No 17: Coogee Beach – 20 November 2011

We have visited the 17th beach, Coogee, to officially get the 2011/12 beach going season under way. We’re in the midst of the chaos of moving houses but I thought it important and worthwhile to breathe salty air, feel the sand in our toes, watch waves rolling in from the South Pacific and, as it turned out, bear witness to thousands of nippers participating in a surf carnival. For the non-Australians amongst you, or those not fully literate in Australian culture – nippers are children, specifically children participating in Surf Life Saving.  Surf Life Saving Clubs have been responsible for much of …

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BBQ Brekky, Bowls & Cricket – Not a Beach: 30 October 2011

It began inauspiciously but developed into a nearly perfect Sydney Spring Sunday.  Rain was falling at the appointed hour of departure but in the nature of plans made for Sunday morning by the time we rolled away on our bicycles it was more like midday.  By then the sun was shining.  Its heat had a summer bite but in the shade it was still jumper-cool. When Mitch, Mac and I arrived at St Leonards Park we found Erin threatening to mobilise her Twitterverse behind an #OccupyBarbeque movement.  A gaggle of parents and costumed toddlers had commandeered the only public barbecue in the …

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No 16: Congwong Bay Beach – 3 April 2011

A southern beach! A SOUTHERN BEACH! Huzzah. Last one was No 8 Bronte on 2 May 2010. Congwong Bay Beach is 18 kilometres (11 miles) from home. Congwong Bay Beach is in Botany Bay National Park in La Perouse. LaPa has a pretty interesting history — named for the French dude who turned up days after the First Fleet landed and arguably the only place in Sydney continually occupied by Aboriginal people since before the European invasion and conquest. For more visit: http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/la_perouse. Congwong Bay Beach is in the Randwick LGA, the state district of Maroubra (Michael Daley, Labor) and federal division …

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No 15: Collins Beach – 5 March 2011

Collins Beach is in the Sydney Harbour National Park in Manly.  It’s a beach that seems like it should be quieter and more obscure than it is. You have to walk a ways to get to it, it’s not obvious from any roadway but it’s busy. Heaps of people! There were several big groups and many (seeming) tourists. I guess it’s on the maps handed out by local accommodation — it felt like it’s the “secret beach” for visitors if you know what I mean. There was an American couple set up near us, speaking loudly on their mobile phones — the guy …

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No 14: Collaroy Beach – 27 February 2011

Frankly I can’t wait for a southern beach! The last one was Bronte (No 8) which we visited in May 2010. But it was good to get back to a surf beach with Collaroy. As you can see, it was an overcast day, but warm; a little drizzle which kept the beach quiet but the water was lovely. There is an ocean pool at the southern end of the beach which I enjoyed a few laps in. Despite somewhat discouraging conditions Mitch managed to catch a wave or two and was happy. Collaroy Beach is in Warringah Council LGA, the …

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No 13: Cobblers Beach – 20 February 2011

Cobblers Beach is the, ahem, first nude beach on the list. It’s a harbour beach located within the Sydney Harbour National Park. It’s right next to the naval base, HMAS Penguin. I was pleased to find bus no 244 from the city delivered us to within a few hundred metres.  Though we found ourselves wondering who among the dwindling passengers were there to get their kit off. Cobblers is 19 kilometres (12 miles) from home but it felt a million miles from my comfort zone.  I was not looking forward to nuding-up but I’d have felt even more uncomfortable sitting …

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No 12: Clontarf Beach – 5 February 2011

Per Wikipedia the suburb of Clontarf is named after a district in Dublin, Ireland. But far more interestingly this beach, in 1868, was site of Australia’s first attempted political assassination. Henry James O’Farrell, an alcoholic recently released from a lunatic asylum, shot Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh – second son of Queen Victoria – in the back. The Prince survived, most colonists were embarrassed and outraged (and took it out on the Irish as expected). A hospital was opened to memorialise the drama. Thus: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. One hundred and forty-three years later there seems to be some drama around dog poo. Clean up after …

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No 11: Clareville Beach – 30 January 2011

And with No 11: Clareville Beach, enter Mitch with ten more digits. Per Wikipedia the area’s non-indigenous history began with a land grant to Father John Joseph Therry in the 1830. In the first half of the 20th century it became a holiday destination and with the arrival of mass-automobile ownership a well-to-do leafy residential area. This was the first beach visit this year where the water was warm enough that I didn’t need to get used to it. Probably about 25C (77F). Clareville Beach is a flat, sheltered harbour beach found after a drive through winding, hilly suburban streets. …

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No 10: Chinaman’s Beach – 1 January 2011

Yes, that’s right: Chinaman’s Beach.  It’s on the Middle Harbour in Mosman. The name comes from the Chinese market gardens which operated in the area beginning 120 years ago — first operated by Cho Hi Tick from around 1890. Chinaman’s Beach is 16.4 kilometres from home (10 miles).  We took the train from Petersham to Wynard and a bus nearly to the Spit. We walked down stairs and roads though a leafy well-to-do neighbourhood to reach the beach. We found a narrow stretch of slightly pebbly sand hedged in by scrub and facing the narrow neck of the Middle Harbour. …

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No 9: Bungan Beach – 21 November 2010

First beach of the “summer” — sunny and pretty warm but with a bite in the wind that sometimes whipped up sand. I decided this season that our visits should be less fleeting and more day-trips. Bungan Beach is 39 kilometres (24 miles) from home in the suburb of Newport on the Northern Beaches.  We took a bus, a train and another bus to get there.  It took a while but was actually relaxing and enjoyable. We spent about three hours at Bungan — laying in the shade of our umbrella, reading the paper and testing the water. Bungan is …

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