After arriving at Cremorne Point the night before, I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to explore my new universe. With all of Sydney at my feet, where would I begin?
A good question and I decided to start out in familiar territory and head off to Balmoral Beach a few minutes drive away. Proximity wasn’t my only consideration. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was also very close by and I had no intention of driving across that on my first day Sydney or risk ending up there by mistake which is easily done in these parts.
I haven’t driven in Sydney for three years. So, there was a part of me who was rather intimidated and wanted to keep the car in the garage, but the other half was fortunately much more of an intrepid “never-say-never” adventurer. These two conflicting halves were arguing most of the way to Balmoral, especially when we didn’t quite get there by the intended route but both were happy in the end.
Of course, at this stage, I couldn’t even remember how I’d found my way to Cremorne Point, let alone how to find my way out and off to Balmoral. Any normal person who is directionally deficient like me would have satnav to guide their path. However, I’ve resisted all of that because I didn’t want to lose the meagre navigational skills I do have and become dependent on a device. After all, as we all know….use it or lose it!
However, I’m not opposed to using maps, and am very grateful for having Apple maps on my phone. Moreover, by the end of my stay in Cremorne Point, I’d changed my mind about getting navigational assistance and have now become a mad raving fan of Siri and rather than limiting my scope, she’s actually expanded my horizons and boosted my confidence. I can get there now.
Meanwhile, I still need to get to Balmoral and in my typical fashion, I ended up taking the road less travelled.
Now, to put you in the picture.
Here’s the recommended route to Balmoral from Cremorne Point:
Meanwhile, this is the route I took via The Spit, which took me halfway to Manly:
Mind you, this time I wasn’t lost. Rather, I was propelled ever onward down the hill by a series of pesky No Right Turn Signs eventually arriving at Middle Harbour Sailing Club on The Spit and needing to turn around.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Being a sailing family, it was interesting to check out and photograph the fleet.
To exit, I had to make another detour and turn left into Parriwi Road where my friend used to have a flat back in the day, but I can’t remember going there, or ever seeing the breathtaking views over Middle Harbour. Indeed, sometimes I wonder if I’ve been living in a broom cupboard all my life. Where have I been? Why haven’t I been here before? Sydney is my city and I barely know her at all! Gee, I’ve got to get out of my own bubble and see my own world, even if I can’t get further afield.
By the way, I was driving the little red car, an Alfa Romeo 147. She’s nice and compact for driving and parking in a relatively cramped urban environment i.e. around Cremorne Point. She was my partner in crime and facilitator of adventure (along with the ferries, of course) on this trip.
After stopping repeatedly along Parriwi Road to absorb and photograph the view, I finally made it to Balmoral.
Unfortunately, the weather was overcast and the light was flat and not casting it’s much desired magic. This wasn’t going to be the day for cracking good photographs, but it was still good to get out for a walk. Do some exercise, you know that thing I struggle to get around to unless photography’s involved.
Even on an overcast day. Balmoral is still beautiful. Technically, what I’m calling “Balmoral” also includes Edwards Beach which is separated from Balmoral by Rocky Point Island.
Balmoral is famous for it’s imposing Bathers’ Pavilion. Designed in a grand Spanish mission style and intended to put Balmoral on the map, it was opened in 1929. These days it’s home to a restaurant and is a popular wedding reception venue.
While I was peering through the front window, I had a bit of photography fun and I spotted a window on the back wall and managed to capture my reflection rather well. It was like peering into another world and finding myself there…intriguing!
Balmoral’s band rotunda is another stand out. I’ve seen Shakespeare by the Sea performed years ago AKA “back in the day”. I also love the profusion of Moreton Bay Fig trees which provide much needed shade during our roasting Sydney summers.
While these are the more beautiful aspects of Balmoral, there’s also a visible shark net. While shark nets are environmentally controversial, my father witnessed a teenager being taken by a shark off Balmoral beach as a ten year old boy and sharks are still lurking in Sydney Harbour even if they do only make their presence felt intermittently.
Lastly, being a dog lover and seeing so many dogs around the place, I had to mention Billy, a statue of a much loved local dog. In my usual fashion, I had to find out more about Billy because the plaque didn’t seem to do him justice and this account from the Mosman Collective is worth a read: Billy
I could write a lot more about Balmoral, but with so many adventures during my time in Sydney, I only have time for a quick sketch and someone else can explore every nook and cranny.
Have you been to Balmoral and do you have any stories to share? I’d love to hear from you!