Monday, January 16, 2012

'Top Gear' it isn't - but top holidays at Hyams Beach

Happy Belated New Year! I’m beginning to think I might have got too much into the holiday spirit, sand and slackness seems to be pervading the house as well as this blog, as evidenced by the slow progress on all domestic fronts. The pile of unsorted clean washing is now so large even the dog is looking nervous as he edges his way past. The dog, by the way, celebrated New Year by moving from being a dog still absent-mindedly hopping around on three legs to one with only two fully functioning limbs. Husband asked hopefully what would happen when dog got down to one leg, but fortunately for Pluto’s prospects of canine old age, he’s back to a tentative four.

We’ve just had a relaxing week at a beach three hours down the coast from Sydney. Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay is as close to paradise as you are going to get. White sands, water that is gin clear, and that in fact sparkles and glints in the tradition of the very best gin and tonic. It's a rare day you don't spot dophins carving effortless arcs through the waves just off shore at least once. The bird life is raucous and plentiful from flocks of galahs with their raspberry and cream coloring, to multicoloured parakeets, rosellas and kookaburras sitting on the verandah rails hoping to launch a lightning raid on any dropped bits of food. The odd sighting of a fish eagle soaring along the coastline added gravitas to the whole thing.

One of the nicest things about Hyams Beach, the town we rent a house in, is that it is surrounded by Jervis Bay National Park which is fantastic as it's remained a discrete hamlet rather than spreading into a coastal strip. The main national park in the area, Booderee National Park is a short drive with some amazing walks down to a variety of seascapes from ocean beaches filled with surfers and boogie boarders to deserted Robinson Crusoe type stretches with a somersaulting seal the only swimmer at one.

Husband and children went deep sea fishing, and returned with so much fish that over the last 24 hour period we’ve had battered fish and chips (shark), fish steaks (Kingfish) and Roll mops (Herring). The Drama Queens were triumphant they weren’t seasick, apparently most of the rest of the party were either popping pills or hanging over the side – privately thought I was glad I didn’t go as I am sure I would have been one of the unfortunates to spend an expensive couple of hours thinking I was about to die.

One of my personal highlights of Hyams is the one local cafe and store, currently advertised as “Under Old Management”, and a fantastic source of coffee and still warm muffins in the morning, lazy lunches sitting on the verandah watching the life of the place flood in over the afternoon for ice creams and coffee, and how much more effortless and easy does it get than to stroll down to a delicious supper?

As with all good beach holidays, the amount of equipment needed was mindblowing; the provisional pack included skateboards, eskis (Cool boxes), beach umbrellas, deckchairs for grandparents and fishing gear. Just to add to the spatial challenge the decision was then made to take a two man sailing dinghy down with us. This added an interesting wrinkle to the packing problem in that the combination of a learner driver needing to get her hours up and a ban on learners towing trailers meant the dinghy had to be strapped to the roof of the car along with the mast. It’s a disconcerting feeling being a passenger in a two storey car, especially given the interesting sound effects created by the strapping holding the damn thing in place, that vibrated as we gained windspeed and produced a noise akin to a cross between a dentist drill and an animal howl - Jeremy Clarkson eat your heart out!

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