Walking Coastal Sydney: A Four Day Sojourn

Currently Reading: Jeffrey Eugenides – The Marriage Plot

I recently spent five nights in the city, on a mini walking and writing holiday. I got off to a slow start on day one, as I’d met with workmates for drinks the night before, so was feeling fairly delicate, but was still determined to hike a section of foreshore as part of my ‘Walking Sydney’s Waterways’ project, which will eventually stitch together every stretch of waterway accessible to pedestrians in the greater Sydney region, from Otford, at the southern end of the Royal NP, to The Hunter Valley at the far end of The Great North Walk, and Parramatta to the west. You can see some of my earlier hikes in the Royal here and here, and my progress walking the Parramatta River here and here.

Below is my hand drawn rendition of this section of coastline. For more accurate maps and detailed walking notes on each section, including historical points of interest, public transport options and walking times between ferry, bus, train and light-rail terminals, see the Walking Coastal Sydney website.

The Map:

Day One – Darling Harbour to Circular Quay


I missed my turn in my attempt to navigate my way back to the water’s edge after a detour (due to all the development going on in Sydney at the moment), but came across this chain mail sculpture as a result – demonstrating that there are no wrong turns when it comes to urban wandering

Ubiquitous cranes above Darling Harbour skyline

Barangaroo Reserve

First glimpse of the bridge

Walking the piers

Pier cafe culture – not sure if they were setting up or closing down – regardless, those are some damn clean windows

It’s a cool corner of the city

Sculptures at every turn

Pro Hart! Big fan – visited his gallery when out Broken Hill way last year

It was NAIDOC week, so the indigenous flag was flying (as it should be every day…?)

Bridge approach

Lots of coat hanging options there…

Yes, yes, fond of the bridge…

Sydney Harbour’s other iconic building…

‘O Rocks!’ [Who doesn’t love a Ulysses quote?!]

Circular Quay

Darling Harbour architecture

Darling Harbour late light – View from my hotel room

Twilight setting in – below, fireworks in Darling Harbour – best view from my hotel room

Day Two – Darling Harbour to Sydney Port Authority

Good morning Sydney!

Darling Harbour Mu-sea-um

Pier buildings in various states of restoration

This is why I walk, people!

Still visible at almost every turn…

… but the Anzac Bridge was the focus for day two

If you look carefully, you will see an inscription which reads: ‘Beneath the Still Surface of the Sea’

Groovy pedestrian overpass

Fisherman’s Wharf before the crowds

Seen better days

View of Anzac Bridge from Blackwattle Bay Park

More Anzac

View from Roads and Maritime Head Office

Circled that thing from all sides

All the angles

A well deserted stretch of prime real estate…

These silos are crying out for a mural of some kind…

Is it just me or does the barbed wire seem superfluous?

Hey Buddy – ANZAC Bridge Memorial

Day Three – Leichhardt Light Rail (Canada Bay) to Birchgrove Point

Love that sunlit glint on water

Iron Cove Bridge

Old Balmain Pumphouse Power Station (1934)

Anyone for golf?

Looks straightforward but a bit of a ‘same same’ maze

Pelican joy!

Not a bad specimen – but also end of the line for this section. I had to back-track at this point and find my way back down to the foreshore another way

The detour took me through this pretty little park

With this lovely outlook

The swimming baths – but wouldn’t you knock down that wall so that swimmers could have a lovely view of the harbour?

Municipal Baths – no general entry at this time of year – must have a residential pass to be able to swim

Dawn Fraser was here… Note, however, the possible water pollution warning – sign of the times…

Middle of winter in Australia – also a sign of the times…

I guess pruning is off the agenda? Nature reclaiming – no complaints here!

Teeny Balmain beach!

Up stairs

Down stairs

Not sure what or where this pump was linked to – I’m sure there must be publications about all these cool old relics somewhere…

New digs – moved to cheaper Newtown for my last two nights in the city

The Urban has well-priced rooms in a great location, with free minibar promoting local. Yes please!

Day Four – Balmain East to Birchgrove Point (Ferry to Greenwich Point) then Greenwich Point to Berry Island + Luna Park


Caught the ferry to my last destination to continue the wander and saw this beauty in the morning light


Oh, hello old friend!

View back to Darling Harbour from Balmain East Wharf

A day in the life…

Loved seeing this old Greens painted slogan in Balmain from the Bob Brown days in Tassie

The path takes you right past people’s houses in parts through this stretch

This made me smile

The two buildings on the right are the old Colgate factory – now refurbished apartments, by the looks

Navigating more nooks and crannies

Birchgrove Oval – at this point I realised I was likely to miss my ferry if I didn’t start running – not as fit as I’d like to be – but I made it! And there were stairs!

Crossed on the ferry from Birchgrove Wharf to Greenwich Wharf – more Ocean Baths!

Wrong season for a swim but what a location!

Boat life – I need to live near the water…

Walking Mann’s Point Reserve

View toward Berry Island

On the right track

Lush forest – a total change of scene from the built up and manicured lawns I’d been traversing

Stunning rock formations on Berry Island

Lines and textures and colour and shape

Mossy rocks, glinting sun – what more can you ask for?!

After trekking around Berry Island, I caught the train from Wollstonecraft Station to Milson’s Point to meet Frank and the kids for an afternoon at Luna Park – Here I am under the Bridge on the Milson’s Point side of Sydney Harbour

Entrance to Luna Park

One last bridge snap




Books Completed: Paul Beatty – The Sellout | J.G. Ballard – Crash | Ian McEwan – Nutshell | Joan Didion – Slouching Towards Bethlehem | George Saunders – Lincoln in the Bardo | Paula Hawkins – Into the Water | Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice | Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre | Virginia Woolf – Orlando | Elizabeth Harrower – The Watch Tower | Jean Rhys – Wide Sargasso Sea | Gail Jones – Fetish Lives | Gail Jones – Black Mirror | Gail Jones – Sixty Lights | Gail Jones – Dreams of Speaking | Gail Jones – Sorry | Gail Jones – Five Bells | Gail Jones – A Guide to Berlin | Donna Tartt – The Secret History | George Saunders – Fox 8 | Robert McFarlane – The Lost Words | Joan Lindsay – The Picnic at Hanging Rock | Joan Lindsay et al – The Secret of Hanging Rock | Oyinkan Braithwaite – My Sister the Serial Killer | Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray | Jean Rhys – Good Morning, Midnight | H.P. Lovecraft – The Call of Cthulhu | Ursula Le Guin – Vaster Than Empires and More Slow | Stanislaw Lem – The Mask

6 thoughts on “Walking Coastal Sydney: A Four Day Sojourn

    • Haha, oh yes! I thought we could try to stitch together all the sections of foreshore between The Rocks and Watson’s Bay, and if we’re doing well, we can also push on towards Bondi and Coogi. That should keep us busy for at least a week!!! Can’t wait!


  1. It’s wonderful to be able to read your posts and envy beautiful Australia again. Sydney really seems spectacular even without the fireworks.


    • Hello Wes! You would love these strolls, I am sure of it. My Mum and brother are coming to Syd in a couple of weeks for my Grad and we plan to stitch together the next stretch. So there will be more of the same up on the blog soon!


    • Haha yes, the mini bar is a particularly attractive feature of staying at the Urban! 🍷🍺 Would be good to see your face round these parts, old friend! 🍻😚


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