VoyagerZulu Year 2: Sydney’s Coasts and Sam Kolder

So there I was, making my way downtown (had to do it), all for a 9AM class on a rather dreary Monday morning, and what buzzed on my phone happened to be the greatest sight for sore eyes: LinkedIn congratulating me for a year’s worth of swashbuckling, a year’s worth of “where-to-next?”, a year’s worth of VoyagerZulu.

and what better way to celebrate that then to go back to where it all began, with those who pushed me to do it.

I started my first entry with a single mindset:

“The world is no less than a spectacular place, and being blessed with the opportunity to travel to all these destinations give me the privilege…no…the responsibility to showcase how exquisite it is indeed to three people:

  • the sheltered skeptic: The world’s a terrible place? Well, I’m here to show you how Earth’s still got the places, people, and potential for magnificence.
  • the avid adventurer: For Chris McCandless, we’re all in this together!
  • the retired roamer: I’m here to carry on your legacy, and defy the stereotype of the ‘unappreciative millenial’, one nautical mile, one photograph at a time.

tldr; I return to Sydney, now armed with a DSLR, an aerial drone, and a GoPro, in hopes to showcase some mighty fine New South Wales coastal beauty, in contrast and comparison to my potato of a first entry, where it all started. The Sam Kolder -inspired travel video can be found HERE.

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On the 8th April, I took 9AM flight to Sydney, New South Wales, having blown the horns and rung the bells for the tribesmen to fulfill the McArthur-esque statement, “I shall return.”…via A320. Honey, I’m hooome!

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Circular Quay, albeit a breath of fresh air to see considering the last time I saw the Opera House was on an emotional run of Finding Nemo on a plane ride, was quite populated due to the peak hours of that Sunday. Nonetheless, a familiar blast from the past, Josh Azwar, and the #passionpilot himself, Sahil Shadadpuri – was out on the town to hand me the 411 on how Sydney’s been!

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Having witnessed a Sydney sunset by the harbour with two of the closest friends man could have, was an absolutely brilliant way to spend my first day 600 nautical miles from my home base. With a side of a japanese bento-box dinner, I coordinate with these two mighty fine lads on the week’s itinerary for the blog’s anniversary entry. Josh’s two-word pitch was sold on the first cup of miso soup: Manly Beach

Having grown-up a city boy, Sahil bears extra appreciation for a scenic and relaxed vibe. He said, and I quote, “Manly is the embodient of what Australia was in my head, before I moved here.” Well stakes have been set, I made my way to Manly with a standard in mind. A 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay, and needless to say, my expectations were met. With much vigour.

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Shelley Beach, Manly (Eagle-eye view from a Phantom 4)

Among the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Manly is a quaint town deprived of the busy CBD’s skyrises. Rather, I find that it portrays an atmosphere designed to provided much needed RnR when you’ve spent one too many nights in the hustle and bustle. A plaza, marvelled with a multitude of restaurants and retails shops, all leading towards the beachside lined with dive bars and fishnchips shacks. Brilliant pitch Josh!

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After a couple flight hours of controversial drone-ing, Josh raises the stakes – that a viewpoint right by his almamater, the International College of Management Sydney, can offer a drone perspective that’s completely out of this world. Low and behold, a sight where Manly draws a division within the Coral Sea, right by a slightly overcast sunset.

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Photos wouldn’t really do the location any justice, and as much, I’ve made arrangements. I’m gonna link out the Sam Kolder-inspired travel video right here.

Like how every other human was designed, I craved for more of this beauty, and the idea that the state had more of this had me both begging and salivating for more. As appropriate, I consult the very person who set off the fire that is VoyagerZulu.

Right here, would be that very hike that was catalyst to my first blog entry. (Sydney Excursion: Wentworth Falls and a Couple Beers)

Having concluded the negotiations, Elora and I figured we’d take a walk along what’s probably the most iconic walks in Sydney (and strangely, one that’s never crossed my mind), without having to embark along the isolated Katoomba region. The scenic coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte.

BONDI – BRONTE COASTAL WALK INFORMATION:

  • 2.5 kilometres
  • 1.5-2 hours including stops
  • Traffic: tour groups, runners, the honeymooning couple
  • Highlights: Bondi Beach, Icerbergs, Mackenzie Point, Mackenzie Bay, Tamarama Beach, Bronte
  • Photograph Opportunities: make it rain
  • Cost: FREE (excluding transportation or parking fees)

When the day came, we met in Central station at 11AM, and headed straight to the Bondi Junction, where we caught a bus taking us beachside. Having learned from last year’s food deprivation issues, we get some health grub by the Birichina cafe (Here’s the menu), where the chicken wrap was impeccable, and the flat white coffee, much needed.

Upon finishing the meal and psychologically preparing myself for a day of filming, I take the drone out for a spin to catch spectacular angle on that peeking view of Bondi Beach that’s been gnawing at us all breakfast.

We weren’t alone in the endeavour. Everyone and their grandmas were taking the scenic route as well. Upon following the right turn towards Bronte, we follow the footpath leading us straight into the Bondi Icebergs, where a panoramic view of the beach, as well as the pools right downstairs where the stereotypical tourist causing traffic with his selfie-stick actually became a real thing.

