Saturday, 16 April 2016

# 24 - Spit Bridge to Manly Beach Walk

Australian place names are fantastic.  From Yorkey's Knob in Queensland to Come By Chance in New South Wales, there's no shortage of entertaining place names.  I always found Manly quite amusing, particularly when it was used as part of the name of local amenities.  Hardcore masculine surfers must head to the Manly Surf Club when they get sick of all those feminine surf clubs elsewhere in Sydney.  

We should really be helping that guy waste deep in the water instead of taking pictures
Meanwhile, The Spit got lumbered with a pretty disgusting name.  I have no idea of the history of why it got such a name, but it certainly doesn't conjure up the nicest image.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  The Spit is an absolutely beautiful part of Sydney located in middle harbour.  It has steep hills either side of some typically beautiful water.  The Spit Bridge is the bridge that crosses this water, and is also the starting point of the Spit Bridge to Manly walk.  Coincidentally, it is also the end of the Manly to Spit Bridge walk.

Good old Tim Moore - two jobs, and still enough time to open the Manly Scenic Walkway
The walk is about 10km in length, and is well sign posted most of the way (note that it is part of the Manly Scenic Walkway, which continues on past Manly to North Head), as well as having reasonably good paths most of the way.  Much of the walk is through thick bush, with trees and bushes at either side of the track, but other sections are open to the spectacular coastline.  You also pass a number of fantastic beaches that are not easily accessible, except on foot.  Some of the beaches you pass include Forty Baskets Beach, Reef Beach, Fisher Bay, Sandy Beach and Clontarf Beach.  It takes about 3 hours to walk, depending on your fitness levels, but if you stop off along the way, it can easily and pleasantly take up the whole day.

This guy looks very alert
There are some hills along the path, and parts where you walk out on to the beach, but mostly the walking is on good surfaces and isn't too strenuous.  You can see various types of wildlife along the way, including birds and lizards.  There are also lots of big spider webs at the side of the path, mostly with big spiders right in the middle.  They are harmless, or at least that's what I was led to believe.  I still wouldn't go sticking my face in a web though.


It was sunnier than it looks
There are also plenty of nice viewpoints along the way, although we were slightly surprised at how much of the walk was in bush too thick to allow any views.  On the plus side, it does mean you are in shade some of the way, which helps from a sun safety point of view.  And I'm all about the sun safety.  As you get closer to Manly, the landscape starts to get a bit more urban, until eventually you reach Manly itself, and find yourself a nice bar to have a well deserved cold beer.

One of the small beaches along the walk - I can't remember which one this was
Sydney has no shortage of great walks, but the Spit Bridge to Manly walk deserves to be included with the best of them.  Note that you can choose to do it in sections, or if you're a real hardcore walker, then you can continue on past Manly and complete the North Head Loop.  However you do it, you are likely to enjoy it.

How do you rate the Spit Bridge to Manly walk among the other great walks available in Sydney?  Please leave any tips, questions or comments below.

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