Who can resist a secret beach? We’re so lucky to have lots of them here in Sydney.
Store Beach: A perfect day getaway with your child
By Kim Cotton
If you’re like me and have one child, then you can sympathise with me. Having a bunch of kids comes with its own brand of pain, but one kid often means you are the sole playmate. Unfortunately, the phrase ‘Will you play with me?’ sends me huddling into foetal position occasionally because sometimes … I just don’t want to play – oh the guilt.
Recently I had a few days to entertain my daughter and I decided to try something different – kayaking to Store Beach, a little relatively unknown beach just off Manly’s North Head in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Hiring kayaks from Manly was easy. Deciding to paddle over to Store Beach took a little bit more courage but once we were in our double kayak with sturdy sides and two sets of paddles my adventurous spirit took over.
First stop was Little Manly Beach where we took a coffee break before we set off to Store Beach, which amazingly can only be accessed by boat.
Although it took about 45 minutes, paddling wasn’t as difficult as I thought. The idea of sharks circling us disappeared and the sea salt cleared our heads. (As the months get cooler wearing a wetsuit is a good idea just so your bottom doesn’t get cold.)
The only issue was our chicken, the salad and the breadrolls in my backpack. You see, I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I was starving. So, as we paddled towards this gem of a place complete with topaz water lapping onto a sandy strip of beach, all I could think about was food.
Dragging the kayak up the beach was simple. We placed our oars and life-jackets in and then grabbed our food and found a secluded spot at one of the beach’s ends. Then we ate!
As we began to get comfortable lying around on the fine sifted sand with native scrub and bush at our backs it felt like we were the only two there. I felt tempted to call my daughter ‘Wilson’ from the Tom Hanks movie Castaway. But it wasn’t strictly isolated. Yachts gently bobbed a couple of hundred metres away where families barbequed or paddled in dinghies. Other kayakers came and went and politely found their own piece of paradise away from us and other day trippers so that we all had space.
We made sandcastles and had running races up and down the beach. My daughter felt so at ease she began to play on her own for a while so I could just lie on my towel and dream. When we grew hot we kicked around in the water until we were totally immersed, floating, laughing, feeling tranquil and light-hearted the way only natural beauty can make you feel.
I noticed litter had run up on the sand with the tide so we decided to do a clean up. It took longer than I anticipated to collect it all but I felt it was a good investment in my karma account. Besides, the gentle sunshine on our backs, warming our souls, and pouring vitamin D into our bones was an instant reward.
As the sun’s rays drew longer we hopped in our trusty vessel and I calmly paddled back with my daughter finally getting the hang of the paddling rhythm. If this was the place Tom Hanks’ character Chuck Noland had been washed up on then I’m surprised he wanted to leave – we were certainly sad to say goodbye it had been such a delightful afternoon in a totally unspoilt part of the world.
A Day at Store Beach
Store Beach is found at Manly’s North Head and can only be accessed by water.
Kayaks can be hired at Manly Kayak Centre
Take a packed lunch and plenty of water and sunscreen.
This trip is great for one, two or however many you decided to take.
Read about five more excellent smaller Sydney beaches over here.
PS Another gorgeous rather secret beach around manly is the lovely Forty Basket Beach, read more here.