We are a lucky bunch in Western Australia and I have met plenty of Eastern staters’ and overseas visitors who are only too glad to sing the Wests’ praises.
Luckily I have managed to get myself to quite a lot of the special places the west has to offer and have travelled many kilometres to do so but sometimes there are little gems that are on your back door step and because they are always there they are sometimes overlooked as a destination for a few days away as they are just down the road.
A little gem I have rediscovered lately is a small bay about half way between Geraldton and Northampton in the Chapman Valley shire called Coronation Beach.
I drive past it every time I head North, and I suspect I would not be the only one, intent on making a mile this little place is just another sign post on the side of the road in the rush to be somewhere else.
Coronation Beach has changed a fair bit since I first visited a number of years ago, there is now a bitumen road to the car park and the shire have built a number of structures for the camping and day use public’s convenience.
The best long drop dunnies I have had the good fortune to use, an undercover BBQ, many shade shelters and an observation deck to check out the whole bay along with about 30 camping sites to cater for most peoples camping set up.
On any given day when the wind is blowing, and that’s most afternoons up in this region, Coronation Beach is a magnet to windsurfers and kite surfers.
They come from all parts of the world and most would agree that it is one of the best places to pursue their sport in the world.
Coronation beach is safe, it is cheap, they can stay less than 100 meters from the beach and it’s only a 30 kilometer drive to a major town to get supplies, all in all it ticks all the boxes.
For an Aussie chick, who is too much of a fraidy cat when it comes to water born activities, it makes for a marvellous spectacle and great opportunity to get the long lens out of the camera bag and snap off a few shots of folk who are far braver than I.
The rainbow of coloured sails zipping back and forth over the white caps from the beach to the reef are like one winged butterflies skimming and cavorting over the waves, having the time of their lives, adding a vivid splash of colour to the world in their wake.
In the morning when it is calm and the tide is low its perfect for the beginner windsurfers, stand up paddle boarders, kayakers and early morning swimmers.
This place is so good there are even numerous spots along the coast to the north, up to the Bows River and beyond to go fishing.
Coronation Beach would also have to be one of the quietest camp grounds I have been at for a while.
After all the day use folk have packed up and gone home, the ones who are camping have eked out the last bit of light for the day with their final scoot across the waves to the reef and back, boards and sails have been stowed for the night, it’s not long after dark that tired and wind weary sports men and women place their heads on pillows and allow the cool salty air to reinvigorate their bodies to be able to wake up and do it all again the next day.
Its no wonder all the people I talked to, over the weekend we stayed there, were so enthusiastic and had nothing but praise for the place.
Coronation Beach is a wonderful multicultural microcosm of nationalities all camped on this one little pin point location that barely rates a mention on a map.
I must confess if I were to spend any more time there it is quite possible I could be persuaded to have a go at windsurfing. It seems like it would be the ideal place to learn, especially considering a lot of the folk are older than me and not just by a little bit either, it doesn’t seem like a very viable excuse to say I’m too old to learn and frankly being a fraidy cat just doesn’t cut it either.
Being a person who much prefers the desert to the dunes it does come as somewhat of a surprise that I enjoyed my time at Coronation Beach as much as I did and the fact it is just up the road has me predicting this little bay will be seeing a fair bit more of me in the future.