SYDNEY HARBOUR WALK DAY 2 – Point Piper to the Sydney Opera House

It would be unreasonable to expect the whole walk to look quite like this.

Walking Sydney Harbour – Day 2

There are only three Australian landmarks that people around the world recognise even if they’ve never seen them live, up close and personal. I passed two of them on my walk today. The third one is Uluru (formerly ‘Ayers Rock’).

The day did not start well. Showers and thunderstorms were forecast, and the bus which should have taken me along New South Head Rd didn’t arrive. The rain did.

They probably have a living room looking out on this view. I had to be content with a glimpse through the carport.

When eventually I did get to start my day’s walk, I found the landowners of Point Piper and its neighbour Darling Point had done a good job of closing the foreshore to the hoi polloi.

These two suburbs contain some of Sydney’s most expensive real estate, so “No Through Road” not only means no cars, it also means no walkers, no photographers, no trespassers, and Bloggers Beware of the Dog.

My first chance to sneak down between the buildings to a water frontage came at Woollahra, where the public library has a beautiful garden, leading to the Redleaf Swimming Pool.

Woollahra Public Library

Double Bay is another pocket of affluence in Sydney, nicknamed ‘Double Pay’ for its smart fashion shops and restaurants. I risked stopping there for a coffee – good, large and $4.00. That’s about standard for Sydney these days.

Leafy Double Bay

Apart from that Opera House, there is little that Sydney can claim as a contribution to iconic Australian architecture, but the eastern suburbs terrace house with its ornate wrought iron balconies is an exception to the rule.

Victorian terrace houses, Elizabeth Bay. Iconic Sydney architecture.

Visitors to Sydney love Woolloomooloo, if only for the name. I think backpackers go and stay there just so they can text it to their friends back home.

A pie cart by the harbour has become a Sydney institution, and Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is plastered with photos of celebrities who’ve eaten there, probably in the wee hours of the morning when they were plastered themselves. Look, there’s Rolf Harris and Russell Crowe and former tennis star Pat Rafter, but also Brooke Shields. Wow!

And if it’s good enough for Pamela Anderson, it must be good enough for me. Maybe Pammy was doing the same walk that I’ve been doing, and stopped for a pie and peas for lunch along the way. Or maybe not.

Harry's Cafe de Wheels - the pie and peas may not be great, but it's an institution.

Next to Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is the Finger Wharf. It’s the largest timber-piered building in the world, constructed in 1915 and threatened with demolition in 1987. Fortunately strenuous efforts were made to save it, and it now houses a hotel, restaurants and apartments. I’ve never stayed there, eaten there or lived there, but I think it looks great and I’m all in favour of the restoration.

I'm glad they saved the Finger Wharf.

Around lunchtime I reached Sydney’s most popular jogging route, the loop around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, often inaccurately referred to as ‘Lady Macquarie’s Chair’; perhaps the wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie was no lady. Mrs Macquarie’s Road was completed on the 13th day of June, 1816, and measures 3 miles, 377 yards. A creditable distance to run during your lunch break.

Sydney's most popular running route - Mrs Macquarie's Chair.

And here’s another story…

Andrew (Boy) Charlton was a champion Australian swimmer. In the Paris Olympics of 1924, he won the 1500 metres in world record time. In the 400 metres he won bronze, beaten by American Johnny Weissmuller, who later became the first film star I remember, playing in six Tarzan movies. Tarzan’s co-star was Irish actress Maureen O’Sullivan, who married Australian writer/film director John Farrow. Gee, you can learn a lot from (and spend a lot of time in) Wikipedia!

Boy Charlton Pool. I don't think Boy himself ever swam here, but his achievements are well worth the tribute of having a pool named in his honour. That's the Garden Island naval base behind it. I would have brought you a report from there, but they're a bit sensitive about admitting bloggers.

I’ve often driven around Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, taking visitors out there to look across at the Opera House or, during the Festival of Sydney, going to watch a film at the temporary outdoor cinema there. But when you walk it, you notice other things. The famous war artist George Lambert’s last work was a sculpture of writer Henry Lawson.

George Lambert's statue of Henry Lawson.

The running route takes keen joggers through the Sydney Botanic Gardens. They’re worth a proper blog post from me some time, but today I just took a shot of a nearby bit of art.

Sydney Botanic Gardens - Boy Extracting Thorn

Honour had been satisfied for the day. According to the GPS I’d walked 13.97 kilometres, and the train station was in sight as I rounded the Opera House. I was fairly pleased with the photos I’d taken on the walk, but next to the Opera House I came across the Sony World Photography exhibition.

All those great shots! Why am I never in the right place at the right time with the camera on the right setting?

Sony World Photography

This leg – 14km
Total walked so far – 26.4km
Total still to go – 290.6km (I think I’m going to need my bike at some stage.)

The day's route - 13.97km.


Filed under Hiking, Travel-Australia

11 responses to “SYDNEY HARBOUR WALK DAY 2 – Point Piper to the Sydney Opera House

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your walking route, Richard. I look forward to the next instalment – and do tell us if one of your fellow Sydney-ans joins you for a leg or two!

  2. Tim

    Top stuff, Richard. Keep it coming!

  3. Menno

    We reizen graag met je mee Richard, loop lekker door…..

  4. Kate

    Great stories about our beloved Sydney, Richard.
    My niece once explained how to remember the spelling of Wooloomooloo. Sheep-toilet-cow-toilet. On a section of Eastern Distributor/Cross City Tunnel land the Guerrilla Gardeners have erected an urban sculpture tribute to Wooloomooloo with just those elements – fantastic.

  5. shawjonathan

    This is great stuff, Richard. It could become a Thing.

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