I’ve been to many exceptional beaches around the world. Cancun, Mexico; Byron Bay, Australia; and a little rocky one down a little lane, past a some friendly sheep, just north of Donegal in Ireland where I went skinny dipping in the Atlantic with some Spanish friends.
Some of these places are rather touristfied, though I’d be surprised if the little place in Donegal is likely ever to be bothered by hundreds of hotels, resorts, beach chairs and all-you-can-drink doof bars lining its coast as they do in Cancun.
Kangaroos. I just thought I’d throw that in at this stage as I tire of long introductions.
Real live kangaroos, hopping about, or just lying there, on the front lawns of people’s houses. This is what you’ll find at the town of Pambula Beach, which, as the name suggests is right by a beach, which lines the Pacific Ocean.
We travelled there for the Queen’s birthday long weekend in June, the start of winter Australian time. And while there were patches snow on the hills when we drove the Great Snowy Highway from Canberra down to the coast, the weather at this time of year in the south coast can be rather pleasant, around 18 or 20 degrees C during the day.
Winter by the seaside has its advantages over summer, one of which is that you don’t have to get up anywhere nearly as early to watch the sun rise and you don’t have to worry about all that awful sunscreen you need if you’re on the very white scale of fair Irish complexion like myself.
The only other place I’ve seen a better sunrise over the Pacific is from the lighthouse at Byron Bay which I rode up to some morning around 1993 with some European types to have some orange juice, bread rolls and funny ‘rainbow’ cigarettes for breakfast.
While you’ll freeze your butt off if you go swimming, it does feel warm enough to do so, and to be honest the water feels like it’s come fresh from Antartica here in summer anyway. But the advantage over more famous places, like Sydney’s Bondi Beach in Summer, is that you’ll have many kilometres, or miles if that is your preference for measurement, of beach with very few people to trip over and practically no posey guys in their early twenties addicted to manscaping.
So you’ll have space to draw pictures of dragons, or whatever it is my daughter has drawn on the sand below, and make pretty sand mounds with flowers in them, or admire the lorikeets feeding on the flowering plants.
When you tire of the beach you can pop down to the port town of Eden for a spot of fishing from the wharf, or look at birds sitting on trawlers, or talk to trawlermen with cigarettes hanging out the corner of their mouths, who’ve just driven their boats into Eden after days out to sea laden with deep sea orange roughie on their way to Sydney’s fish market (as pictured below). Or you can take a little walk around the headland, on a path that just sort of ends unexpectedly by some cliffs, and admire the whispy clouds.
Pambula Beach and Eden. They’re not Cancun or Bondi, just honest south coast of New South Wales coastal towns that I’d recommend going to before everyone else does.