Monday, August 27, 2012

Otford to Garie Beach

Stopping for lunch at Burning Palms

This passed Sunday we revisited Royal National Park with a family friend and attempted a five hour 9-10km hike from Otford lookout to Garie Beach. This is famed to be the best hike in south Sydney, and is one of the top five most beautiful hikes I've ever been on. We were uncertain that Ana and Lisa (both 4yrs old) would be able to complete the distance with many changes in elevation. In the end, going with another family was the absolute best decision of the trip. Both girls found more motivation in each other and were happy to hike along for the majority of the distance.

Red-belly spotted on the trail

 The trail conditions were of medium difficulty and extremely diverse, starting with rain forest and overgrown palm trees, followed by windblown Ausi taiga and sandstone beaches nestles between ocean cliffs. I found footing on the eroded taiga to be the most difficult. The trail was narrower than the width of an adult shoe and deeper than 1 meter in places. I imagined what it must have felt like to dig trenches of this nature in wartime and was thankful for my health and companionship. We stopped for lunch at Burning Palms beach around 1:15 and the girls took a quick dip in the ocean. From this point out, the views were wide open with no sun cover and three ascents/descents to Garie Beach. The last three kilometers were a constant up down trail, and with no access road we were lucky the girls saved enough energy for the last push. We completed the 10k in a little over five hours and drove back to the second car at Otford.

Hikes like these only come around once a year, and I've been feeling the healthy happy afterglow for the past two days. Several other hikers we passed along the trail could easily have traveled to NSW from a great distance simply to accomplish what we did in an afternoons drive from our home. We are so luck to live near the immense beauty of Australian wilderness.  This will forever be what my heart aches for when we eventually have to move back to America.

An icecream after a long day humanback riding

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Narabeen Ocean Pools

The last three weeks happened all in a day. Had I blinked, I would have missed them completely. It started with a visit from Paul's cousins from Auckland, followed by a weekend of fun with a GE colleague, ending in our Anniversary today. Somewhere in between we managed to film a family movie and take this beautiful hike at Narabeen Head. This beach feeds the largest lagoon in the Sydney region and hosts a gorgeous shallow blue crystal clear sand spit. We could only imagine the crowd in the summertime! I walked clear to the end and watched two scuba divers clear their way around the head. They were in full suits and looked chilly, but having fun.

We climbed the staircase just before the pool entrance to the left and had a nice view of the private beach behind us. There wasn't much of a safety railing, and one brave soul had pitched his tent right on the cliffs ledge. The beach looked like a fun place to try to reach, but Nolan is now too big for his pack. He can hike about 2km, and Paul for another 1km while carrying him. For that reason we had to pass on attempting to reach the private beach and simply admired from afar.

Having Frank in town was a lot of fun in spite of bad weather. We toughed it out and headed to Hannibal's in Surry Hills for some tastey Lebanese food followed by a night of dancing at an 80's throwback bar in the ground of the Observer Hotel, CBD. It was nice having a fellow American to empathize about the poor Ausi coverage of US Olymp athletes. With our Zoo and National Park pass about to expire we made our final visits and captured footage for The Wizard of Aus to be premiered late September!

The Wizard of Aus production set at Taronga Zoo :)