Category Archives: Oceania

Australia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

Coogee to Bondi

There is an awesome clifftop coastal walk from South Coogee to North Bondi that Heidi and I love to do whenever we are back in Australia. Total distance is around 8km if you start at the South Coogee Boardwalk at the bottom of Cuzco Street, and finish at the North Bondi RSL Club. If you get a chance you should check it out. The scenery is spectacular.

Coogee.

Coogee Beach is one of the calmer beaches on the Eastern Suburbs. The smaller waves make it more family friendly especially for people with small children learning how to swim. Giles Baths at North Coogee is a natural rockpool that can be a little rough during strong surf conditions.

The South Coogee Boardwalk from Cuzco Street

 

South Coogee

 

North Coogee

 

Giles Baths

Gordons Bay.

The natural design of the bay provides protection from the waves and offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Many residents keep small runabout boats on the beach for fishing and fun. The walk out of Gordons Bay in the north has a lot of stairs so wear comfortable shoes 😉

Gordons Bay from Dunningham Reserve

 

Gordons Bay

Clovelly.

I am not a huge fan of Clovelly. In my opinion the excessive concreting around the beach has ruined the natural beauty of the cove. It is a great place to learn how to scuba dive though.

Clovelly Beach

Bronte Beach.

Bronte is another small wave beach that is family friendly. The Bronte to Coogee Aquatic Reserve, stretching from South Bronte to North Coogee, is approximately 100m offshore and offers excellent scuba diving opportunities. It is an environmentally sensitive area and fishing is prohibited. If you are lucky you may meet one of our iconic blue gropers who, despite their size and appearance, are harmless to humans.

The view of Bronte Beach from Bronte Park to the south.

 

North Bronte Beach

Tamarama Beach.

Nicknamed ‘Glamourama Beach’ back in the 1980’s when Elle McPherson was spotted bathing there, Tamarama has around 80m of shoreline and better surf conditions than Coogee or Bronte. Tamarama is prone to strong currents though so please ensure you swim between the flags and know your capabilities in the surf.

The view of Tamarama Beach from Gaerloch Reserve to the south.

 

Tamarama Surf Club

 

North Glamourama.

MacKenzies Bay.

One of the smallest beaches in NSW, MacKenzies Bay is a bit of an enigma. Every seven years a mysterious sand dump arrives at MacKenzies Bay turning it into a beach. According to Bondi folklore no one knows exactly when the sands will arrive and it certainly doesn’t last long. In 2007 the sands washed in in May and were gone by November. The phenomenon occurred again in October 2016 and made news around the country. Unfortunately I have not had the privilege to witness this event first hand.

MacKenzies Bay Sans Sand

Hunter Park.

The small bay that proceeds your arrival at Bondi is called Hunter Park. Swimming is not advised because of the rocky outcrop, however it does make a great backdrop for the annual Sculptures by the Sea event.

Hunter Park bay

Bondi.

At last you arrive at Sydney’s most well known beach. With great surfing, swimming and sunbathing, Bondi has become synonymous with Australian lifestyle. Like all Aussie beaches however, Bondi can be just as hostile. On the 6th February 1938 huge unexpected waves crashed into the 35,000 visitors on the beach washing many people out to sea. Around 250 people we rescued by surf lifesavers in what would later be known as ‘Black Sunday’. Incredibly only five lives were lost, but this is a stark reminder that you should never turn your back on the surf.

There are hostels, hotels and apartments for accommodation, fantastic restaurants and cafes and plenty of nighttime activities to enjoy. Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte are home to some of the oldest surf lifesaving clubs in Australia and at the south end of Bondi stands the Bondi Icebergs Club with great facilities and an excellent menu, albeit a little pricey. At the end of our walk Heidi and I enjoy a beer at the North Bondi RSL, sitting on the outside deck and watching the world go by. If you see us there someday come and say g’day.

Bondi Beach from Marks Park in the south

 

Bondi from the southern end

 

Bondi Beach from the deck of the North Bondi RSL Club

Ghost in the Machine

A trip to Melbourne for a job fair in 2016 reminded us that posh western hotels, with English speaking staff, can be just as frustrating as any foreign hostel or lumpy mattress disaster.

Ok, so the room wasn’t ready. No problem, we’ve all had this experience before I’m sure. But it was after we finally completed our check-in that things went downhill

Firstly another M Green gets a key to our room. We found this out when the porter showed up to deposit his / her bags. No worries, the front desk will fix it, leave it with them.

