Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Temptation Tuesday - The Great Aussie Beach




This Tuesday at the Pink Heart Society our columnist Annie West reveals one of the most tempting things about living in Australia...sun, sand and surf, otherwise known as the Great Aussie Beach.

Not a beach girl? Do you freckle rather than tan? Do you cringe at the thought of being caught in public in your swimmers/bathers/togs/swimsuit? Do you detest the idea of real sand in your sandwiches? Never fear, for here in Oz there’s sure to be a beach to suit you. Honest!


Come and take a look around and see what you think.

I’m not sure how other people think of Australia but I suspect our glorious beaches come to mind. Let me just say that unlike some places I’ve been (carefully mentioning no names) most of ours have actual sand on them. Shock. What, no pebbles? No gravel? No boulders? I know that may come as a surprise to the hardy souls whose idea of walking over a beach includes donning sturdy boots so as not to break an ankle. Call me a wimp, but I prefer sand: soft, slithery, fantastic for moulding into shape, whether it be for sandcastle building or getting comfy for a quick nap.

There’s a beach for every mood and for every activity. For the sociable we have city beaches, guaranteed to attract crowds on any warm summer’s day. The perfect place for watching the world go by. Sunbaking, swimming, socialising, showing off newly acquired muscles/bikinis/tans are the name of the game. This is the place for gregarious souls who love the sun and the comfortable presence of others. Wonderful for people watching.


Which leads us inevitably to surf life savers. Pause here for contemplation please. If you were looking for inspiration for a new romance, you couldn’t do better than visiting a patrolled Aussie surf beach. Surf life savers come in all ages and both sexes but you’re sure to find some fine specimens of athletic Aussie males among their ranks. They spend their time training to save lives. What more could you want from a hero?


If surfing is your thing, this is the place for you. If you’re feeling energetic and ready to battle the elements, come on down. Surfers have been finding fantastic waves here for generations, wearing wet suits and braving the winter chill of the Southern Ocean, or sporting a summer tan and hip hugging board shorts on a northern beach.

Family beach picnics? Sure. Any warm weekend you’ll find families barbequing, fishing, playing beach cricket or just hanging around spending time together.


OK, you’re not into stripping off those outer layers in front of other people? Fine. You don’t actually have to swim to enjoy an Aussie beach. There are beaches devoted to a whole range of other activities – sand boarding, four wheel driving, horse or camel riding, sea kayaking, windsurfing. For the less energetic there’s always whale watching or just sitting and taking in the view.



You can meet some of the other locals. I know a beach where the dolphins come in to ride the waves with the local surfers before they head out to search for food (the dolphins that is). You can also scuba dive or snorkel amongst some of the world’s most amazing underwater reefs, right on the edge of a beach where families are picnicking.


Perhaps you’re a recluse and you don’t want to share your sandy spot. No problems. Do you have any idea how many miles of beach we have (lots) and how many people (not so many)? It’s possible to find deserted beaches, whether you just want to walk alone and gather your thoughts, paint, photograph or even write.

Or maybe you have in mind a tryst for two? Easy. We have beaches where you can take your partner and your picnic and be totally alone. You can even enjoy a luxury romantic interlude, flown in by seaplane to an isolated island and left there for the day with beach chairs, umbrella and a huge hamper of delicacies. Sigh.

And as a writer let me just add that one of the best things about walking on an Aussie beach is the way it stirs the creative juices. A walk on the beach is great if you’re looking for inspiration.

And finally, if none of that appeals, don’t forget that a hammock by the beach is perfect for reading a good book!

So, where is your favourite beach? And what’s your favourite beach activity? Hey – I’m curious – I might be able to use this in a story!





After writing this Annie is seriously thinking of heading to the beach in search of inspiration. Can ogling good looking guys count as research?


If you want to discover another reason Annie loves a good beach, check out her latest Harlequin Presents release FOR THE SHEIKH’S PLEASURE. You guessed it. The action starts on a beach... You can read an excerpt or, better yet, buy it here.

32 comments:

  1. Sorry Annie I gave up the beach when I meet and married my country boy hero some 31 years ago.

    Now my younger years (Oh soooo long ago) you would find me at that beach that became famous earlier this year when that great lump of a ship parked it-self there, Nobby's Newcastle, the city of beaches, clear water, great waves and when I was younger the best looking surfers anywhere.

    So can't help you with the beaches today but you have wet my interest and I just might have to go to the beach this year and check out the surfers . . I mean surf. Just for research mind.

    hugs
    Sandie

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  2. Ah, Sandie, Nobby's beach is in my vicinity too - snap! Though I usually head to ones with less people. These days I'm less likely to be body surfing and more likely to be walking or checking out the surfers...er, as you say, the surf.

    Annie

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  3. I love going to the beach in the early morning or evening - I'm not a running across the hot sand kind of girl. There's nothing like watching the water change colour as the sun rises or sets to feed the soul.

    I'm lucky enough to live just north of Brisbane, and grew up on the North Coast of NSW, in a town called Ballina. Now, those are the best beaches I've ever seen.

