Coastal Walk: Down Under Style

It’s been a while since I traipsed across parts of England’s Southwest Coast Path.. I was ecstatic to do a similar walk in Australia.

For a friend’s birthday celebration, we traversed the Coogee-Bondi walk. Well, they say “Bondi to Coogee Walk.” We opted to go the other way around because I wanted to finish off the walk with a swim in the Iceberg Pool. More comfortable to finish the day dripping wet from the pool than to walk in that state, don’t you think?

Our first stop was gelato to kick-start the walk. Well, the girlfriends stopped for gelato. I, the lactose intolerant, got to admire some hot beach volleyball players as I waited. Next stop, Giles Baths. The walk is marked by a whole bunch of rock pools/baths, where a natural rock or stony beach is turned into a built-in pool with little effort. Waves supply the sea water. So Giles Baths.. problem:

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Yeah. We didn’t think to check the tides.

Moving on.

The walk takes us winding through some coves. All of which afforded beautiful views. Path tends to dip down towards the inside of the cove to allow for access to the water and ascend back up the cliffs where the land jutted out towards the ocean.

 

We got caught in a downpour as we were approaching Clovelly Beach. We tucked under a nearby building’s awning and tried to wait it out. As the rain fell heavier, much to some of our surprise, a bunch of swimmers came out of the woodwork and went right in. Well, if you’re going to be wet anyway.. it wasn’t so much the rain that made us pause. The surf was strong.. the ocean was quite opinionated at the moment. As a swimmer, I was a little jealous of them.. but as someone who is content with my chlorinated box with a blue stripe in the bottom, I admit the waves were intimidating.

Clovelly pool is interesting. The cove is almost perfectly rectangular, because they had poured in straight cement ledges on the long ends, making it into one gigantic ocean pool. I didn’t even see the separate elevated lane pool until later.

We took the longer-than-expected rainfall as a hint. Time to break for lunch.

The sun came out by the time we finished eating and we continued on. We had fun with what we call “Lion King moments.” Some of the jutting cliffs had extended rock formations and we may have been a little silly with our posing.

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How can you now with a spot like that? No, that wasn’t our “Lion King” pose.. one of the girls just snap-eager while I was making my way out. The wind was no joke, though.. so we were venturing only so far. Side note: I never understood people’s need to leave their mark. Look at the carvings on the stone. It was not a soft stone.. people had to work on those.

So several of the rock pools were out due to the raging surf (at least for us). But the Iceberg pool was an absolute must for me. I had to go to one.. and the girls were agreeable to chilling out over a pitcher of sangria while I got my over 1500k swim in. I was *not* prepared for how cold the water was. The waves were lower by the time I went in, but I still felt the swaying. Actually, I felt it more when I got out, with land sickness and swaying as I walked. It took only a few minutes to recover, but I was gripping onto walls and surfaces. An unexpected pleasant perk in swimming here? Being surrounded by equally serious swimmers. I’m used to being the swimming in a recreational pool. This is a swimmers’ pool.

One con? They nickel and dime you out to go to this pool. Admission, I understand. Towel? $2. Lockers? Another $2.

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Total Tally:
– Weather: Occasional gusty winds, alternating between bright sun and heavy down pour. Drizzly more than not.
– End points:
33°55’08.4″S 151°15’30.8″E
33°53’41.9″S 151°16’27.4″E
– Path conditions: mostly varying concrete pathways, some dirt path

Highlights: Beautiful views, rock pools, and an amazing swim to finish the day off.

2016: Travel resolutions that work

Going with the theme of resolutions, as I wrap up a trip to the Middle East, I reflect on what has worked for me.

10. Follow the crowds. If i get lost
, have no idea what sites I am supposed to look for, I find following where the general traffic is flowing takes me right to the points of interest.

9. Get lost. Follow #10 to only a certain point. Letting myself wander at the likely risk of getting lost usually leads to finding a neighborhood jem only locals visit.

