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Sydney’s Avalon beach minus a swim

Text and photos by Evelyn A. Opilas
February 8, 2018


Fancy going to a beach and not be able to swim, one left instead to explore, savour and appreciate its surrounds.

That’s exactly what happened one Tuesday when my niece Michelle gathered a few friends to mark her extended birthday at Avalon Beach on Sydney’s north shore.

After planning, organising and agreeing to meet, how were we to know that after a two-hour drive, the day would be cloudy, the water on a swell, and warning signs of ‘strong current’ would pepper the beach?

Avalon Beach, about 40kms from the central business district and some 66kms from home, lines up among the northern beachside suburbs of Sydney.

Referred to as Avalon, it was named after the legendary island in Celtic mythology said to be an earthly paradise and the final resting place of King Arthur, the fabled British ruler who led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders and who established an empire over Britain, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and Gaul, according to Wikipedia.

A surfing beach, Avalon Beach comprises golden sands protected by headlands to the north and to the south, a 25-metre salt water rock pool at the south end, and board riding breaks at the north end. The Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club made up of vigilant volunteers patrols the beach daily.

The amenities – toilets, showers and a change room section – are passably clean and the parking fee expectedly expensive this side of Sydney. A beachside cafe offers food and drinks, a playground keeps children occupied, and benches along the shore entice guests to relax, reflect, read. The village shopping area is a short walk across the road.

We set up tent anyway, Robert, Lorna, Mae and Michelle ensuring that each peg was securely in place, a developing strong wind and the hint of rain dictating that this should be so.

Mats, tables, chairs and food in place, Michelle’s friends – classmates in high school, at Bible College and at Western Sydney University, and a fellow volunteer at an animal shelter – begin to arrive, warming the increasingly-getting-cold day with their smiles, hugs, laughter, philosophically accepting the unwelcome change in the weather.

Not to worry – they had much to do – explore the stretch of golden beach, dunk walk-weary feet in the cold bubbly lashing the shore, construct a sandy snowman, talk, laugh, eat; the thought of swimming best left for another day.

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