Barely an hour’s drive north of Sydney lies the start of the central coast. It is a beautiful part of the world, all surrounded by water – the open sea on one side and the canals and bays of Brisbane Waters on the other. The beaches are child friendly (mostly) and a great place for boogie-boarding or swimming or digging holes and building castles. The harbour of Brisbane Waters perfect for water skiing or kayaking. National parks abound, covering hilly horizons with green-grey gums. Funky coffee shops and over priced restaurants rub cheeks with local cafe’s and RSL’s filled with board shorts and thongs.
TMOTH’s family has a house up there, near Ettalong, and it is a place we visit often. So much so I discount it as “holiday.” And yet, of course it is. As many people will attest to. The idea of a mini-break, that quintessential English phenomenon made famous by Bridget Jones, is not something we generally think about here. Perhaps with so much wonder right on your door step it is hardly worth paying the accommodation costs to stay overnight somewhere nearby. But going away for the weekend, albeit just up the road, creates a totally different sense of expectation. It frames it as a holiday, as a break, as a time to relax – rather than a rushed trip to the beach.
We spent close to ten days up there recently, over Christmas. The weather was glorious, as it can often be, the sun hot, the water sparkling cool. The house we stay in is on the waterfront, where mornings can be spent with a book and a cup of tea watching pelicans circle and kids swim in the pool. In the evenings the deck is perfect for a glass of wine and a little more reading, while the water turns purple in the sunset. In case it is hard to notice, let me just say that I am a water person. I find being near water (although not on it!) very relaxing and good for my soul. I feel myself unwinding, the knots of day to day niggles floating away. I love the way water reflects everything, like a barometer of mood – dark and swirly when the sky is grey, pink and still when evening settles.
Sydney has so many fantastic, famous places to visit. World renowned beaches, icons and experiences to explore. But the joy of living in a city like Sydney is uncovering secret gems. Those places off the tourist trail and yet still full of all the wonders that make Sydney the most marvellous place to visit. One such place for me is up on the central coast, on a little beach called Lobster Beach. A slither of sand towered over by the tall gum trees of the Bouddi National Park. Although you can trek through the national park to get there, it is mostly accessible by boat, and so it is, largely a place where locals hang out when the weather is good and the sea not to rough to cross the channel. There is nothing there except sand, sea, trees and some rocks. It is utterly blissful.