An Aussie beach sunrise with Par Arnoldson
There’s something wonderful about watching the sunrise over the beach.
Ever since Par Arnoldson arrived in Australia from Sweden, he has kept up his passion for Australian beaches. He’s taken some breathtaking pictures and written about his experiences, because he wants to encourage Australians to enjoy the gifts they have right on their doorstep.
Photographed by Par Arnoldson.
“So many people have never seen a sunrise, let alone a sunrise at the beach”, he remarked, with a touch of surprise. “It’s a magical moment. If you pick a day when the weather forecast predicts a bit of clouds, the sun will paint the sky in amazing colours”.
He loves getting up early to watch the sunrise on one of Sydney’s northern beaches.
It’s a quiet time, where people tend to stay alone and soak in the atmosphere before they’ve had their first coffee.
From Dawn to Dusk
But sunrise over the beach on Australia’s east coast isn’t the only charm for the Woodbury Furniture veteran team member. He once drove from Sydney to Perth to watch a sunset over the beach.
“It was surreal, the landscape as you drive across the Nullarbor Plain. “Even reading the road signs is exotic. You see so many camels, and more kangaroos than you could imagine.”
As he crossed the Red Centre, he installed a special “kangaroo whistle” to keep the kangaroos away from coming towards the car.
For someone who has moved from Sweden, a country with its own charm , the Australian landscape has its own rugged beauty.
What amazes him is how few of the locals get to taste it. “If you live in Sydney, you don’t need to cross the world to visit truly spectacular beaches. Many Swedes would travel once or twice a year on a 14-hour flight to get to beaches that are just an hour’s drive from parts of Sydney.”
Difficult Terrain but Friendly People
If some of the beaches are a rocky bushwalk to get to, the locals are friendly.
“It’s opened our eyes to see mateship. Even when we go to isolated places, we’ve had some very friendly greetings.”
After a half-hour bushwalk down to the secluded Iron Ladder beach at Central Coast, the relentless explorer met some locals who had got to the beach by boat. Before long, he was a guest on the boat, and being shown around some of the local islands before being dropped off on Putty Beach.
Meeting strangers when you’re off the beaten track seems to form a natural bond. They had great conversations about life in general, and after the beach adventurer had been dropped off at another beach, he struck up a conversation with someone doing the gardening.
“They treat you as a friend”, and before long, he was given a lift back to his car.
“One Big Beach”
Many of the remote beaches have to be accessed by a fire trail.
I asked Par how many beaches there were in Australia. “17,463”, he shoots back, without having to think about it. But, he says, that’s disputed. After all, where does one beach end and another begin?
“I like to think of Australia as one big beach”, he says with a cheeky smile.
Not that he’s a big swimmer. His passion is more about photography, and exploring new places. Now that he and his wife have two little children, “you get to see all the adventure again through their eyes.”
“You know that excitement that kids have over small things?” It looks like the grown-up Par hasn’t lost his own childlike sense of wonder.
Barbie at the Beach
What could be more Australian than a barbie? “Thank you, Australia, for providing electric barbecues at so many beaches!”
Par likes to leave the place he visited better than he found it. To help with this, he takes with him some aluminium foil to keep the barbecue clean for the next person.
When you go camping near the beach on the east coast of Australia, the sunrise works as your alarm clock. But if you’re up before dawn, you can find your way in the dark as the sun paints the sky in amazing colours.
One of Par’s favourite trips is to Bermagui. It’s on the Sapphire Coast on the south coast of NSW. Two of the most spectacular sights are Camel Rock and Horse Head Rock . When you approach the Horse Head Rock it doesn’t look at all like the head of a horse, until you walk past him, then you see this beauty unfold before your eyes.
And depending on the tide, it can be an easy or a tough trek. (Check local conditions before you try this).
But the amazing beaches aren’t restricted to regional areas in NSW. Ever heard of Resolute Beach? It’s in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to the north of Sydney, as is—according to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service—one of the Seven Best Sydney Beaches You’ve Never Heard Of.
The Whitest Beach on the Planet
“One of my favourite beaches in Australia is Hyam’s Beach in Jervis Bay in NSW.” It has the boast of being “the whitest beach on the planet.” Less well known is nearby Murray’s Beach. It’s more secluded, and not so crowded, with its pristine clear waters and pearly white sand.
A favourite family beach is Caves Beach near Swansea, to the north of Sydney. As the name suggests, Caves Beach has a network of sea caves which can be explored at low tide. (Incidentally, near Caves Beach you’ll find another Murray’s Beach.)
You can sit in the shade on Caves Beach in the summer, sheltering yourself from the hot sun. There are also lots of tunnels for the children to crawl through.
In the Newcastle area, you can visit Stockton Beach . It’s been the site of many shipwrecks and aircraft crashes over the years. In 1974, the 53,000 tonne Norwegian bulk carrier, MV Sygna ran aground during a major storm, and it became a landmark for the local area.
Beaches to the South of Sydney
If you’re looking for somewhere closer to Sydney, there’s Burning Palms Beach at the south end of the Royal National Park. You can visit Wattamolla Beach. Wattamolla is the local Aboriginal name of the area, meaning "place near running water".
If you’re up to a walk that is challenging, but with stunning views, have a look at the Palm Jungle loop track . (Make sure you follow the safety advice on the NSW National Parks and Wildlife website , especially as the track is affected by closures).
You can head towards the Figure Eight Pools but be wary! It’s located on a dangerous rock shelf, and we don’t want to lose any of our Woodbury Furniture customers.
Have you been to any secluded beaches? What’s your favourite?
Tips for a Beach Adventure
1. Plan the day with a simple run-sheet, maybe some picnic food and a blanket.
2. Bring enough water. (If it’s a 40 minute walk down to the beach, it’s likely to be an hour heading back due to the elevation difference)
3. Bring enough sun protection (sunscreen, hat etc.)
4. When bringing small kids don’t forget the BabyBjorn or similar carrying system.
5. If you are doing the most extreme walks, let someone know where you’re going.
6. Scan the coast on satellite imagery in Google Earth to find new beaches.
7. Don’t push your family too hard with exhausting bush walks until everyone is fit enough to do the harder rated walks.