"" Writer's Wanderings: Sydney - Manly Beach

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sydney - Manly Beach

Along the coast near Sydney are several very nice beaches. We chose to explore Manly Beach which is a half-hour ferry ride from the Circular Quay area near the Opera House. The ferry ride gives you an appreciation for the location of Sydney—on the sea but protected by a harbor with lots of smaller finger harbors off of the main one.

Manly itself is a retro beach town from the fifties. A bit reminiscent of South Beach but much more down to earth. From the wharf, we walked a pedestrian mall called the Corso that led out onto the beach. The surf was up and so were the surfers. We watched surf lessons as we splashed along the water’s edge.

Following the boardwalk, we found the Manly Scenic Walk that reportedly would take us to an old anti-aircraft bunker. We started out on a path that deteriorated a bit but we were determined and continued on. The rocky path led us to a huge stone wall and like Alice, we climbed through the hole. The other side wasn’t Wonderland but it was a land of wonder—much like Bill Bryson talks about in his Sunburned Country book.

A few feet up the path we found four large spiders with webs stretched over our heads. I stuck my hat back on took a deep breath and passed as quickly as possible underneath them. A little further, we found the fellow in the picture. He was about the size of a man’s hand from tip of leg to tip of leg. Looking at where the path seemed to lead—into scrub, no shade, and probably more critters, we prudently decided to turn around and head back. Yes, back under the spiders again.

Along our return trip we came upon two lizards. One was spotted and about 8 inches long. The other was a nice iguana looking fellow who posed for lots of pictures and drew a crowd. His expressions seemed to say, “Hey, all I wanted was a day in the sun here mates!”

All we wanted was a day at the beach. We certainly found much more than that.

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