30 January – 3 February: Exploring new areas of Sydney

Author: Mrs A

Location: Matraville, Sydney, La Perouse

After a few initial culture shocks of being back in Sydney (lots of traffic, very warm, and a lot of time spent complaining to Telstra!) we have settled back in with our generous ‘flat mates’ Jenny and David in Matraville. We have had a busy few days ticking off the usual medical appointments – a biopsy and 90 minutes in a dentist’s chair for Mr A, an airway procedure with an ENT specialist for me (with tentatively great news about how my airway is looking – nice and wide open!), plus a few nice experiences tossed in for luck – hairdressers and a catch up with friends at a new restaurant.

Saturday Mark and I decided we needed to get some fresh air and headed off a short drive from where we’re staying to the coast, just a 5 minute drive to Kamay Botany Bay National Park.

Ever wondered where Matraville and Botany Bay National Park is?

We have both lived in Sydney for more than 20 years, and could hardly believe we are still being introduced to beautiful natural areas such as this as we set off to explore somewhere new.

Dramatic skies accompany us as we walk along the cliff top

And not a breath of wind to stir the waters…

Our destination is Cape Banks, and the ‘island’ we reach via footbridge. We had no idea this existed before today and the grey humid skies only added to the mysterious atmosphere.

Mr A takes the bold step off mainland Australia onto the bridge to the island
Despite the calm winds the surf crashes over the rocks
We find a little rock shelter to watch the water from
More sculptural rocks…

Once on the island we have fabulous views over to the mouth of Botany Bay
Container ships constantly enter and leave from Botany Bay…
The Minmi – a ship wreck from 1937 – It was originally built in Glasgow, Scotland and is gradually disappearing into the sea
More of the Minmi wreck – two crew members died when it ran aground here

We continued our walk a little around the bay, driving around to Little Bay where we took to the beach and followed the soft sand around to Yarra Bay. We had never heard of Yarra Bay, but found out it is a nominee for the best beach in Australia. We called into the Skiff Club for lunch.Oysters and calamari sustaining us, we then decided to inflate our peak rafts (handily stowed in our backpacks) and paddle back to the start of the walk. Perfect!Our day concluded with a delicious barbecued roast lamb dinner with Jenny and David, simply delicious.

Sunday morning saw us joining Jenny and David for another new experience, strolling along the Hermitage Foreshore Walk from Vaucluse to Nielsen Park. Just a short 1.8km each way, it links several little bays alongside Sydney Harbour and provides some gorgeous views.

Our first view of the bridge, helping justify the high price of property in this area
Jen, David & Mark set off along the walkway

A lovely crested bird – a Shrike-Tit perhaps?

My favourite view of all, through a sculptural tree creating multiple windows…

We farewelled Jenny and David after a swim and returning to the start of the walk, and headed off to Sydney’s north shore for a catch up with two more friends, Donna and Andy.

They treated us to a couple of delicious gin and tonics – including a non-alcoholic one for Mark as he was driving. Together with a delicious platter of cheese, biscuits and pickles and a great catch-up, it was as ever, lovely to spend time with our friends.

An exotic selection of gins and tonic waters

Soon though, it was time for more farewells as we drove to our final destination for the night and the coming days, Forestville with more friends, John and Eveliene.

I’m about to head into hospital for an operation and they have kindly offered a bed for my convalescence. It’s a strange feeling being ‘homeless’ in what has been our home town for so many years, moving from destination to destination with a car full of cases and possessions. We couldn’t do this without the kindness and generosity of our friends here in Sydney, and for that we will be forever grateful.

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