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Health

Parks and Recreation

Heading out into Sydney's natural landscape on a walk close to home gives a sense of happiness that you won't find in a live-stream class from your living room. We speak to avid hiker, Matt Lennon, about his favourite treks close to home.

Tell us about your favourite short walk, close to home.

One show-stopping but surprisingly simple walk that I love is from my home in Potts Point to Wendy Whitely’s Garden on the North Shore. It’s a quick urban nature fix and an easy way to take in some of the cities most famous landmarks, passing through the Botanic Gardens, alongside the Sydney Opera House and up over the Harbour Bridge.

 

What’s your favourite walk to do in Winter in Sydney? 

I love heading to the Royal National Park any time of year but especially in winter as on a quiet day you feel like you have the entire place to yourself. The park is just over an hour out of the city by car or train and is home to some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in New South Wales. I love the walk from Wattamolla to Little Marley Beach or from Otford to Burning Palms. If the beach in winter isn’t your thing, think about heading to the Blue Mountains to do the Grand Canyon hike or explore the otherworldly Valley of the Waters.

What does Sydney have that you can’t find anywhere else in the world?

I think as Sydney-siders we’re so lucky to have access to such a diverse natural landscape so close to the city. It’s not uncommon to see native Australian bush, lush subtropical rainforest and dry desert-like conditions all on the same hike. In a broader sense I think the relationship we have with the land and with nature here is quite unique; there’s this feeling of openness and space that informs everything from how we design buildings to the way we move through the world.

 

Can you describe a ‘wow’ moment you have had whilst on a walk?

I think the beauty of hiking in Sydney is that you get to have ‘wow’ moments around almost every corner. Especially if you’re a nature nerd like me. There are spots I’ve visited a million times and always walk away feeling like we live in one of the most incredible corners of the earth. If I had to pick one, it would probably be seeing my first mob of Kangaroos in the wild a few years ago!

Music or no music when you are walking?

I can go either way on this one! Sometimes, if it’s a long walk, I like to put together a playlist to help keep up my stride. But more often than not, I try to turn everything off and just tune into the experience a bit more. I was in Nepal last year and my guide and I shared one AirPod each a lot of the time… he was obsessed with 90’s rock like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and I got to introduce him to Kate Bush and Solange. A nice meeting of the minds 🙂

 

what’s your favourite wellness podcast.

I listen to a lot of podcasts… admittedly my obsession started with murder mystery but did slowly move into the wellness space too. I enjoy Esther Perel’s show ‘Where should we begin?’ that delves into the psychology of our intimate relationships. I also love Still Processing from the New York Times, I’m not sure if it would be categorised as wellness but I do feel better every time I listen to it! The show is hosted by Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris and explores everything from popular culture to sexuality and racial injustice. Every episode makes me feel like I’m in the company of smart and funny friends.

Still Processing, podcast by the New York Times

Our tips:

Keep things small. Don’t organise a big group of mates. Depending on where you live, head out with a partner or housemates.
Practise good hygiene if you do go, and make sure you keep the 1.5m of physical distancing from others around you.
Popular sites will likely be closed, so head to quieter tracks nearby. For more information see your local National Parks website:

Enjoy!

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