Tag Archives: Beach

365 Places: Merimbula

Day 178: Merimbula, New South Wales

Merimbula is just one of the many beautiful little towns that dot the south coast of New South Wales. The town is situated on the Merimbula lake and named after the Aboriginal word for ‘two lakes’. Merimbula is primarily a tourist town, renowned for its fresh rock oysters and annual Jazz Festival, which is held on the June Queens’ Birthday Long weekend. We stayed there one weekend a few years ago and it is a place I would love to visit again because of its beautiful beaches.

Image credit: http://www.penguinmews.com.au/
Image credit: http://www.penguinmews.com.au/

Merimbula is close to Bournda National Park, South East Forest National Park and the northern end of Ben Boyd National Parks. For walkers, check out the coastal walk which runs through Bournda National Park from Tathra to Tura Beach just north of Merimbula taking in coastal scenery. Southern Right Whales (less frequent) and Humpback Whales are big feature in the areas.

Images Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merimbula
Images Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merimbula

There are lots of fun things you can do in Merimbula including horse riding and roller coaster rides. I would love to check out Magic Mountain, Merimbula’s own theme park as it has a roller coaster and one of the best toboggan slopes in New South Wales.

365 Places: Mollymook

Day 176: Mollymook, New South Wales, Australia

Image credit: http://www.breakersmollymook.com.au/?/attractions-and-activities/mollymook-beach
Image credit: http://www.breakersmollymook.com.au/?/attractions-and-activities/mollymook-beach

Today’s place is a little gem on the south coast of NSW with a great name – Mollymook. I first remember visiting Mollymook, when I was about 20. Not long after moving to Sydney, I travelled there for a long weekend. I remember it was a wonderful journey: a girlfriend had borrowed her boyfriend’s old VW Combie and we cruised our way down the coast on the old Princes Highway, singing along to Fleetwood Mac on the way.

The Australian Traveller website gives Mollymook a great writeup and also has some clues about how the place got its name:

It’s thought that the name Mollymook is a variation on “mollymawk”, the slang name sailors use for a type of albatross (from the Dutch mallemugge, meaning “foolish gull”.

Image credit: http://www.breakersmollymook.com.au/?/attractions-and-activities/surfing
Image credit: http://www.breakersmollymook.com.au/?/attractions-and-activities/surfing

We stayed overnight with some friends in Ulladulla and then spent the next day at Mollymook beach. I remember thinking at the time, that this beach was very beautiful and great for swimming and bodysurfing. Here is a blurb from the Visit NSW website:

Mollymook Beach is one of the South Coast’s most popular beaches. This golden stretch of sand has ideal conditions for experienced surfers, body surfers and anyone keen to learn how to surf.

Mollymook has more recently become famous as celebrity chef Rick Stein has a restaurant there – Bannisters. This restaurant is famous for fabulous seafood with an incredible ocean view. I haven’t been there yet, but it would be wonderful to experience this place.

365 Places: Kerala

Day 85: Kerala, India

Earlier this year I wrote about Thiruvananathapuram, the capital city of the Kerala region, which is situated near the southern tip of India.

The world famous Kovalam beach, well known for fun and frolic, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala
The world famous Kovalam beach, well known for fun and frolic, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala

This region of India is quite different from the majority of India as large parts of Kerala did not come under British Rule; even though it was the place in India where European colonisation first started. The Portuguese were the first to discover a direct sea route between Lisbon and Kozhikode in Kerala, and this marked the beginning of European colonisation in the country. Soon the Dutch, French, Italians and British were all drawn to the wealth of spices and silk, coming with the intention of forming colonies.

Wiki Travel says:

Large parts of Kerala were not subject to direct British rule. Malabar was a district of Madras Presidency under direct British rule, but Tiruvithamkoor (Travancore) and Kochi (Cochin) regions were autonomous kingdoms ruled by Maharajas during the period of the British rule in India, and were known for their progressive attitude which resulted in various welfare reforms, particularly in the areas of education and health care.

I imagine that this part of India might be quite different culturally with the Portuguese influence and history.