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  4. i love the pic. you have up.
    we go to a family beach.pack picnic
    my husband and son ikes to swim.
    i enjoy having a lazy day
    laying in the sun.

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  5. I live in Sydney, and I love the city beaches. Last weekend Hubby and I went out for dinner over near the Northern beaches, we went early and had a stroll on the beach first. At the end of the day it was nearly deserted, the sun was turning the sky greeny pink, and it was just beautiful.

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  6. Oh, Sami Lee, yes, there's something romantic about the beach early in the morning or just as the sun is setting. Just magic. That's one thing I'd like to do now the weather's getting warmer - have an early evening beach picnic!

    And ah, yes, those Ballina beaches are lovely. I have to say I find it almost impossible to choose a favourite!

    Annie

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  7. Peggy, I'm glad you like the pics. I had enormous fun finding them. And they're all Australian beaches!
    Your family day at the beach sounds perfect.

    Caitlyn, I have to say I'm not so familiar with the Northern beaches in Sydney. I'll have to put them on my 'must investigate' list. I love the sound of that sky. Aren't we lucky to have places like that so close?

    Annie

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  8. Jenna, we sure do have camels. They were brought out here to work in the desert generations ago. These ones are on Cable Beach in Western Australia. Whenever I see that pic I think of Trish Morey's book 'A Virgin For the Taking' which is set in Broome (Western Australia). What a fabulous location!

    Annie

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  9. Annie, what a marvellous post. As you know, I'm a beach girl from way back. Nothing like the sea! And it's marvellous for making the creative juices flow.

    Sami, Ballina! Always wanted to be buried in Ballina (to strike a slightly macabre note - do you know the cemetery facing the sea? Gorgeous!). Do you know Broken Head. So amazing!

    Another beach I love because it's so moody and stormy and always makes me think of the Brontes is Wombarra just south of Sydney near Wollongong. I had a friend who lived there and it truly is a moody masterpiece. Once saw about 100 dolphins playing off this beach - still one of the best memories of my life. Amazing!

    And then there's the Gold Coast, site of so many family holidays and wonderful memories. Nothing like a beach holiday!

    Annie, thank you! Your post really brought a smile to my face!

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  10. Hi,
    I'm from the south so beaches can be cold and windy places in a Victorian Winter but wonderful to walk along. IN summer we still need wetsuits though. Two fave beaches that come to mind are Norman Bay at Wilson's Prom National Park and RAAF beach at Ocean Grove. LOVE them to swim in and walk along.
    Great Pics, Annie!

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  11. Hey, Anna, you mentioned some lovely beaches. But it's still so hard to choose! There's a gorgeous little one on the south coast of New South Wales called Denham's Beach. It has headlands at both ends, rockpools for fossicking, lovely golden sand and gets visits by dolphins. It used to be perfect for holidays when our children were small.

    Yes, I know you're a beach girl. Maybe you should put in your will that you want to be buried at Ballina!

    Annie

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  12. Fiona, don't you get to take the wetsuits off at all? Brr! I've heard of the Wilson's Prom beaches. Hoping to make it there one day.

    Annie

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  13. Oh Annie, what wonderful pictures! Frankly ANY beach would do right now as long as it was warm and sunny. It's pretty chilly here in the UK this morning, so if any beaching is to be done it'll be in full winter regalia! Not many hunks here either, more like retired gents with obligatory brown overcoat and damp dog.
    Best wishes (and no, you are not allowed to go to the beach-not even for research.)
    Rach

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  14. Rachel,

    Are you sure I can't just slip down to the sand and get some inspiration there? I mean of course from the crisp scent of salt air and the sound of waves, not from ogling cute guys!

    Had to laugh at your description of beach goers with damp dogs. That does remind me of British beaches! Ah, sweet memories. I think you must be very hardy souls to even consider swimming over there (brr). Glad the pictures brightened up your chilly morning!

    Annie

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  15. Annie, I love your images, your writing and the idea of the beach. --- Except; if it's to rough it's going to be to cold, if it's to smooth it's going to be to hot. Then there is the sand fly that follows me around, oh and that guy who always kicks sand on me. ---- I love you writing. -- Eric

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  16. Hi Annie,

    I love the almost-circular bay in your pic second from bottom - do you know where it is?

    I live in Adelaide so we have miles and miles of gorgeous beaches on our doorstep. Every time we go near them I can't stop myself saying that we're lucky to live here.

    The dogs love the beach too!

    Claire

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  17. Hi Annie
    Great post!
    I have lovely memories of scuba diving off Middle Island near Great Keppel. An illegal fishing vessel had been sunk and was home to all sorts of fabulous fish. The boat was a wonderful old-fashioned junk - very atmospheric. I wonder if it's still there... this was a *lot* of years ago now!
    Thanks for the opportunity to take a quick walk done memory lane!
    hugs
    Sharon

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  18. Any part of the Cape Cod National Seashore is probably my favorite beach, though there are several beaches in Virginia -- the National Seashores there and South, that are just breathtaking. Huge, long stretches of deep sand and dunes, salt marshes and in Maryland, their National Seashore has the wild ponies! Maine beaches can also be very pretty, rocky and cold, but gorgeous in a rough way.

