The Coast Walk

Image via Tom Häkkinen
The beginning (or the end) of the Coastal Cliffwalk at
Diamond Bay in Vaucluse.
Along Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs coastline, between the South Head and Bondi Beach, rises a curtain wall of cliffs locked in eternal struggle with the Tasman Sea. It’s not a straight wall of cliffs, but one potted with bays and inlets, a curtain wall with bastions and bulwarks; faces, flanks and gorges. And since 2004, a coastal cliff-top walk where you can go for a wander and if you’re brave take a voyeuristic peep at the raging battle of the elements taking place down below.

Image via Tom Häkkinen
A long drop into the swirling maelstrom below.
When I prepared to leave the house yesterday, camera in hand, to go for a walk along the cliffs, it was a hot and sunny summer’s day (albeit uncomfortably humid). But by the time I’d made my way up to the cliff-walk, brooding and stormy clouds had rolled-in from the Pacific Ocean, perhaps colouring my impressions with the notion of a war between the elements: an unholy alliance of Wind and Water against the resolute and defiant Earth. Hence the fortification and war metaphors.

Image via Tom Häkkinen
Brooding clouds overhead and raging
seas below.
I think that it would be reasonable to surmise that the suburb of Dover Heights gets its name from these lofty cliffs. Although, in all honesty, the comparison with the white cliffs of Dover seems a little insincere. The grey-brown cliffs of Sydney can be stunningly beautiful riddled as they are with vegetation clinging to the most unlikely of perches and especially on a sunny day when overlooking the serene calm of the blue waters that give the Pacific Ocean its name. But they don’t look like the chalk cliffs of Dover and I don’t think these cliffs gain anything by such a comparison. Still, the next suburb over is the pretentiously named Vaucluse, making it possible to walk from the coast of England to Provençal France in 15 minutes.

Image via Tom Häkkinen
A precarious staircase down to the base of the cliffs;
used by fisherman and lunatics.
When researching for this blog I also discovered that apparently there are some indigenous rock carvings amongst some of the cliffs. I wonder what names the Eora people gave to these cliffs - we can at least be sure their name wouldn’t have tried to draw a superficial comparison with Southern England or Provençe. In any case, I’ve determined that I’m going to have to go and investigate with my camera on the next sunny day.
Enhanced by Zemanta


Judie said...

When I come to your blog, I never fail to see the wonder and beauty of our world. I needed to come here today, to remind me that there are places to be seen that can set one's mind at rest, and give promise of a better earth for all of us.
I thank you for your comment on my post today. There is so much hatred and so much strife that sometimes we lose sight of that part of ourselves that longs for peace and joy in our lives.
I think it will be a while before I regain the mindset that has allowed me to look for the good and beautiful and loving. It will happen, though, because I have hope in my heart.
Maybe tomorrow things will be better.

Anonymous said...


This coastal walk also kind of resumes at Coogee where you can then follow the track all the way south to Maroubra. Highly recommended for all kinds of trippers!

You and I should do it together soon! And grab a cold beverage at the end of it.

Akseli Koskela said...

Thanks Judie. I agree, a retreat into the beautiful places of the world is a good way to reflect and get some perspective on everything happening.

Akseli Koskela said...

Serkan, that sounds great, a long hike followed by a "coldie" - I think there might be better pubs at the Coogee Maroubra end than around Dover Heights.

roxy said...

These pictures are great, Akseli! You live in a gorgeous part of the world, and I envy anyone who can step out their door and walk by the ocean. My red-dirt-and-snow-covered desert doesn't come close to your scenic neighborhood. Keep walking and writing for those of us who follow your travels at a distance. (And don't forget your camera.)

JJ said...

Akseli: With every post, you spark my enthusiasm to travel. I often think I have traveled a great deal, but when I see these pictures and read your blog, I realize the world is a huge place and I have only scratched the surface. Great post!

Akseli Koskela said...

Thanks Roxy, I'm glad you appreciated the post. You know the irony is though that I long to see the desert, which I've only seen from the air flying over Australia's interior on trips to overseas.

JJ, I can definitely agree with that sentiment. There's so much to see in the world - I don't think it's possible to see it all in one lifetime!

#167 Dad said...

You do get around, don't you. Your travel writing is much more poetic than the usual. I apprecialte your blog as I haven't had the opportunity to do much international traveling.

Akseli Koskela said...

Thanks for the compliment Snyder, actually it's not so easy travelling on a teacher's wage! And I'm not sure if Esther, my partner, is going to appreciate another up-and-move-to-another-country teaching-gig. But I enjoy travelling.