DM's Sydney Walks: 17. Clontarf

9 May, 2020


Clontarf

We start this walk heading west on Cutler Road, Clontarf, near the intersection of Castle Rock Crescent.

Clontarf is a harbourside suburb on the northern side of Middle Harbour, which is one of the larger inlets along the convoluted shoreline of Sydney Harbour. We're further east than the heart of the city, hence closer to the ocean.

From Cutler Road we have some views down to Middle Harbour to the south, and across to the peninsula on the other side - that peninsula sits between Middle Harbour and the main part of Sydney Harbour and houses the large suburb of Mosman.


Clontarf

As we walk down the hill, we get some great views across Middle Harbour.


Clontarf

Many of the houses are are mega-expensive, and have stunning views.

You can see a couple of harbour beaches across there. These are more sheltered and have much calmer water than Sydney's ocean beaches, and are popular with families with young children.


Clontarf panorama view

A panoramic version of the previous photo, showing our walking path on the right. On the left is a gymea lily, growing a tall flower spike.


Clontarf

Just some more of that view over the houses.


Clontarf

Cutler Road goes down and then back uphill again. This view is looking back at the bottom of the hill, as we start climbing up again.

Today there's plenty of parking here. On summer weekends, this street is clogged with cars, left here by people heading down to Clontarf Beach, or other small secluded beaches nestled on this side of Middle Harbour.


Clontarf

Here we are approaching the top of the next hill. There's an interesting house at the top right with a lot of circular brick rooms.


Clontarf

Looking back the way we came, down the hill from near the top.


Clontarf

At the top of this hill is this interesting sandstone building. Maybe an old cottage from the 19th century, which now seems to be converted into someone's garage! Unless it's modern sandstone veneer, which seems an odd architectural choice for this neighbourhood.


Clontarf

The street name changes to Amiens Road as we head downhill again, and curves around to the north. The eucalyptus trees on the left have interesting shapes.


Clontarf

The road goes inland a little here, but you still get glimpses of the water between the houses.


Clontarf

As we head north, we get a view of The Spit - which is literally a spit of land extending into Middle Harbour. You can see it an centre, extending from the headland at left, and with more water beyond. The water connects around the spit of land on the right side of the photo.


Clontarf

This view shows The Spit flanked by sand at left. It ends at the marina complex just a tiny bit left of centre. Beyond that to the right is the roadway of the Spit Bridge - the only road link crossing Middle Harbour, and a huge bottleneck for traffic between the city centre and the suburbs on the northern side of Middle Harbour. (You can go around Middle Harbour further west, but that's a longer route.)

The Spit Bridge is a bascule opening bridge, to let masted boats go through, and opens several times a day - but never during weekday peak hours traffic!


Clontarf

The tall tree in the middle is a Norfolk Island pine. We'll see more later on. These trees are native only to Norfolk Island - an isolated 34 square kilometre island 1400 kilometres off the east coast of Australia - but they have bene imported and are very common along Australian coastlines. The very sight of a Norfolk Island pine evokes the ocean.


Clontarf

There are some huge (and expensive) houses along this road.


Clontarf

Walking down the hill. The terrain is very steep and rocky, making for incredibly steep driveways.


Clontarf

At the bottom of this hill we reach Clontarf Reserve, a park by the waterside. With some enormous Moreton Bay fig trees.


Clontarf Reserve

We turn into the reserve and walk through the car park. This place is very popular in warm weather.


Clontarf Reserve

For picnics and barbecues. You can see a public gas-powered barbecue on the left, with a yellow sign on it (saying it's closed for COVID restrictions).

Another Norfolk Island pine tree on the right. They are tall trees.


Clontarf Reserve

The barbecue front and centre, and some fig trees.


Clontarf Beach

The reserve adjoins Sandy Bay. You can see where it got the name from.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

This is the northern end of Clontarf Beach, which extends left around the point. The area beyond the point is more popular for swimmers, but this area here is good for young children because the water is very shallow, even a long way from shore.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

We'll keep walking north along Sandy Bay Road. Which is populated by joggers.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

Looking back to the northern tip of Clontarf Beach. You can see how shallow the water is out there.


Scully at Clontarf Reserve

Here's Scully checking out the view.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

We approach Clontarf Marina, passing a lone kayaker having a break.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

On the marina is Sandy Bear Cafe, which is a nice spot to have a Sunday brunch or lunch - when it's open for sit-in customers. Currently it's only doing take-aways (because of COVID). The cafe is out on the wharf - we'll get a view looking back in a coupe of photos.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

Looking north along Sandy Bay Road.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

And back to the marina. Sandy Bear Cafe is there, normally with tables and chairs set up all over the back deck.

You can see all the Norfolk Island pines growing along the sandy beach. These trees are very tolerant of salt and high winds, so are ideal for growing along salt water shorelines, where other trees fail to grow.


Sandy Bay walk

A panorama of the walk north from Clontarf Marina. Lots of people walk dogs along here too.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

At the northern end of Sandy Bay is an even sandier bay! Which is an off-leash dog area - one of the few places in Sydney where it's legal to take a dog onto a beach. So naturally it's full of dogs and owners.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

An interesting sandstone formation on the other side of the road.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

Here's the Sandy Bay. Surrounded by some more expensive houses.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

Some people here have tinnies (aluminium dinghies) parked on the gravel, to use to row out to their yachts moored in the bay.


Sandy Bay, Clontarf

It's currently low tide - the best time to come here with your dog. At high tide the water covers almost all of the sand.


Sandy Bay dog park

We end with a panorama of the dog park area of Sandy Bay.


Clontarf walk map

Map of this walk starting at the bottom, walking west then north.


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