I’ve come to love the south coast of New South Wales since moving to Canberra from Perth 20 years ago.
It’s been something of a slow burn, as at first those beaches with tall timber reaching down to the shore seemed so foreign compared to the wide, open wind-blasted west coast. Over time, though, it has become hard to resist the region’s heady mix of mountains, forest and sea.
A few years ago, we bought a workmanlike holiday house at Long Beach, just north of Bateman’s Bay, and we love that stretch north through to Ulladulla, particularly South Durras with its low-key, unadorned seaside life. You could be forgiven for thinking nothing much has changed there for fifty years! The beaches are intimate, with treed headlands that bookend each patch of golden sand.
I love clambering around the rocky points with my kids, curious about what we might find beyond. And at the right time of year there’s always the chance of spying a whale from the high ground.
Growing up in Perth, I always had a sense of the beach as a kind of source, much in the way that Tim Winton has captured so idiomatically in his writing. It means a lot to me to be able to give at least some of that love of the sea to my kids, despite now living inland in the hill country near the nation’s capital.
I love where we live now, but the pull of the coast remains very strong. Every few months, there’s nothing for it but to pile into the car and head down the Clyde, waiting all the way for that first glimpse of the Bay.