The magical qualities of sun, surf and sand
Waves gently breaking on the shore. Sunlight streaming from a cloudless blue sky.
There is nothing quite like a day at the beach to lift your spirits. It is both a source of wonderment and a place of rejuvenation as well as relaxation.
Childhood beach holidays were full of adventure. We would be up with the sun and home at nightfall.
In between there would be running, swimming, fishing, building sandcastles, just stretching out and feeling the warmth of the sun.
On Queensland’s Sunshine Coast it is somewhere we can go every day … provided we make the time.
It’s like being on an endless holiday. And it’s one of our greatest assets.
Going to the beach is fun and it’s free – something for everyone of all ages.
That surge of exhilaration as you splash into a breaking wave is just one of the ways the beach has the ability to surprise.
It means so much for so many – sit and read a book, wander along the shoreline, collect shells, body surf, ride the waves on your board. And that’s just on your own.
The beach engenders so much of the Australian character. A place where everyone can go whether on a day trip, holiday or every day.
A place to meet with friends – no preparation required, find a spot to suit and spread your towel.
Everyone has the right to enjoy it while we all have a responsibility to care for the landscape that is our coastline.
Former soldier Jason loves nothing more than a game of beach cricket – on a pitch with far less demons in it than his previous role serving in Afghanistan.
Personal assistant Tracey loves the beauty, the serenity, the calmness and the fact the beach always makes people smile.
“It’s a happy place to live,’’ she said.
“And the beach isn’t just a place for summer. A walk on the beach in winter is just as magical.
“There’s nothing better than sitting, looking at the sea and listening to the waves too.’’
Lunch was sandwiches or a salad … fish and chips tasted so good.
We know that sunshine can be great for to vitamin D, including an increase in endorphins and possible prevention of autoimmune diseases.
Walking barefoot in the sand stimulates your nerve endings as well as strengthening the muscles in your feet. It also needs 1.6 to 2.5 times the energy than it takes on a hard surface.
Swimming is linked to decreased stress and increased sense of well-being while sea water contains high levels of various minerals.
Lecturer in business studies Melissa admits the beach may not be for everyone but it is her world, especially with their children involved in surf life saving.
“It’s the open space,’’ she said. “You can’t stay in a bad mood ocean side.
“It’s a total escape.
“I’m loving the physical nature of being active in the waves and walking along the sand. It’s just resonating with me.’’
University student Megan, who is studying marine biology, believes that being in the surf means hours can go by without even realising.
“Being out there with no thoughts, with friends, or being out there and catching waves until you can’t paddle any more.
“Everyone becomes relaxed when they are by the beach, so It’s a good place to go to clear the mind.
“There is something for everyone – walking on the sand, lying by the beach, surfing, swimming, snorkelling, beach cricket …. relaxing or adrenaline.
“Everyone loves a day in the sun, but people also love the sunrises at the beach and the sunsets.
“People can sit and watch it together, whether it’s the waves, the surfers, the horizon or nothing at all.
“There has to be something about the salt water that is good for us and makes us feel fresh or energised – in it and being next to it.
“I have read something about negative Ions in the air being why it is so good for people.’’
It is this beach holiday atmosphere that appeals to holiday-makers. So many spend some of their time checking out the property market while they are here … and often make a life-changing decision before they return home.
When you are at the beach you tend to exercise without even thinking of it as exercise.
Just the thought of a beach holiday is enough to start feeling relaxed.
The eternity of the horizon allows us to wonder, to think aimlessly or deeply. And suddenly cares seem to go away, just like the ebb and flow of the tide.