I'm a 43 year old Family Day Carer with a beautiful teenage girl and a balance bike obsessed three year old boy.
Published February 16th 2016
The beach I'm tempted not to tell anyone about
What is it: A beautiful, quiet and sandy patrolled beach 30 minutes north of Wollongong with a sea pool at the South end.
Why you should go: I love this beach. I moved here from Scotland eight years ago and I'm ashamed to admit that I've been so spoilt with the multitude of beautiful sandy beaches around my home in Thirroul that I take them a little for granted. Now I only occasionally stop to notice how picturesque they are. But not at Wombarra. This is the beach I go to when I want to be reminded that I'm living the dream of sun, surf and sand.
Parking on Monash Street, the steep road leading down to the surf club I looked down on the beach spreading out to the South of us. The flags were at the North end, where there is currently also a creek running towards the sea. Beyond this, further south along the beach the sand gives way to a few rocks before returning to sand. At the South end of the beach there are two sea pools, a children's one and a deep one. There's a car park above the pool.
My family and I walked down the concrete access road past the surf club on to the sand. Watch out, the sand on concrete gets slippy. We walked a couple of minutes to where the flags had been put up. My teenage daughter was the first in to the water and I followed on her heels. Today the waves were rolling, the water was the perfect temperature somewhere between warm and refreshing. We walked out beyond the little breakers and then floated and bobbed with only a few dives under as larger sets of waves came in.
I turned my back on the waves coming in and floating with toes in the air. As I faced back inland I was confronted with the most incredible view. It never fails to take my breath away. The escarpment which runs the length of the coast is so close to the beach here I feel as if I could count every leaf on every tree. It seems to tower above the beach protectively, like a curtain of green.
After our swim we took a walk along the beach towards the pool. On the way we checked out the rocks and rock pools. Limpets clung tightly to the rocks while old faded blue bottles and tiny shells marked a line in the sand where the waves had reached highest. We stopped to inspect the shapes and colours of the shells, who could find the prettiest one? On the rocks we peered in to cracks and found scuttling crabs little enough to pick up.
I noted that as many families were in the sea paddling at this south end of the beach which is the unpatrolled end as at the north end. For me, the North end with the flags and significantly less seaweed would always be my first choice.
We choose not to swim in the pools which were murky. The water quality in the pools would depend on the council's cleaning schedule. At the time of writing there are no pool closures listed on the council website. I didn't feel the lack of pool swimming detracted from my visit as it's the sea and the view that I go for.
Back at the North end I went for one last dip while my three year old joined a handful of other children enjoying the shallow waters of the cut off creek which had spread to several metres across but was still only about thirty centimetres deep.
With midday approaching we headed home with smiles on our faces.
Who should go: Families with toddlers looking for a beach with a creek to paddle in, singles, couples, anyone looking for a patrolled beach away from the crowds.
When to go: I went in February on a hot day.
Where it is: Take the Princes Highway north out of Wollongong. At the bottom of the Bulli Pass take the left fork to Thirroul. This will take you on to Lawrence Hargrave Drive. Follow this lovely coast road north through Austinmer and Coledale. Watch out for the sign for Wombarra. There's a bowlo on your left and a cemetery on your right. Go slow or you'll miss the turn off, especially as cars tend to tail gate on this road where overtaking is difficult. Reef Avenue on the right is the turn off for the car park for the pool. The next right is Monash Street. Park on Monash Street for the North end of the beach. If it's busy park on the grass behind the furthest up car and walk down or you'll find yourself doing a very tight three point turn at the bottom.
What to bring: Food, drinks, sunscreen, swimmers, and beach umbrella as there is no shade and Wombarra beach seems to get particularly hot, thongs for the same reason or risk scalded feet.
Facilities: Toilets and shower at the surf club, pool, car park at pool.
Extend your visit with: A play in the playpark on Monash Street or a stop for ice-cream or lunch at Austi Beach Café in Austinmer.