Hidden Gems of Sydney Basin
Well better me buns and call me biscuit, summer is here and with it comes a timely reminder that it’s our birth right as Australians to get out amongst the goodness of mother nature. For all you city slickers out there that might be a little run down by the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle, I've jotted down a few juicy spots in Sydney's Basin that only a true local would know about.
Garie’s Beach is one of eleven beaches situated in the Royal National Park and one headland over from the famous Wattamolla. This spot boasts one of the best waves in Sydney, yet it's still a fairly safe spot, a fantastic family destination. The best part about this joint is that bugger all people know about it and you could honestly get away with murder out there – maybe that’s why the missus took me there in the first place…
Image: Lonely Planet
Great North Walk, Berowra National Park
You can find this joint 30 odd K's up the pacific highway in a suburb called Hornsby Heights. Absolute ripper of a walk this one is but here’s the hot tip they won’t give you in the brochure, make sure you eat your sanga under your shirt. Otherwise, I hope you like a mouth full of flies with your tucker – bastards are everywhere.
Like any pub, the Blue Mountains are up there as one of the most exceptional parts of the world and this joint is particularly exceptional. Located about 2 hours from Sydney near Leura, this track offers some seriously juicy views. I'd even say it's a better sight than Timmy Cahill punching the corner flag for the Socceroos and mate, that's a bloody good sight.
The track is fairly flat and is a 2-3 hour round trip. There's limited shade, so make sure to pack lots of water, a hat and your 40+. An hour and a half in you’ll get to a rock pylon where you can write your name on a rock and add to the pile. The pylon is a fairly new addition, so it’s only knob high to a lady bug tall at the moment (pretty tiny) but the 360 degree view of the Blue Mountains, along with the view of the city, will have you more stoked than a fireplace on a romantic winter night.
Hermitage Foreshore Walk
Now, I’m no athlete (though face-to-face I’ll definitely tell you otherwise) but this beauty of a walk from Neilson’s Park around to Milk Beach is seriously a ripper.
The Hermitage Foreshore Walk is only a 20-25 minute stretch but it goes through waterside bushland with a heap of spots to dip the big toe in. Half way down the track you’ll come across a jump rock which, after a safety inspection from some locals that was about as informative as a Spanish infomercial in Dubbo, I had a crack at. The jump rock is only about 5-6 metres high but I can assure you she still managed to leave a surprise in the grunders before the big leap. Beaut view of Syderz skyline, it’s an absolute must do over summer.
The Hail of Avoca
This is potentially my favourite spot in the Blue Mountains. Situated 10 minutes from North Richmond at the base of Bells Line of Road, you can almost drive smack bang into the lookout.
This place provides views that are nothing short of a fair bloody shake of the sauce bottle. If you're travelling at dusk make sure to look out for roos, the bastards around there have clackas the size of cannonballs, absolute monsters. You'd think that Dr Frankenstein had genetically modified Skippy. I guarantee your car will have Buckley's chance against something like that, driving slow is the hot tip here.
Located on the Hawkesbury river, north of Sydney, this wonderful place is only accessible by boat. The ferry system runs every 10 mins, 7 days a week, during business hours. Dangar Island has a ridiculous marine life, so it's a good place to get the old rod out...the fishing rod that is.
There’s a fair bit to do out there with a heap of cool walks around the island, a bowlo to pour some in and roll some down as well as a few swimming areas to get the pippy a bit nippy.
Gordon's Bay is slowly but surely getting more known around Sydney but for those that don’t know, Gordon’s bay is a little beach/rock area along the Bronte-Coogee walk. Waves are small and it’s a great spot to get the skin cells in trauma (slip, slop, slap you mongrels). Last time I went there I saw a small shark not too far from where we were swimming, with a heart rate of 600rpm, I was outta the water quick smart, let me tell ya. Only downfall about this spot is the parking is rubbish. Best bet is to park on the Clovelly side.
Image: This Island Life
Grand Canyon Walk, Blue Mountains
This is the best bush walk I’ve ever done in Sydney, hands down. About a 2 hour drive from Sydney and a gruelling 3-4 hour hike, this one includes a fuck tonne of stairs, it's not for the light hearted.
Without scaring you off too much though this track takes you through a variety of different terrains such as caves, rainforest, along rock cliffs, creeks and waterfalls. Hot tip, wear loose or active clothing, wearing my Khaki shorts made me feel like I had deadest gone 12 rounds with a goanna in a camp oven.
Fun fact, Curracurrong Falls is one of only two natural waterfalls that feeds directly into the ocean. It's an unknown gem for the majority of Sydney-siders. This picturesque waterfall will help you take the edge off; just chill out and take in the goodness.
This track is a new favourite of mine. It takes you past La Perouse lighthouse and WWII battlements, whilst strolling along the coastline of Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Follow the track past little bay golf course and onto Cape Banks and continue on until you spot the ship wreck on the rocks. You won't be disappointed.
So what are you waiting for mate? Go and get a sweat on. Summer is here, morale is high, it's happy bloody days!
Chris 'Schmitty' Smith is a self-proclaimed country boy residing at the base of the Blue Mountains in the town of Kurrajong. This dinky-die wombat holds many hidden talents such as drinking copious amounts of alcohol and is the unofficial tallest midget in Australia. No one that meets this true blue knacker dislikes him*. So throw your Budgie Smugglers go have a chinwag with a bloke that puts the stray in straya.