My last blog entry here, when I added the video about Our Ninth Full Year Living in Australia, was just before Christmas. So, I’ve had a pretty lengthy festive break.
Bear in mind though that it is, or rather was, also the long six week school holiday break here for summer. So what with Christmas, New Year, summer holidays and Australia Day to enjoy, it’s easy to see how difficult it’s been to get things done around here. For example, here’s a glimpse of my surroundings on Australia Day…
This is too easy, isn’t it? The answer is obvious. Except our destination was only a two hour flight east from Brisbane, so you can forget France.
Nouméa, New Caledonia
France, non, but French territory, oui. We went to Nouméa in New Caledonia.
Last time we left Australia for an international holiday was 2016 when we went to Japan which, like New Caledonia, does not appear in The top 10 international holiday destinations for Australians. 7/10 of those destinations on the list are much closer to Australia than anywhere in Europe, which is surely part of their appeal. So I’m not sure why either Japan or New Caledonia didn’t make that list.
What we loved so much about New Caledonia was the painless journey which transported us with such speed to a totally different culture. As a bonus, Mrs Bob loves the French language and speaks it well; she very much enjoyed this holiday and we will certainly be doing it again.
Australia doesn’t do beach bars
Of course, this website is about Australia, so let’s forget New Caledonia, for now anyway.
Towards the end of 2015 I wrote a post called What’s Really Different about the Beaches in Australia? One of the differences I listed was the lack of bars on the beach. When I say lack, at the time I mean’t I’d never seen one.
In many countries elsewhere, you would be spoilt for choice. You could feel the sand under your feet, sit at a bar or round a small table with some kind of thatched roof over your head, enjoying the sea breeze, listening to the waves, and sipping a coldie.
That, unfortunately, is not happening here in Australia.
More than two years have passed since I wrote that post about the lack of beach bars in Australia, and you would have thought I would have moved on from it. But no. I’m made of stronger stuff than that. I would not let it lie. My search has never stopped and my dedication to finding a decent beach bar has continued.
I have come close.
First, I had a tipoff, in the comments of the very post I’ve linked to above that started it all. Shane John Backx suggested looking at the bar in Alexandra Headland Surf Club. He said “Walk straight in off the beach underneath the building in what was the old boat storage area. Also have an outdoor beer garden directly on the beach. You will have to make a research trip!!”
So, of course, I did. Here’s what I found. First, a small confined drinking area with a few people enjoying a tipple…
Beyond that, you can see the ‘Beach Kiosk’, which I assume was the old storage area mentioned by Shane John Backx. I can also see some tables and chairs where people might have been able to sit to have a drink, but no one was doing that today…
Shane John Backx visited in October 2015, we were there two years after that. Maybe the rules have changed in that time, maybe the surf club didn’t have the staff on the day we were there to open the kiosk properly, but either way, for me this bar is not a beach bar.
Didn’t stop us having a drink there though…
Minimum requirement for a beach bar
For me, anyway, a good beach bar should have at least the following:
- Actually be on the beach, on the same level as the sand and in full view of the ocean
- Be out in the open with no windows or doors, or even a gap through which you must enter to walk past the security guard and/or the ‘No alcohol beyond this point’ sign
That’s it, that’s all I need for a decent beach bar and I’m afraid Alexandra Headland Surf Club didn’t meet that requirement, although I will be checking back regularly to see if that situation changes.
Similarly, whilst Clancy’s in City Beach was good for a seaside drink during our holiday in Perth a few years ago, it also failed to meet my minimum requirements…
The closest I’ve come to what I would call a beach bar in Australia was found at Burleigh Beach Pavilion…
This meets most of what I’m looking for, but it is roped off leaving a ‘gap through which you must enter’, although no sign of security or even a ‘No alcohol beyond this point’ sign. Try walking onto the beach with a beer in your hand, and I’m sure some kind of mechanism would click into place to prevent you from hitting the sand.
Something along the lines of Rover from The Prisoner…
And that brings me back to Nouméa, New Caledonia.
THIS is a beach bar
Here’s the view from the ‘MV Lounge’ bar…
Anyway, this bar has easy access from the beach, waiter service to your table right there on the sand, and not a ‘No alcohol beyond this point’ sign in sight. And, as you can probably make out from one of those pictures above, a great place to watch the sun go down.
So, at last I have found a beach bar that I really love. Unfortunately, it’s two hours away, by plane. I will drink there again, I hope.
In the meantime though, if anyone knows anywhere closer to Brisbane with a great beach bar, I’d love to hear from you.