|Time:||1 – 1.5 hours, taking in the distractions along the way|
|Getting there:|| |
|Pit stops:||Rose Bay, Queens Beach, Hermit Point, Strickland House, Milk Beach, Steele Point, Promenade Rd, Shark Beach, Nielsen Park, Nielsen Park Kiosk and Restaurant.|
Rose Bay to Nielsen Park
Start the walk at either Rose Bay or Nielsen Park (though we’d recommend the former, so you can finish up with a coffee or a snack). Whichever you pick, the 324 or 325 bus from Central will take you there. Starting at Rose Bay, get off at Bayview Hill Road and look for the sign for the start of the walk, about 250m from the bus stop. The Hermitage Foreshore track alternates between boardwalks and uneven ground, so wearing sneakers is key. You can relax, though, because this stroll is definitely kid-friendly.
Coming from Rose Bay will take you past the first of many beaches: Queens Beach. Depending on the tide, it will either be an inviting stretch of sand to wade out to for a splash or just a submerged little patch. Look for the Harbour Bridge as it was intended to be seen – framing the awesome harbour and CBD.
Further along the track sits Hermit Point, with wooden tables ready for your picnic spread. Our recommended option? DIY fancy lunch of sandwiches for the kids and smoked oysters and brie for the folks.
The next section of the path snakes past Hermit Bay, before swinging in front of some of the most enormous homes in Sydney. Some of these swanky mansions have sold for over 40 mill, thanks in no small part to their enviable views. One house on the other side of the suburb hosted Leo DiCaprio when he was in the country filming The Great Gatsby. No biggie.
Don’t miss the Ralph Newboult Lookout for uninterrupted views over the harbour.
Who’s the Man...sion
The granddaddy of well-heeled mansions towers over the next section of the walk. Strickland House is a life-size antique that looks like an English manor film set transplanted onto the harbour foreshore. Australian film director Baz Luhrmann thought the same when he shot scenes of Australia here. Stroll along the patio and take in the views of the bay (the grounds are always open between nine and five for a roam), and during National Heritage Week when the house is open, tour the tricked-out interior in all its old-world splendour.
Strickland House was constructed in 1850 to house Sydney’s second mayor, John Hosking. In 1915, the home was reclaimed and converted to a women’s hospital. After struggles between private and public interests, the building was retained by the public and hosts functions, weddings, and film sets.
Directly below Strickland House is one of the best kept secrets in Sydney, Milk Beach. Calm water? Check. Views of a hazed-out city skyline and Harbour Bridge? Check. Space to sprawl out? Maybe. It’s a magnet for crowds on weekends, so be prepared to stake out an area early in the AM or at least be prepared to forgo your game of beach cricket.
More Like Lookout on Point
Continue along the foreshore and note the Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Shark Island (also part of Sydney Harbour National Park) to your left. About 30 minutes into the walk, you’ll pass Steele Point. A short detour will take you to the gun emplacement – a big drawcard for any history buffs. This was originally built in WWII to repel the threat of Japanese invasion. Nowadays the gun has gone, but the rock solid tunnels, foundations and stunning view remain.
Continue on to stroll down Promenade Rd to find the ominously named Shark Beach (but do your best to work up a sweat, the waters are protected by a safety net for that well earned post-walk cool down). Nielsen Park Kiosk and Restaurant, which backs onto the beach, is a great place to eat if you’ve worked up an appetite. The hardest decision you’ll make is deciding between the Mediterranean Plate or the Ocean Feast (oysters alert!), after which you can sprawl out underneath the enormous fig trees, and relax while you take in the views of Sydney Harbour and soak in a morning done right.