(With apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Australia is blessed with an abundance of beaches. I guess that comes with the territory as Australia would be the World’s largest island if we weren’t classified as a continent!
Many visitors to Australia make a bee line to Bondi or Manly beaches on Sydney’s outskirts or head straight to Queensland’s Gold Coast or further North to Cairns and the Barrier Reef. Yes, these are all very picturesque destinations, but they represent only a very small selection of the endless beach beauty that can be found all around our coastline.
To me, beaches are more than long stretches of sparkling white sand. They become magnets to walk, swim, sail, fish and be dazzled by all sorts of bird and sea life.
When I get close to the coast, my mind and body automatically kick into holiday mode. Maybe this is due to the complete sensory experience that is sea and sand:
- The briny smell that tickles my nose
- The cool crunch of damp sand between my toes
- The soothing sight of soaring seagulls as they twist and dive on the sea breeze, and
- The gentle whoosh and hiss of the breaking waves fills my ears and mind.
What is it about the sound of the ocean? It is such a full and deep noise it blanks out everything in my head and instantly calms the frenzy of thoughts jostling for space.
The wave noise builds to a crescendo as it rises and rises with each mounting wave and then crashes down on itself, followed quickly by the fast hiss as the flattened wave chases up the sand threatening to swallow my feet. As I dance away to drier land, the water recedes with a gentle fizz to start the process all over again.
Mirroring the wave’s motion, my ears and head are filled with delicious white noise and then empties out as the wave returns to the ocean, taking my stresses and worries with it.
Water transforms at every time of day or night. The play of light, towering cloud formations, the breeze which ripples the water and the tides ensure the scene never becomes tired.
Our beach breaks usually feature early morning walks and I pray for firm sand rather than soft terrain dragging at my feet and making me work much harder than I want to at that time of the morning.
I can’t help but smile to see the deliriously happy dogs bounding along the water’s edge or plunging deep into the waves. I think this must be the closest dogs get to laughter. Their owners are content to let them roam and burn off all that doggy energy, and then with a casual wave and whistle, bring their pooch back to heel when the distance between man and best friend stretches to the maximum.
The water and the beach make me feel like I have had a true holiday and escaped my normal day-to-day.
With over 10 000 beaches to choose from, Australia really is the lucky country.
Where is your favourite watery escape?
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