Most Australians live on the edge of their sprawling nation, as close to beaches as they can get. If they live in the outback or in country areas they overwhelmingly aspire to beach holidays.
I thought I'd chat about Aussie beaches as part of a series of posts leading up to Australia's National Day on January 26.
I'm lucky enough to live not far from the Queensland/New South Wales border where we have many many kilometres of stunning sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
South East Queensland's famous Gold Coast with its high rises is a holiday tourist destination for people worldwide, and the Northern Rivers of NSW on the southern side of the border is magic for its sprawling green hinterland. Both feature a long magic peripheral ribbon of sand and surf.
Today we visit two beaches on the Queensland side.
The Gold Coast strip kicks off with a dear little cove that is probably my favourite - Rainbow Bay (above). This is well known for the famous Schnapper Rocks surf break, the home of international surfing competitions where board riders vie for big prizes.
Familes and oldies love Rainbow Bay because it provides safe swimming in sheltered water.
Just around a headland is the famous Coolangatta Beach framed by ugly/beautiful pandanus palms.
This view of Cooly shows the wide sand stretching northwards, commencing more than twenty kilometres of almost uninterrupted beaches all the way north to Surfers Paradise and beyond. The Surfers high rises are just visible in this next shot.
Depending on the whim of the tides, Cooly also often has a safe haven for families. I took these pix last week on an idyllic summer day when holiday crowds and locals were making the most of their leisure ...
The flag you see in the distance is an indication of the safest body surfing area on the beach. These flags bound an area patrolled by professional beach inspectors who do a great job.
Overseas tourists are often rescued because they do not realise the power of the rips and currents in some parts of the beaches. If they don't swim between the flags they can be in trouble. It is quite possible to be swept out to sea in a few seconds - in the wrong spot.
To me it's amazing that so many Aussies swim at the beach without too many tragedies. The famous Australian sharks also do not claim many victims when you think of the number of bodies around!
This is the Coolangatta surf break.
You can see that most Australians are sun wise these days and use beach shirts and smear themselves liberally with sun screen. Half an hour in the midday sun can mean a week in agony for someone without such protection.
Sun burn can also set you up for skin cancer - a big danger for Australians if they're not careful.
People without shirts don't stay that way for long.
Families love a lazy day on the sand ...
This group found some rocks in the shade.
These youngsters are transfixed because they have found a couple of dozen tiny catfish swarming and trapped in the shallows. The boy in red is taking a closer look.
The people on the right have found another group of catfish.
Aussie kids love to dig in the sand.
I asked permission of the Mums of these children if I might take their photographs. Of course, that was a signal for both of the little girls below to put on very serious curious faces.
While kids build sand castles ...
Oldies dream ...
Do you have a beach culture where you live?
Or do you have 'snow culture' or something else?
My Aussie mate Lilly of Lilly's Life is also doing a series of posts for Australia Day. Right now she's scaring the pants off all of us (as we say) with stories of dangerous Aussie animals. (Mind you few Australians ever lose a night's sleep because of hairy scarey creatures!)
Have a peek ... Lilly is always good value.
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