Palm Beach to Narrabeen, Sydney

The plan looked good on paper. Catch the longest bus route in Sydney (the 190) to Palm Beach, walk 35km down to Manly, and catch the ferry back into town. One way to spend a day in June in Sydney, as part of a weekend escape from Auckland.

The inspiration was the Bloody Long Walk, an annual event across Australia’s cities involving as the title suggests walking quite a long way. Doing it independently gave me the chance for a bit of exploring as I followed the North Sydney coastline.

The 6.30am Saturday morning bus was surprisingly busy, with the double length bus standing room only, half filled with Construction workers. After an hour and a half we arrived at Palm Beach, famous as a filming spot for Home and Away, though I was always more of a Neighbours person.

It’s certainly a rather nice beach, particularly as the sun stuck the waves.

Being Australia there was some exotic wildlife, white parrots enjoying the signage.

I was more interested though in the rock at the end of the beach and what was on it. Barrenjoey Headland and it’s vintage lighthouse made for a great hour and a bit detour heading in the opposite direction to Manly.

Headed back I passed the first of many ridiculous houses, clearly there is plenty of wealth around here.

Looking at my map, and the time after the lighthouse detour, I decided to cheat slightly and catch the bus to Avalon Beach, saving kilometres of road walking. Avalon was one of my favourite beaches of the day, with golden sands, surfers, a striking headland, and the first rock pool of the day.

The next bay Bilgola Beach wasn’t bad either, with another rock pool.

Nor was Newport, a good spot to stop for brunch and a breather.

I stayed to the ridge line rather than drop down to Bungan Beach, though I love that it’s in Bongin Bongin Bay, great name!

North Mona Vale Headland offered great views in both directions, particularly of the striking rock pool jutting out from Basin Beach.

This was worth a closer look, finding that it is sat on a rock outcropping, and part of it is open to the sea. Too cold out to get many takers though the sea temperature was close to 20C, a little warmer than New Zealand waters!

Saw some interesting signage at the Mona Vale Golf Club and a handy safety screen.

Warriewood Beach continued the trend of golden sands and a surf club, before heading up Turimetta Head.

Narrabeen Head offered some great views back over Turimetta Beach, just missing some sunshine, though the lack of it made a long exposed walk less gruelling than it could have been.

The entrance to the South Creek was rather striking.

Just before it was my final and favourite rock pool of the day, offering beautiful reflections and contrast between the bodies of water.

Heading over the bridge to North Narrabeen I was faced with yet another endless expanse of golden sands, nice to look at and play on, but not the easiest to walk along. I’d already walked more than 20km, the clouds were getting particularly dark, and I wasn’t expecting any significant variations in scenery for the rest of the walk, so I decided that this would be a good time to bail and catch a bus back into town.

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