if we could harness enough energy to reach the place, we were also concerned if we could still make it to our next destination in time for the fireworks display at Darling Harbour at 8.30 pm.

Anyway, throughout our walk, there were often joggers passing us by and putting us at ease that we were not alone and we also felt safe in this unfamiliar environment.

Dar started to complain about tiredness so I carried him during parts of the walk; we wouldn’t want him to over-tire himself and fall sick, especially when it was getting colder as the night got deeper. Ironically, I was sweating beneath my clothes, due to all the physical exertion.

We soon reached Gaerloch Reserve. Despite already shrouded in darkness, we could still see that it was a clean and beautiful beach, with its sandy beach cutting deep towards the shore in an arch shape. We were tempted to get down onto the sand. We were walking and passing by beaches and it would be a waste not to get down onto one.

“What if there are sand flies down there?” I quickly spoke, remembering about these pesky fellows which might be lurking at the beach, waiting for unsuspecting human beings to fall prey.

“Indeed…” Cat held back her footsteps upon my reminder. “We’d better not get down there then.” The last things we wanted were painful and itchy insect bites to bring home as souvenirs.

At this point, we stopped to plan what we should do next. Should we continue heading towards Bronte Beach, or should we just get onto the road to try to catch a transport to a more populated place?

Thinking that we wouldn’t be able to see much in this darkness even if we continued walking and made it to Bronte Beach anyway, we decided to choose the latter.

Using Google Maps to locate the nearest bus stop, we followed the path leading up to the road and arrived at a deserted bus stop. There was only one bus service here — No. 361.

We checked for the next arriving bus on the board.

1 Hour Later — This was how long it would take for the next arriving bus. What…? We had to be stuck at this chilly and dark bus stop for another 60 minutes? No way…!

Peering towards both sides of the roads, I tried to look out for miracles — such as an available taxi to pick us up. Where to? Doesn’t really matter, as long as we could get out of this place! Unfortunately, Lady Luck wasn’t with us then.

Not wanting to continuing enduring the cold winds at this exposed bus stop, we returned to Gaerloch Reserve and continued our walk. “Shouldn’t be too far away now…” We consoled ourselves as we moved on.

Bronte Beach

At 6.15 pm (it definitely felt we had walked much longer than that!), we finally arrived at Bronte Beach!

Note: The walk takes about 1.5 hours. We took about an hour to do this walk as we walked relatively fast and even ran at some points.

There was a cafe and bar where people were dining. We tried our best to make out how the beach would look like if it was under broad daylight but wasn’t successful, given the pitch dark surrounding the beach. Still, we were glad to have successfully accomplished our objective, though it was disappointing that the finishing point did not provide anything worth exploring. There was a park beside it but it was too dark to venture there.

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Mission done! A great accomplishment for our boy for doing this long, cold walk with us!

We washed ourselves up a little at the clean and large public toilet, before heading up to Bronte Road.

There was a bus stop and small hut beside us, with a person in uniform walking around. “Hi,” We asked politely, “Are you the Bus Captain for this bus?”

He nodded and told us that he was indeed the bus captain for this Bus Service 361 (going in a different direction from the one we to waited at the bus stop earlier) and his bus would be leaving this terminal station in another ten minutes’ time.

He was also kind to let us board his bus first so that we could enjoy some warmth in the vehicle (never knew it felt so great to be on a bus!) while we waited for its departure! We can’t wait to get back to ‘civilisation’ and fill our stomach with some warm food!

Afterthoughts: We should have done the walk in the early morning as our first itinerary instead. We thought our boy would prefer the Powerhouse Museum and didn’t know he had such great interest in the rocks and coastal area too.

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