From Wattamolla we drive on to another great spot in the Royal National Park, Garie Beach, a stretch of fine white sand which is in particular popular with the surfers. Winding down the road into the valley, we finally arrive at the big parking lot which is fringed by a futuristic and expensive looking life saving club and kiosk.
We park the car and go for a walk. Garie Beach at this time of year is a wild place, unprotected from the surf. The salt is catapulted into the wind, it filters the sunlight and creates a haze that lies heavily in the air.
It is late afternoon, the winter sun is low. The mighty cliffs that frame the beach cast deep shadows to both sides. We decide to follow the coastal track down south. We can make out some human built structures in the next bay and want to investigate.
Above us the cliff is towering over us, to our feet a sea of stones, rocks, boulders. They come in all forms, shapes, colours, sizes. It is astonishing to see that a cliff wall like this manages to throw such a variety of rocks onto the beach. Together they create a minefield of rocks, great for adventurous kids.
Closer to the cliff the track is cleared, which makes for an easy walk. We follow the coast for a couple of meters and arrive at what is named Little Garie Beach, a little cove that is cut through by a slowly trickling stream. The structured we were able to make out from a distance turn out to be little beach shacks, each individually built and designed. Weatherboard and other make-do materials put together to create surprisingly sturdy little houses.
While not inhabited they are all well maintained, with big panorama windows, TV antennas, furniture in front of the doors. Through one of the windows you can see an elderly lady sitting at a desk, writing, maybe a famous yet reclusive author?
We return to our car. On our way home we learn that the Royal National Park is sprinkled with these little communities of shacks. Constructed before the areas had been included in the national park, and with a history that dates back to the Great Depression, these shacks are heritage listed and cannot be demolished. They are also not for sale or rent, the only way you can grab one of these little houses is by inheritance.
How beautiful it must be to have a little shack like this, right by the sea, inaccessible by car, so far removed from the busy Sydney life? I am sure many people would pay a fortune to own one of these shacks, so it’s probably good that they are not for sale. A great find on this day to the Royal National Park.