Sorry it’s been a bit quiet around Venus Goes Gidget but even the most devoted gidgets need a holiday sometimes. I took advantage of the two long weekends, took the three days off in the middle and we visited friends in Port Macquarie. We stayed just outside of the town center in a house across the road from Lighthouse beach.
Whilst Lighthouse beach is stunning, the Port Macquarie town center itself looks like most Aussie towns on the East Coast. Nothing too special, but it’s got that nice small town vibe to it. Things are just a bit slower than in Sydney. Less traffic of course and everyone is up for a chat. If you go to a café, restaurant, shop, etc., everyone makes sure to know where you come from and give you a tip on what to see in Port Macquarie. Almost like they are paid by Tourism Port Macquarie to make you feel welcome.
So everyone’s really friendly and chatty and you would think that extends to the line up…but then this strange thing happens in the surf. No one talks. It’s like they’ve been using up all their words on the street. Most line-ups I’ve ever been to, there is at least a bit of a chit chat background going on. The occasional call into a wave. The all too familiar ‘Oi’ if anyone dares to make the cardinal error of surfing to drop in on anyone else. But not in the line up of Port Macquarie and surrounds. It’s quiet out there. No one talks. Not even the obligatory surfers’ greeting: a nod with head following by a ‘catching a few?’ No one even smiles. Maybe a little twitch of the lips in an upward direction returning a smile…that’s all you get. Surfing is serious business up there by the looks of it. Oh well, never mind, we are all out there to catch some waves primarily. And yes there are waves up there.
…there are heaps of fun breaks facing various directions including a few protected headlands make it even surfable on the windier and bigger days. We’ve surfed Bonny Hills quite a bit which is a fun little point but gets quite fat. Heaps of fun on a mal. It’s also good for beginner gidgets in the corner. Having said that the beginner corner does get a bit busy as it seems to be the training grounds of choice for local grommets and their surf coach dads. North Haven is another break a bit further down South from Bonny Hills. There is a nice little inside section close to the rocks and a bommie further out the back. I’ve only surfed it once. The inside section was heaps of fun. Further out the back, I couldn’t help but feel like fish food so close to the river mouth so not my preferred surf spot out there.
When the swell dropped a bit, we mostly surfed Lighthouse and Watonga beach. We stayed quite close to the lighthouse end. Heaps of good banks and fun little rip bowls. Even when the swell dropped to 1-2ft, it was still highly ripable on the short board. It’s not the best beach for beginners unless you go to the very North corner which is a bit protected. If you are looking to a break for yourself, you may want to wander further down the beach in search for a lonely bank….it goes for miles and miles…in fact I think Lighthouse beach is just the top bit and then it’s yet another 7 mile beach (every open stretch of beach on the East coast seems to be called 7 mile beach…). We did not surf Town beach as we always found better conditions elsewhere but I’m sure with the right direction and a bit of swell it would be heaps of fun too. Another beach closer to town that’s good for the beginner gidget is Nobby’s beach. It’s very sheltered and mostly closing out – great to practice your pop-ups in the whitewash. Many different options for all levels. And we were super lucky when we were up there. Lots of swell and sunshine. We surfed every day. I almost felt like I needed a holiday after the holiday – my tired paddle arms certainly did.
However, we got back Friday and surprise, surprise the surf in Bondi looked like heaps of fun. I could not help but make the most out of my holiday and jump straight back in for another surf. And wow what a contrast to PortMacquarie. It was packed as. Lots of familiar faces. Everyone in good spirits (ok almost everyone apart from the two dudes who almost god into a punch up over an alleged hit and run aehh drop in and surf I guess.). Super fun rights in the South Corner. Lots of chit chat. Some bad jokes. Ten people paddling for one wave. Five drop-ins per person. Just another surf session in Bondi. Madness…Home Sweet Home :-)