SIMS Harbour Hike

In Australia, last Sunday was Father’s Day and in way of celebration, the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) has, over the past three years, organised a ‘harbour hike’ that begins under the iconic Harbour Bridge and ends at Clifton Gardens.

Two keen participants waiting under the Harbour Bridge

Two keen participants waiting under the Harbour Bridge

It’s a 12km (7.5 mile) hike that most people walk in a family group and the good thing is that the start time is staggered.  In its first year I did this walk at 8am, the next year at 10am and this year I started the hike at the civilised time of 10.30am.  By staggering the start there’s no annoying crowding along the course and no pressure to move along at a rip-roaring pace.

There’s more emphasis on seeing the sights and appreciating our surroundings rather than a race to the finish.  As stated, the walk begins under the harbour bridge where participants pay $35.00 to benefit SIMS that aims to ‘future proof’ Australia’s most famous waterway.  All donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.

Alfie has run on ahead.  Here's the most beautiful first day of Spring

Alfie has run on ahead. It’s a bit warm in my winter jogging gear.

Every time I have done this hike it has been blessed with fabulous weather.  We’ve always hiked under blue skies and fabulous sunshine however this year the weather outdid itself with one of the warmest starts to Spring on record.  I was wearing my Lulu Lemons that I bought for my rather short jogging career and found the winter top far too warm and was wishing my backpack contained a pair of scissors to snip off the unnecessary sleeves.

Prized public land starting to fill with picnickers

Prized public land starting to fill with picnickers

The hike isn’t difficult and there’s no prize for coming in first and no booby prize for being the last to finish so you find it’s a very relaxed walk.  It ducks and weaves around Sydney’s points and bays and is a fabulous opportunity to see the best views the city has to offer, not to mention the best real estate.

Macallum Pool

MacCallum Pool – a public pool on the harbour’s edge

A public pool on the harbour's edge - not very clean on the day we saw it!

Not very clean on the day we saw it!

Curlew Baths

MacCallum Pool

At the beginning of the hike every participant is given a passport and this is something to be filled out during the journey.  As each kilometre is reached, there is a checkpoint with multiple-guess questions that can be completed as you proceed.  I thought Alfie might like this part of the hike but no, he was more interested in reaching the finish line and so sped past taking no notice – which is why there are no photos of him!



Sydney Amateur Yacht Club - the oldest yacht club in Australia

Sydney Amateur Yacht Club – the oldest yacht club in Australia

Mosman Bay

A private residence on the right – not a bad position

Mosman Bay

Mosman Bay

Sirius Cove where Alfie does Sea Scouts

Sirius Cove where we often go kayaking.

Whiting Beach

Sirius Cove is an unleashed dog beach

The path narrows

The path is well maintained

The bottom entrance of Taronga Zoo

The bottom entrance of Taronga Zoo

The gunner's barracks

Fortification from 1871 at Bradleys Head

Someone has a very large boat!

Someone has a very large boat!

The water is such a pretty colour

And after about two and a half hours we arrived at Clifton Gardens

It’s a relief to arrive at Clifton Gardens but then there’s a lot more that SIMS has organised.  There are exhibits educating participants with what you can find in our coastal waters, exhibits from Taronga Zoo and more outdoor pursuits including activities on the water like kayaking and guided sea rafting.  But first and foremost on our minds was food.

Now at Clifton Gardens, the unique yellow Combi of Jafe Jaffles

The coolest combi ever – Jafe Jaffles.

You don’t need to be told that this is where Carl bought his lunch.  And got the man’s business card.  And hovered over the vehicle.  And said it was his ‘best lunch ever’.

A few heated chillies hanging from the combi

Why not hang a few chillies above your rubber duckie

Carl's jaffle

Carl’s jaffle – of course, ‘best ever’

My lunch.  A chicken chorizo roll with coleslaw and chimichurri sauce

My lunch.  A chicken chorizo roll with coleslaw and chimichurri sauce

A wagyu burger

A wagyu burger

Alfie's reward.  Or is it Carl's?