The most popular Hill station of Kerala - Munnar, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala
The most popular Hill station of Kerala – Munnar, Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala

It is said to have a very diverse ecology, with beautiful beaches and rain forests as well as spectacular hills, like in this image of Munnar above. Kerala, is very close to equator and has a tropical climate. Kerala experiences heavy rains almost throughout the year, and is considered one of the wettest areas on the earth.

A typical houseboat floating down the backwaters near Alleppey in Kerala. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala
A typical houseboat floating down the backwaters near Alleppey in Kerala. Image Credit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Kerala

One of the reasons I am attracted to Kerala is the fact that people in this region of India still live a largely traditional lifestyle. I think it would be wonderful to witness a site in India where much of the rich culture and heritage is well-preserved. From what I understand India is a country of great contrasts and many cities are fast becoming contemporary urban centres. It would be refreshing to experience a place where traditional lifestyles are still maintained.

365 Places: Lorne

Day 77: Lorne, Victoria, Australia

Today, I am continuing the journey along the Great Ocean Road, to the very pretty beach town of Lorne.

Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/great-ocean-road/Destinations/lorne.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/great-ocean-road/Destinations/lorne.aspx

Lorne is famous for a couple of things aside from its natural beauty, popularity as a seaside resort, proximity to GOR and Great Otway National Park. It is also home to the Falls Music & Arts Festival which occurs over the New Years long weekend every year, and the Lorne Sculpture Biennial, most recently held in March 2014.

Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Activities-and-attractions/Nature-and-wildlife/National-parks-and-reserves/Great-Otway-National-Park.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Activities-and-attractions/Nature-and-wildlife/National-parks-and-reserves/Great-Otway-National-Park.aspx


The Falls Festival is best known for contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, as well as other art forms. Because the event runs over three days, people bring a tent and camp out at the event. The festival started in 1993, with a small one day concert called the Rock Above The Falls. This initial event attracted nearly 11,000 people, far exceeding the organisers expectations, and the organisers quickly negotiated the use of neighbouring land to accommodate the crowd. Since this humble start, the Falls Festival is now in three locations – Lorne, Byron Bay NSW and Marion Bay in Tasmania.

© All rights reserved by Public Record Office Victoria
© All rights reserved by Public Record Office Victoria

Lorne has long been a place that attracts creative people as well as beach lovers. For example, In 1891, the area was visited by Rudyard Kipling who was inspired to write the poem Flowers, which included the line:

Buy my hot-wood clematis,
Buy a frond of fern,
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road to Lorne.

Mr Wikipedia says about the area prior to European settlement:

Lorne was part of the traditional lands of the Gadubanud or King Parrot people of the Cape Otway coast according to Ian Clark, although many popular websites report that the area was occupied by the Kolakngat Aborigines.

Given that there is some conflicting information about the pre-European occupation, I am interested to find out more on this subject. The text referred to is listed below as a reference.

We loved seeing Lorne and it is a town definitely worth visiting and exploring as part of the Great Ocean Road journey.

Ian D. Clark, pp119-123, Scars on the Landscape. A Register of Massacre sites in Western Victoria 1803-1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1995 ISBN 0-85575-281-5

365 Places: Anglesea

Day 75: Anglesea, Victoria, Australia

Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery-full.asp
Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery-full.asp

Anglesea is another place worth stopping along the Great Ocean Road which is famous for its beautiful surf beaches and coastal lifestyle.

Located close to Torquay and on the banks of the Anglesea River, the Travel Victoria website says about Angelsea:

Anglesea is a particularly significant town on the Great Ocean Road as it marks the first spot south-west of the road’s official start at Torquay where it meets the coast.

Anglesea is a much smaller community to nearly Torquay, with about 2000 people living in the area, compared to about 6500.

Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery.asp?offset=24
Angelsea at Dusk, Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery.asp?offset=24

Anglesea is also well-known for its parks and gardens which line the coastal foreshore and the Anglesea River. For example, Coogoorah Park at the end of River Reserve Road features a network of islands linked by boardwalks and bridges through wetlands.

Image Credit: http://www.angleseabackpackers.com.au
Image Credit: http://www.angleseabackpackers.com.au

The Travel Victoria website also says:

Around 10 kilometres north-east of Anglesea is Point Addis where rugged sandstone cliffs overlook a marine national park. It’s popular launching place for hang gliders, while steps lead down from the cliff top to the beach which is an ideal surfing spot.

