An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

Tired of being cooped up inside in the apocalyptic wasteland known as 2020? How about a picturesque bushwalk, just 25 minutes from the city ...

A Day in Pea-radise: Clontarf

Tired of being cooped up inside in the apocalyptic wasteland known as 2020? How about a picturesque bushwalk, just 25 minutes from the city by bus?


Clontarf is an awkwardly named suburb, starting immediately north of the Spit Bridge, and thus north of the border between the North Shore and the Northern Beaches. As hinted at, to get in today, we took a 25 minute bus from Wynyard.

Who's we? Well Clontarf's actually got a handful of archaeological sites to share, so I brought with me resident archaeologist, and friend to the blog, The Intrepid Pea

Unfortunately, the bus dropped us off on the wrong end of a six lane road.

With no proper way to cross the road, we braved it and ran across the six lanes of traffic to reach the other side.

According to Google Maps, the start of the bush walk could be accessed just south of here. The most obvious way to reach the trailhead would involve getting hit by numerous cars and buses,

thankfully, there's a detour you can take through this quite suburban street.

Let the suburbsing begin.

Here, Clontarf immediately began to charm me, with fancy houses

some mean views,

and the weirdest "no parking" sign I've ever come across. 

On this street, though not marked on my map, we were able to start our walk. This is the start of the famous Spit-to-Manly walk. 

Sort of.

First, you have to take this mini bushwalk,

to this carpark,

and into Ellery's Punt Reserve, a waterside park with views of The Spit.

From here, the actual walk begins, with a sign and pebbly path.

Having never done this walk before, I immediately found it to be gorgeous, with the path very soon leading to the tranquil Shell Cove, 

where you can find a spot with some dramatic rocks,

a mini-fall, 

and an idyllic river beach.

Continuing on, through some rainforesty pipey goodness, 

the path led to the first archaeological spot of the journey.


Apart from being an interesting formation, Google Maps tells me this was once an Indigenous Cave Shelter. I'll assume they're not lying, and hopefully Ms Pea has more to say about it in her post.

A few steps on is archaeological point number two, an Aboriginal midden. The plaque tells me that this is a spot where the Cammeraygal people cooked and ate their food, presumably with views of the Spit Bridge. 

This is why I outsource my archaeology to sentient vegetables. 

Take a few more steps and you reach a point which looks very different today than what it must have in the age of middens. The bushwalk opens up to present a bunch of rich people's houses,

and a beach of many dogs.

This is the dog-friendly but very unimaginatively named Sandy Bay. If you don't mind swimming with dogs, it would be a lovely place for a dip in the summer. 

This leads onto a marina and Clontarf Reserve, a rather excellent waterside park with more beach, kids play equipment, and plenty of space for a socially-distanced picnic. 

To continue the bushwalk, I assumed I had to head back onto the street, 

where I learned that a fair amount of Clontarfians seem to live in castles.

But I soon realised my error, and headed back to the shores to continue the trek.

From here, the walk continued to deliver, with plenty of paths, trees and views for the next stretch. 

Eventually, we were presented with a fork in the road. 

Heading straight continues the walk to Manly. Taking the offshoot, as we did, takes you down a muddy path,

with the occasional incredible ocean view.

Your efforts are rewarded with an unusual looking lighthouse.

Having now ruined The Intrepid Pea's sneakers with mud (I wore my trusty hiking boots and didn't warn her of the shenanigans we'd get up to), we backtracked to return to the main path. 

A short distance from here is the final archaeological site of this adventure.

Following this boardwalk leads to the Grotto Point Engravings. 

These are Aboriginal engravings on the stone ground, showing images of a kangaroo and some fish.

There are a few engravings scattered around the area,

and a plaque providing some information. If I was to provide some critique on this site, some more signage providing information on the engravings and the history behind them would make the site a bit more memorable and hopefully leave the visitor learning a bit more. In its current form, the engravings feel like a bit of an afterthought to this national park, which is a shame. 

Leaving Grotto Point, the bushwalk continues, soon leading us into the next suburb.

Thanks to The Intrepid Pea for joining me on this trip. For a more archaeologically focused "report" on this trip, check our her post on our visit.

Additionally, for a detailed guide on the Spit to Manly Walk (and countless other bushwalks in and around Sydney), I recommend checking out Wildwalks, which is my go-to for local bushwalks. 

Clontarf: Beautiful and historic, like a Miss Universe from a long time ago.


  1. As a southener, its places like this that really interest me about this blog. You see them on google maps / street directory etc but you dont really know anything about them until you see pictures or go there. Thanks Yaz!

    1. Thanks! I've always grown up on the northern side, so I feel similar when I explore the south. We live in quite an attractive city, so it's worth exploring :)