On a stuck-for-something-to-do Saturday, Mr Man suggested that we explore the foreshore of a suburb unfamiliar to us. That suburb was Balmain, which sits on a small peninsula in the Inner West. To get there, either take the ferry to Balmain East or the 442 bus from the QVB which terminates at the wharf. Alternatively, drive and park along Darling Street.
Top Tip: Most of the parking is restricted to 30 minutes or 2 hours. Find a park near Balmain Bowling Club for free all-day parking.
Our self-guided 8.5km tour starts on the corner of Nicholson and Darling Street, about 200m from the ferry terminal. Navigate through the backstreets until you hit the water. The walk does not hug the foreshore for the entire distance, and consists of a mix of waterfronts and backstreets lined with 19th Century sandstone cottages and Victorian townhouses alongside more contemporary dwellings.
The path returns along Darling Street for about 20m, until heading back down to the water and the Colgate Palmolive Building. Originally built in 1923 as a soap factory, this historic building has now been converted into swanky residential units overlooking the water with city scenery.
From here, make your way to Balmain Ferry Terminal and through Mort Bay Park. If you wanted to run part of the course, now is a good time. Though don't run too fast as you'll miss the colourful Waterview Wharf Workshops. The former shipping company workshops are heritage listed and were constructed between 1880 and 1941.
Stroll, jog or run Mort Bay Park
Heritage listed workshops
Next stop Ballast Point Park. This multi-tiered park sits on what was previously a fuel depot and is worth taking some time to explore. There are remnants of its former state, none so much as 3 large oil tanks close to the entry. The park includes walking paths, landscape gardens, a BBQ area and of course, great views.
Multi-tiered Ballast Point Park
Ballast Point Park
Upon leaving the park, walk up Wharf Road and through the nondescript Birchgrove Oval to Louisa Road. You can either take a 400m detour to Birchgrove Ferry Terminal, or turn left in the direction of Balmain Sailing Club, another good spot for a short run, before heading up the steps towards Elkington Park.
Run alongside the sailing club yachts
As we did not follow the top tip, we rushed through Elkington Park and back to Darling Street, as the 2 hour parking limit was fast closing in. If time isn't an issue, go to the headland for closer inspection of nearby Cockatoo Island, before stopping off at one of the many cafes along Darling Street.
For a detailed map of the above route, click here.
We were pleasantly surprised by this walk. Whilst it may not be the prettiest foreshore in Sydney, the combination of historic buildings, a village atmosphere, narrow streets and harbour views made for an interesting and diverse area to explore.
Unlike bush walks, there isn't a correct route and you can't get lost, at least not for long. The great thing about this walk is that it can be made shorter or longer to suit you…and your parking ticket.