A little while ago my good friend Phillip invited me to join a Facebook group with him and some mutuals who know each other through university and a local church youth group. Every so often their schedules would align and they’d plan activities like a hike, pool party or beach trip, the latter of which I tagged along for. To make coordinating easier, take the strain off those of us who aren’t confident driving and save time and emissions, we decided to carpool, meeting at Phillip’s place. I was the first to arrive despite having run late that morning as I made my usual descent from the Blue Mountains.
I’d packed my bag with sunglasses, sunscreen, a towel, a change of clothes, some snacks and my current read, Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. Then I stopped for lunch, picking up an iced latte and aioli grilled chicken wrap from Mcdonalds. Around midday I was introduced to our group. The dynamic was interesting as some of us were in relationships, others dating more casually and the rest single. After a quick get to know each other session where we familiarised ourselves with each other’s names, jobs, hobbies and study paths, we set off to Newport beach, arriving an hour and a half later.
The drive down was beautiful and scenic as we passed through the well to do inner city coastal suburbs. Palm trees dotted the pavements, rising up alongside the villas and peeping over the high walls of boutiques, restaurants and cafes. I admired their storefront displays and enjoyed the vibrant blue skies and smattering of cloud we were blessed with. Newport is the home beach of three times world surfing champion, Tom Carroll. The surf is limited to an area known as The Peak, an inshore reef facing northward.
As Newport faces east, it’s open to swell from any direction. There is a jumble of rocks known as the peak that shape two separate breaks and attract a highly skilled swimming tribe. One of Newport’s distinctive features is a full size saltwater lap pool that sits atop a rock platform, an iconic feature of Sydney’s Northern beaches. It was the subject of particular interest for the esteemed Australian photographer Max Dupain in the nineteen thirties and fifties. Swimming, body boarding, wind surfing and fishing are popular undertakings in the area. You can hire boats, picnic, barbeque, visit the artisan markets every fortnight and take kids to the playground.
This laidback seaside suburb has a certain rugged beauty that encourages you to set your worries aside. Think lush vegetation, rugged headlands and a village ambience that attracts outdoor enthusiasts, empty nesters, retirees and families of all shapes and sizes. Shops and eateries are within walking distance as is Newport’s famous fish and chip shop. I observed a couple of murals painted by local artists on nearby buildings. They were entrenched in folklore, boasting a mythical dreamtime style and ambience. The beach itself was busy as expected during the New Year and holiday season.
I let my feet be warmed by the golden grains of sand as they gently sunk in and felt refreshed peering out at the ocean, watching the waves crash over each other and foam gently as they dissipated. Upon further inspection of the shore, bluebottles lay in clumps and piles, still very much alive. Curious children and daring folks alike poked at them with sticks, shrieking as tentacles darted out and the creatures flailed in response. They were concentrated heavily in some sections of the beach so our group stayed away entirely. We heard about a boy who got stung on his way in and way out. Better to be safe than sorry!
After a dip in the ocean, we headed our separate ways. Phillip and I explored the mossy rock pools, easing ourselves down and wriggling around until we found comfortable seating. We chatted about dreams, musings and ambitions, toppling occasionally and losing our balance when a particularly rough wave hit. The others were busy on walks, buying ice cream, playing volleyball and tanning in the sun with chips and music blaring through a mini speaker. By the time we were ready for our last swim of the day, there was an undertow current and the rip was stronger. Phillip and I tried piggybacking each other with him doing so much more successfully. My attempts ended in us toppling forward, sucking saltwater through our noses and in fits of giggles between gasps.
As it approached early evening, we all dried off, popped on a change of clothes and decided on a spot for sunset dinner. One of the girls suggested we go to The Newport, an iconic waterfront venue we just happened to be in close proximity to. It’s a historic destination that champions the beauty of Sydney’s northern beaches and the generous spirit of the local community. At the heart of the entertainment experience, every Thursday you have the opportunity to kick back on the deck with live music and deejays playing a curated collection of the latest hits and drops. They played all these groovy tunes that made me want to get up and boogie! Phillip and I decided to share a prosciutto, rocket and parmesan pizza with lemon lime and bitters as our drinks.
With an alfresco marketplace feel, you’re free to choose your own adventures and make your own fun with access to a variety of food outlets, lookouts and experiential areas, all of which have a distinct style and personality. The Newport features idyllic gardens, a huge communal deck, various outdoor dining spaces and bars, all of which are perfect for whiling the day and night away. They just happen to be pet friendly too! The Kiosk cafe has a simple breakfast menu consisting of smoothies, juices, bakery delights straight from the oven and freshly roasted coffee courtesy of Will and Co.
There are also share platters of dishes of meat from their French rotisserie. At the Shack you take your pick from a range of mouth watering burgers, traditional fish and chips, salt and pepper calamari and seasonal salads and grilled options. What really caught my attention however was the Newport games area for children and the young at heart, reminiscent of a vintage gymnasium. You could play badminton, ping pong and even board games through a giant magnetic scrabble board. There were even exercise bikes that could charge your phone. Great incentive to get active, haha!