On a sunny but relatively mild Saturday I decided to investigate the geographical boundaries of Sydney. Well, one of them at least. Looking at the street map my attention was always caught by Barrenjoey Head, the hammerhead shape at the top right limit of the maps so I finally decided to take a look.
The fun was going to be getting there. Public transport was the go so using the very good transport site I found the best way to get there was via bus from Central. Since I have a weekly travel pass which covers bus travel for a significant portion of the distance I explained it to the driver that I only needed a ticket from the limit of my pass to the actual destination. He listened attentively and then gave me the wrong ticket entirely. I decided not to bother arguing.
After eighty minutes of travel through increasingly more relaxed beachside suburbs I decided to get off early and walk into Palm Beach. I envisaged a long peaceful stroll along the beaches to the very end. I was to be disappointed. There were rocks and there was water but no beaches. And it was a very steep incline to the rocks so that wasn’t even an option. So it was simply a matter of following the road. The narrow road. With lots of cars. And no pavement. It reminded me of a similar walk back from Land’s End to Penzance a few years ago except this had the added bonus of having to dodge webs filled with some of the biggest, meanest looking spiders in all of Sydney. Eventually I got there and at least I could look forward to a simple walk to my destination. Nope, batting none from two at the moment. As shown on the map there was a lighthouse at the end. It wasn’t very tall but it didn’t need to be given that it stood on a pile of rocks a couple of hundred feet high. The bit of the National Park (and the golf course) is nice and flat because it’s basically a large sandbar that has enough vegetation on it to keep it together whereas the far end is the aforementioned mass of rocks.
I’d travelled all this way so there was no point in not going up. There’s three possible routes to the top. The longest is the easiest. I laughed at the option. The shorter one is more difficult. I sneered at that one and set off on the shortest route – the smuggler’s track. I did not laugh or sneer at that one. I couldn’t do much except stride up a 40 degree incline while my quad muscles continually announced that perhaps I should have given them a bit more of a workout at the gym. However, even they shut up when faced with some very nice views from the top which made it all worthwhile. There’s no simple way to get down to the bottom at the northernmost point (actually there is but it would probably be fatal) but there’s a large rock which forms a ledge allowing a panoramic view across the Hawkesbury river towards the Central Coast. The passing yachts and seaplanes added a dash of movement but didn’t disturb the overall tranquility.