“I think I found an asteroid”

My daughter also known as Little Earthling for her current interest in space and planets has discovered something. I peer at the “asteroid”. It’s actually a lump of coal but she’s so excited I don’t have the heart to tell her what it really is.

Hands

In keeping with her space obsession, we’re visiting Caves Beach, a network of sea caves which if you squint really hard resembles a moonscape appearance with weathered rocks and unusual formations.

According to my watch, we have approximately an hour left before the tide comes in submerging the caves.

The car is full of all the “necessary” paraphernalia for a family outing at the beach. There’s buckets and spades, beach towels, water, snacks, three sets of spare clothes, folding chairs, a scooter and helmet. We’ve even thrown in swimsuits in case we feel like swimming in the balmy 18 degree sea water.

Leaving the car up by the Surf Life Saving Club, we venture down to the beach and enjoy the coastal views and coal ships moored out at seas

Down the track we go, clambering over the rocks and immediately find the network of caves.

There’s a variety of different sized caves to explore, some of them with narrow openings to crawl through.

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We crawl into the back of the cave and run our hands over the damp cave walls.

It’s a bit surreal to be sitting in a cave that in an hour will be flooded with water. After finding other “interplanetary rocks”, my daughter announces that she wants to explore the beach.

“Is that alien slime?” Little Earthling asks noticing green viscous liquid dripping from the top of the cave as we emerge from the cave, our eyes blinking in the bright sunshine.

“Sure is”, I reply, not wanting to crush that whimsical imagination that only kids seem to possess. There’s plenty of time for her to learn that it’s actually just moss and water dripping from the cave.

We then turn our attention to the tidal pools. Peering through the water, we find all kinds of interesting creatures in the pools such as periwinkle shells, waving sea grass as well as a single crab leg!

After searching for vain for the rest of the crab, we make up outlandish stories about the fate of the seven-legged crab.

We’re busy constructing sand castles when we start to notice the tide coming in.

Reluctantly, we abandon our base by the caves and head back to the car with the plan to drive home. But as we meander around the suburb, we notice some locals walking south up a cliff path. Curious to see where they’re heading, we park and follow them.

Ten minutes later, we discover a beautiful secluded beach that’s protected from the prevailing winds.

No wonder the locals keep this a secret. I later find out that the beach is called Spoon Rocks so called because the rocks and beach resemble a spoon. The rocks are the remains of a breakwater which was originally constructed to transport local coal onto waiting ships.

On this sunny winter’s day, the beach is all ours. The only sounds we hear are the soft lapping of the water and the loud squeak of the sand as we walk along barefoot.

Little Earthling is in her element. She draw pictures in the sand and submerges her feet in the water. She looks yearningly towards the water and I know that if we stay any longer, she’ll wade right in, clothes and all.

It’s time to change into our swimmers. The temperature’s rising as the cloud burns off and although a bit cold, it’s refreshing to be in the water.

After an hour of splashing in the waves, I finally manage to cajole my daughter to leave.

Our adventure is over apart from the souvenirs of a great day at the beach; an inordinate amount of sand in the car, our salt-encrusted bodies and windswept hair and of course the “asteroid”.

Caves Beach is located on the Swansea peninsula south of Newcastle. If you’re going to explore the sea caves, check the tide times.