Seven Rewarding Pit Stops to Make When You're Tackling the Manly to Spit Walk
Find stunning lookout points, secluded swimming spots, flaky pastries and historical rock engravings.
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When it comes to beautiful vistas, heart-pumping stair climbs and aquamarine beaches, this ten-kilometre walk gets top marks. If you haven't tackled the Manly to Spit (or Spit to Manly) walking trail before, prepare for winding stretches of bush, rocky headlands and unbeatable beaches, all along an easy-to-follow path. If you have, you'll know it's well worth spending half a day exploring the area. To help you make a day of it, we've partnered with Adidas to bring you seven prime pit stops along the way, starting from Manly walking towards Spit Bridge. Take a look, then plan your own adventure using the map below.
Before you get started, you'll want to make sure you've had a decent cup of coffee and a feed. This modern bakehouse, located just back from Manly Corso, is the ideal spot to fuel up. Wander down Rialto Lane to find buttery, house-baked croissants like the Croque, with layers of creamy bechamel, manchego, swiss cheese, wholegrain mustard and ham. Or, try the Reuben, with pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, russian dressing and cornichons. For the sweet of tooth, there's a decadent Sticky Oat Chai, filled with chai-spiked frangipane, vanilla mascarpone and rich caramel. Order a filter coffee or cappuccino made with Okay Coffee beans, so you're caffeinated and ready to head off on your walk.
Four kilometres, or an hour or so later, you may want to stop for a water break. Make Reef Beach your first pit stop for emerald waters and shade. It's worth packing your swimmers so you can take a quick dip and enjoy the stretching views back to Manly. On your way back to the track, keep your eyes peeled for wildflowers, like bright yellow and red parrot peas, fuchsia heath and sweet-smelling fluffy wattle.
This lookout point at Dobroyd Head will easily catch your eye thanks to its panoramic views, where you can see both North and South Heads, and where Sydney Harbour turns into the Pacific Ocean. Stretch your limbs as you impress your friends with some prior knowledge, like the fact that Sydney Harbour is considered the world's deepest natural harbour, or that this lookout point is named after Arabanoo, an Aboriginal man who was captured at Manly by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788.
GROTTO POINT ABORIGINAL ROCK ENGRAVINGS
Less than a kilometre from Arabanoo Lookout, you'll be working up a sweat on the highest point of the climb. Take a break and seek out these rock engravings, one of Sydney Harbour National Park's most well-known historical sites. You can see a giant kangaroo, boomerangs, a whale and several small fish etched into the sandstone, each a snapshot of how the traditional owners' of the land, the Gayemagal/Cammeraygal peoples, communicated and lived in the area. You'll see signs for Grotto Point on the pathway.
CASTLE ROCK BEACH
Fifteen minutes away, this beach will not only catch your eye, but also tempt you back into your swimmers. Castle Rock Beach is only accessible by foot or boat, and more often than not you'll have this sandy pocket to yourself. You're past the halfway point here, so this is a nice spot to relax before finishing your journey. Take the opportunity to get your feet wet or, if you haven't finished your croissant, reward yourself with a private picnic.
THE SANDY BEAR
Stepping onto Clontarf Beach is a reward in itself, but rather than stopping off here, make tracks around to Clontarf Marina to seek out this waterfront cafe. The Sandy Bear is perched on the marina, overlooking the sparkling waters of Sandy Bay. Watch boats and yachts breeze in and out and dogs frolic in the shallow bay, all while enjoying a smoothie (choose from banana, mango or mixed berry) or an icy pole as a cooling reward for your walking efforts.
You made it! Pat yourself on the back and head over Spit Bridge to find the ideal finishing location. Alessandro Pavoni's classic Seaforth restaurant got a makeover in 2020, and its casual, seafood-focused vibe makes this waterfront trattoria a fitting reward. Opt for a takeaway serve of calamari fritti with lemony mayonnaise and Sydney rock oysters with a zesty mignonette dressing. Or, dine in and explore the full menu by young head chef Gianmarco Pardini. Dishes like tagliolino polpo e cozze (egg pasta with a red wine octopus ragout and local mussels) and risotto alla marinara e scampi (with seafood ragout, scampi and parsley) will replenish you with carbs, locally sourced seafood and, of course, plenty of flavour.
In need of a new pair of runners? Take a look at the new Adidas Ultraboost 21 runners here. Launch the map below to start plotting your own running adventure in and around Sydney.
Top image: Destination NSW
Published on March 10, 2021 by Jordan Kretchmer
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