All posts tagged: hiking

Wild Wander in Berowra: Camping and Hiking Near Sydney

New hubby Phil keeps telling me I shouldn’t post about this wild little gem of a camping spot, because why give away a secret sanctuary on the edge of the city that we can keep to ourselves? We even scored a spot here for New Years Eve – two days before the fact. In his ‘shush’ request, I think he’s (wildly) overestimated my influence, my ability to keep travel secrets and to hold on to my photos for no one to see. Sweetie! *newlywed gush*. OK, back on topic. The campground is called Crosslands Reserve and is tucked into the back of Hornsby Heights, down in the Berowra Valley National Park. It took us less than an hour to get there from central Sydney. INTERESTED IN HIKES NEAR SYDNEY? Here’s 3 more for your nature fix: Wild Wander: Bundeena Wild Wander: Kiama Coast Walk Wild Wander: Burning Palms The site is essentially a couple of adjoining parks down in a bush-clad valley with a skirting creek along one side. It was New Years Eve and …

Wild Wander: Harter Fell, Lake District

That one of the most enchanting hikes of my life came as a casual half-suggestion from the mouth of a hotel concierge was unexpected. “If you want to walk, perhaps start from the carpark down the end of the road there,” he said. “That’s the base of a few nice walks”. No mention of sweeping district views, high hidden fell lakes, serene ewes perched on green cliffs peering out over Haweswater dam. So, as we left the carpark at Mardale Head behind, veered left and started climbing the side of Little Harter Fell, we weren’t to yet know the charm that lay ahead. It wasn’t long, after zigzagging up and up past the small Gatescarth Beck, before the views back down over the Haweswater Reservoir, built by the Manchester Corporation from 1929 which sank the villages of Mardale and Measand (read the brilliant Haweswater by Sarah Hall for a fictionalisation of these events), were as breathtaking as the climb had been. Under a sky of patchy clouds that warned of oncoming rain, we kept ascending …

Weekend Spin in Port Stephens

Port Stephens, a few hours north of Sydney in the Hunter region, is a coastal hideaway of headlands, ocean bays and big open skies ideal for an escape from a frenzied city life. Eager to glimpse the natural wonder of Zenith Beach, which I had somehow missed on a few visits to the area over ten years ago, we packed the tent and beach umbrella into the car, and set off for a weekend to wind down and rejuvenate after a busy few months. We set up camp at the Halifax Holiday Park, tucked behind the Nelson Bay lighthouse on a peninsula between Little Beach and the north end of Shoal Bay, where we took a quick walk on the beach in the afternoon light. We then took a stroll down Little Beach looking for somewhere to eat and happened upon the lovely white Little Beach Boathouse. A short wait in the bar downstairs meant that we enjoyed a refreshing drink watching the pastel sun set over the calm water. Once seated in the upstairs …

Svartsö: Wild Spin in the Stockholm Archipelago

This mini adventure began in typical wild spin fashion, running at high speed through the crowds of Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. We didn’t leave enough time after visiting the Vasamuseet to ferry back from Djurgården, collect our bags from the hotel and get down to the ferry wharf and set sail on our next adventure. So here we were, victims again of our misconception that we can fit a fat itinerary into a thin afternoon, sweating and side-stepping the leisurely tourists of Central Stockholm. But this is a story about the archipelago. We walked onto the gangplank with a minute to spare. The Stockholm Archipelago is made up of approximately 30,000 islands, so as the ferry left the city in its whitewash, we began to float past rocky islands of varying sizes. Some are little more than a jagged outcrop used as a resting place for gulls, others are the size of a private property – and indeed that’s what they are – a pine-clad oasis for a summer home, Swedish flag swinging in the …

Wild Wander: Kiama Coast Walk (Day 1)

On the drive south of Sydney, just past the turnoff to Kiama, there’s a section of meandering road where if you look to your left you’ll see an undulating expanse of grassland that slopes down into the sea. My impulse to go wandering into this unique green landscape has been strong ever since I started road tripping as a teenager with a fresh license. But that section of the now 22km Kiama Coast Track only opened in 2009, as it was predominantly private land. Despite the whole coastal track being achievable in one long day’s hike, we decided to extend the adventure over two days, with camping in between at Kiama – famed for its natural ocean-meets-rocky-coast blowhole – but loved by me for its crystal beaches and eateries like Neptune Cafe. Tent pitched and snack-filled backpacks on, we boarded the train bound for Minnamurra. Minutes before arriving, we could spy through dry branches patches of an aquamarine cove from the train window. These short paradise glimpses were a tease of what was to come …

Wild Wander: Bundeena

Two weeks ago I drove to Bundeena to go solo hiking in the Royal National Park, on the southern fringe of Sydney. I cut inland and up towards the cliffs called The Balconies, along the coast line past the Waterrun to Wedding Cake Rock (which was closed!) and on towards Marley beach, but not making it to my destination before having to turn back to meet some afternoon plans. It was bliss, really. The wildflowers are out in abundance, birds were excitedly darting in and out of shrub, soaring over the cliffs, taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. When my friend Jules and I decided to go hiking on Saturday, we were going to head north, but then when she mentioned the Royal National Park, I said I was happy to return, as I wanted to explore more of the coastal area from Bundeena, and how about we catch the ferry from Cronulla? So the plan was made and we met at Pilgrims Vegetarian Cafe in South Cronulla before hightailing it for the ferry …

Wild Words: A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

Walking in the outdoors seems to me so fundamental to sanity and an easy antidote to a frenzied city life that I can’t imagine not having the impulse to go to the forest/bush/coast/mountains by foot regularly. The effects rush in like a flash flood, and take the debris of my nerves with it, leaving me undoubtedly calmer and clearer. And although I know this to be the case, I haven’t often really contemplated why this is, or perhaps that walking in nature serves different purposes for different people, and that throughout history, people have achieved great things just by practicing this simple act of slowness, of silence, of solitude… A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros is that contemplation. Gros, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris XII, has taken a look at the writers, philosophers, mystics, naturalists and thinkers throughout history who have wholeheartedly embraced walking into their lives for different purposes and to different ends – as pilgrimage, as escape, as a way of slowing down, and often as a way …