I’ve been back in Sydney for just over 20 years- and up until this summer have not been to a Sydney beach.
It’s always seemed too hard to get there (we’re in the ‘burbs- and everywhere on the coast is an hour in horrendous traffic), and too crowded when you finally get there. That’s not to mention the ever present parking issues.
Just lately though, I’ve been trying to get past all of that and venture out anyway. I call it staycationing– when you take day trips from your home- holiday in your home town.
Yesterday it was Nielsen Park.
Tucked in at the bottom of one of Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs, this place is a gem.
Sure the parking is atrocious- that goes without saying- but this just means that you get to walk past some multi million dollar harbour-side properties on your way to and from the car.
The beach here is properly known as Shark Beach- but don’t let the name fool you- it’s netted during the summer months. It’s also relatively short and narrow- just 400m in length- and sheltered. This makes it a great spot for families.
The other thing that makes it a great spot for families is the park area- there are plenty of good shaded possies for a picnic on the grass.
It’s position on the harbour also means that you have a constant stream of ferries, jet boats, sea planes and other harbour traffic going by- always something to look at.
If you get sick of sitting on the beach gazing out at the sparkling blue green of the Harbour, there are foreshore walks in both directions to explore. I did suggest it to Miss 14 as she slathered more sunscreen on. But she looked at me with that raised eyebrow teenage face and said ‘are you mad? It’s way too hot for that!’
Maybe next time.
Just a few kilometres out of the city, but no public transport will drop you at the park entrance- the streets are way too narrow and way too lined with vehicles for a bus to get through. The 325 bus that runs between Circular Quay and Watsons Bay stops at Vaucluse House- which isn’t too far up the road…and worth a look too (I’ll post that another day). Check out www.131500.com.au for more details.
If you’re driving, follow New South Head Rd and the City to Surf route out of the city, all the way up Heartbreak Hill and take a left after Kincoppal School (you can’t miss it) into Vaucluse Avenue, and then left into Greycliffe Avenue. Parking is available along Greycliffe Avenue outside the park entrance.
Bring a picnic lunch and spread a rug out under one of the shady fig trees. Alternatively the kiosk sells takeaway food, coffee and snacks, and the restaurant has a great selection of yummy food as well. During the summer months they do fish & chips in the park from 4pm- sunset on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
If you’re heading over on a weekend, I’d suggest booking.
We spent Fathers Day last year there- the food and the view was great. I blogged it here.