A really good little walk today, with lots of features of interest and a few surprises.
Again I took the bike, because I expected to have to skirt around through suburban streets and I wanted to get that part of it over with quickly. Some Greenwich residents get nice views across the Shell Oil Terminal to the Harbour Bridge, but I’d already seen enough bridge views from Longueville.
The surprise came when I rode down a steep hill into Berry Island Reserve, named after a certain Alexander Berry. He also lent his name to the southern NSW town Berry and they never returned it.
I don’t know if Berry Island was ever a true island; now it’s a small peninsula of bushland with a lovely patch of angophora costata trees – otherwise known as ‘smooth barked apple’ or ‘Sydney red gum’. Their bark turns bright orange, then peels to reveal a grey and salmon pink beneath. Their branches twist and twine. Their foliage is a clear green, unusually light-coloured for Australian flora, which generally tends towards the dull grey.
Behind the red gums you can glimpse that Sydney bloody Harbour again!
Onwards and upwards I pressed, switching the bike into granny gear to scale the hill, then wheeling it along bush tracks and up and down stairs around the Wollstonecraft waterfront. Edward Wollstonecraft was Mr Berry’s brother-in-law and partner in farming and property development.
Cycling was not the best option for most of this section, as the photo of the stairs indicates, but I worked on my upper body strength lugging the thing around. Did I already mention that I used the bike to get to the start of the walk and rode it home again afterwards?
A highlight was the Sawmillers Reserve. There were once saw-millers by the waterfront here, you will be surprised to know, and North Sydney Council has thoughtfully left some of their old equipment for us tourists to photograph.
I stopped to explore the Coal Loader on Balls Head. Since 1992, coal is no longer loaded here, and the disused buildings on the site are being converted to a Centre of Sustainability. It’s not clear what this entails, but so far there is a small community garden and some ancient Aboriginal rock carving.
Blues Point is an excellent place to be photographed with the Sydney Harbour Bridge behind you.
Lavender Bay is in my mind associated with the painter Brett Whiteley. He lived there and depicted it in a much loved painting in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
I couldn’t claim the colours were as vibrant as Brett’s when I came past under a mostly overcast sky, but the energy was still there.
Milson’s Point Station is just up the hill from Luna Park and I was tempted to put the bike on the train and get home the easy way. I resisted, and rode over the Sydney Harbour Bridge instead.
It’s a lovely ride, across the bridge, through the historic Rocks, along the new Kent St cycle path, over the Pyrmont Bridge at Darling Harbour…almost all of it car free. Sydney is getting better!
Distance of this stage: 12.3km
Distance travelled so far: 135.5km
Distance still to go: 181.4km*
*I’m becoming sceptical about it being quite as far as this. The total distance around the Sydney Harbour estuary is officially 317km. I know Middle Harbour is big, but I think I may have cut some corners somewhere.