“I hate walking. I just don’t get the point. I understand there are times when we have to. The walk of shame for instance, or to the internet café, or home from the pub. I accept that, do it willingly even. But walking for fun? I‘d rather travel on the Greyhound bus.

Yet today I’m going to give it a go, because I‘m in Bondi, and want a $5 steak in Coogee. Now I could catch a bus and be eating in minutes, but this time, with the sun high in the sky and me being in no rush to get there,

I figure why not walk the 5km along the cliffs and be there in time for supper instead. So with that I‘m off. Bounding down the beach with new flip flops on my feet and no sun-screen on my forehead, I climb the steps that take you out past the swanky Icebergs RSL and press on to the cliff-tops beyond.

It’s now I realise just how well trodden the path to Coogee is. From joggers to skateboarders, backpackers to locals, we‘re all dazzled by the same sun, ruffled by the same breeze and targeted by the same shitting birds circling above.

I just hope one hits the head of the cute girl in front. That way, when she stops to wipe it off I could ask her if she was alright. We could then walk together, go for dinner together and commence a relationship that would lead to marriage and the laughter of all our wedding guests as we recite the amusing story of how we met thanks to a bird pooing on her head.

Fabulous. But for now I’ll just have to make do with perving at her backside. And there are other bums to look at too. Like the homeless man living on the edge of the cliff in a tent.

French maids

In England, no doubt some drunk would have rolled him into the sea by now, but not here, where locals ignore him and tourists bother him only for a photo as they sit on the sofa he has perched on the cliff-edge.

Further along is Tamarama Beach – or Glamarama as the locals know it – for this is where Sydney’s beautiful people come to tan their silicone tits. It’s also where more people drown than anywhere else, so I won’t swim, but continue on. It’s quieter now, with just the hardcore walkers, and me, carrying on to Coogee.

Excitement follows at the second beach, Bronte, where a man plays volleyball in a French maid’s outfit complete with big fake boobs and a gorgeous brown wig. I stand and watch for a while, amazed at how manoeuvrable he is, and how, without my glasses, he looks very much like a real woman.

Then he sees me staring and I get embarrassed. I leave the beach bright red, though that’s more the sun than embarrassment. Skipping sun cream was a bad idea, and I just wish I was there, enjoying my $5 steak with peppercorn sauce. But I have a cemetery to cross first.

Perched on the cliff-tops, a thousand graves house residents who finally, after securing the best views in Sydney, must feel lousy when they sit up and bang their heads against the coffin door every morning.

But on I go, with the sun now setting and the last beach before Coogee now in sight. To me, Clovelly, with it’s concrete boardwalk and communist-chic décor, has you believe a Russian submarine could bubble out of the water at any moment.

It’s not a pretty beach, or even charming. But with Brazilians playing drums and families having picnics, it’s the last dose of civilisation I’ll see before I drop down the hill into the boozy Saturday night breeze of Coogee.

I’ve arrived. Two hours after setting off, my feet are blistered and my forehead is crimson. But for all my whinging, for all the aches and strains, I’ve rather enjoyed my little stroll along
the cliffs.

I’ve seen interesting people, leading interesting lives and all within the space of 5km. Imagine how much more we’d see if, instead of jumping on buses, we used our two feet instead. But I’m still going to get the bus back.


While trying to drive across the Simpson Desert, LIZZIE JOYCE and her partner were forced to hitch a ride with some dodgy truckers.

Early one January morning my boyfriend Dan and I set off on our trip across three states, covering 3,000 miles on what would turn out to be the best trip I have ever done, not to mention the most dangerous. We were attempting to cross the Simpson Desert on our way to Alice Springs from Sydney. We were fully prepared and set off in our 4WD loaded with equipment, including 60 litres of water, a double swag, a laser beam,
and an Epirb signal.

After 10 hours of driving, watching the landscape turn from highways and tall buildings to red earth and eternal horizons we glided past an old mining town called Cobar, stopped for a wee and drove on through, thankful that this ‘Hicksville’ town was not our destination. But while driving at an average speed of 120km per hour, the trusty car (which I was assured had “just had a full service and was made for driving across such terrain”) was disintegrating and the entire wheel was about to fall off.

Ugly mothertruckers

Suddenly, the brakes started to fail and smoke started pouring out the front passenger tyre. We were 120km from the last town and with at least 100km to the next, Dan decided we should drive on (without brakes) and see if we could make it to our destination. Luckily it didn’t last long anyway as the car stopped in defiance and we were forced to pull off the road in the middle of nowhere. Within minutes two semi-trailers driving in convoy by brothers, pulled up to offer us help and I’ve never been so glad to see two spectacularly ugly truckers before in my life. Freaky Brother One then began to undress me, with his eyes, almost frothing at the mouth at coming in such close proximity to someone of the opposite sex, while Freaky Brother Two was pretending to be a mechanic and baffling Dan with his bullshit. It was turning into Wolf Creek.

Nothing could be done with the car, and we had no choice but to accept a lift from Freaky Brother One to the nearest roadhouse 13km up the road. But then he said there wouldn’t be enough room in the cab so Dan should travel with his brother and I should hop into his cab by myself. By this point I was close to hysteria and there was no way I would be getting in that lorry by myself.

So we both hopped in with Brother Number Two. Dan settled in the middle of the very spacious cab which had enough room to house a small Albanian family! Relieved to be on our way to a phone box and in relative safety, (even if we were in being driven by an axe wielding maniac I had enough faith that Dan could knock him out if it came to it) I thought it would be plain sailing from here. After a couple of minutes on the road Brother Number One starts becoming agitated – he thinks he has lost his keys as he can’t use the radio to contact his brother. He pulls into the side of the road and asks me to hop out to see if he had left them in the door lock. This forced me into ungraceful acrobatic maneuvers in order to hang myself out the door and reach round to grab the keys, with freaky brother one more than enjoying the view of my ass in the air. The keys were there, so off we set again in stilted silence.

Roadhouse blues

Finally we caught sight of the roadhouse and saw our escape was only minutes away and we made a sharp exit from the freaky brothers. Good riddance!

The roadhouse turned out to be a petrol pump and a shop that was about to close. They had a phone though and we arranged for a tow truck to pick us up and take us back to the nearest town… Cobar (the Hicksville town we drove through scorning) where we would have to wait for the next three days for the car to be repaired. How ironic that the town we were laughing at turned out to be our refuge.

So we skipped the Simpson Desert and took another route to Alice Springs where we arrived two weeks later with the biggest smiles and the best memories!

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