Castle Rock, Middle Harbour

Yesterday’s forced family fun was on the water.  While a lot of you are huddled indoors around your fireplaces, we here in Sydney are in the middle of a heatwave.  Sunday was going to be one of the hottest days with coastal temperatures around 39C (102F) and much higher out west.

Castle Rock, Middle Harbour

Castle Rock, Middle Harbour

Apart from squashing myself inside my fridge, the coolest place to be was on the water so early Sunday morning we packed up the esky and headed down to our little runabout.

The water is beautiful and clear

The water is beautiful and clear

We took the boat over to a place called Castle Rock.  Castle Rock is a little known and very secluded beach on Middle Harbour.  Because it’s ‘off the beaten track’ and because there are no shops, cafes, car parks or amenities, you’re not going to be bothered by large crowds.

The beach

The beach

To get to Castle Rock you can park your car (for free!!!) at the end of Ogilvy Road then follow a track that twists and turns but ultimately leads to the beach.  The walk should take no longer than 10 minutes.

Love the water at this time of year

Love the water at this time of year

Or you can arrive by boat and if there is a nor-easter blowing, Castle Rock is very popular with all the boaties as it’s sheltered from the wind.

The coffee and ice cream man - very popular person

The coffee and ice cream man – very popular person

As it was so hot, as soon as we were anchored I was over the side and into the water.  The water at this time of year is lovely and refreshing and a very pleasant 18C (64.4F).  And the water at Castle Rock is crystal clear and very clean with lots of soft, golden sand.  Now it’s not the Barrier Reef but a lot of people were snorkelling as there is some fish life and with the water being so clear, it’s a lovely way to explore the foreshore.

Swimming buddies

Swimming buddies

I swam over to the beach where, because ‘Sydney is just an overgrown country town’, I managed to find two sets of friends.  One group had arrived by boat and the other by kayak.  All were out on the water for the same reason as me; to escape the heat.

Perfecting her dog-paddle

Perfecting her dog-paddle

My elderly ladies still have a lot of up-and-go about them and they weren’t going to be left at home for the day.  First into the car and then onto the boat, Ruby has surprised us all with how much she loves the water.  If we’re not careful, she’s throwing herself over the side.  Rosie, because she’s a runt and runts are always missing a few bits and pieces, is missing ‘courage’.  She’s very fearful of the water but I put her in because otherwise she’d roast.

Someone packed the esky well

Someone packed the esky well

After a lot of relaxing on the boat alternating with swims to the beach, we packed up and went up Middle Harbour to where you can go tubing.  Alfie loves tubing and so he had a lot of fun zig-zagging at high speed behind the boat.

As if it wasn't hot enough - then the dog has to lie on me.

As if it wasn’t hot enough – the dog has to lie on me.

Ready, set, hold on!

Ready, set, hold on!

When we brought the boat back we realised we’d been out for about six hours.  I had not set a good example for my offspring as while I thought I’d done a good job of applying sunscreen, I was burnt to a crisp.

Drying off - on my towel if you please!

Drying off – on my towel if you please!

Alfie thinks it's funny when Ruby's ears become wings

Alfie thinks it’s funny when Ruby’s ears become wings

As we were walking back to the car with the tube, the towels, the esky and the swimming bags plus two dogs on leashes, we were stopped by a couple who wanted to pat the dogs.  They asked, ‘What sort of a mixed breed are these?’  I said, ‘I do beg your pardon but these ladies are pedigrees’.


He’s on that tube somewhere

He then asked, ‘How old are they?’

‘Ruby is 14 and a half and Rosie is 13’.  He nearly fell over.

‘That old?  I thought they were three or four.  Gee they look good.  What are their anti-ageing secrets?’

‘A good fur coat to protect their skin from the sun’, is what I said but apart from that, just a tonne of love.

Heading under the Spit Bridge

Heading under the Spit Bridge

And that’s how we spent one of the hottest days of 2014.