A ‘clerical error’ means that the ‘full buffet breakfast’ on the reservation confirmation won’t be honoured. Hmmm, good thing I don’t eat breakfast and there is complimentary coffee in the room. Oh, its instant coffee. Well then its a good thing we are in Melbourne, a city known for its excellent cafes.

When we return to our room there is a letter for the other M Green and items that don’t belong to us. Sigh, back down to reception we go once again. Back and forth with the concierge in an effort to show that I am in fact a different M Green to the one they think I am. Acknowledgement leads to an upgrade with full ‘Club’ privileges, except breakfast. Oh well, a win is a win – right?

Nope. The upgrade causes our credit card to be charged twice for the stay leaving us seriously short of funds for the trip. Another frustrated adventure to reception results in a free bottle of wine, which was really nice, however the cleaner left the wine glasses soaking in our bathroom sink the next day and forgot to remove them from the room.

What else can go wrong? Stupid question. After approximately ten job interviews during the first day it became abundantly clear that I was not going to secure a job as a teacher without experience and I was not going to get experience without a job as a teacher. Classic catch 22.

Back to the room, check for other M Green’s belongings, wash wine glasses, spend remainder of the evening rewriting CV and researching management positions within the schools that are attending. One school in Dhaka, Bangladesh looks promising. Just a small problem, I need to have teaching qualifications in order to be employed.

Last day at the hotel. The other M Green has already checked out, but didn’t pay our bill 😉 Still no breakfast, but Club privileges have us enjoying a cocktail on the top floor. A lucky discussion with a gentleman from a Swiss school has encouraged me to rewrite CV once again and focus on my management skills. Six weeks later I was on a plane to Oman for a job interview.

All’s well that ends well.

Melbourne

Melbourne

Maroubra Beach

Growing up in Sydney’s eastern suburbs meant sun, sand, surf and a wonderful life outdoors. Ok, I wasn’t much of a surfer, too uncoordinated! But that didn’t stop me from hanging out here – Maroubra Beach.

The South Maroubra rock pools were always full of interesting crustaceans, anemones, sea squirts (aka cunjevoi) and the odd blue ringed octopus to which we gave a wide berth. If the north-south runway at Kingsford-Smith Airport was in use then the only other sounds to be heard were the crashing of the waves, the laughing of the children and the crack of rifles on the range behind us.

North Maroubra (below) was where the majority of the surfers hung out. Although the waves today were a little low, and the wind slightly chilly, there were a few brave souls out in the whitewash. The “Rubik’s Cube” in the picture above marks the storm water outlet that, as adventurous teenagers, we walked up inside quite a distance whenever the grate wasn’t in place to catch the rubbish. People have since drowned in there, so I wouldn’t recommend it as tourist destination 😉

Fisherman also enjoyed the rocky outcrops hauling in schnapper, flathead, black fish, sea bream and salmon. About 50m off the coast at North Maroubra is the wreck of the Hereward, a clipper built in Glasgow in 1877. The ship was blown onto the soft sands and wrecked in 1898. Thanks to Stuart Ritchie for the video below.

I have a lot of wonderful memories of Maroubra as a child, a teenager, an adult and a dad, but my fondest occurred earlier this year when Heidi and I got married at Mistral Point overlooking my favourite beach in Sydney.

Sydney Crackers

Heidi and I would like to wish all our friends and family all over the world a very happy new year. We hope that 2016 brings good health, fun and adventure to you all, and we look forward to seeing you online or in person as the year progresses.

Here are a selection of images from the New Years Eve fireworks spectacular over Sydney harbour. These have been sourced from friends, media outlets and our own wobbly iPhones 😉 If your image is here and you’d like it credited please let me know.

Endless Summer

Well we’re outta here.

Flight leaves this morning at around 9:30 am and then we begin, what is ostensibly going to be, twelve months of summer.

We will be back in Sydney in December and staying until the end of February, before heading back to Asia to complete my internship.

After that – who knows 🙂

Wish us luck.

I wonder if I should have packed a raincoat?

Miscellaneous Sydney

Today is our last day in Sydney for quite some time, so here are some miscellaneous shots we took over the last few months and one image that isn’t ours but was very poignant given it was the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli this year.