Upon passing going past the Bondi Icebergs, following the crowd leads to a set of stairs heading down the coast. The area, an inlet of interesting rock formations in complement to the greenery, a perfect conduit to multiple photo opportunities.

or in my case, the perfect drone launchpad, as a panoramic preview of the coastlines to come!

A red, and rather startling, alert on went on that my lil’ phantom was gonna fall out of the sky due to low battery at one point, and as such, I catch-land the bird, and took it as a sign to press on. San Francisco local, Joe Turner, was a passerby who happen to witness the entire filming charade, and took these sweet shots! What an absolute lad!

Moving along the path, my thoughts reflect on the idea of how people in Australia are ridiculously friendly, which apparently carries an influence on tourists as well. One thing’s for certain, you learn to smile down here, as the world literally smiles back at you!

At this point, we were greeted with a barricaded view deck, but heck, we take the road less travelled yes? We climb right over a cliffside. On eye level, it’s absolutely breathtaking, with the view of the beachside property in Bondi still peeking on the left, and the upcoming coasts on the right.

A quick look down can only be described as a rush of blood to the head, no less than a quick jolt of adrenaline as the 300 foot drop’s complemented by sharp rocks and constantly crashing waves that had probably claimed people’s phones, shoes, or in this case, Elora’s snapback. Cue GoPro:

The physical structure of the cliffside rock formation led to it becoming a total wind tunnel, so one wrong move could lead to the inevitable demise of my equipment, or ourselves…. So I took the drone up, only to catch an eagle’s-eye glimpse of what’s known as Mackenzie’s Point, a lookout on the farthest tip of Bondi, a location bearing cultural significance in aboriginal history.

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Mackenzie’s Point

Having found out we were essentially leg-hanging right under Mackenzie’s Point, Elora and I head up to the lawn and admire the alluring lookout, where the atmosphere’s a mix of breathless tourists, and hustling aussie runners looking to get their daily workout done. At said point, we were now at the border between Bondi, and Tamarama.

Proceeding with the journey, I was to keen to see the coastline that follows next, as it was subject to urban legend and conspiracy: Mackenzie’s Bay / Beach.

Yes, there’s a slash, reason being is that it morphs from a rocky inlet bay to a beach in a tidal level change every seven years, leaving most of the eastern suburbs scratching their heads in confusion. I’m convinced that the seven years bit is tabloid-fodder, but for sure, I’m also convinced that the rocky inlet that greets the constant incoming waves must be quite the spot for some zen.

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Mackenzie’s Bay

Right at the brim of the bay is Tamarama beach, which local sometimes refer to as glamarama simply because of the beautiful people that take refuge in this isolated beach to sunbathe.

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At this point, we’re 1 km away from the easy trek to Bronte, however if the tum tum does yearn for some grub, the beachside Tama cafe can cater to your 12 AUD sandwich needs, or a 5 AUD snack. (Menu)

A good 15 minutes away, we finally make it to the last coast of our planned walk: Bronte Beach:

Bronte Beach is one of the most versatile. It’s incredibly family friendly, decent choice-waves for surfers, and quite easy to get to (Yes, you can actually hop on a 440 bus from Central). A surf club, as well as a beachside cafe’s able to provide for a lawn picnic, whether it be on the clear white sands, or the fresh-green lawn, both subject to the invigorating breeze from the Southern Ocean.

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After three hours of photography, filming, and subjecting Elora to my constant bouts of “Wow, this is beautiful”, we reflect on the journey, and dwell on the fact that it’s been a year since that Blue Mountains hike.

To say that I’m grateful is an understatement, but needless to say, I feel quite blessed to have family and friends who’s pushed, supported, and well, tolerated me thus far. I feel blessed for having readers and viewers such as yourselves, armed with a barrage of very kind words I’m forever thankful for. I feel blessed that God had given me all these opportunities, and that I was used as an instrument of His will to showcase what this magnificent Earth has to offer.

and well, to prove how grateful I am, I’ve decided to level up this year. Below is a Sam Kolder-inspired video of this journey, and mind you, the new standard of VoyagerZulu’s content:

 

That’s it for today! Cheers everyone, I’ll catch you in the next road less travelled!

acknowledgements:

  • Cameras used: DJI Phantom 4, Canon EOS 750D, GoPro Hero 4
  • DISCLAIMER: the Young Bombs remix in the video is not mine, but by ROZES,
  • Tito Phil and Uncle Greg, for accomodating me back home in Sydney
  • My Dad: for that camera, which changed the course of this entire blog!
  • My Mom: for the support, the flights, and post-editing suggestions!
  • Friends: Josh Azwar, Sahil Shadadpuri, Mandy Tai, Matthew Tse, for all compromising your time just to see me!
  • Elora: for igniting this passion of travel blogging, one I never knew I’d take on.
  • the cousin, Nadine, for the aerial blessing of a Phantom 4!
  • Sam Kolder: for his sick styles of video editing that totally inspired me to make travel videos!
  • Big Man Upstairs for having such a place exist
  • Email: zacharykeithsantos@gmail.com (for BUSINESS INQUIRIES)
  • Instagram / Twitter / Facebook/ YouTube / Vimeo: @voyagerzulu

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