On a sunny Saturday I made my way on the ferry to Manly beach. The ferry ride is highly recommended as you get a spectacular view of the Sydney CBD. After about half an hour we docked in Manly, a suburb north of Sydney. Besides surfing, sunbathing and shopping you can go on some beautiful walks, one of which brings you to the North Head sanctuary.
First of you walk along the beach, past the cool surfer dudes carrying their boards and the fancy women parading around. Manly beach is fairly crowded, but just a short walk further on you’ll find the less crowded Shelly Beach. It seemed to be a popular spot for scuba divers and families, but also for backpackers the water is very refreshing. The beach is surrounded by villas on the cliffs, all with a small staircase that leads to the sea. Yeah, dream on.
Cooled down the 9,5km track started. It is a relatively new walk, opened in 2007, through part of the Sydney harbour national park. I was walking through the bush, with all the spiders and webs that come with it. Seriously, mind your head! At the Gatehouse visitor center you can talk to one of the, very friendly, rangers before you continue across old military terrain.
You’ll see the old barracks and the parade ground. There are also remnants of observation posts and cannons. Once upon a time North Head was a quarantine station for people arriving in Australia. 240 people who died the black death are buried on the cemetery.
Don’t forget to walk to the very top of the peninsula. The view of Sydney is just stunning! You can see Harbour bridge, the Opera House and on a sunny day there are dozens of boats on the water. There is no swimming since steep cliffs lead into the water. Just around the time your feet are getting tired you’ll see Collins Beach, a small, quiet beach which leads you back to the ferry terminal.