Sydney without its harbour and the waterways would be like the Sahara without sand. It is the water that makes Sydney gorgeous, exciting, noteworthy. Many areas are protected by the National Parks authority, and the coast and the harbour are in pretty good shape. Ideal conditions for people who like the great outdoors, who love boating or fishing or water sports.
It is one warm summer morning that we set out to conquer Broken Bay in the north of Sydney. The weather is perfect for a day out on the water – even the slight breeze is warm, but the sun is covered by thick clouds which means the day won’t turn into a scorcher with no place to hide.
The scenery here is extraordinarily beautiful with affluent housing all around us. We embark on the speed boat, the tender which will take us to the actual yacht, and point out the sights. There’s Newport Arms, one of the most popular hotels on the Northern Beaches, with its wide open decks overlooking the water, here is the suburb Bilgola Plateau with the posh waterfront houses and villas. They each have their own little boat shed. You don’t buy real estate here unless you are serious about being by or even on the water.
Once out of the mooring area of the yacht club we go full throttle and speed past Scottland Island, a curiosity on the Northern Beaches. The island is inhabited by around 640 people who need to rely on a ferry service or their own boats for commuting, postal services and transport. A small, close-knit community that now lives on an island that used to be the hiding place for pirates.
Speaking of pirates – we arrive at the yacht, where we sit down and relax and enjoy some fruit and cheese. The journey goes on, past Whale Beach, then Palm Beach with the ferry pier that is the starting point for trips to the Basin, a popular camping and picnic ground in the national park, and lastly Barrenjoey Lighthouse. This lighthouse only recently just escaped a big bush fire and is now sitting on a rather barren rock on the headland. It’s a bit of a miracle that these historic structures survived. You can read a little bit more about the lighthouse here on the blog. Built to guide ships in the 19th century, its intended use also included the policing of the waters to keep smugglers out.
Beyond the lighthouse the ocean tide grabs the boat and we start rolling. It’s the most challenging part for us since we are not used to seafaring, but after a couple of minutes the surface is smooth again and we can sit close to the bow, feet dangling down to the sides and feel the spray on our faces.
The views are fantastic despite the cloud cover – we can make out the historic railroad bridge on the Central Coast site of Broken Bay. Our destination for our lunch break is beautiful America Bay. Surrounded by the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, we enjoy our picnic lunch while spotting eagles in the sky and massive jellyfish that resemble little IKEA stools in the water. It’s beautiful.
After lunch we steer the yacht to a small beach that is located on the Broken Bay Sports and Recreation Centre property. With amazement we discover a number of native animals around us such as bush turkeys, jellyfish, hermit crabs. We are digging for yabbies but have no luck. Some paddle boarding, some playing with the sand, we are throwing stranded jellyfish back in the water, and then it’s already time to head home.
A wonderful day out for the whole family. Fantastic for kids who love a little bit of adventure and don’t mind getting wet and dirty. There is so much that we learnt that day, from boating to wildlife, a very Australian experience.
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