That is everybody who’s joined in the annual whinge about the difficulties of holidaying in Australia.
It seems like every time I pick up a paper or turn on the radio I hear somebody else whinging about traffic out of the city, or the cost of staying in Australia, or the distances involved in getting anywhere ‘interesting’.
I don’t know why this hasn’t occurred to people before, but if you choose to go to a popular beach close to the city, with cinemas and other things for the kids to do, then the odds are hundreds, if not thousands of other people will be doing the same thing. If you don’t want crowds, then go somewhere else.
As I’ve discovered lately there are many fabulous places in Australia that have a lot to offer, and which aren’t crowded even at the height of the season. Doc & I spend our Christmas break at the farm, far away from the madding crowds, where we can relax in the hammock, swim in the dam and generally relax (more of that later). It’s a short drive from Sydney on roads that aren’t too crowded even at Christmas.
But it doesn’t have a beach, and the annual ‘holiday by the beach’ seems to be seared into our psyches.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the beach. I’m lucky enough to live near one and I often holiday at another.
Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and some are the best kept secrets in the world.
Last year, on one of the hottest days in January, along with thousands of other people, I went to the beach. Yet I had this beach almost to myself.
This is a beach around an hour and a half out of Sydney via an easy drive, the water is crystal clear and the sand is white. There’s bushland bordering the beach, and the convenience of cinemas, shops, cafes and restaurants nearby. Yet very few people know about it.
This particular beach is not patrolled, but the next one along is. It’s long, with soft white sand and gentle surf. Yet few people go there either.
So where is this secret place?
In very untrendy south Wollongong.
Yes – Berkely, Warrawong, Port Kembla – with its lake for water skiing, sailing and fishing, its sandy beaches, historical World War II sites, parks, close proximity to antique shopping, and city convenience. All within easy reach of Sydney.
But I guess saying “we went to Wollongong” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “we went skiing in Aspen”, or even “we went to the north coast”.
So while you’re all sitting in traffic heading north or coming back home in January, getting hot and sweaty, tempers and radiators boiling over, I’ll be relaxing at the beach, cooling off in the clear refreshing ocean and marvelling at the lack of crowds.
Who needs to be trendy?