Alfie’s reward. Or is it Carl’s?

My family walked in a group of 10, minus Alfie who ran his own ‘hike’.  We walked along roads, went past shops, hiked through bush, snaked along the foreshore and above all, took in the sights that have put this city on the world’s map.  I felt rather privileged.  And then it was time for home.  Fantasea organised complimentary ferry rides back to the starting point.

Taking the complimentary Fantasea ferry back to where the hike began

Taking the ferry back to where the hike began

A stunning day on the harbour

Heading for home

The view on the journey home

There’s no mistaking the city

Kirribilli House - the Prime Minister's Sydney residence

Passing by Kirribilli House – the Prime Minister’s Sydney residence

Departing the Fantasea ferry.

Departing the Fantasea ferry.

Aside from the blisters every amateur complained of, (Carl), it was a very enjoyable, healthy and relaxing way to spend Father’s Day.

Taronga Zoo supplied some animals for the children - here's a 30-year old tortoise

I finally found a photo of Alfie.  Here he is studying a 30-year old tortoise from Taronga Zoo.

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  1. What a wonderful way to spend Father’s Day.

    Alfie looks so much older in that side shot than in the typical frontal photos. Your little boy is growing up, Charlie.

  2. We would love this event!

  3. Don’t we live in the most beautiful city in the world?!! Just gorgeous.
    What a fabulous post xx

  4. What a great event and stunning photos too. Happy Father’s Day! Lets hope it’s on again next year.

  5. What a lovely father’s day out. The weather looked fantastic in those photos. There is no city in the world as pretty as Sydney around the harbour.

  6. What a fantastic hike for charity!

  7. Breathtaking… beautiful is Sydney!! Such a beautiful day for a hike. Sounds like a lot of fun and fabulous way to spend a day with family. This must have been a special Father’s Day 🙂 Your son is so handsome, and cute. Matter of time before he grows up too….

  8. Sounds like a socially responsible and fun way of giving to charity as a family.

  9. North Americans don’t seem to know what jaffles are. And I never had a jaffle maker growing up, but now I want one…

  10. Thanks for sharing your beautiful city, the photos are stunning, a wonderful way to spend Father’s Day with family and for a good cause.

  11. Wow what a fun event!! And gorgeous weather you had too 🙂

  12. What a fantastic event and a wonderful way to spend with the family on Father’s Day. Our Father’s Day is in June (first Sunday in June, I believe). The hike looks fantastic and thank you for sharing the lovely photos with us, you do have a gorgeous city and I wish to visit more and more each day! The food looks very tasty too; ironically they usually serve the most unhealthiest foods at events in Toronto so it’s nice to see the food not deep fried on your side of the world.
    We just saw a turtle on the side of our road at the cottage this past weekend, it was about as large as the one Alfie is admiring…I wonder if our’s was 40 years old too!

  13. What a fabulous day out Charlie! We haven’t been to Taronga Zoo in years! And such breathtaking weather and glorious views, we really do live in the most beautiful city in the world…

  14. Sydney sure was blessed with beautiful weather on Father’s Day. Glad the family was out and about enjoying the oh so pretty sunshine! Sounds like it was the perfect Father’s Day xoxo

  15. Actually Carl’s lunch did look pretty darn good! All the food looked great, and that scenery is totally gorgeous. Lucky you! Great day out – and thanks for taking us along.

  16. What a great Father’s Day – lovely photos – maybe you should also be writing a tourism blog? I am sure you would be great at it.

  17. G’day and what a lovely Father’s Day, true!
    Love that kombie can and love jaffles; thanks for sharing your Sydney view too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  18. A great family day gathering and helping a good cause as well. Our family actually has done hikes every year on fathers day in Hong kong as we have some great hiking trails. Loved seeing a little bit of the land of Oz. Also great new “about photo” of you!

