THE water rushes up to meet me as I take the first tentative steps into the foamy edge. It instantly cools my feet and ankles and I feel my core body temperature drop. Just being at the beach has given me a sunny disposition and washed away all the angst of the previous week.
But as I inch out further, the water tops my knees and approaches my crutch. I find myself standing on tippy-toes and retreating ever so slightly.
I hesitate. Do I really want to go in?
I summon up all of my courage and dive into the crashing waves crashing. I come up tingling all over and feeling more alive than I have for weeks.
Ah, the rejuvenating powers of water.
In trying to find some relief from the heat wave that descended upon us late last week, I took my kids to various local swimming spots.
As well as the beach, we visited a waterhole with a waterfall and two tea tree lakes. It's one of the (many) reasons I love living here - so many places to get wet!
I used to work for an organisation called Uncle that aims to foster positive male role models for boys without full-time fathers. I remember once taking a large group of boys and men on an all-day waterhole tour throughout the North Coast hinterland. I'm not sure who enjoyed it the most, the kids or the adults. But suffice to say, we are spoilt for beautiful places to keep cool.
My wife was away last weekend, so I decided to take the kids on a swimming odyssey. Each of the places we visited has its own charm and appeal, and I thought I'd share them with you.
Day 1 was Whian Whian waterhole - sometimes overcrowded, but the tour buses have been stopped and we had the place to ourselves for a while on Friday afternoon. My kids love climbing all over the rocks, exploring as much as they like and jumping in the water. I've never seen the waterfall stop flowing. It's a big, deep waterhole in a magnificent setting; you just have to watch out for people jumping off the higher rocks - accidents have happened.
Day 2 was Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. A grassy edge and a huge body of calm, fresh water. It's ideal for picnics and if you want a change of scene, the beach is just across the road.
Then after spending a night at Suffolk Park, day 3 began at Tallows Beach. When conditions are right, I love a surf beach, but the waves were closing in and there was a rip running so after my quick cleansing, we walked down to the tea tree lake further down the beach; another natural wonder. My kids made fairy castles and played in the shallow water for hours. It was bliss.
I've often thought children should come with a set of instructions. One of which should be, "To keep them happy, just add water."