Wattamola, Royal National Park

The fourth beach of Christmas is the stuff of dreams- Wattamola Beach, Royal National Park.

Wattamola

Wattamola

Wattamola Swim

Wattamola Swim

I have been there a handful of times, and each visit is magical, so much so that when I return to everyday life, I have to ask myself if that beach swim actually took place. And yes, on this occasion I had to pinch myself mid swim to reassure myself that Wattamola is real, very real.

Wattamola Lagoon

Wattamola Lagoon

And ever so popular…the small beach car park had filled to capacity by 9am. And come 12 noon, cars were parked illegally along the stretch of road leading to the water. I even witnessed a taxi drop off….at Wattamola, Royal National Park…unheard of, crazy…but again very real.

This place is special, very special and it seems EVERYONE knows it. It is no longer a secret beach, hasn’t been for some time. But secret beach or not, Wattamola might be the fourth beach of Christmas this year, but it rightful place should be atop the mantle…Number one for so many reasons!!

Beach Buddies

Beach Buddies

Sandon Point

The fifth beach of Christmas is yet another stretch of Coastline, that during the first 25 years of my life as a full-time a South Coast resident, I ignored. Add 10 years of city living to this tally, and FINALLY I found the time to spend an afternoon at Sandon Point Beach, Bulli.

Sandon Point Beach, Bulli

Sandon Point Beach, Bulli

Sandon Point Beach, Bulli

Sandon Point Beach, Bulli

Yet it was bitter sweet, for I felt a tinge of sadness for the beach I had neglected for many, many years. As a young girl, Austinmer Beach stole my heart. As a teenager, when I wasn’t sulking in my room, I was scanning groceries at the local supermarket…. thus neglecting sand and surf. And as a young adult, when I wasn’t serving fish & chips at the local take away shop, I was sculling vodkas in Wollongong ‘ Night Clubs’….the beach furthest from my mind.

Then I up’ed  & left town, moved to the UK for two years, finally settling for ‘ good’ in Sydney, NSW. Good bye South Coast!!

But I find myself returning each Summer to the family home down South, and it tugs at my heart-strings, raises questions I struggle to answer with conviction- ‘ Why did I Leave this place?’

Sandon Point, Bulli

Sandon Point, Bulli

Ah, Sandon Point Beach, Bulli….you got me good this afternoon with your stunning ocean views, perfectly formed waves and cool summer breeze. As I soaked up the view, over & over the question swirled- ‘ Why did I leave this place?’ …..Why did I leave this place?’

Sandon Point Beach

Sandon Point Beach

But I have come to realise some questions  take a lifetime to answer, and the verdict remains out of this particular one. I took a deep breath, shelving the question then & there, looked out to sea, happy to have FINALLY found the time to savour the beauty that is Sandon Point.

Sandon Point Beach

Sandon Point Beach

Infinity & Beyond- Man Made Infinity Pool

The sixth beach of Christmas is a pool. And as I creep closer to beach number one, holiday relaxation has definitely overtaken the desire to undertake long haul drives to the sea. So be warned, more pools to come… Preferable of the is variety that require a walk of less that 20 metres from home. The seventh beach was a natural infinity pool, a gift from above, carved into the rocks at Little Austi Beach. It is therefore pure logic that the sixth beach is a man-made infinity pool, the result of hard labour and a desire for backyard excellence and resort living. Nature VS man in the quest for the ultimate swimming hole? For me, the verdict is still out…

To infinity & Beyond

To infinity & Beyond

And as with the natural infinity pool of Little Austi, it is best to let the picture tell this aquatic tale…,a family affair, a Christmas Day Frolic, complete with floating bean bag, bath like water temperatures…..and THAT view…….Simply stunning.

My  ' Little' Brother & Dad- infinity & beyond

My ‘ Little’ Brother & Dad- infinity & beyond

Mum- Infinity & Beyond

Mum- Infinity & Beyond

The sixth beach of Christmas the man-made infinity pool….a swim that defied all expectations and was my favourite gift of the day….one that will continue to keep on giving….gotta love that!!

Natures Infinity Pool, Little Austi Beach

I reviewed ‘ Little Austi’ beach four years ago, but the tides they are a changing, sand a moving…. And this process had revealed a deep-sea gem and thus revealed the Seventh Beach of Christmas….a natural ‘infinity’ pool, a sea pool oasis nestled in between rock platforms once hidden beneath surf and sand.

Mum & Dad- Natures Infinity Pool, Little Austi Beach

Mum & Dad- Natures Infinity Pool, Little Austi Beach

Speaking to the locals at the infinity pool, the chatter amongst patrons was unanimous- you could travel the world twice over and never find a place quite as special as this. Call me biased, but I would have to agree. I have spent many a summer at Little Austi, each one providing special memories- a Boxing Day picnic, a dip in the ocean with friends from abroad, friends from Sydney, friends from next door. Summer 2014- 2015 will be the year Little Austi is remembered for it’s unique swimming opportunity… One that may disappear at any moment with a change of tides….

