I hardly write about my hometown in Australia.
Recently, the guys from Five Point Five asked me to answer some questions… So here’s a little bit about my Australian hometown – Kingscliff
What, in your opinion, defines your town/city?
Kingscliff is a small beach side town on the northern NSW coast in Australia.
The turquoise clear water defines this place – both from the beach or the creek. The conditions dictate so much of the activity- the tide, wind and swell direction will mean you see more people at one part of the town to swim, surf, paddle, fish etc…
On the land, we have a main street with shops and restaurants on one side and parks running along the beach. There is a big roundabout with an old fig tree in the middle. I drive past this tree on my way home and I always get a great feeling. At night the tree is lit up with coloured lights and there is an old bench you can sit on to remind yourself to take it slow and enjoy the moment.
Being a beachside town, there is always a hive of activity at certain times though. Early mornings you will see the many coffee shops run ragged from the cyclists, walkers and surfers calling in after their activity for their caffeine shot. During the school holidays, the streets fill up and although it still has a charm, the energy picks up as people from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane flock to our town.
What do you love about your town/city?
The weather! I have travelled north and find it really warm and I don’t enjoy the winter months so although Melbourne is really vibrant, I am just too cold there!
The location is just perfect. We are close to an international airport (Coolangatta), have stunning mountains behind us (e.g. Mount Warning) and have major tourist spots a short drive away (Byron Bay).
I feel that we have everything here- it’s just small. The little art-house theatre right on the beachfront is a great cinema experience with a range of art house movies served with tasty snacks or meals and wine!
There’s always something to do.
Do you have any interesting/strange local customs, slang or cultural expectations that a visitor may not have heard of?
The everyday talk amongst the locals- everyone would be able to tell you how the swell is, the temperature and visibility of the water and ultimately what sport is best for the day (surf, surf sky, kayak, swiming, stand up paddle…. you name it!)
I found this funny at first, but now I am one of them. I grew up in the city- Lisbon, Portugal and the idea of people stopping on the street to discuss the wind and tide with a stranger would just be so bizarre where I grew up but I love it
Where is a good place to ponder, or find solitude?
There is a small cove hidden between our creek and coast guard tower which is perfect for a swim or catch some sun. There are a couple of seats set behind this spot as well. Paul and I come here sometimes after work with a cup of tea in the winter months as well.
Where can we find nature and/or or adventure?
Everywhere! We have Mount Warning 30 minutes away which is a challenging climb. There is everything to do with water you possibly can imagine- great diving and snorkelling, fishing, including spear fishing, world class surfing… There is a definitely a reason why Surfing Australia made this there national headquarters for training!
What does your town/city offer in the way of nightlife and what do you recommend?
The local pub has been totally renovated and draws the people and tourists together. Live music, massive screens for sports telecasts and a great atmosphere! If you want to party all night, you need to head to Byron though. Kingscliff is not a town for a party backpacker.
Tell us about your favourite café and the coffee scene.
That is hard! We have Choux box for the early coffee. The Zebra House has an antique coffee machine and beautiful gardens for the mid morning pick-me-up and later on jazz and blues from Mockingbird is hard to pass by without calling in…
What about food and restaurants, and local delicacies?
Fins Restaurant, run by famous chef Steven Snow always makes the list of fine restaurants in Australia. The menu changes very often as they source fresh seasonal produce. Santai is great for cocktails and a luxury feel with delicious foods in between.
If you are after a relaxed feel where the locals often go, try Kathmandu for beautiful Nepalese cuisine, or have a late lunch and forget dinner at Cudgen Headland surf club. The views are hard to beat.
Where should people stay?
The best option is to look online through a local real estate agency. You don’t need to stay in a modern apartment, although the pools at Salt Village are pretty luxurious! If you have a few friends, or a big family, you may be able to rent a good sized unit right in town and feel the magic of “living” here
What are the top 5 things visitors “must” do/see?
1. Stand up paddle, swim, snorkel in Cudgen Creek
2. Try surfing the right point in front of the surf club
3. ride a cruiser bike along the Kingscliff – Casuarina path
4. enjoy a mid-morning coffee in a cafe and stay for lunch
5. climb mount warning and look back to the town, cane fields and the Coral Sea
What is Underrated:
A short drive (or bike ride) to She-Oak Shack for live music and great, simple, delicious meals alongside the Tweed River. You might not stop here if you drive past but it is well worth the stop!
What is Overrated:
It’s hard to say. Things aren’t necessarily cheap but you won’t be disappointed with the quality.
I am surprised some people have not seen (or experienced) the Creek at high tide. This is a must! Whether you want to snorkel, stand up paddle, or just float and catch some sun, it is well worth it…
Vegetarians catered for at: all the restaurants
Best late night (munchies) spot: be prepared as the surfers have shut up shop for the morning waves…
Health food shops: Healthy Life Kingscliff at the supermarket plus a number of small produce stores, even along the roads selling organic fruit and veges!