Coogee Beach, located 8 km (5 miles) south-east of the Sydney CBD, is on Coogee Bay, washed by the Tasman Sea, and just a few beaches south of the famous but rather more brash Bondi Beach. To the left is a photo from above the Bay, looking north.
From Grant Reserve above the beach it is possible to explore the Hawkesbury Sandstone cliffs and this is one of my favourite picnic spots. This is mid summer and while we are enjoying hot and fine weather in Sydney we should never forget that Australia is a huge country and right now vast areas are in drought while others are in flood, and still others are experiencing massive bush fires. But living on the coast it's hard not to take advantage of the beaches and the weather while we can.
Last night, with friends, we took Crystal Bay prawns from North Queensland and Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc wine from New Zealand and had a feast in one of the most beautiful places I know. What could be more celebratory than good friends, great food and wine and a million dollar view. Which is exactly what the view does cost for many of the big houses on the headlands.
Hawkesbury Sandstone makes up the sculpted cliffs and hundreds of thousands of years of weathering has produced wonderful honeycombed effects. The cliffs are very exposed but these shallow cave features usually make it possible to find some form of shelter from the wind and the salt spray.
Seagulls hovered above us to check out the food possibilities but they weren't really interested in us. They were probably too well fed from the pickings of fish and chips over at the beach to bother with a few scraps of prawn shell, though it did seem rather out of character. You certainly can't sit anywhere on the beach with food without being mugged by seagulls.
This is a favourite place to bring visitors to Sydney, close to the sea but without the problems that come with sand getting in the food. It's not just a great place for a summer picnic - winter is also beautiful on the cliffs, as long as you can get out of the wind.
I'm very conscious of how privileged I am to be able to live in and enjoy this wonderful part of Australia. Our beaches and coast line will be threatened by global warming but I really feel for the low lying islands I have seen in the Pacific, such as Tuvalu. I hope our new government will be generous when faced with the plight of the peoples of the Pacific.
The Sunday Papers: 13
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