McIver’s Ladies Baths


Having just returned from the South Coast for a Hen’s Day for one of my best friends it seems a good a time as ever to commit to writing the Number One Beach of the 2017 12 Beaches of Christmas campaign.

Introducing McIver’s Ladies Baths, Coogee.

Ladies only ( and children)

Because as Beyonce so eloquently puts its ‘ Who run’s the World? GIRLS’

Our own private ocean bath.

Just because.

As my Hen’s retreat reminded me – it is ‘ my girls’ who shape my world. We have stood by each other through the good, the bad, the ugly. We don’t always agree, we challenge, we support, most importantly we inspire.

And McIver’s Ladies Baths, Coogee celebrates this in salt water form.

Having lived in Sydney for some 14 years and counting it is a crime against womankind not to have swum there before last weekend. So on the second hottest day on record in the city, I decided to right this wrong.

It was a pure oceanic delight.

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I hope ‘ My Girls’ will join me at McIver’s Ladies Baths in the Christmas campaigns to come. Leave behind the magnificent men in their lives and join me for an salt water swim that celebrates the female form.

Beyonce ( and myself) make this request of you.

Right here, right now.

Happy Summer 2017 – 2018 fellow readers….till we meet again on sand and shore xx




Newcastle Ocean Baths

Over the Christmas – New Year period, when visiting friends who I had not seen in forever, as I entered the family home, I was greeted to a recital :

‘ The Bogey Hole, Bilgola Beach, Merewether Beach’

‘ Stop’ I uttered , my face going red.

But on and on it went…..

‘ Bar Beach, Newcastle, Bronte Beach Revisited’ , my face turning a deeper shade of crimson as the roll of call of the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2017 continued.

‘ I can’t believe you read my blog, I am so embarrassed’

‘ I love your writing, you’re a wordsmith’ my friends husband offered.

And so I dedicate this post to you, Catch up with a Mate Fan.

Newcastle Ocean Baths with its stunning Art Deco pavilion.

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths

I’m keeping this post simple, admit that since the admission of a readership of at least one person, words escape me.

Newcastle Ocean Baths, a 2.5 hour car journey North of Sydney or a 3 hours on the train ride. Highly recommended. A journey that will instill a love of coastal living for any inner city resident. Newcastle awash with swimming options, as my fan of one would recite…..’ The Bogey Hole, Merewether Ocean Baths, Bar Beach’

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths


Little Manly Beach

It was a pinch yourself is this real moment!!

A visit to ‘ Little Manly’ beach, a summer lunchtime spread, ocean side from an apartment that truly had water views. Coming back to the inner city late last night, I found myself glancing out my window, longing for THAT view….

Little Manly Beach View

The day had it all… guests, cousins, kids and new friendly faces.

Food glorious food, wine, champagne, cheese and pavlova.

Ocean swimming at its best, there are not many people who can say that from their back yard they can jump into the sea….

It was a pinch yourself is this real moment!!

From the apartment backyard, we noted the beach was awash with people, sun-baking, swimming, snorkelling.

But we did not have to contend with the crowds….we submerged ourselves into the delight that is Little Manly Beach by jumping off the backyard wall, or navigating the rock platform to the waters edge.

I had never head of Little Manly till yesterday. It is secret. Locals like it that way.

Those in the know, are truly in the know.

And when the ice- cream boat, that I first encountered on a trip to La Perouse ( 12 Beaches of Christmas Campaign 2014) I almost hyperventilated.

It confirmed what I already knew – this was indeed the most wondrous of days.

Little Manly Beach, the Ice Cream boat, international guests, cousins, kids and new friendly faces. Food Glorious food, wine, champagne, cheese and pavlova.

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It was a pinch yourself is this real moment!!

I’ve the marks on my arm as evidence to attest it was indeed very very real.

Claireville Beach

A hidden gem – One of the many that make up Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  Lesser known  than show stoppers Avalon, Palm and Whale Beach. But once on your radar, it will remain a firm summer favourite. And for good reason….

IMG_3854I arrived there at dusk, the sun was fading and the crowds had dissipated.


And whilst I did not swim, I soaked up the scenery, let is wash over me. I watched the sun go down and I marvelled at the natural beauty surrounding me.

