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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No 8: Bronte Beach – 2 May 2010

I’ve always liked Bronte Beach.  It’s among the well-known and easily accessed beaches of Sydney’s eastern suburbs but always feels a little less trodden than Coogee and Bondi. Bronte Beach is 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) from home. Bronte Beach is home to a great ocean pool, a good sized park with a miniature train for the littleys, and a row of cafes opposite.  This was our last beach visit for the 2010 summer season and it took place well into autumn — but a gloriously warm autumn day where the summer heat still held in the Pacific currents. Bronte is in …

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No 7: Bradleys Beach – 26 April 2010

From one of Sydney’s most iconic and well-known destinations at No 6: Bondi Beach to one of it’s more obscure and remote destinations at No 7: Bradleys Beach at Dangar Island off Brooklyn in the Hawkesbury River. Bradleys Beach is roughly 60 kilometres (37 miles from home).  It is, I think, the northern most beach in this tour.  Jim took us there on his boat as part of a larger day of enjoying being out on the water in the Robyn. Bradleys Beach is on the southern side of the island and boasts a number of holiday rentals.  The day of our …

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No 6: Bondi Beach – 18 April 2010

Bondi, baby, Bondi — THE Sydney beach.  The one everyone has heard of. When you look at it from the esplanade you think — jeez it’s crowded that doesn’t look like much fun but down on the sand the people-watching and people-listening makes the day.  Its a mini UN of sunbathers; we must have heard half a dozen languages. Bondi is 16 kilometres (10 miles) from home. Not surprisingly Wikipedia has a lot to say about Bondi but here’s a few key things — ‘bondi’ is an aboriginal word meaning either “water breaking over rocks” or “the noise of water breaking over …

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No 5: Blackwoods Beach – 28 March 2010

Blackwoods Beach was our first southern beach on this tour.  We visited just after sunrise on the morning I flew back into Sydney from the United States; Mitch collected me at the airport and we went directly to the beach. Blackwoods is 28 kilometres (17.5 miles) from home.  It’s in Cronulla.  I think I’ll save talking about Cronulla for when we visit Cronulla Beach.  Let’s just say it’s a middle to upper middle class suburban neighbourhood which is home to predominantly multi-generation Australians of Anglo/Irish origins. The morning of our visit to Blackwoods was quiet and peaceful. I nearly felt …

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No 4: Bilgola Beach – 27 February 2010

From Basin we pushed the extra five kilometres north to Bilgola Beach. Bilgola is yet another great beach.  It was at this point in the project that I really began to appreciate the hidden gems we would be finding.  Bilgola is not a beach I would have stumbled upon by accident; it’s well removed from the main drag — you have to know it’s there to find it. It was busy, but not crowded, primarily with locals I would guess.  There’s a pretty good coffee kiosk right at the beach, too. Wikipedia tells us: The name “Bilgola” is derived from …

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No 3: Basin Beach – 27 February 2010

We actually hit two beaches this day beginning with Basin Beach in Mona Vale, some 40km north of home. I really liked this beach — it’s on a wineglass shaped bay which makes it not much for surf. As a native Chicagoan that works for me. Lots of families about and a nice little shallow sea pool on the southern end. Basin Beach is in Mona Vale.  The area was known as Bongin Bongin by the aboriginal Australians who lived here for freaking ever before the British colonial government handed the area over to Robert Campbell as part of the first land …

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No 2: Balmoral Beach – 21 February 2010

Balmoral Beach, 17km/11m from home, is a on the Middle Harbour and in the well-to-do suburb of Mosman. It was a warm day and the beach chockers with families and small children. Balmoral is named after Balmoral Castle in Scotland (yeah, I can see the resemblance) and was, from 1922 – 1958 the terminus of a tram line. It’s in the Mosman LGA, the state seat of North Shore (Jullian Skinner, Liberal) and federal seat of Warringah (Tony Abbott, Liberal).

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