I don’t even have to leave Sydney to enjoy nature and to hike some of the most beautiful trails I have ever seen. According to one website, there are 60 National Parks in and around Sydney.
One of these parks is Sydney Harbour National park, and it is a short ferry ride from downtown. This park comprises several “heads,” which jut out from the mainland and sort of encirculate a small harbour. The park is located on the tips of these peninsula-like “heads” and are is not connected via the mainland.
I went to Sydney Harbour National Park with the first of my new friends – Janelle from Seattle. I met Janelle on Christmas day at the beach. She was traveling in Sydney by herself, and we spent the remainder of her six-day vacation exploring Sydney and the surrounds (I basically accompanied her on her whirlwind tour of Sydney, doing all of the touristy stuff I should have done ages ago!).
So, we caught the ferry to the Sydney suburb of Manly, and took the Manly-to-Spit-Bridge Scenic Walkway through the Sydney Harbour National park. The walk was outstanding. It takes you through some dense bush, along several beaches and along beautiful rugged coastline.
I have also visited the Blue Mountains National Park, the Royal National Park and Botany Bay National Park, the latter two of which also have outstanding coastal bushwalks.
What I like about these coastal walks is that the coast offers a new dimension to the whole hiking thing. Though I have always loved nature, I never felt that the ocean gave me that sense of natural wonder quite like the way the mountains always have.
That has now changed.
There is nothing like the feeling of coming out of some dense bush to a rocky outcropping and seeing a tree-lined harbour open out into a vast sea. It is exhilarating to watch the waves hitting the rocks, sending a fine mist into the air.
Though I do miss the rustic West Virginia mountains, I think I have found a another new friend in the Australian coastline.
Two new friends in two days – you can’t beat that!