The salty sea air, a few deep purifying breathes and I turned towards the car park, heading back for a meal at a friends Northern Beaches Weekender.

This visit took place in April 2017. It was my first visit to Claireville Beach.

These photo memories sustained me through a long cold Sydney Winter and a mild Spring.

Summer is now in full force…..and Claireville Beach is waiting for you!!


Brighton Beach

That’s Brighton Beach, Wollongong.

A pristine stretch of sand and ocean blue that I had forever termed ‘Wollongong Harbor Beach’ ( accompanied with inner dialogue – I’d never swim there!!)

But yesterday, completely by accident, as I stood waterside in the late afternoon, snapping pictures for the post I assumed would be titled ‘Wollongong Harbor Beach’ the  identity of the coastal delight revealed itself to me in makeshift sign form.

Brighton Beach, Wollongong.

What a discovery! What a revelation! Some 39 years and counting, considering myself a local Gong girl – and still learning.

Online research followed – Brighton Beach Wollongong – confirming the little coastal inlet in Wollongong Harbor has an official name – was I the only one not in the know?

Not to worry – a quick swim, and some happy snaps and my naivety seemed forgiven.

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But thoughts that I knew my home town well were in an instant shattered – and that feeling remains today.

Brighton Beach Wollongong – my place of personal reckoning.

Seems I have a lifetime of learning ahead –  the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2018 can’t come soon enough!!

Mahon Pool – Revisited

Heaven on earth, Mahon Pool, Maroubra, warrants a revisit. Christmas Eve 2017 is as good a time as any.

In fact it’s perfect. With a friend from the UK home for an Aussie Christmas and Uber taxi our coastal chariot of choice – does life get any better?

It had been five years since the last review,  so before one peruses the feature post, Mahon Pool, 2012.

It was an early start in the Uber, 7.11am. Destination Mahon Pool – step on it please!

Immersed in the ocean pool 21 minutes later. Life was beautiful.

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One of Sydney’s true coastal gems, a secret swimming spot that is kind of no longer a secret swim spot. We had to ‘share’ Mahon pool with 50 others. In Sydney that is not like having to share at all!

Despite minimal sleep and failure to caffeinate before reaching our destination, the swim was the perfect antidote to the forecast mercury reading for the day ahead.

It was for me one of the best swims of 2017, with the best of friends, in the best of the best of Sydney’s ocean pools. And the Uber taxi there and back – the cherry on top!

Post swim we downed two coffees over breakfast back in the city. We boasted to our waiter about our early morning dip at Mahon Pool. Maroubra.

‘What pool?’ the waiter asked, confused.

‘Mahon Pool, Maroubra’

‘I’ve never been to Maroubra’ remarked the waiter, a Sydney resident of 10 plus years.

Mahon Pool Maroubra, or as I like to refer to it, heaven on earth. And prehaps after our exchange with the inner city barista, a secret after all.






Bronte Beach – Revisited

Five years ago I reviewed Bronte Beach, beautiful Bronte Beach located in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.

It makes for nostalgic reading – Bronte 2012

And today seemed a good a day as any to head back. Sydney City was forecasted to be H.O.T.  At 7.16am the mercury had hit 30 degrees and I had made a bold decision the night before to be on the 6.27am bus- destination ocean.

One of the best decisions I’ve made in 2017.

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And I was NOT alone in this thinking – at 7.16am there was a crowd of like-minded souls, basking in the am sunshine and cool refreshing water.

I love Bronte Beach for early morning swims, midday swims, mid-week swims, late evening swims too. It is a most accessible beach on public transport and one of the reasons I return time and time again.

My 2012 post was all about quick car access to the water and an Eastern Suburbs address.

Fast forward five years and I no longer own a car and I live to the South East of the beaches.

Life with or without a car, coastal or inner city address – no sooner does one dive into the water, mode of transport and postcode are of little concern to Bronte Beach.

All Bronte is concerned with is that you are back – it is lasting friendship that matters most to her, and you swim, you laugh and you smile, with this awareness.

Beautiful Bronte xx



Infinity Pool – Revisited

At the end of 2016, I boldly declared my New Years resolution to be one which would see me spend time, lots of quality time in 2017 with a favourite little person, my niece, Ms R.

Time to revisit the infinity pool that featured in the 2014 12 Beaches of Christmas Campaign. For good reason….the delightful Ms R, attached to pool noodle, floated alongside me.

