It's a bit annoying the sun comes up so early down here, I was up again at 5:30am. I went straight down to Collaroy Beach, as it was sheltered from the early southerly winds, to find there was at least a bit of a wave. It was probably 2ft and clean, lefts breaking off a big concrete pipe. Once again I had a very average surf, and only lasted about an hour before I was too cold and got out again. It's difficult, early in the morning the surf is better, but with the sun not having any warmth and the wind blowing you get cold quickly. I'm also really starting to doubt the effectiveness of my wetsuit, a lot of the seams and stuff have split so it's probably as waterproof as a sponge...don't think it will make the journey home some how.
Having got out the sea I decided unless I have a sudden urge to stay longer I think this will be my last day in Sydney area. I will head down to Manly from here, then jump ship and go to explore the Blue Mountains instead. There isn't meant to be much surf for the next few days anyway, and to be honest im over it a bit anyway for the moment.
From Narrabeen I went off and went to a Maccas for an hour to use the interweb. I then went and did one of my favourite tasks, food shopping. I have enough food for another 3/4 days again now so that's all good. By this time it was about 11am, and I set off for Manly.
I parked right up on the northern headland in an area called Queenscliff, in a residential area as its free, and walked down the cliff path to the beach. I had only been there for 10 minutes and I realised that of my limited experience of Sydney, this is definitely my favourite area. It's obviously busy, but it's like it's own town, rather than the extremely business of the main city. Although the beach is backed by a big promenade and then shops etc, it's still a nice beach, and the water was crystal clear.
I walked down the length of the promenade and took lots of photos etc, bought some token postcards, then went back up to the car for some lunch. Having sat in the sun for a little while for my food to go down I pulled my wetsuit and went for a surf. You cant go to Manly without surfing!
I had a much better surf than expected, which makes a pleasant change! Although it was about 3ft and there was a strong cross shore wind the banks were pretty good and I had a lot of fun.
After the surf I was undecided on what I would do. I weighted up staying here for another night so I could surf in the morning, or whether to just head out to the mountains.
About 4pm I decided I would just head for the mountains and leave Sydney. I was really looking forward to doing some mountain walking like when I went to Canarvon with the family, and I had already had 1 good surf anyway. SatNav said it was 2 hours to Katoomba, the town up in the Blue Mountains which most people use as a base to go to the different trails.
Unfortunately SatNavs 2 hour estimate was scuppered by Sydney; it took over an hour and a half just to get out the city, as you have to drive though what appeared to be the very centre to get out from Manly! With rush hour getting heavier the longer I was stuck in there, and a couple of missed turnings it became an absolute nightmare. How people can cope doing city driving like that day in day out to go to work beats me!
Finally I got out the city and onto the highway taking you due West straight to Katoomba. After a quick comfort break outside the city, I did the remaining 80km without issue. As I was on the outskirts of Katoomba I saw the sings to one of the waterfalls I am going to walk over the next few days, so I thought why not just have a quick look.
While in the carpark I met a bloke called Leon, who was big into Hiking etc. After a bit of questioning he gave me the directions and details to the 2 best walks in the Blue Mountains, and all the routes to take on each one!
By the time we had finished chatting it was dark, and I realised my camera battery was virtually flat...not ideal when your going to do a few days of walking in breathe taking scenery. The only means of charging the camera battery is by the mains unfortunately so I set about finding a campsite with powered sites. Long story short after driving around in the dark and only coming across one, which of course was fully booked, I decided I would stay in a hostel for the night. Atleast would have a good night sleep and a warm shower too..
I found the Katoomba YHA hostel, and booked in for a night, in an 8 bed dorm as it was cheapest, for $30. I was stoked to find when I went to put my bag in my room and reserve a bed, there was only 2 others in there..and it's unlikely anyone else will book in after me..
I then spent the rest of the evening making use of their electricity; charging camera batteries, phones and using my NetBook for the 1st time on my road trip to back up all my photos.
I went to bed about 10:30pm in the end absolutely knakered, so I hope I get a good sleep before the hiking begins tomorrow.
(Photo - Manly today).