Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tania Park to Grott Point Light House

In the Bush near Tania Lighthouse

One of the first parks we drove to when arriving in Sydney was Tania park, and Paul instantly fell in love. The rugby field offers sweeping views of Sydney Harbor, Mosman, Balmoral Beach, and Manly.  We also noticed (from a distance) it housed a secret peninsula with a cliffside lighthouse. We put it on the bucket list!  The structure does not to appear to be a lighthouse at all, but perhaps an old electrical service station.  Either way, there is little wiggle room for kids (or adults) once you reach the end of the peninsula   One wrong step and you will visit Davy Jones locker in the deadly ocean below...

Balgowlah (Pronounced Baalgaalah) is where we'd like to own a home if we ever became permanent Sydney residents.  It is affordable and every bit as beautiful as Mosman.  There is a ferry, quick access to parks, water views, and more than anything it is just plain fun to say. We looked at a few apartments here, but most properties are privately owned and not for rent.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Watsons Bay Gap Park

Gap Park Ocean Trail
 If you are lucky enough to have ferry service in Sydney, you can easily take a decent slice of the tourism industry in Sydney. Watsons Bay is one of the most famous ferry rides through the harbor.  This iconic bay is the first line of defense against the pacific ocean, and the lighthouse point (not pictured) is still in HMAS (Her Majesty's Service).  We didn't attempt the long hike to the end, but opted for a stroll through nearby Gap park.  Almost every lighthouse in Sydney is closed to tourists, but should you attempt a breakin would offer amazing ocean views.
Gap Park Lighthouse, one of 2 at Watsons Bay
 As with most Sydney harbor side tourist locations, skiff and boat rentals are an option.  There is also a great covered playground in the middle of Robertson park.  The hilly scenic neighborhood just south of Watson Bay, Vaucluse, is said to be second in wealth only to Mosman. It was a gorgeous drive but should we return, I would attempt the long hike through the HMAS base to the REAL lighthouse at the end.  Its worth nothing Watson Bay is one of the very few you can actually watch the sun SET in Sydney, which makes it a popular evening destination and home to several exceptional restaurants.
View from Watsons Bay Warf

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Barrenjoey & Palm Beach Hike

View from top of Barrenjoey Lighthouse
 Barrenjoey Head Aquatic reserved is shaped exactly like a hammerhead shark.  It is a quick 2km climb possible even for an elementary aged child.  We Included the length of Palm Beach on the west side during low tide which was rather weedy.  We were lucky enough to have a sitter and enjoy a full morning away, complete with brunch at one of my favorite spots in nearby Avalon on the way home.

Paul admiring the view on Palm Beach

It was too cold for a dip, so we made our way up the partially staired trail. About a 20 minute climb, once at the top we realized were were at a spectacular vantage point, but also that there was an equally if not better vantage point directly to our west.  We later learned it is Ku-Ring-Gai Chase national park and noted it on our to do list.  There are several small private cozy little beaches within the Pittwater reserve and it would be an excellent choice to Kayak without worry for large surf. The Lion Island nature reserved viewable to the north looked to be a perfect combination of mountain, cliff, and beach.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Three Sisters, Blue Mountains

Our dear sister-in-law is the first brave soul to come visit us in Australia.  We celebrated with a weekend trip to the Blue Mountains to see the Three Sisters.  The tourist trail, hosted by Scenic Australia, takes a train ride down to the bottom of the rain forest.  Here you will follow a well maintained series of trails through the forest to a gondola ride to the top past the thee sisters.  There are plenty of additional activities such as abseiling, or serious 8 hr hikes down the golden stairs to the ruined castle.  

This was my first experience in a rain forest and It felt like a movie set of Honey I Shrunk the Kids.  It was chilly, even for winter, and in several places evidence of lightening strikes were evident.  It felt great on the lungs and heart, and I can't wait to take more family back.  We headed up to Eagle Hawk Lookout and the top of the Golden Stairs trail for lunch.  The rock formations play games with your eyes and its no wonder they garner such unusual names.  It was fun to scramble on top of them and remind ourselves of our fragile mortality.