It is no wonder Angelsea is a popular place for  Melburnians to escape for summer holidays. There a number of related posts about this journey – check out Torquay, Kangaroo Island and Great Ocean Road.

365 Places: Torquay

Day 74: Torquay, Victoria, Australia

Today, I return to a journey I started to document earlier – the trip we took across Great Ocean Road (GOR), which included our couple of days in Kangaroo Island.

Dawn at Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Dawn at Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

Torquay is considered the gateway of GOR and is located about 20 kilometres south of Geelong. The township faces Bass Strait, so it is a bit chilly to swim in the ocean compared to the warmer waters of SE Queensland and northern NSW, where we usually go swimming. Although the water is cold, Torquay and nearby Bells Beach are famous for their surf beaches and surf culture is a key aspect of Torquay’s identity. Mr Wikipedia says:

Many of the world’s most famous surf companies have their home in Torquay, including Rip Curl and Quiksilver- all of which make up part of the Surf Coast Plaza, which provides shopping and eating, as well as the Surf World Museum.

If surfing is your thing, then the best time to head to Torquay is over Easter to check out the world’s best surfers compete in the mighty Rip Curl Pro.

The Torquay shops are well worth a look, with a number of galleries and interesting boutiques featuring local art and craft. We came across the work of  Ed Sloane and also the Watermarks Gallery had some lovely photographic art works.

Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

The coastline around this region is beautiful and it is no wonder Torquay became a popular spot for day trippers and picnickers from Melbourne and Geelong. For us, it was a great start to our journey and we hope to return back there some day soon.

365 Places: Sanur Beachfront

Day 52: Sanur Beachfront, Bali, Indonesia

Today was our first day back in beautiful Bali and we spent a very relaxing day walking along the beach, getting a massage, swimming and eating some yummy Indonesian food.

While we were walking I photographed some of the interesting stone carvings, doorways and views of the beach. There are also a few pics of our gorgeous room at the Paneeda View Beach Hotel. Hope you enjoy 🙂

365 Places: Great Ocean Road

Day 46: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Tracey at Torquay © Martin Drury 2012
Tracey at Torquay © Martin Drury 2012

By now many of you have figured out that I love the coast. Being by the sea makes me happy, as I love to feel closer to the beauty and power of nature. The movement of the tides and the impact of weather at sea is a humbling reminder of our transience as human beings and the constant change of our universe. The ocean has also been part of my earliest childhood memories and continues to be a significant place for me to be inspired and mindful of the wonderment of our beautiful planet  earth.

Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

So today, I would like to share with you a special journey along the coast from a couple of years ago, along the Great Ocean Road. It is a road trip that is also on many Australian’s bucket list – for good reason. This heritage listed 243 kilometre long piece of bitumen takes travellers along the Victorian coast from Torquay to Allansford, taking in some incredible coastline along the way.

© Tracey Benson 2012
12 Apostles © Tracey Benson 2012

Some of the most iconic Australian scenery is located along this route, for example; Torquay Beach, Bells Beach and the 12 Apostles. But it is not just the beautiful scenery that makes this road important for Australians. Great Ocean Road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and is dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, making the road the world’s largest war memorial.

For many years the Great Ocean Road has been considered one of the world’s most scenic roads. Even back in 1962, The Age newspaper reported that the Tourism Development Authority  recognised the opportunities for commerce and tourism for the region making the decision to generate tourist interest through publicity.

Over time, I will write about some of the lovely places to visit along the way, but for now I hope you enjoy a little teaser article about this amazing Australian road trip. For now, here are some images from our journey.

365 Places: Eden

Day 38: Eden, New South Wales, Australia

Eden is a beautiful place on the far south coast of New South Wales. In many ways it is considered remote, as it is a long way from the capital cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

Image Credit: http://www.australiantraveller.com/eden/eagle-heights-of-eden/
Image Credit: http://www.australiantraveller.com/eden/eagle-heights-of-eden/

Located at the edge of Twofold Bay, Eden has the third deepest natural habour in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, it  was once considered as a potential site for the national capital, because of its proximity to Sydney and Melbourne and the deep harbour. Thankfully these plans didn’t go ahead, leaving this region as a treasure for locals and visitors alike.

