At last I had the time, energy, and the restrictions of Covid19 were staring to relax, to once again set out on the glorious Bondi to Manly path. So far I had only completed three of the eight stages and it was not calling my name, it was screaming it at full volume!
In the 12 months since I walked the early sections, major changes have been made. New signs popped up at regular intervals and a new app helped keep me on track if/when I became distracted by the beautiful scenery or the signs were not where I expected them to be.
Grab your hat and water bottle, and let’s enjoy some more stunning Sydney sights…
Stage: 4 – Darling Point to Kirribilli.
Distance: Official distance: 9.9km. My Garmin watch said 11.02km.
Time: Around two hours and thirty minutes with plenty of stops and starts to enjoy the view.
Getting to Darling Point: Catch the Ferry from Circular Quay to Darling Point wharf or bus 328 from Edgecliff Station which will stop along Darling Point Road. An Opal card is required to get on this bus. Prepay only.
Getting Away from Kirribilli: If you have the energy, walk back across the Harbour Bridge and straight back into the Sydney CBD. Alternatively, walk to Milsons Point train station and take the train direct to Wynyard Station (or Town Hall) located in the heart of the Sydney CBD, or catch the ferry from either Kirribilli Wharf or Milsons Point Wharf back to Circular Quay. It seems that there is no ferry leaving directly from Jeffrey Street Wharf.
- Waymarking: The number of route signs have dramatically increased since I started on this path 12 months ago. The signage varies in both size and placement, so you need to be highly aware of your surrounds to know where to look for the darn things. Most signs feature a Buriburi (humpback whale) – the Bondi to Manly logo. I recommend you download the app (android and apple) off the Bondi to Manly website and then download the maps for use offline (saving your data). Not that you need to use the app all the time, but it does help keep you on track when the signs disappear.
- Sun Protection: Wear a hat and sunscreen. There is patchy shade.
- Footwear: Sneakers, walking sandals or runners are perfectly suitable.
- Water, Toilets and Cafés: The app is excellent for showing the location of all the bare necessities. For a coffee with a side of character/atmosphere, turn left on Macleay Street and step into infamous Kings Cross (only about 200m off route). An education in itself.
- Fitness: A medium level of fitness is required. Some seats/rest areas are available in a couple of parks.
- Terrain: The surface underfoot is generally excellent with concrete or asphalt footpaths. There are some quite steep sections and many sets of stairs which may make it inaccessible for some people.
- Highlights & Sights: If you are a visitor to Sydney, this stage of the Bondi to Manly path is a must-do/must-see. It takes in endless water views of the glorious Sydney Harbour as well as all the tourist sites/sights, including the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Botanic Gardens, The Rocks, Luna Park and more.
- Timing: It felt like half of Sydney was on the move when I set out at sunrise (Yes, I am an early bird). Sweaty joggers and happy dogs bounded along the paths getting their heart rates up for the day. Note: the gates of the Botanic Gardens do not open until 700am, so if you want to start really early, you will have to detour around the Gardens to join the path again at Circular Quay. If you have the app on your phone, it will quickly show you the way.
- Yachts & Boats: If you are a boat lover, you will really enjoy the early parts of this walk down through Rushcutters Bay and past the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. I was mesmerised by the bling in their windows – all the various cups and trophies from the annual Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. If those boats aren’t big enough for you, the path takes you straight past Garden Island – the Sydney home of the Royal Australian Navy. Now, that’s a boat! (I love that Garden Island is not actually an island. You can’t get more Aussie than that!)
- Construction & Diversions: As you near the Harbour Bridge, you may run into some pretty major construction work. It forced me to veer away from the path, but the app helped me keep heading in the right direction until I was back on the official track.
- Views: It was a bit of a shame it was such a grey morning. It was still an incredibly beautiful and enjoyable walk, but not the best for photography. A small thing, I know. There is so much to see on this walk, you could easily take a whole day to do it with regular stops and coffees to absorb all the beauty.
- The Sydney Harbour Bridge: Walking across the Bridge was a bit of a highlight for me as I don’t think I have ever walked all the way across. I have climbed it (another amazing experience), just not strolled its length. I was surprised and a little saddened, to see so many security guards stationed all along the walkway. I guess this is to stop would-be jumpers and others who wish to do the Bridge, and traveling public, a great harm.
- The End Point: I finally sat and took a breather on a seat directly opposite the Sydney Opera House at the Jeffrey Street Wharf. I am not sure if that was the official end point of this stage, but it seemed a logical and appropriate place to pause before continuing on to Stage 5.
- Final Thoughts: If you only have the time and energy to walk one stage of the Bondi to Manly path, this is the one. It can’t be beaten for variety, history and spectacular scenery.
Have you walked any stages of the Bondi to Manly walk? What are your thoughts?
What: Stage 4 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: Working my way westwards towards the Sydney CBD, then heading North over the Harbour Bridge.
When: I walked in mid-November 2020, however you could walk this path at any time of the day or year
Why: Because I love a walk and I love to explore on foot. Every step of the Bondi to Manly path has been a revelation and a joy.
How: By two feet and a faltering heartbeat.
Who: Joggers, strollers, locals heading to coffee, commuters heading to work, tourists and I.
Related Posts: To start from the ‘beginning’, read my post about:
- Stage 1 from Bondi Beach to Watsons Bay – here.
- Stage 2 from Watsons Bay to Rose Bay – here.
- Stage 3 from Rose Bay to Darling Point – here.
Related Blogs: For information about all sorts of walks around Sydney, including accommodation suggestions along the Bondi to Manly Path, check out Sydney Coastal Walks here.
Read About It: Step back in time and deep down into Ruth Park’s hardscrabble story of the Darcy family, The Harp in the South. Set in 1920 in the slums of Sydney, the novel sweeps you up in the challenges and humour of daily existence. A highly recommended read. Available from Book Depository.
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