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Urban Walks was recently featured in an article that appeared in the Vancouver Sun. This is an edited version:
To welcome the first international flights back since Australia lifted its Covid-19 travel ban, Sydney decided to throw us a party.

The arrivals hall was packed with jubilant, kangaroo costume-clad teenagers handing out Waratah flowers, stuffed koala toys and yellow jars of Vegemite to bewildered passengers. Tourism Minister Dan Tehan was on hand to welcome the world back to Oz as a DJ spun and local TV news crews captured joyful reunions and interviewed passengers about how it feels to be back in ‘Straya.’

It’s my first international sojourn since I flew home from South Australia in December 2019. Soon after, the entire continent went into a ‘fortress-like’ lockdown and tourism all but ended.

Now, Australia is throwing open its borders to fully-vaccinated visitors. And its largest city, Sydney, often compared to Vancouver for its expansive urban green spaces, scenic harbour and iconic bridge, was my first port of call.

The following day I hiked along the popular Eastern Beaches Coastal Walkway from South Coogee to Bondi Beach, joined by Jon Brian and Dugald Cameron, who operate a guiding service called Urban Walks. This stretch of coastline forms a small part of the Emerald Way, their signature multi-day trek that spans over 100km of coastal walking trails.

“We’re a harbour city obsessed by the ocean in an island nation surrounded by sea,” says Brian. “This walk allows you to see how the continent has been physically and historically shaped and how the complex story of Australia goes back millions of years.”

As we approached Bondi, home to Australia’s famous surfing scene, an unseasonable storm broke out, nixing my plans to swim. But the ocean pool overlooking the beach’s south end was open, so I took a plunge there as huge waves crashed over its concrete breaker wall.

Open to the public year round, the famous Bondi Baths have been a historical landmark at Bondi Beach for more than 100 years. Operated by the Bondi Icebergs Club since 1929, the pool was once a winter training pool for Bondi’s lifeguards.

Afterwards I reflect on how everywhere I’ve been on this brief trip I’ve been met with smiles and enthusiastic welcomes. Australia, I’ve missed you. It’s sweet as to finally be back down under.

This is an edited version of the original article that appeared in the Vancouver Sun. To read the entire article click here:

https://vancouversun.com/travel/australia-reopens-to-the-world

 ABOUT URBAN WALKS

 Urban Walks offers a variety of premium, guided, all-inclusive, small group walks around the Sydney coastline. Find out more at https://urbanwalks.com.au/