Me in Natures Infinity Pool, Little Austi Beach

Me in Natures Infinity Pool, Little Austi Beach

Little Austi Beach…simply stunning….words do not to justice to its natural beauty….so I’ll let pictures tell the story of a beach that provides the perfect setting for day by the sea.

Little Austi Beach- looking North

Little Austi Beach- looking North

A more permanent swimming hole at Little Austi, known by locals as ' The Gutter'

A more permanent swimming hole at Little Austi, known by locals as ‘ The Gutter’

 

 

 

Bellambi Beach and Rock Pool

The Eighth Beach if Christmas is a combo deal….Bellambi Beach and Rock Pool.

With the Seventh beach of  Christmas, Thirroul Olympic pool, taking me on a trip down my childhood memory lane, it sprang to mind, that I should therefore revisit the beach of my teenage years. I have never swum at Bellambi Beach, or it’s rock pool but I did spend 6 years, from age 12 till 18, at the Catholic a High School just up the road from the ocean.

It seems ridiculous that I have not taken a dip in such waters…High School was such as unpleasant time, that surely such waters could have eased my teenage angst ( or at least a provide a cure for acne!!)

Ah, but Bellambi Beach and Rock pool, you have provided teenage memories that have withstood the passing on time. It is 18 years since I graduated from High School, and by far, some of my most vivid memories are beach memories-

1. The rumour that their was a dead horse inBellambi Rock pool in 1994, surely the reason behind Wednesday swimming that said week being transferred to Woonona Pool.

Bellambi Rock Pool

Bellambi Rock Pool

2. Being asked to leave Year 12 2 Unit Art, by substitute Teacher from’ Sydney’, to go down to Bellambi Beach….sit there and draw something ‘real’. Instructed not to come back till I had done so….I took 3 hours!

Bellambi Beach

Bellambi Beach

3. The excitement of riding my bike to school for the first time, along the bike track, past Bellambi Beach on a summer’s morning…..only for the pedal to fall off on return ride home and Mr Someone ( name withheld) having to drive me home from School.

Surfer- Bellambi Beach

Surfer- Bellambi Beach

And I am sure if I strained hard enough more memories would surface. As I strolled along the sand today, I was puzzled as to why I had not given myself the opportunity back in High School to indulge in more ‘ free time’ at Bellambi Beach and Rock Pool. Dead horse or not, it is a stunning stretch if Coast….that one day I hope to enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

Thirroul Olympic Pool

The Ninth Beach of Christmas is a pool.

‘ Thirroul Olympic Pool’ it’s official name ( I learnt that for the first time today, as I stopped and paid attention to the pool sign that welcomes patrons!!)….but as far as I am concerned it only has one name ‘ Thirroul Pool’.

Thirroul Olympic Pool

Thirroul Olympic Pool

As mentioned in previous posts, I spent the first 25 years of my life on the South Coast of NSW. I have visited Thirroul pool more times than I care remember….some memories are joyous, taking a cool dip in the 50 metre salt water pool with friends after school and some are painful, swimming lessons aged 6, on cold rainy mornings, being yelled at by a women who appeared more army squadron than swim coach. I still remember my teeth chattering away and the salty tears I often cried as I endured the to true that was Thirroul Pool swimming lessons.

Thirroul Olympic Pool

Thirroul Olympic Pool

So memories bring a smile, such as those of my primary school class weekly summer swimming sessions. Those were great days… When chalk boards and stuffy classrooms were abandoned for a lesson of the salt water variety. Or the annual school swim carnival. I recall I used to enter the 25 metre races as opposed to the 50 metre variety….the short distance almost guaranteed a ribbon!!

Thirroul Olympic Pool

Thirroul Olympic Pool

And today as I swam 50 metre laps of breast stroke without any fanfare or ribbon ceremony, I reflected upon the good, the bad and the down right torturous times spent in this 50 metre bath. Memories of this pool sit atop the mantle piece of my childhood, in prime position, as it provided the backdrop to many summer ( & winter) salt water escapades. Perhaps today, I understand why ‘ Olympic’ is in its official name…Thirroul Pool is legendary.

 

The Farm

The 10th Beach of Christmas is ‘ The Farm’…..yes, on the South Coast, in Killalea State Park, Shellharbour there is a beach with such a name.

It is a true gem, a South Coast marvel, an unpatrolled stretch of pristine coastline,  surf board rider paradise, surrounded by national park.

The Farm, Killalea State Park

The Farm, Killalea State Park

To me, ‘ The Farm’ was the stuff of folk-lore and fairytales. I did not actually believe such a place existed on the South Coast….and if it did it baffled me as to why I had not been their having spent the first 25 years of my life in the Illawarra.