  1. I know what you mean about the heat Charlie. We have been sweltering away in brissie Air con is the only solution! Looks like u had a lot of fun in the water. No stingers to worry about i guess:)

  2. I miss the harbour… although Gold Coast beaches are pretty spectacular… its isn’t the sam was the harbour 🙂 Liz xx

  3. Looks like you had a great day in the sun. Sun … that’s something we haven’t seen much of lately. The girls MUST look good if their ages were underestimated by so much.

  4. That sounds absolutely luscious!!! We are absolutely sweltering up here in Queensland, with nary a smidgen of water to cool ourselves off in. Thank goodness for fans and cold showers, I say. 🙂

  5. How lucky you are to have such a pretty and refreshing spot within reach. When it gets that hot here I batten down the hatches and mostly stay inside – with brief forays out in to the pool to cool off.

  6. Charlie, what an absolutely delicious day out! You guys are lucky to be so close to the water… we have the lakes, but you don’t swim in those! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ruby and Rosie do look fabulous for being 13 and 14!!!
    Castle Rock looks gorgeous – it is so cold here in Atlanta – so am enjoying the heat vicariously through your photos Charlie!

  8. Gosh that’s a bit hot for late November isn’t it? Doesn’t look like much forced fun going on there – looks pretty good to me!

  9. You were very smart to do this! I was holed up in our place and I switched the oven on. I know, clearly I wasn’t being very smart!

  10. What I wouldn’t give right now for a little of your hot temps and sunshine in cold and grey Minnesota. Looks like you had a fabulous day on the beach.

  11. Lord knows they don’t lack in love! Looks like they had a fun time with the fam at the beach! What a lovely spot! xo

  12. Oh, my gosh, the color of the water is gorgeous…so clear and inviting!!! Yeah, we were warm this morning, but the temps are plummeting and winds howling. Such fun! xo

  13. Wow this would have been a brilliant idea on a sweltering day! I was holed up with the AC on not movie lest I attract heat 😛

    Choc Chip Uru

  14. Hi Charlie, these forced family events are starting to look mighty fun, beautiful scenery.

  15. Lucky you 🙂 !! Five days over 40 C here with no pool, no boat and no AC was not conducive to busy days!! Hated the wild storms all yesterday pm but one can actually breathe again today!!! Pups do look happy . . .

  16. What beautiful weather you are having…we had a bit of snow last week but thank goodness not nearly as much as Buffalo. The weather is warming up but will be a bit more normal by the end of the week. How lovely to be able to have a little prosecco on the boat.

  17. Oh, I do love that part of Sydney and just the place and way to spend a hot Sydney day.

  18. G’day Treasure the family together memories Charlie and they last forever and a day!
    Cheers! Joanne

  19. Charlie you have the most wonderful little escapes so close to home. That water is beautiful!

  20. Is that the spit bridge? What a fun day. I miss having our boat so much. We’d fly to Sydney, get a car and drive to Brooklyn and float around until we just had to go back. The most relaxing time of my life was on that water.

  21. A great forced family fun day Charlie except for the burn.
    Have a lovely day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  22. I did feel for you when I looked at what the weather was going to be like – and Bondi looked horrendous at 8.00am in the morning! What a good spot your picked. Lovely!

  23. What a blissful day! Isn’t it nice to escape the crowds and that water looks so inviting x

  24. Dear Charlie,

    I love stopping by Castle Rock whenever I kayak from The Spit to Balmoral. Sunday was a stinker and we were glad to be down at Balmoral till sunset.

  25. What a wonderful day indeed Charlie! My water-loving German Shepherd is very jealous as all he got on our 37* day was a few good soakings with the hose. He jumps into the dam on our walks, but he would love to go swimming with your lovely ladies in the sea as well. Alfie looks so happy, what a fantastic fun way to beat the heat! Xox

  26. Christopher Holt says:

    Sounds wonderful -great pics too! I used to live in Willoughby as a kid in the 1950s. My dad always warned me never to go into the water in Middle Harbour because of sharks.
    Judging by your account, am I right to believe that sharks are not such a problem after all?

    Cheers, Chris Holt

    • Hi Chris, there’s always been rumours of sharks but I’ve never had a sighting. We do however, never go tubing or water skiing in Middle Harbour at either dusk or dawn – just in case!

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