I’ve just been on holiday to Far North Queensland, and was pondering what kind of place my perfect beach holiday would be.
It would be a sandy beach, with warm water (25 degrees or so) – a sheltered beach at one end, surf at the other. No jellyfish, or other poisonous things. I would be staying in a real beach house kind of place – wooden, old furniture, but with a dishwasher, on the beach of course. Within walking distance would be a great coffee shop, and a nice, unpretentious Italian restaurant, and a general store with a good selection of magazines. There’d be enough people so that you’d see them walking the beach, but not enough to make it crowded. And preferably it would be patrolled, with lifesavers.
And within a half hour drive, there should be other things to do – museums, or wildlife parks, or cable cars, or stuff like that.
Of course, I realise that basic economics makes this impossible. If there are enough people to support a great coffee shop and a good Italian restaurant, then there are too many people for my perfect beach. And after the general store (which if, you’re lucky, may morph into the coffee shop), the next shop is highly unlikely to be a good Italian restaurant. It’s probably more likely to be another coffee shop, or perhaps a downmarket souvenir shop. You need lots more people to support the nice, unpretentious restaurant that I want next.
I stayed in Palm Cove, which was probably close to being that perfect beach 20 years ago. It has too many people now, and there are very few houses next to the beach any more (now it’s shops, hotels and apartments) but it’s still a beautiful beach.