    I went to some California beaches last year, but I really don't think they were as pretty as our east coast beaches, but I may be biased. ;)

    Sam

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  19. Hi Annie,

    So many great beaches, how can you choose between them?

    I love the ninety mile beach in Gippsland where I grew up castles and beach forts and beach scavenging. I love the beach on Freycinet (not wineglass bay - the other side), so isolated and perfect especially when you get to go there with your perfect man! I love the tropical beaches with water that's always warm enough to swim in, there's this fantastic spot north of Broome called Chile beach just like Cable Beach without the 'crowds' or camels (I hate camels - did you know camel fleas bite people?) and my kids found pearl shells there. I love the history and scenery of the Great Ocean Road beaches, even if I always find it too cold to swim. I love the NSW south coast beaches and their memories of holidays as a kid. Most of all I love the Perth beaches, you can find whatever you want, isolation or fun, surfing or lazing, kid friendly or a bit wild with that lovely Leeuwin current bringing warm water down from the tropics and keeping the water temperature swimmable.

    And now I'll probably spend the day in a homesick sulk, I'm 1000's of km's from any ocean. Maybe I'll convert the basement to a tropical resort for the winter, hmmm . . .

    H! :)

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  20. Now those are mine kind of beaches! Feathery sand and the bluest of waters. Oooh. How long is the flight to Australia?

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  21. Eric, thanks for the compliments! Giggling here at your voice of reason about the sand fly and the stranger who kicks sand. Sh! We won't mention them!

    Annie

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  22. Claire, isn't that circular bay magnificent? It's Wine Glass Bay at Freycinet Peninsula in eastern Tasmania. And I've been there - great for walking. A little chilly for swimming...

    Ah, I remember your Adelaide beaches, but I've never swum there. Maybe next time.

    Annie

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  23. Sharon, Great Keppel sounds brilliant. I've never been scuba diving but finally went snorkelling at Green Ilsand near Cairns last year and it was wonderful. Love the Great Barrier Reef! Sounds like it's time you headed back to check out that spot again!

    Samantha, I love your description of those eastern US beaches - long stretches of deep sand sound perfect. And ponies! Now that we don't have (that I know of). I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the wilder sea shores.

    Annie

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  24. Maree, where are you, so far away from the beaches you love? What a great post you sent. You made me want to revisit the places I knew and experience first hand the ones I didn't. Don't you love names like Ninety Mile Beach? It's wonderful when you step out onto a long deserted beach and it goes on and on, further than you can walk in a day and all you can hear is the rush of the sea and the sound of the birds. Fantastic!

    Annie

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  25. Patricia, the flight to Australia is the downside - it is long. But the beaches make up for it - honest! And the people aren't bad either.

    I've been so enjoying everyone's responses on this topic. Would you believe it - I've woken up to a gloomy day after the gorgeous sunshine of the last week? Maybe a brisk walk on the beach, though...

    Annie

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  26. Since I'll never make it to the beaches of Australia I'll have to make do with the one in my backyard. Well a few miles from here. I live close to a National Seashore on the Texas Gulf Coast. It is a wonderful place most of the time. Unfortunately (as far as i am concerned) we have Spring Breakers once a year.

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  27. Oh, Ellen, that sounds so exotic to me - the Texas Gulf Coast. Hope you make the most of it!

    Annie

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  28. Annie, want a house guest?

    Beaches I've seen and love.....Tahiti, St. Thomas, St. John and more.....Hawaii and of course the California, Oregon and Washington Coast plus Eastern seaboard in the US. I know I'm forgetting my personal travels, but I think no matter where you live or travel when you live near the sea, there is something magical!

    Oh, I almost forgot, near my home, British Columbia and Alaska, they are magical as well in a different sort of way.

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  29. My favourite beach is at St. Gilles Croix de Vie, Western France. Lots of golden sand, and waves just right for body boarding (real surfers go further south to Biarritz I believe) Just off the beach, on the promenade are loads of cafes where you can sit and watch the activity. Also, I love the sellers of doughnuts who walk up and down selling their wares, so you don't even have to go off the beach if you're too exhausted from too much sun and body boarding to stock up on unnecessary calories!
    I have happy memories of many family holidays spent there...especially when the tide would come racing in, sweeping reluctant sunbathers (literally) off the beach. We all clung to the last strip of sand to the last possible moment, before losing our sunmats and flipflops to the incoming waves.
    Annie Burrows

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  30. Marilyn,

    You really SHOULD come and see our beaches. It's great - grab and car and just drive around the outside of the country (G) - there are wonderful spots all the way! You've named so many places I'd love to see, including Tahiti (the pics are fabulous) and the Washington Coast and Alaska. One of my personal favourites is Olu Deniz in S. Turkey. Just amazing.

    I'm sure you're right - there's magic in the sea wherever it is!

    Annie

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  31. Annie, it's lovely to see you here. You're obviously a woman after my own heart - a beach with golden sand and doughnut sellers. Love it! What more could you ask for?

    Annie

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