Life’s a Beach in Sydney

It was our Day 8 in Australia, and I was getting a bit frustrated as I haven’t been able to take a dip yet after seeing miles and miles of gorgeous coastlines.

Okay, let's take a vote --- Aussie dads: cool or hot?

Well, I certainly was in for a treat in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs. On a weekend, the dress code seemed to be singlets, bikinis and board shorts. We haven’t even lingered for an hour yet, and I had my nth sighting of someone crossing the road, lugging along his surfboard. All these just a brief bus ride away from alighting the tube. How could I not fall in love with this lifestyle?

Paul’s friends Carlo and Lyn suggested a cool way to spend our Beach-bum Saturday — from Coogee Beach, you can traipse along the well-defined coastal boardwalks and take in a mind-blowing view of the Pacific — and before you know it, you’ll find yourself in Bondi Beach! How awesome was that? Well, the trail’s approximately 6 km long, and should take around 2-5 hours (depending on how beach-crazy and camwhore-ish your troop tends to be). Here’s an excellent rundown by NatGeo on the sights along the seaside trek. I think out of all the beach-combing I’ve ever done, this is my favorite to date.

Now, back when we were just planning what to do in Australia, I was dead set on NOT taking a dip in the ocean, given my morbid fear of sharks. I love the water, but I loved my limbs more. But all of my iron will wavered when I saw the surf — my first impulse was to run to the waves and splash with glee. The waves were pretty strong, but as long as I keep within the red & yellow flags, and within sight of the omnipresent lifeguards, I figured I’d live a little.

Hanging out -- this is the life!

So our whole beach-bum day practically went along these lines:
“Oooh, look at beach! We HAVE to take a dip!”
“Oooh, it’s a cliff! We HAVE to take a picture!”
“Oooh, another beach, and it’s even better than the last one!”
“What the heck?! It’s another perfect cliff photo-op spot!”
“AAAH! Beach! Last one, I swear!”

Family-friendly Clovelly Beach
Cruising along the boardwalks
Surf's up!
Beach or pool? Bondi resolves the age-old fight!

Looking back at my pictures, I can barely recall which beach was which — there were just so many! But if I had to choose my favorite wading spot, it would have to be the Giles Baths near we kicked off the trek. Summon an image of the surf crashing wildly on the bluff, then on the rocks — and then there’s you, just a few meters from the fete, wading blissfully in the deep-blue pool. It was nothing short of amazing. (An aside: minutes later, I would find out that among the marine life in the area were sharks and octopuses. Umm, great. But hey, let’s live a little, right?).

Nature showing off at Giles Baths

You would have thought that after four hours of combing the beach, we would have called it quits. But minutes after taking an eyeful of Bondi Beach, we whisked ourselves off by bus and by ferry (thank you, all-powerful MyMulti3 card!) onto the shores of Manly Beach.

So we’ve filled our slippers with sand, plunged over and over into the cool waves and drooled over the surfer-dudes (okay, that was mostly me). Little did I know that my most memorable, authentic Aussie-beach experience was saved for the last part of our beach-bum day in Manly. Tired from the day’s walk, we decided to grab a few slices of pizza for a quiet picnic by the beach — then all of a sudden, as I cross the street, a gull comes swooping down and snatches a bite of my snack right out of my hands! There was a split-second of utter shock, and then I burst out laughing. All this time, I was so worried about the sharks; I should have kept a keener eye on the birds!

Ditto.

More photos: 2012-01 Life’s a Beach — Picasa Album

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