Jamie and I pulled up at her local grocery store with a picnic rug and a small esky thrown on the back seat of her car.
“CHICKEN STRIPS,” I shouted in Jamie’s direction as we weaved in and out of the Woolworths aisles. With her nod of approval, I peered through the hot, greasy glass, condensation dripping down over the barrier that separated us from the Chicken Puffs and Chicken Strips. For 13 cents a pop, it would be rude not to take a whole box.
“How do you feel towards crackers and dip?” A packet of rice crackers, bag of green grapes, two small tubs of dip and two boxes of chicken strips later, we hurried back to the car. Our empty stomachs flopped as we sped over the speed bumps, weaving in and out of the one way streets that lead us to our secret destination.
Google Maps mumbled away in Jamie’s lap as she carefully turned each corner through the last one way street. You can tell a lot about a Sydney suburb by the state of the neighbourhood lawns. On this particular street, the standard was high. It would seem to an outsider that the residential lawn-mowers of each household had come to an agreement that all lawns must be whipper-snippered with precision, kept only the most perfect of green and cut to a length that could support a soft soled shoe, but not reach too high into the bare foot inside a sandal. You get me?
Anyway, we grabbed our goodies from the back seat, neatly packed them into the esky and turned around to see a small bush track opening at the dead end of the road. Stone steps lined the way, to the right a steep hill layered with gum trees, to our left hand side we could see the sun reflecting off the water below a steep hill that was lined with prickly trees and shrubbery’s.
We came to a fork in the track where one path lead to a small rock that overlooked the water. Curious to find a bigger rock to lay down our picnic rug, we followed the path a little further where we came across a large rocky ledge with the water lapping up into small pools on the rocks.
Here’s some advice, when you go bush walking in Sydney, no matter how suburban or rural the region, ALWAYS check for spider webs between trees. I noticed a large web twinkling in the sunlight almost right where Jamie was pointing for us to go. Before she took a step forward, I suggested we take the smaller path to the left, you know, to leave poor spidey in peace.
Ripping open the crackers and carefully carving into the dip, we picked at the chicken strips and watched the clouds roll over the hill across the water. A little further along our side of the bank, a man and his fishing rod waited patiently for a good catch. Meanwhile, beneath my leg a small green ant and his colony were plotting their revenge. You see, I must have accidentally killed one of their dear friends when I carelessly threw down the picnic rug. Without any warning, one of the ants rudely nipped my right butt-cheek, and with a high pitched EEP I slapped the little bugger and killed him.
It occurred to us at this point that we had set up our picnic on private property that belonged to a large green ant family. We did the right thing and stayed, because no good story ends with “Yeah we left because the ants didn’t like us being there.”
A cool breeze blew across the water, making ripples but no waves. This little picnic spot wasn’t near any noisy roads and didn’t have any locals walking along the tracks. It’s difficult to find new, quiet locations that are actually ‘secret’ and I think that Jamie and I struck gold on this one.
Stay tuned for more ‘Secret Spots with Mildo’ and join me on my adventures around Sydney. I’m on a mission to find some real-deal secret locations, but of course, you’ll have to try and guess where they are.