Even yesterday, after spending my morning in this beachside paradise, on asking a number of Illawarra locals if they had ever been to ‘ The  Farm’, the answer, 9 times out if 10 was ‘ No’

‘ The Farm’, not a cow, tractor or horse in sight…. Just blue ocean doted with board riders in on one of the South Coast’s best kept secrets. And now I am sharing this with you, fellow readers.

The Farm, Killalea State Park

The Farm, Killalea State Park

And whilst the sun failed to shine, The picture complete with overcast skyline are stunning, of a beach day with my Father. I am hoping between to return to ‘The Farm’ on a sunny day to re-review this magical place. A place of such beauty deserves a second chance to shine…..

Dad on The Farm Beach

Dad on The Farm Beach

North Wollongong Beach

Whilst the sun may have taken many a vacation during the first two weeks in December, come rain, hail or shine….I will venture beachside to complete the annual 12 Beaches of Christmas. Taking refuge on the South Coast for the Christmas period, the 11th Beach is a Wollongong favourite…..North beach.

North Wollongong Beach

North Wollongong Beach

North Wollongong beach, ‘ North Gong’ to us locals is pretty special. It is a lovely stretch of coastline,  made even more lovely when frequented with fine company. The 2014-2015 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign is taking friends along for the ride. ‘ Diggies’ cafe , North Gong, is almost as famous as the golden stretch of sand and aqua blue ocean that greets beach patrons. It is the perfect place for a catch with a mate, 12 months in the making. An old work buddy, returned from London Town to the good old Gong….Scott and I chatting over brunch as the ocean waves crashing in the background made the perfect summer soundtrack.

Scott and I

Scott and I

North Gong beach…..picture perfect, rain, hail or shine….or overcast for that matter….

North Wollongong Beach

North Wollongong Beach

Shelly Beach

The Twelve Beaches of Christmas return for another year.

And so on this day, the 12th of December, I launch the 2014 -2015 summer campaign, the personal challenge to myself, to visit 12 beaches along the NSW coastline during the festive season and into the New Year.

Without further ado I present, Shelly Beach, one of North Sydney’s finest.

Shelly Beach, Manly

Shelly Beach, Manly

And to be honest, a day at the beach with a best friend, is the best day of all…My lovely friend Kate, who has accompanied me on so many beach visits, came along for the ride. She was the inspiration behind the day….

Double Trouble- Kate x 2

Double Trouble- Kate x 2

Shelly Beach, the perfect place to kick-start summer, a small secluded beach, within walking distance from Manly and Fairy Bower Beach. Kate and I walked from Freshwater to Shelly Beach ( 45 minutes) taking in the sites, sounds and smell of summer on our leisurely stroll.

Armed with a good book, some sun cream, a new bikini and beach towel, I am ready for the next 11 beach reviews.

I welcome suggestions for seaside reviews, I have a car with 4 spare seats and personally welcome you along for the ride ( in the printed text form or as an actual passengers in my Honda civic, beach bound!!)

Summer is here. I have waited all year its return……

Summer Sound Track 2014

It appears that each Summer I have a pre-destined musical soundtrack to accompany the season of sun, sand, sea and general good times.

Last year, the that honour went to the divine Ms Jessica Mauboy and her album ‘Beautiful’. The song that accompanied me on countless visits to the beach was ‘Pop a Bottle ( Of your Love). I could not get enough of this song…..Come Summer 2014 however, a new beat is in need.

And it so happens that the Summer 2014 soundtrack is set to be another Australian Idol winner, Mr Guy Sebastian. I realise this admission could lead to a decline in readership, with people questioning my taste in music in general, but I am not bothered.

I want the sounds of summer to be carefree and fun….good beats, strong base and super fine vocals….Mr Sebastian fits that bill perfectly…..

During the year 2014 I have seen an eclectic mix of musical performances….The incomprable Ms Katy Steele at the Basement, Circular Quay, the breath-taking K T Tunstall  at the same venue in April. I saw the children’s group High 5 with my god-daughter Mae at the Enmore Theatre in July, and backed in up in September by seeing a the Super talented Australian Hip Hop act Horrowshow. I went to a classical music concert with my Dad at the Opera House in May and 2 weeks ago, saw pop sensation Katy Perry at All Phones Arena, Homebush.

And when all is said and done, I settle on the album ‘Maddess by Guy Sebastian as my summer sound track

Maddness you say? I just don’t care.

I ask you to indulge me, and take a moment to listen to Guy’s  song ‘Come home with me of said album’. To me, it is summer in a song – carefree, joyous and fun.

Go on…. lighten up, take a listen and just enjoy!!

Related Post- Summer SoundTrack 2013

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