The ocean here is like a sapphire and the temperate rainforest surrounding this region is stunning, making for great bush walks and explorations of nature.

The Visit Eden website says:

It’s a truly stunning location with a host of unique attractions. The heart and soul of Eden – and its history – is Twofold Bay. It was home to shore-based whaling stations and Old Tom, the legendary killer whale whose story can be learned at the Eden Killer Whale Museum.

It was the centre of operations for entrepreneur and pioneer Benjamin Boyd who built Boyd’s Tower, Boydtown and the Seahorse Inn as part of an extraordinary empire, before the vision crumbled.

Image Credit: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-vn3108373 Wellings, C. E. (Charles Eden), -195- [Sea Horse Inn, built by Ben Boyd in 1840s, Boydtown, New South Wales
Image Credit: National Library of Australia, nla.pic-vn3108373
Wellings, C. E. (Charles Eden), -195-
[Sea Horse Inn, built by Ben Boyd in 1840s, Boydtown, New South Wales
Seahorse Inn. Image Credit: http://seahorseinn.com.au
Seahorse Inn. Image Credit: http://seahorseinn.com.au

A few years ago Marty took me to the Seahorse Inn for my birthday, which was a wonderful gift. We spent a wonderful time checking out Boyd’s Tower, the ruins of the Davison Whaling Station and the lovely little township of Eden.

The Whaling history for me sits uncomfortably, especially as it is the only place in the world where Orcas helped whalers to catch smaller whales. Visit Eden says:

Incredibly, Eden’s Twofold Bay is the only place – worldwide – where there has been documented evidence of orcas working in co-operation with man to hunt smaller whales. The orcas herded the whales into the bay and even into particular whaling stations. They would then alert whalers of their arrival by splashing and flop tailing. The orcas would also herd whales onto the beach, where they were an important food source for the local Indigenous people.

As with all histories there are always gaps and omissions, and I would love to know more about this time from the perspective of the descendants of the local Indigenous people, to yield a fuller understanding.

Image Credit: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/ben-boyd-national-park/boyds-tower-to-saltwater-creek-walking-track/walking
Image Credit: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/ben-boyd-national-park/boyds-tower-to-saltwater-creek-walking-track/walking

365 Places: Port Macquarie

Day  37: Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia

May 26 is a special day in the Benson Drury calendar, as it is our wedding anniversary. For this reason, I dedicate today’s post to the beautiful seaside town of Port Macquarie, the place where we were married.

Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie – Image Credit Kevin Fallon Photography
Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie – Image Credit Kevin Fallon Photography

Port Macquarie is famous for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, great fishing and whale watching expeditions.

The town also has a history as one of the first convict settlements in Australia. Nowadays British tourists are stunned that people were sent here for ‘punishment’. In many ways, it has become a bit of a joke between the two nations, though there is a very serious side to the history of penal colonies in Australia. Convicts were the builders for the colonists and in Port Macquarie you will find many historic buildings were built by prisoners, including the church where we were wedded.

St Thomas' Anglican Church http://pmqang.org/history
St Thomas’ Anglican Church http://pmqang.org/history

St Thomas’ is one of the oldest churches in Australia, in fact St Thomas’ is the oldest church outside of any of Australia’s capital cities. The St Thomas’ website says:

St Thomas’ Church was built by convict labour when Australia was still part of the Diocese of Calcutta and Port Macquarie was a penal settlement. The foundation stone was laid in 1824 and the first services held in 1828, when the worshippers were the Chaplain, Camp Commandant, a detachment of British Infantry and the well guarded convicts who stood at the west end of the nave.

Port Macquarie is not just a place for colonial history, it is also a place of modern creativity, with the Glasshouse Port Macquarie functioning as a cutting-edge venue for cultural and arts events year-round.

From www.glasshouse.org.au
From http://www.glasshouse.org.au

Port Macquarie is a town we love to visit when we travel up the coast of New South Wales. It is not only beautiful, it is also a place that holds a lot of significance for us.