Kingscliff- Australia’s hidden gem
With five daughters, no-one would believe we packed all of them plus the two parents (me and the hubby) into a caravan about four meters long.
But because Kingscliff is such an amazing destination for a family holiday, the annual jam into a steel box by the beach is not only achievable but desirable.
Just an hour and a bit from Brisbane or 15 minutes from the Coolangatta airport if you fly in, my family of seven continue to travel here every year even though we no longer stay at the caravan park.
Oh and if you do ever unearth this gem of a getaway, locals call it Kingy!
White, sandy, still unspoilt and hordes and hi-rise-free. The water is often crystal-clear, so much so that at times it reminds me of the Greek islands, but without the little fishing boats. I love to get up, run to the end of the lane-way along the road, then take off my shoes and walk the 30 minutes back to base. Almost every time I take a photo as the colours of the sunrise over the whites and blues of the beach are strikingly different.
The beach PLUS PETS
Just a few steps from the main stretch of Kingy sand you can unleash your dogs and like the pets which seem to be smiling with joy, feel the freedom of running or walking untethered. So lovely and liberating.For the dogs too.
Just because you don’t want the crush of tourists doesn’t mean you don’t want the little luxuries. There’s nothing better than grabbing a coffee and reading the paper after those morning beach walks.
. Choux Box is a longtime favourite, and the Bircher muesli there is one of my all time favourites.
. Mockingbird is the newest. It has taken up the space of the old Sbiza, but the decor and space is much better. The coffee is great and I tried the fruit salad, which is chock full of local and vibrantly- coloured, sometimes unrecognisable fare.
This really is a hidden treasure and when you dodge the doorstops and get inside that’s exactly what you find. There are literally trunks of treasure. Every time you visit this ram-shackled shed of incredible artefacts and objects there’s something new to discover. Old dive suits, mermaid figureheads off old ships, chairs and chests and hooks and oars, jewels and photos and books from Harry Potter and Narnia movies. Ray rents many of his finds to film producers, but what you can purchase are star quality.
The shop is just across from the Tweed River down the road from Kingscliff Beach and my kids and I have spent hours in here. Oh and there’s a great fish and chip shop next door.
NO POKIES SURF CLUB
The local surf club is perfectly located on the beach. In fact it’s so on the beach it nearly got washed away in the 2011 cyclone season. But buy a beer and a nachos and sit and watch the sunset, and you can almost feel the sand under your feet. There are no pokies machines or merchandising, just an authentic surf club vibe.
This is my favourite-ever book store. The staff read almost everything on the shelves and give reviews. There are fabulous kids and teens sections and some unusual finds. Some of my most-loved travel memoirs I have found here and have been passed from friend to friend and all have enjoyed them.
This is one of my all-time favourite restaurants, serving a small but special menu. The butter chicken is divine and so are the dumplings. It’s BYO and while casual enough so you come in beach wear, it oozes tastefulness so we also frock up a bit for a nice night out.
Just up the hill from the beach, the views from the deck are breath-taking. It’s a beach shack that’s been renovated to a more-renovated beach shack. The original floorboards, cupboards, bathroom and garage are still there. The deck is wide expansive, brand new and where you take in the views, breeze and smells of a beach hamlet. The interior is outfitted with finds from op shops and a few local stores, including a number of treasures from Ray’s Antiques. There are also some clues as to the owners of this Kingy gem -pictures of my girls!