On the morning ride out it was overcast and the Sydney Opera House appeared rather different though no less grand. But with the afternoon sun shining down the building really does put one in mind of tall sailing ship with new sails set to power the ship of to the great world beyond the horizon.
About 7 miles northeast of Circular Quay, a half-hour fast ferry ride, lies the peninsula that contains Manly and Sydney Harbor National Park. This is a thriving beach but so much more. We spent several hours there enjoying some time on the beach but more walking some of the paths in the park. Their is a lot of history here from the remains of quarantine areas, old military gun emplacements, barracks, almost desert-like scrublands, and naturally excellent views of the Pacific Ocean pounding the shoreline.
The waters are truly that clear. While some areas of the sea are still suffering from pollution this part of Manly Beach isn't among them.
Walk the promenade for a while and eventually you get to Shelly Beach. Then follow paths into Sydney Harbor Bational Park. You'll climb a bit on good trail, many stone steps , moving away from the sea. Eventually you'll find your way through scrub on metal grated - like a boardwalk - trail that takes you to a road. From there you're minutes away from the unassuming but very nice cafe. Afterwards you can follow the road back down to Manly a couple miles away.
The view from the Bella Vista Cafe in North Head. Just a couple miles from downtown Manly.