Life in Pittwater

Mike and Liz Downing
Wed 19 Dec 2012 12:53
We've been in Pittwater just over 3 weeks and consider ourselves very lucky that we've found such a good place to stay. It's a lovely setting and has a local store/cafe just a short dinghy ride away at Church Point, and the town of Mona Vale just a 10 minutes bus ride (or a 50 minute walk if we're feeling energetic - doesn't happen often!).  This whole area is very up market - the wooded slopes overlooking and coming down to the water are filled with very posh houses (£1M+), all of different designs, some very futuristic. Even 3-bed apartments are going for £600,0000. For those back home, the area is akin to Sandbanks (the Haven area) and Canford Cliffs, except these houses tend to be much more modern and they stretch for miles all round the south and eastern shores of the Pittwater inlet. The western shores are all National Park. The only drawback with where we are is that the short (5 minute) dinghy trip across to the mainland can be a wet ride in our dinghy when there's any significant chop on the water, and finding a safe spot to tie up the dinghy on the commuter dingy dock which is fully of 'old tinnies' (aluminium dinghies of all sizes) can be tricky. There must be at least a 100 tinnies on the dock all the time, except for weekends when the commuters from Scotland Island and the other outlying bays/creeks which don't have road access, stay at home. When there's any wash all these tinnies bash hell out of one another, so they're all bashed and bent, but no one cares as long as they stay afloat. As a local said, all these tinnies are not rubber duck friendly! But you can't have everything! 
Not much work has been done on the boat, other than give it a good wash down, including the sprayhood and bimini, and a good clean of the waterline, but we have arranged a few things for January/February, including that cooker that we had promised ourselves on arrival in New Zealand, 2 years ago! New cockpit curtains are on order, but with Christmas and the school summer holidays, they (North Sails) won't be able to start work on them until February. We're also in touch with Hallberg Rassy and have 10 items we want from them. Nothing too big. Things like a new dorade (deck air vent) and ventilators for the heads, and we always want more deck plugs (that cover the screws holding down the teak planking on the deck). Replacing them is one job I do enjoy doing (which is just as well as it's a never ending!) It's more cost effective to get all the HR spares sent at the same time to save multiple freight charges. They should arrive mid January.
But it's not been all work, or planning work. With Christmas rapidly approaching we went to 'Carols in the Park' in Mona Vale and it was all the old favorites that we have in the UK, including favorite Christmas songs as well as carols. It was packed with families all bringing rugs to sit on in front of the stage. And for all the children, Santa arrived on a fire engine! It was a lovely evening. Our Australian friends, Geoff and Judy, have their boat (Ka Mate) in a marina not too far away, and a car, so have taken us around to see some of the local sites. And we had to see Sydney, so caught a bus to Manly (30 minutes) and the Manly ferry across to Circular Quay (another 30 minutes) in the heart of Sydney. Arriving by water is a lovely way to see the city - the ferry goes past the Opera House and docks just in front of the Sydney Bridge, where the cruise liners also dock. The city skyline is spectacular - all so high and all packed so close together - and the waterfront is so well laid out. All very impressive, and a fantastic array of shops too. We'll be going back!
Above and below - views from our mooring. Scotland Island with houses in the trees and on the water's edge.
Each pair of houses share a private jetty. There are no roads and all have water access only. 
Looking the other way across to the mainland - Church Point with store/cafe.
Looking south east down towards Newport and Mona Vale - Scotland Island on the left, the
mainland on the right. Boats everywhere!
Even the dustman has to come by water! (Comes across every Monday to empty the bins on Scotland Island.)
Friday night is Pizza Night! Church Point Cafe with cruising friends. Liz is taking the photo. 
Some of the posh houses in the area. 
A strange name for a road when it's all by the sea! (The road name signs are much better than back home.)
Couldn't resist this one! In the shopping centre in Mona Vale.
A bush walk at Manly (on the north shore of Sydney Harbour) with Geoff and Judy.
The entrance to Sydney Harbour on a bleak day - the sun doesn't shine all the time!
The Manly ferry going from the north shore across to the centre of Sydney. (They have at least 3 of these
running during rush hours.)
Don't see these flying wild in the UK! Rainbow Lorikeets 
Kookaburras are in all the wooded areas. They sound just like laughing hyenas!
Flame trees are quite spectacular.
Above and below - the Banksia Integrifolla.
Quite a contraption to get a boat out of the water!
On the footpath along the waterfront at Manly - they have the small Blue Penguins
they have in New Zealand that make burrows ashore.
Approaching Sydney on the Manly ferry, on another grey day.
Detail of the Opera House roof.
High-rise buildings in the waterfront area.
One of the main shopping areas - and no, we didn't go in McDonald's (we didn't
realise it was there until we looked at the picture!)
And the bridge!