Posted in Family life, Other stuff, Travel

Currumbin Beach – my cure for itchy feet

I’m itching to travel, particularly overseas and more precisely Africa. To ward off the itch in my feet I need to rub them in the white sands of Currumbin Beach.

Currumbin Alley facing Palm Beach, with the skyline of Surfers Paradise in the background.
Currumbin Alley facing Palm Beach, with the skyline of Surfers Paradise in the background.

I only have to drive 5 minutes or walk for about 45 mins to the Alley and Currumbin Beach. When I get there and I take the spectacular view in and suddenly I don’t feel a need to leave these shores. What we have here is so magical and I appreciate it and the fact I’m here every day. Particularly with what is going on all over the world today.

Currumbin beach is in my heart. It beckoned me when I was a teen to body surf, bake as I read a book, stroll through the soft sand between my toes and swim under the Queensland sun. Later, I lived a quick skip down my wonky front steps and across a road to the beach (my first flat with my future husband). It was a dodgy flat, with shortouts in the electricity and leaks in the plumbing, but it didn’t matter, when we could sleep to the sound of crashing waves and wake to the smell of a salt ocean on the breeze and sunshine through our thin curtains.

Swimmers and surfers don't care if it's winter. The water is clear and not too cold at Currumbin Alley.
Swimmers and surfers don’t care if it’s winter. The water is clear and not too cold at Currumbin Alley.

At this beach I’m at peace and I relax and renew my equilibrium. I marvel at what nature has created; a swirl of protected inlet and then surf proud beach, and I try not to take it for granted. We need to be mindful of Earth’s gift. We have a beautiful beach kissed by the ocean and winding to the estuary; uniquely accentuated by the Alley Rocks and down the southern end of the beach, the aptly named Elephant Rock, where Currumbin Vikings Surf Club sits embedded into it like a blended fabric. It is topped by lush Currumbin Hill, backed by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the development is still village-like enough to keep a quiet slowness that you can’t get in places like Surfers Paradise.

There’s quaint shops and cafes dotting Pacific Parade, including a newsagency that only plays Elvis Presley not matter what day or time you walk in there. They sell the usual tourist fares of sarongs, beach gear and all with a friendly smile and a chat.

Currumbin Beach Newsagency with a Swell Sculpture in the foreground.
Currumbin Beach Newsagency with a Swell Sculpture in the foreground.

The surf club dominates the middle on top of Elephant Rock and then the beach stretches further south to what the locals call Flat Rock. There’s another inlet that sometimes dries up but flows into the lake beside Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The park is a favourite spot for barbecues and family touch football or cricket during summer, with a big expanse of sand nearby and one of the best surf breaks in the area. Shhhhhhush! That’s a local secret.

Australians all feel like part of the Currumbin community when Anzac Day is celebrated at Elephant Rock. I feel humble and proud that this beautiful place holds this sacred ceremony. With a son recently out of the Army and now another in the Air Force, just the thought of this lump-in-throat, tears-in-eyes inducing morning makes me nostalgic.

Currumbin Beach facing Currumbin Vikings Surf Club which sits on the rocky outcrop next to Elephant Rock. The scene of the Anzac Day Dawn Services.
Currumbin Beach facing Currumbin Vikings Surf Club which sits on the rocky outcrop next to Elephant Rock. The scene of the Anzac Day Dawn Services.

On a brighter note, just this week Currumbin Beach is host to Swell Sculpture Festival. It ends this Sunday, so hurry up and have a look at this unique event, before it’s over. But there’s not just the beach. You can walk from the beach along paths beside Currumbin Creek towards the Currumbin RSL. The tranquil estuary will often have dolphins swimming in its meandering waters. Bearded Dragons bake on the rocks in the sunshine. Dogs are walked by their owners as runners run past. Stand-up paddle boards make the most of the morning calm and the dragon boats practice their strokes. Across the bridge you’ll see the brightly painted Thrower House shed, a unique community hub with one of the nicest views in the world.

Currumbin Creek.
Currumbin Creek.

I’ve taken some photos to inspire you to visit my beach – Currumbin.

Don't miss the bearded dragons as you walk along the creek path.
Don’t miss the bearded dragons as you walk along the creek path.
Swell octopus on Elephant Rock.
Swell octopus on Elephant Rock.

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Note the many differences to beaches like Surfers Paradise. The southern Gold Coast beaches have more natural beauty, less high rise to cast shadows in the afternoon, less hustle and bustle – more perfection and beauty.

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Soon I’ll post a video of the octopus. It’s a moving sculpture and looked amazing above Elephant Rock.

Posted in Family life, Other stuff

Anzac Day in a sleepy Aussie town

I’m feeling very homesick as I watch the dawn service for Anzac Day on Channel 7. It’s at Currumbin’s Elephant Rock which is my home and to see so many people attending that special service makes my heart ache. Tears are near as I listen to the bagpipes and watch the sun slowly creep through the clouds behind the rock as thousands mill around on the sand, along the pavement and up the hills to pay their respects.

I’m not there this year because I’m still working remotely and happen to be in mid-west Queensland. The town of Dingo is nearly smaller than the roadhouse that sits on the Capricorn Hwy on the other side of the coal-train railway line. Four of us leave camp and drive to the Dingo dawn service, nearly collecting a kangaroo as we head out on the dirt road of only about 200m to the highway. It’s a quick drive, less than a K and we are in Dingo. As we park we notice no more than thirty people in front of the stone memorial across from the heritage Library.

There are two spotlights over the memorial and a wobbly table in front with amplifies and a mic. On a bench sits an elderly woman and two boys around 12 year’s old. One has bare feet and he swings them under the bench as he waits for his turn to speak. He won’t have to wait long. The MC thanks everyone for attending and talks about Anzac spirit. The lady then reads a prayer that we barely hear because the microphone has stopped working. Then the two boys from the local school read a poem. Again we can’t hear it because the microphone isn’t working but maybe we wouldn’t want to as one of the boys can barely read. Gotta give him credit for giving it a go and when they are finished an elderly man pats him on the back and says, “Good job.” Obviously this was some achievement for this young bloke and he did his town proud by attempting to speak on Anzac Day.

There are only two service men in berets. One speaks and they both lay wreaths. Then the bugle sounds via a recording and my heart constricts the way it always does when I hear the haunting sound on Anzac Day. Finally as the National Anthem plays (no not sung by a locacl school child as you’d expect but again a recording) the flag that sat at half mast is raised. The MC announces the end of the ceremony and thanks us for our attendance. The sun hasn’t even risen so it isn’t even dawn (new meaning to ‘dawn service’).

We look around baffled. A ten minute service – who woulda thought.

So, we return to camp and I’m happy to watch the Currumbin service and think of all the people I know who’ll be there, particularly my sons. I look for them in the crowd but of course there are too many people and I can’t see them. I’m awash with memories of previous cold mornings standing in wet sand watching solemn faces and enjoying the feeling of ‘one’ amongst those who have come to show their respects. I miss the smell of the ocean but am glad I attended the country Dingo service and know that no matter where we are on Anzac Day we can pay our respects to the fallen and those who are serving our country today.

This year is special too because last year Kris (step-son) was still in Afghanistan serving with the Australian Army. Last year Bevil (husband) and I cried buckets in Currumbin and could barely see the slideshow screen because of the tears. We didn’t rest until Kris came home. He’s home this year with his lovely wife Elise. He’s probably marching in Brisbane later today. So though I can’t raise a glass and have a drink to you, Kris, I did pay my resects and the most repected Anzac to me is you.

Lest we forget.

Dingo, Australia at dawn Anzac Day Wednesday 25th April 2012.