  19. What a lovely day out. I wish they did something like this in Brisbane although the river isn’t quite as nice as the harbour. I’m taking this as yet another sign that I need to buy a jaffle maker!

  20. What is a jaffle? Like a waffle?

    • No, it’s not like a waffle. It’s a fancy name for a toasted sandwich! But it’s made with a jaffle iron instead of a toasted sandwich maker. Jaffle irons were around long before electric toasted sandwich makers. You put the jaffle iron directly on the flame and that toasts the sandwich.

  21. What a beautiful area to walk. 🙂 I love all those pretty little harbors. 🙂

  22. What an awesome day, I would have got my lunch from there as well 🙂

  23. I hate to say this but Sydney is a truly beautiful city isn’t it. I’d have been happy to see those food trucks too after that lovely walk.

  24. Wow Charlie, such a nice event…and the sceneries are so pretty…thank you so much for the pictures…when reading your posts I always learn a little bit about your Country…thank you!
    Hope you are having a wonderful week 😀

  25. A great charity event. And those beautiful skies! 🙂 Of course, I’d have enjoyed that little tortoise. Thirty years old and about the size of one of Darwin’s feet. How nice to have had quality family time along the way.

  26. Clifton gardens look absolutely beautiful, I can’t believe I have never visited 😀
    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous day out!

    Choc Chip Uru

  27. Amazing day and beautiful photographs dear Charlie, Thanks and Love, nia

  28. can i join you? i love to be there too.

  29. Fabulous family day out.
    🙂 Mandy ox

  30. What a great day Charlie! I’d love to walk this track, there’s so much to see and it looks stunning indeed. Archie seems to have had a great time, and I bet his time beat all of yours- he probably ran twice the track length coming back to check on your progress 🙂 xox

  31. I’m always amazed at how similar Arabella and you look! And I remember you doing this last year and am as impressed with the event now as I was then – what a truly lovely Father’s Day activity.

  32. What beautiful views! And I love the sound of that jaffle fan, I’m a huge fan of jaffles! 😀

  33. Now that’s the way to spend Fathers Day, with family and outdoors. When “outdoors” means strolling around one of the World’s most beautiful cities, the day becomes even more special. I’m amazed that on the first day of Spring, people can be seen sun bathing and even in the water. We’ve had first days of Summer that weren’t that warm. 🙂

  34. What a fun day and beautiful weather!

  35. Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Father’s day!!

  36. Alfie is getting SO big! What a great day of fun and quality time spent together!

  37. What fun! This looks like a fabulous hike on a glorious day. All rounded out with some very tasty looking food. I wish we had a similar type hike around here. It really looks like a blast!

  38. What a great way to spend a day. The weather sounds fabulous and the hike path looks gorgeous. I’d love to see it in person some day. Happy Fathers Day to Carl. 🙂

  39. Gorgeous day, and looks like a fabulous walk. You and Arabella look so so so similar!

  40. What a great way to spent Father’s Day! It looks that you all had fun, fun, fun! Great weather too!

  41. Holy cow, that private house… with that view?! Bet that would set one back a pretty penny!

    That’s a fantastic way to spend any sunday, let alone Father’s day. Good call of the organisers to stagger the start too… I think people don’t really appreciate their surroundings enough to be honest, so it’s a wonderful idea to have an “enforced” stroll around and take in the sights!

    • Hi Charles, I love the house and yes, it’s in an incredible position and I just love the level lawn with the pool. The house is substantial and is an older-style home that’s being lovingly restored. However…the access to the home is a shocker. There is absolutely no parking and never will be as there is no road to the house, only a footpath. You have to park on the street (if there’s any available spaces) then hike down to the home. This would certainly be a deterrent to any buyer and if I lived there I’d definitely be getting all my groceries delivered. Even with the parking issues, it would still be around the $2m mark (I’m guessing).

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