Infinity Pool and Beyond with Ms R

Infinity Pool and Beyond with Ms R – Beach Number Eight, 2017


At last I can report that I stuck to a New Years resolution.

All thanks to a feisty and determined little person who will not hesitate to ask for  kisses and cuddles and mangoes and chocolate ( in that order)

On this particular catch up, Ms R and I chewed the fat on how lucky she is to have a backyard swimming pool.

‘Nanny and Fa Fa ( Grandfather) don’t have a backyard swimming pool’

‘ I don’t have a backyard swimming pool’

‘ Do you have a backyard swimming pool Ms R?’

‘ Yep’

‘ Yes you do, and aren’t you lucky?’


It was a conversation that lasted but 30 seconds but it was on point and it was factual. It made us both smile – we are indeed lucky, we get to share precious moments with each other immersed in crystal clear chlorinated water. A pool of our very own. A lifetime of swimming catch ups ahead of us!!

Photo credits to Fa Fa ( My Dad, Ms R’s Grandfather) – three heads and counting….

Two people, Three Heads - Infinity Pool

Two people, Three Heads – Infinity Pool






Bar Beach

The sun was shining and I asked a Newcastle local, a council worker, if I was on the right track ‘ The coastal walk’- something I’d read about in a tourist information pamphlet.

His remark ‘ Never heard of that before love’!

I laughed and thanked him anyway – could not have asked for a better response.

I was walking the coastline – but according to locals, there was no official name for the journey.

I was walking in the direction of the Ocean Baths that came in at Beach Number 10 of the 12 Beaches of Christmas 2017- Merewether. The walk took me 2 hours and sites that greeted me along the way were breathtaking.

Memorial Walk - Newcastle, Looking South Towards Bar Beach

Memorial Walk – Newcastle, Looking South Towards Bar Beach

I did stumble across ‘ Memorial Walk’ – a 450 metre sign posted path, a tribute to the fallen men and women from the First World War. This part my stroll had spectacular views of the coastline – none prettier than Bar Beach.

One of my favourite Newcastle swimming spots, Bar Beach that conjures up special memories of being ‘ in town ‘ ( Newcastle) and hankering for a swim.

Never fear, Bar Beach is oh so near. In a matter of minutes you can go from hipster shopping on Darby street to ocean dip at Bar Beach.

Life is beautiful for Novocastrians.

Life is beautiful for those who visit her.

Bar Beach, Newcastle

Bar Beach, Newcastle

And perhaps my council work friend, who had never heard of Newcastle’s ‘ Coastal Walk’ eyes would have lit up if I had referred to the walk as the ‘ Bathers Way’ – the ‘offical’ name for the 6 km track linking Newcastle’s famous coastline stretch from Nobby’s Beach to Merewether Ocean Baths.

Some how I think he would still have remarked ‘ Never heard of that before love!’

Merewether Ocean Baths

The Australian Summer.

Early morning swims, coffee catch ups. Friends & family gatherings. BBQs, mojitos. Sunburn, sun cream and sand.

The familiar nighttime anthem – Cicadas serenading the moon.

Writing about aquatic adventures.

Does it get any better?

My adventure North of Sydney to Newcastle, revealed an abundance of salt water delights.

Take Merewether Ocean Baths.

Merewether Ocean Baths - view stretches for miles!!

Merewether Ocean Baths – view stretches for miles!!

Constructed in 1935, the Baths are the largest in NSW ( measuring 100m x 90m) And if that was not enough to lure you in, Mr Daniel Johns, former front man of the Australian band Silverchair, is a Merewether native (Be still my beating heart)

A place such as Merewether has but one religion, the ocean. You live and breath it.

Don’t feel that way inclined about the deep blue? Consider moving inland.

I’ve read the John’s struggled with this during his teen’s and early 20’s – he did not identify surf culture and that made things hard going. With the passing of time, and the international success that followed due to his other worldly musical ability, Merewether became a place of refuge. A place where he could simply be.

Yes, you can do that in Merewether.

Once you’re worked out who you are you can do that anywhere.

Given the choice, I’d choose to me by the ocean any day.

Merewether Ocean Baths - view stretches for miles!!

Merewether Ocean Baths – view stretches for miles!!

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