Start: Manly Ferry Terminal
End: Gusto on the Beach at South Curl Curl (and then return to Manly Ferry)
Time taken: 3-4 hours
USP: Enjoy three Northern Sydney beaches in one walk
Distance: 8-9km circuit.
An adventure closer to home (although many would say just getting from Bondi to Manly is an adventure in itself).
After getting the ferry from Circular Quay over to Manly we set out on the 5km coastal walk from Manly to Curl curl, via Freshwater. It was a balmy Saturday afternoon, not a cloud in the sky and there was a warm NE sea breeze.
A chance encounter with some friends at the Manly shorefront led to some insider knowledge about a small tunnel, connecting the North end of Manly to the South of Freshwater. Keen to check it out we made our way along the iconic Manly promenade, past bronzed surfers, volleyball courts and holiday makers.
Reaching the northern end we scrambled over rocks, concentrating with every step. Right before we were going to give up and turn back, we spotted the passage through the headland. Excitedly we walked through, leaving Manly behind and entering the gloom of the tunnel.
Emerging blinking into the light, we were stood on a rock platform at the far southern end of Freshwater, waves crashing below us, facing a huge jumble of rocks before we could reach the crowded beach half a kilometer away.
We took a moment to enjoy the view of Freshwater beach. It was a bustling Saturday and the beach was busy. We continued over the rocks, hugging the coastline, jumping from boulder to boulder, with the odd warning to those behind, “that one moves!“.
After 20mins of scrambling we stopped to take a slurp of water in the shade. From here we were inline with the surfers and watched a few catch the mellow waves as they hit a shallow sand bar.
After more scrambling, we finally reached the beach and realised we were slightly out of place with our rucksacks and trainers, amongst the skimpy swimming togs! We quickly cut across the beach to the North end, again scrambling over the rocks and past a sea pool hosting a Saturday swimming gala.
We eventually came to a flatter of section of rock, this time revealing a view of the beautiful, sprawling Curl Curl beach to the North. The rock platform gave way to a wooden coastal walkway that would take us to Curl Curl, our final destination. Despite not being a very remote or wild walk, by this point we were all in need of some shade, a cold drink and lunch. Luckily we knew that the Gusto On The Beach Cafe was only a 10 minute walk away, so we pulled caps low over sun drenched faces and marched the final 500 meters to our rest point.
After lunch we spent an hour or so on the beach and then made our way back. This time taking the higher path between Freshwater and Manly rather than negotiate the jumble of rocks again to reach the Queenscliff Tunnel. A quick beer at Manly, to celebrate a day well spent, and we were back on the ferry bound for Sydney.