8. Don’t stress over packing. While I am known to chant some variation of “ID, keys, camera, wallet, everything else I can buy” I am really a perpetual overpacker. I stopped caring. As long as I can physically drag my luggage, and as long as I am within my airline bag allowance, I stopped wasting time trying to perfect packing and enjoy the excitement of an upcoming trip.

7. Learn and master one expression in the local dialect. Doesn’t have to be fancy. A simple “thank you” usually works in endearing myself to the locals.

6. Don’t need a plan. I often arrive to a destination without any advance research beyond what I needed to book flights and hotels. I admit having too any times of being on a flight then asking myself, “was I supposed to get a visa?” I don’t recommend going to that extreme. But by not researching and analysing the heck out of a location, I find I am more open minded and curious.

5. Have minimum of one indulgent sit down meal. I forced myself to do this years ago when I realized I reduced to eating crackers to avoid eating alone. I started by picking one higher end restaurant featuring local fare to dine in during each trip. I found quickly that the higher end places have better trained staff that treat a lone diner exceptionally well. I also found indulging in a full multi course meal not only let me get settled in and comfortable dining, but led to many chef’s compliments as the restaurant recognized I was there for the food.

4. Put the camera down. I love taking photos. Anyone who knows me knows that. But every now and then, I need to out my ever present camera down, and take in the sights. At the end, it is the experience I remember most.

3. Find the perfect travel partner. Some are lucky to find that partnership in their significant others. I have been incredibly lucky in finding mine. I don’t believe in pairing up with anyone who is available and I don’t do well with groups because we inevitably make too many compromises and leave with regrets. But a good partner? We have had experiences we still laugh about years later. That is priceless.

2. Go alone. I admit I have a higher tolerance of the unknown. But I challenge people to this: if you are not willing to do something by yourself, is it fair to ask someone else to do it for you? My own independence grew out of getting tired of people not committing to travel plans, but was born out of the notion, “why do I need someone when I do go alone?” While having a good travel partner makes the experience memorable, imagine if both of you had the same daring do. How much of a blast would that lead to? A lot, I know.

1. Trust my gut. We have a gut for a reason. Mine has kept me safe more often than I dare to admit.

2011: A Reckoning

Well, folks. We’ve established I am a horrible future predictor. The only reason I went out of a limb to post my plans up is because I am good at following through. I had planned all those trips. I knew when I was going to go, how I was going to go, where I was going to go.

Life has a way of getting in the way. Let’s see what happened, shall we:

Lombok. Oh. Sigh. This one irks me a little. I had an itinerary all planned out. And my work asked me to scrap the plans. I am not angry at my boss.. he did not have a choice anymore than I did. I am disappointed, though, at my fate. Lombok has been a destination on my list long before Bali made it.

Yosemite. This was a conscious elimination on my part. The cross-country road trip didn’t pan out. The moving company messed up my car shipment. I didn’t scrap the idea of a cross-country. I just changed the mode of transportation from a car to the train. A heck lot cheaper than renting a car for the entire trip, I must say. But in choosing the train, I was limited by time and route. While I said I want to go to the Yosemite Park, my heart wanted to go to the Glacier National Park. Anyone who has looked at the Amtrak map will know there are two destinations on the cross-country rail. Pacific Northwest. Or California. Glacier it was.

More on the latter trip in a later post.

I did, however, achieve my dream of going to Myanmar. It was easy and hard. I had already purchased the deeply discounted plane tickets through an advance sale in August 2010. $30, anyone? At that price, it was a gamble that I could afford loosing. But also with an actual plane ticket, it was easier to hold myself to the commitment.

More details of that trip:
Bagan
Mandalay
Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake
Photo slideshow

Fallen plans notwithstanding, I had a lot of plans that did happen. My celebratory year in review, take a look.

Let’s hope I’m better at carrying out my bucket list for 2012. What is it? Well, do I dare share? Maybe. Let me thinking about it. I honestly haven’t really planned that far yet. Any suggestions?