Dr. Atkin’s Letters Home: Australian Life is a Beach

Faculty Member Bob Atkin

Faculty Member Bob Atkin

Out of homesickness, I just checked the November weather for the ‘Burgh.  Amazing coincidence: the temp on this day in Pittsburgh should hit 22 degrees and here in Sydney, at this very moment it’s 22 degrees!

Celsius that is.

Y’all learned how to do °C à °F in school, right?  But in case you forgot, here in Sydney it’s 72 bright, sunny, warm, U.S. degrees. No cloud to be seen either. The sun enrobes you like gossamer cashmere.  Perhaps a bit chilly for some, but if you were here, you just might be tempted to go to the beach.

And Sydney has beaches. Take your choice: Bondi, Tamarama, Bronte, Clovelly, Coogee, Marouba — and that’s just on the south of town accessible by bus from the city center. 

Beach 1Now, full disclosure:  I’m not a beach person. Well, not a lie-on-the-sand and swim-in-the-ocean beacher.  (I was when I was a kid. I Iived only 30 miles from the north Jersey shore, and I think I spent nearly every Saturday night and Sunday during the summer before my senior year in H.S. on or near a beach. Guess I had my fill. And to put a time stamp on it, it would be two more years before the Drifters would debut the true East Coast beach anthem.)

But I do like to walk the beach, and a great way to get introduced to some of Sydney is to walk the 3+ miles Coastal Walk from Bondi to Coogee. Another mile and a half gets you to Maroubra. Each beach is different — seems to me each has its own crowd. Pick one you like. Views of the ocean, of sun-soakers (bring your heavy duty SPF protection), of surfers and swimmers, of cliffs, and (they tell me) of whales (I didn’t see any).

Want to learn to surf? Go to Maroubra (I found an interesting YouTube video of Rabbitohs at surfing school. The beach is also a great way to get Aussie-speak into your ears. And if you don’t know what a Rabbitoh is, check out my “Animals” blog).

Beach 2Like to snorkel? One choice involves a major trek to the Great Barrier Reef (an outing undertaken by four of the students two weeks ago), but you don’t need to travel that far. Just get on the right city bus. TimeOutSydney (a very useful what’s-happening-monthly) picked their five top Sydney sites.

But, with the snow falling and the temps dipping, let me make you a bit envious.  You could be here.  Right now, mate. Right now.

Beach 3

— Even left some for you!


Bob Atkin
Sydney NSW Australia