THE SECRET WORLD OF PACIFIC PALMS
Words and photos by Dallas Sherringham
In their mad rush to head along the Pacific Highway to the Gold Coast or Sydney, most travellers miss one of the most beautiful unspoilt regions of Australia.
I decided to write this story and share it with you while sitting in the Kembali Cafe restaurant at Blueys Beach on the mid North Coast of NSW. Laid out before me is an enticing lunch of Balinese style Mie Goring backed up by a crisp well chosen Hunter Valley Sauvignon Blanc with a dash of Semillon.
My coffee in a chunky, resplendent blue mug is Cappuccino made from the Gusto brand which has a very smooth, moderate taste.
It is sunny, 25 degrees and the surf is pounding. I am not a surfer, but I know the surf is great on this very day because everyone around me is excited.
The restaurant owners Ceiron and Melissa Bartz are excited. All their customers are excited. How great it is to share in the wild exhilaration of a great day shared amongst surfers. If surfers ran the world, there would be no wars, just days of endless perfect waves shared with friends.
I know all this because Blueys Beach is part of the Pacific Palms region of NSW and above all else people go there for the surf. The region gets its name from the thick clumps of palms which are a feature of the bush along the coast and lake shores.
Melissa and Ceiron found their little piece of paradise on a surfing trip to this very place. Ceiron, one of Australia’s most gifted Balinese style chefs, worked on surfing boats and resorts in Indonesia. Melissa was a successful competitor on the women’s world surfing circuit.
They had a dream for years of starting a restaurant in the area and by chance found a developer who was willing to invest in a purpose built facility.
The result is a cafe style restaurant with a Balinese-surfing ambience and an indoor outdoor laid back charm. And success has come to them, as it does to those who put their world on the line to follow a dream.
Just a few hundred metres away is stunning Blueys Beach with views all the way south to Seal Rocks. Together with its sister beach Boomerang, just around the corner and Cellitos and Treachery further south, it makes up a dream array of surf breaks. Take in the more tranquil north facing Elizabeth Beach and you have a handful of the most beautiful beaches in Australia.
Now, Seal Rocks itself is well worth the 20 minute drive south past picturesque Smith’s Lake. It is a place time promptly forgot after a lighthouse was built there many years ago. The dirt road of days gone by kept most people away, but it is now sealed and very accessible. No doubt progress will follow. Take your camera because the views rival any coastline, anywhere.
Pacific Palms has no high rise, no traffic or bustling shops. That is what makes it so great. In the summer holidays it does get busy as families flock there, many of them campers who stake out a plot at Sandbar with its nine hole golf course or Booti Booti which is in a National Park.
Like a gold rush town in the Roaring Days, the normally tranquil bush echoes with the clang of tent pegs being driven into the sandy soil. For just a few magic weeks it comes alive like a modern day Brigadoon, but then just as quickly goes back to sleep.
I dropped in for a quiet beer at the friendly Recreation Club perched beside Wallis Lake and on the wall was a poster signed by the immortal one, Billy Thorpe. On it he had written a “thank you to the maniacs” who had made his visit such a success. Locals told me that in days past the club had been quite famous thereabouts for its great shows. And Billy’s was amongst the very best.
Accommodation in the area ranges from basic cabins to top class luxury homes that rent for squillions in summer. The quieter times are much more budget friendly.
To finish my visit next morning, I went back to Kembali to enjoy one of their legendary breakfasts. Poached eggs with grilled haloumi, shaved beetroot, Hommos and Pesto on Sourdough. Yummy.
A fitting end to a great short break.
Melissa and Ceiron were busy talking the surfing talk to their clients. Endless waves were calling people back to Boomerang. Another perfect summer day was underway in Pacific Palms.
Feature supplied by: www.wtfmedia.com.au