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One of the best things about life in Australia is that it has one of the most spectacular, jaw-dropping coastlines in the world. If you traverse the coast anywhere from north, south, east, or west of this big country, you will find astounding natural beauty everywhere.
It is a country completely surrounded by water. To the east is the South Pacific Ocean; to the west is the Indian Ocean; to the north, the Timor, Arafura, and Coral Seas; and to the south, the Southern Ocean and Tasman Sea. Its coastline is nearly 37,000 kilometers long.
A big chunk of Aussie life is about the beach since almost everywhere you look, if you don’t live inland, you see thousands of miles of pristine white sands and inviting blue waters. Eighty five percent of the population of this nation lives near the coast. It would literally take more than a lifetime to explore every beach, cove, and inlet around this continent-nation.
Australians call their country “lucky” because it is blessed with an overabundance of natural resources. It has the biggest mines that keep the economies of many nations going, especially China. The Australian economy is largely an extractive one; most of the wealth here is created by the maximization (if not exploitation) of its resources. Sometime during the early 20th century, Australia was considered the wealthiest nation on earth because of the potential of its natural gifts.
I digress. And, yes, this article is about beaches, and even here, Australia definitely rules! It boasts having more beaches than any other nation on earth—11,011 of them.
If you live within Sydney, there is already so much to explore. Within the city itself, one can, on a whim, don a swimsuit and just hie off to the many beaches everywhere and be in the water in just minutes. On the north of Sydney are many little bays and harbors dotted with small boats, medium and large-sized yachts which are testimony to this nations love of the ocean. It is not unusual to see driveways in residential areas having small motorboats parked on them even in neighborhoods hundreds of miles away from the nearest body of water.
In Circular Quay, one can take a ferry to go to places like Watson’s Bay to eat fish ‘n chips or just walk about for the day.
One can say that Australians are lovers of the beaches and ocean. They love to swim, scuba, suntan, surf, go yachting, sailing, camping, picnicking, have a “Barbie” (barbecue) by the beach. Friends of mine in Sydney wake up early on weekends not to play golf like my Manila friends do but to go fishing on weekends. Two of Australia’s recent modern-day heroes are teens who sailed around the world by themselves. One can say that embedded in the Aussie national psyche is their love for and affinity with water.
As a resident staying west of Sydney, I have visited quite a number of beaches within just a hundred miles or so. I have been to Terrigal, a secluded beach strewn with huge rocks as big as cars and trucks with violent but extremely picturesque giant waves smashing on them. It is best known for a fight scene in one of the Mission Impossible movies. There is also The Entrance, a coastal family resort visited by hundreds of thousands of people yearly with restaurants and shops along the water. If you want small private coves, you can go to Bundina, about an hour and a half drive from West of Sydney. It is a quaint little town with many secluded coves. You can follow trails that will lead you to Aboriginal carvings on big stones, or an exploration of lush flora along semi-carved pathways, or suddenly come across a beach with a bevy of bodies male and female–in the nude–sunbathing and unmindful of onlookers. And these are just three of the beaches I have visited. There are infinitely more—known and unknown.
Not too far from the City, you can go to Palm Beach, Cronulla, La Perouse, and many more. I have on a few occasions invited beautiful models to pose on the beach for some photography. Every time I have friends who visit, I take them for a walk along the coast. We do the Coogie To Bondi walk ,which is a spectacularly breathtaking two-hour rambling up and down along a hilly path via walkway by the coast of the Tasman Sea. On the way are marvelously wild and arresting sights. This is an activity we do quite often with friends because it is just so amazingly beautiful, a real feast for the eyes. It also leaves a great impression and gives a feel of Sydney living and recreation.
One passes through big and small coves with many inhabited and uninhabited beaches, lots of greenery, and, as a bonus, a strikingly beautiful cemetery facing the sea. I have often imagined how happy the spirits are who occupy such a resting place with a much coveted view of the ocean. If you ever do this walk, make sure you bring a camera.
In December, the city hosts an annual art festival called Sculpture by the Sea, where this coastal walk starting from Tamarama Beach becomes a venue for beautiful, smart, amazing modern art installations put up by artists from all over the world. For this alone, it is reason enough to plan a visit to Sydney at this time.
The two-hour trek ends with an elevated, awesome view of Bondi Beach, the quintessential icon of Aussie beaches. One is greeted with the sight of a panoramic, gorgeous white paradise that is simply unforgettable.
Depending on the day of the week, the beach is either quite full or very full of people. The water is a sight to behold but like everywhere around Australia, it is a bit too cold for me even in the heat of summer. It takes a while of getting used to but once you do, it is great to frolic and swim in. On the right of the beach, facing the water near the edges by the rocks, the topless and the almost-nude lie like seals, reading books or just marinating in the sun.
Everywhere else people are building sand castles, eating, laughing, running about, and just having a good time. It takes a while for the sun to set during the summer so there is a lot of time to enjoy. But be warned that the sun in Australia especially during summer is super hot. Bring lots of water. You will need it every time you are outdoors. Skin cancer is among the top three killers here so be forearmed with lots of sunscreen, and yes, sunnies. (That’s “sunglasses” in Aus speak!). You can also bring a hat if you wish.
Right beside the beach in Bondi are a number of restaurants serving all kinds of culinary concoctions. There are also shops that sell beach wear, art, and knick knacks to satiate your tourist hunger for souvenirs.
In other parts of Australia, there are hundreds of beaches that offer water recreation and sports to enjoy. You can go diving in the Great Barrier Reef, which is in my to-do list.
Are Australian beaches safe? If you mean, are there life guards? Yes, definitely. They are able-bodied, trained for rescue, and have boats and jet skis that patrol the beaches to make sure no one drowns. The only thing some people worry about are the Great White Sharks that do swim close by sometimes and have attacked on a few occasions. And there are also some of the deadliest sea creatures that can sting or even kill you. There are the box jellyfishes, also known as sea wasps, that can stun or kill their prey. Doctors says that if you do not get the anti-venom within the first thirty minutes of being stung by these creatures, there is a 90% chance that you’ll die.
But should that stop you from having a swim in some of the greatest beaches in the world? Hmm. These do not seem to deter a great majority of Aussies who live the beach lifestyle. Like the Aussies like to say, “no worries mate!”