Head To This Family-Friendly Australian Beach And Escape To Golden Sands

If you're sitting at home, shivering in the cold as you read this, you're probably dealing with a case of the winter doldrums. Snow can be lovely when it first falls, but winter gets really old by the end of the season. Have you considered a trip to the Southern Hemisphere, where it's currently summer? We're thinking specifically of the golden sand beaches of Australia, particularly New South Wales. There is one absolutely gorgeous option that is great for the entire family. It's got plenty to do, beautiful clear water, and it's accessible for people who live with mobility impairment.

This wonderful place is Avoca Beach, just 1.5 hours north of Sydney. It's not just a beach, however. There is also a lagoon, Avoca Lake, right off the sand to play in. This area was once the home of the Awabakel Indigenous Australians, and in 1830, Irishman John Moore moved in after receiving a land grant there. Now, it's the perfect winter destination for family fun.

Safety, facilities, activities, and accessibility at Avoca Beach

Avoca Beach proper has a stretch of golden sand between two headlands, and a rocky area on the south side has tidepools for the little ones to explore. You'll find professional lifeguards there Monday through Friday, with Surf Life Saving volunteers patrolling on the weekends and holidays. To be safe, make sure you swim between flags that are both red and yellow (both colors on the same flag).

Avoca Beach has plenty of facilities: bathrooms, water, shops, public transportation, phones, kiosks, changing rooms, and a parking area. The waves are great for surfers, with the north end of the just-over-a-mile-long beach offering more of a challenge. If you haven't surfed before, you'll also find the Central Coast Surf Academy in the area to teach you. If fishing is your thing, this beach is also excellent for anglers.

If you live with mobility issues, you can rent both self-propelled and amphibious wheelchairs, as well as mobi-mats, which are mats that create a hard surface for wheelchairs on the sand. If you want to bring your dog to enjoy the surf with you, it's permitted. They can be off-leash from View Street to Shark Tower. As you can see in the first picture, the north end also gives direct access to Avoca Lake over a bit of sand. You can rent a kayak, a paddle board, or a pedal boat to take out to Bareena Island, which sits right in the middle of the lagoon.

Underwater wonders that will dazzle the whole family

Avoca Beach is great for snorkeling and scuba diving. You may see bannerfish, batfish, kingfish, eastern blue groper, blennies, and giant cuttlefish. This is Australia, however, so sharks live there, too. So, you'll want to take steps to protect yourself from sharks while swimming at the beach. The government of New South Wales has a shark map and the SharkSmart app to track sightings and tag shark detections so you can be prepared. Another prospective danger is the bluebottle, a polyp colony that looks like, well, a blue glass bottle. They're not deadly like the similar Portuguese Man 'o War but can cause pain and swelling if they sting you. They're siphonophores, not jellyfish, but they'll hurt just the same. Avoid bluebottles and report them to authorities if you see them.

If you're an experienced scuba diver, you're in for a treat. In 2011, a former warship, the HMAS Adelaide, was sunk about a mile from the shore of Avoca Beach to create an artificial reef. You can dive into the wreck and even go inside the vessel. You can see the chart table, the captain's chair, helicopter hangers, and even the cafeteria. Make sure to spend a little time out of the water in Avoca village, too, with a public market on the fourth Sunday of every month and lovely shops and restaurants, like the Point Cafe.