Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sculpture by the Sea

"Sculpture by the Sea" is celebrating its 20th year featuring Australian and international artists along a coastal walk between Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach.  I've lived in the Sydney area for almost 8 years, and I'd yet to take myself to this spectacular showcase, combining the beauty created by nature along the Pacific coastline and those created by the hands of man and woman. 

I'd heard the crowds can be overwhelming (and hinder enjoyment), so I decided to take myself on a Monday morning, thinking this would be less crowded than other times.  I was right, and the weather cooperated with me...it was perfect...seriously, not a cloud in the blue skies, comfortable temperatures and breezes from the ocean. 

I apologize for the photo overload, but I think these pictures are worth the share.  An outdated iPhone5 and no filters were used.  Can you imagine how breathtaking these images were in real life?  Trust me.  Amazing.  If my photos aren't enough for you, check out the glorious images on the event's website. 

Some of the sites without sculptures...

After taking a short train ride from the city (15 minutes, maybe?), I grabbed a bus from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach.  Again, another short trip.  I started the walk at the Iceberg's end of Bondi (the south?...sorry, I'm directionally-challenged...I use landmarks to get around).  Iceberg's is photographed often...it's a restaurant, bar, clubhouse, and swimming pool that overlooks Bondi Beach and the ocean. 

Some of the walk is protected by railings, but a lot of it is open to the rocks, water, and grassy areas.  It's not a difficult walk and only about 1.4km long (a little less than a mile) with some steps but not many. 

After a stroll along the coast, the sculptures join a big grassy park.  There is a cafĂ© for people to stop and have a snack if they choose.  Everyone is free to roam around and view the sculptures from all angles.  

I do have one question - what part of "do not touch the artwork" is so difficult to understand?  Language barriers.  I get that.  But, men and women coupled up having a chat about the materials from which a piece of art is made and then knocking, rubbing, feeling it up and down.  No.  Unacceptable.

It was in this park area that I spotted my favorite piece (pictured below)..."Embrace" by Geoffrey Bartlett.  I posted this on my ig, and the artist thanked me for admiring his work.  Clearly, he wants to be my best friend.  Seriously, admire I did.  I sat down and just looked at it, listening to the ocean waves below, feeling the cool breezes, watching photographers come and go. 

You know what sculpture I didn't take time to admire?  The one with the ginormous group of shouting school kids running in and out of it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that schools expose kids to such artistic endeavors, but it wasn't my day to practice patience for them.

After spending my share of time at the park, I ventured along the coastal walk.  I looked down a path of stairs (not a part of the exhibit) and saw a sign for "McKenzies Bay".  In the midst of tourists, locals, school children, retirees, joggers, photographers, and dog walkers, I found a place to retreat...all by myself...no one else came down there.  I sat down and just watched the waves for awhile, listening to a natural waterfall behind me.  Then, I remembered "hey, I've got about 100 pages left of my book to read."  Yep.  I opened that book and finished it right there on that rock...with this view:

After my moment of me, the ocean, and my book, I continued the walk to see more sculptures. 

My walk and the exhibit ended at Tamarama Beach (or some start here and walk the other way.)  I took off my shoes, put my toes in the sand, and checked out the sculptures on the beach.

I ended my morning at the park along the beach and enjoyed a raspberry "icy pole".  Did I mention that this event is FREE to the public?!  It was a time that I actually stopped to think about my gratitude to sponsors and endowments for offering such a spectacular collection for FREE.  I spent about 3 hours enjoying the sites and sounds, and I enjoyed every minute of it. 

 This adventure checks off a "to do" on my 50 Before 50.

Sculpture by the Sea is held every year late October/early November.  Who wants to join me for 2017? 


  1. most of the time, i wish you were not HALFWAY around the WORLD, but then you post pictures from your adventures, and then i'm grateful you're there so i can see. thanks for sharing. :]

  2. that's so amazing; i love looking at stuff like that.

    and people are stupid. they can read yet they still have to not adhere to the rules and touch shit. what part of DO NOT TOUCH is hard to understand??

  3. seriously breathtaking. i saw your insta and i was instantly wanting to be transported there! and the fact you found that spot to read your book for so long in such peace = nothing compares. what an amazing free exhibit!!

    xoxo cheshire kat

  4. Meeee! I want to join you in 2017! *waves hands and jumps up and down* That looks so awesome, what a fantastic amount of art and in a beautiful setting and free! Unbelievable.

    Oh and the touching people gives me rage. I have to try very hard not to go into bossy mode and start telling people off.

  5. WOW... I would have just loved spending the day looking at these things.
    & yep... taking a book to just sit & enjoy for awhile.
    I dont get people. Isn't' that common courtesy to NOT TOUCH THINGS???? People amaze me.

  6. Ok, that seriously sounds like the perfect afternoon! Strolling all alone, at your leisure! And you found a private spot among the chaos? That's my favorite. It makes me so calm and reflective! I think my favorites were the pink paint drop from the bobcat and the rhino head in the sand. It's so awesome that the artist replied to your pic!

  7. Wow - it looks so incredibly beautiful and amazing. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. And being able to finish a book at what has to be one of the most beautiful places - icing.

  8. You definitely couldn't have timed it more right with your trip to see the Sculptures! I love how there's so many different types and shapes of the sculptures too! The one that looks like a ship hanging off the side of the cliff is probably my favorite!

  9. That is SO cool! I always had March/April in mind for a trip to Australia but perhaps I should switch to October...

  10. Ahhhh so cool!!!!! The sculptures look so cool and you say free?!?! Even better!

  11. Really great pictures hun! I can almost smell the salt in the air. Looks peaceful sitting on the rocks too....


  12. I would LOVE that! Seriously, I love public art displays and funky exhibits. Glad you had great weather! The scenery looked incredible.

  13. oh what a wonderful event!! i have never been, but i would love to go. how amazing. gross school kids though, ew. and idiots touching things! how rude!! love that you got to read your book on a rock. what a fabulous place to read a book! my favourite piece is the last one with the construction vehicle spilling the pink stuff into a shape of australia :)

  14. I really like the one of the man about to jump in the water and the one with the oars (paddles? is there a difference? I know nothing of the water). What a great way to start your week!

  15. This is AMAZING. I love the views, it's so good that it wasn't busy yet when you went. I'm not much for crowds and milling through a bunch of people. The weather sounds incredible too! I love sculpture gardens and trails. We went to one in Seattle that was right by the sound and it was lovely. Kind of reminds me of this, though obviously significantly less sunny! ha I can't even pick a favorite. Um, I hate it when people touch things or animals that they are not supposed to. Makes me mad. Though, I know I totally did that (with things, not animals) as a kid/teen. What a brat I was. :P XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


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