There may be some of life’s troubles and forms of malaise that aren’t able to be remedied, or at the very least eased, by an Australian beach holiday, but I can’t think of many.
When my consistently kind and thoughtful sisters let me know they were taking me for a birthday present to visit the hip, yet clandestinely serene, coastal enclave of Tugan Beach on the bejewelled and glittering Gold Coast, I was ‘in’ from the get go.
My sisters, mother and I excitedly left the inner-western suburbs of Brisbane on a day full of eager anticipation, and took just an hour-and-a-half to arrive at the ethereally buzzing locale of Tugun Beach. Tugun will always be close to my and my family’s hearts, as we spent a plethora of endless, joy-laden, beautiful and happy summer holidays at the coastal mecca, in the ever innocent Queensland Christmas school holidays in the 1960s and 1970s.
My beloved maternal grandparents rented a cottage across the road from the Tugun Lifesaving Club, and my family stayed with them, gratefully lapping up the time spent bonding with my grandparents and delving enthusiastically into all of the beach experiences on offer at Tugun.
Back to the undeniably different, but nevertheless invigorating present, and we begin our Tugun sojourn with a mouthwatering and unhurried lunch at the Tugun institution called “House of Hubert”. This searingly divine cafe is tucked effortlessly away in a side-street metres from the beach, and I can confidently confirm the meals and coffee are ‘to die for’.
Well sated, we check into our rental accommodation, the Hamptons-stylish and pristine “Sandbox Apartments” on the beachfront. Soul-enriching vistas are to be had as we gaze longingly out to the turquoise and sparkling Pacific Ocean to the east, Coolangatta to the south, and to the vibrant Surfers Paradise Beach to the north.
The afternoon is spent walking on the beach (is there anything better than feeling the soothing salt water caressing your feet and the therapeutic beach sand between your toes?). My sister and I frequent the upmarket food shop and bakery in Tugun called “Tugun Market Co”. The custard tarts are superlative. I note that “The Original Tugun Bakery” is still in existence. My grandfather was partial to one of their tasty pies, back in the day. Late afternoon, we demurely head off to the iconic and stealthily built Tugun Lifesavers’ Clubhouse for welcome drinks of sparkling wine and the ever-popular lemon, lime and bitters. We are (thankfully) in the clubhouse when a tyrant of a storm hits, the sound of thunderous rain on the roof a timely reminder that weather, even in times of rest and relaxation, is always going to have a mind and a timeline of it’s own.
Luna Rossa Italian is our fervent choice for dinner, and we are veritably not disappointed. We agree the vegetarian pizzas (laden with seasonal vegetables and crispy bases) are quite simply the best we’ve ever had, and go down a treat with the Tasmanian champagne we have brought along.
After a cosy night spent sleeping in crisp, white cotton sheets, we awake early. In the morning’s early light, I watch a cavalcade of walkers, many with dogs, stream along our street. I see many happy dogs walking around Tugun with their capable owners.
We all walk to the upwardly jutting Elephant Rock at the next beach to the north, Currumbin, after rising. We climbed this rock many times as children, and somehow the rock has gotten smaller, or perhaps we bigger?
An emboldening and spirit-lifting swim on Tugun Beach reminds me why I never tire of Australian beaches and their environs. I emerge from the water feeling unquestionably like a new person. The salty sea water and faithfully breaking waves do wonders for my invigorated body and mind.
Reluctantly we pack up and head down to the Queensland/New South Wales border to the discriminately named “Point Danger”. From here we look down on the eclectic New South Wales beach of Duranbah, the surfers out on their boards, ever-hopeful of the perfect wave, looking like placid seals as they bob around optimistically in the cool waters of the Pacific.
On the way home to Brisbane, we dine in at the ‘place to be’ in Currumbin, the Stables Cafe at the up-market shopping entity of Cornerstone.
All too soon, we find ourselves travelling home to the bustling, yet still welcoming, environs of leafy Brisbane. The utopic sights and climes of Tugun and it’s surroundings ever-present in our minds and hearts.
Paris may have the time-stopping Louvre Museum and London may host the luxurious Buckingham Palace, but give me access to a beach in Australia, particularly Queensland, anyday, and I am more than happy. I am euphoric and forever besotted.
I look forward to visiting you again Tugun, a place that is forever ebbing and flowing, like the tide, metaphorically and physically. A beach that is idyllic and always inviting. A place to truly find a haven of joy amidst the everyday hustle and bustle of life in the cities and suburbs.