As the title says, this post describes the second stage of the Bondi to Manly Coastal Path, this time from Watsons Bay to Rose Bay. Of the three stages I completed on a sparkling June day, this was my favourite.
For background on this 80km path and to start from the ‘beginning’ check out my post about Stage 1.
Here are my thoughts and comments on Stage 2.
Stage: 2 – Watsons Bay to Rose Bay.
Distance: 10.67km (my Garmin watch said 9.06km).
Time: Around two hours and fifteen minutes.
Getting to Watsons Bay: For a spectacular start to the day catch one of the ferries which depart regularly for Watsons Bay from Circular Quay and Rose Bay. Jump on buses 324 or 325 from Edgecliff train station or catch these buses from Wynyard Bus stop in the City centre. For timetables, click here,
Getting Away from Rose Bay: Same, same…for a spectacular finish to your walking day, catch one of the ferries which depart regularly from Rose Bay wharf taking you to Circular Quay. Alternatively catch buses 324 and 325 from New South Head Road which will head into the city via Edgecliff train station.
- Waymarking: Currently the path is not Print the maps available from the Bondi to Manly website or have them on your phone. If all else fails, do your best to keep the water on your right-hand side. (Update Nov.2020: Just a quick note to let you know that there have been substantial improvements to the availability of directional signage on this stage. Participating Councils have been erecting signage featuring the Buriburi (the humpback whale). Also an excellent free app is now available and you can use the maps offline to save data. Download for free for ANDROID or APPLE. It is a very comprehensive app showing the toilets, water, coffee etc. Enjoy!)
- Sun Protection: Wear a hat and sunscreen. There is patchy shade and the wind burns too.
- Footwear: Sneakers or runners are perfectly suitable.
- Cafes & Watering Points: These are more plentiful on this stage, but I would still recommend carrying water if it is a hot day.
- Fitness: A medium level of fitness is required and some seats/rest areas are available in a couple of reserves. Or simply find yourself a scenic spot and sit down in nature.
- Terrain: The path is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers as there are multiple steps, stairs, boardwalks and grassed areas, plus some steep climbs.
- Toilets: Plentiful and found in most parks.
- Swimming Gear: If you walk this path in Summer, consider carrying your swimming gear as there are a large number of gorgeous beaches and bays to dip into. Or go ‘commando’ in a secluded inlet if you are game. (NB: the only designated nudist beach is Lady Bay on the way to South Head.)
If you like early Australian history, then this walk will be right up your alley. The path starts with a northly loop around South Head and there is a diverse array of colonial military and maritime history through this wedge Sydney Harbour National Park. It makes for an interesting juxtaposition right next to a modern day navy establishment complete with ducking and diving military helicopters. Some of the many ramparts and cannon emplacements were installed to reduce the threat of invasion by the USA and France in the early 1800’s. Hard to believe when we have such close (some people believe too close) relationships today.
- The path also wends its way past Lady Bay Beach, Sydney’s infamous nudist beach. The beach was deserted on the day I wandered by due to (a) it being Winter and (b) the fact that construction works were underway to prevent the surrounding cliffs collapsing down onto the beach and any naked people below. Now that would hurt!
- The path from Watsons Bay to Rose Bay delivers drop dead gorgeous views of the Harbour and City. Again, the path sticks as close to the water as possible and you receive continuous tantalising glimpses of the watery blue foreground in between buildings and breaks between coastal scrub. I discovered more bays, beaches and inlets than I ever knew existed. I can only imagine how popular these beaches would be during a hot Sydney Summer.
- The walk provides a spectacular contrast between the natural beauty of the harbour and sandstone promontories on your right hand and on your left, is the most gobsmacking array of luxury mansions. Vaucluse lived up to its reputation, chockful of palatial homes and even the streets were full of expensive, high performance cars. I felt positively plebeian as I wandered the streets.
- The people are friendly though and I had a long and interesting chat with a Council worker about how to prune frangipani trees. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.
- The last stage of the path through the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve, heading towards Rose Bay, is particularly lovely. The views are straight up the harbour towards the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Rose Bay is also a landing ‘strip’ for a busy seaplane route. It was fascinating to see them circle in preparation to land and then touch down neatly between the bobbing boats. I must find out where the planes were coming from and going to, obviously somewhere important and in demand as about five planes landed (and took off) in the short time I walked this section.
- The stage finishes in an odd spot below the exclusive Kambala private school. If you need a rest, grab a seat somewhere in the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve as there is nowhere to sit at the designated end of this stage. Seats are located strategically throughout the reserve to maximise the glorious views of the water and the millions of dollars tied up in lonely boats bobbing on the bay. I am always amazed that someone can own a gorgeous boat and yet rarely use it. Oh, to have that much disposable income.
- This stretch is a fabulous way to spend a couple of hours and to see exclusive and secluded Sydney at its best.
- Highly recommended and will be even better when waymarking is in place.
Have you walked any stages of the Bondi to Manly walk? What are your thoughts?
What: Stage 2 of the Bondi to Manly Walk. “The Bondi to Manly Walk is a proposal to link all of the existing coastal and harbourside walking tracks and paths on public land between Australia’s two most famous surf beaches, Bondi and Manly, in an 80 kilometre walk around the foreshore of Sydney Harbour”. Source
Where: Furthest east of the Sydney CBD, right on the coast from Watsons Bay to Rose Bay.
When: Early June 2019. You could walk this path at any time of the day although the paths right on the edge of the water are not lit.
Why: Because I love a walk and I had never explored this part of Sydney.
How: By two feet and a heartbeat.
Who: Me, myself, and I.
Related Posts: To start from the ‘beginning’, read my post about Stage 1 from Bondi Beach to Watsons Bay.
Related Blogs: For some glorious views of South Head and the Hornby Lighthouse, have a look at this beautiful photography blog by Anton Gorlin.
Read About It: For an interesting take on early Australian history, grab a copy of Roger McDonald’s Mr Darwin’s Shooter, available from Book Depository. The story follows a young boy from England who becomes Charles Darwin’s servant on the Beagle as they sail to Sydney. A lot of the story references the Watsons Bay area.
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