Shelly Beach

My brother, dad and I hit the road early in the morning in an attempt to outrace the heat, and the hustle and bustle of the locals and tourists that flock to the Marine Parade that separates the grandeur of Manly Beach from the sheltered Shelly Beach. Typical of any Sydney beachside locality are the dog walkers, the ladies in their leggings – a skim flat white in the one hand and an iPhone in the other, the joggers soaked in sweat and the teeny bikinis. But hidden behind the head, Shelly Beach is more tranquil than Manly. Its water is equally cool and undisturbed, with its distinctive ‘shelly’ (and sometimes painful) sand that gets caught between your toes.

A popular spot for divers, my brother and dad dove into the cool blue water while I tried to blow the hair off my sticky burning face. Maybe it was the narrow sidewalk, but there was a sense of intimacy between the dog walkers, the Lycra-wearing fitness gurus and the Budgie Smugglers. Add a cup of coffee and fantastic views to that, and you have a perfect combination that makes it well worth getting the sand in your pants.