A dingo stole my chicken at Hawks Nest beach

When we woke on Sunday morning, we ran over the dunes to the highest point to watch the sunrise. As I ran up one of the dunes, I looked down to see small paw prints that lead back to the campfire, looped back around, and far away.


I reached the top of the dune just in time to see the sky turn yellow and orange, before the sun rose over the ocean.

It’s not like I’ve never watched the sunrise before, but maybe I’d never actually thought about the sun when it’s rising.

I mean, have you ever watched and noticed how quickly it rises? From the moment it pops above the horizon, it takes about 15 seconds before the whole sun is in the sky.

As the sun rose, I felt the air turn cold, and a gust of wind wash over us on the hill. The sun might be up, but it’ll be hours before we feel any warmth from the rays.


We started the camp fire again, and began cooking breakfast, while warming our fingers beside the butane gas burner.

Mist covers the ocean all around us, leaving a magical blanket of fog that stops right before the sandy beach.

On the topic of sand and that chicken carcass, we found a large mound of sand that’d been flicked up around the hole that we’d buried the barbecued chicken carcass the night before.


Mark had a huge grin on his face. He couldn’t believe that a dingo had actually come onto our campsite while we were sleeping, and stolen our leftovers that we’d buried – at least the length of the shovel pole underground.

In the kitchen.

We set up the table, cracked open our Dare Iced Coffees, and began cooking the mushrooms, bacon and eggs over the heat. We have the habit of cooking the absolute crap out of the mushrooms, until they are so small and golden that you could mistake them for $2 coins.


After breakfast we carried our camp chairs up to the top of a dune, and watched the waves crash, hoping to spot some dolphins or whales.


With full tummies and a clean campsite, we drove into town, and fetched more groceries for dinner and a cheese platter – only to find that the town is so deserted, there’s no longer a grocery store there.

When we returned to Hawks Nest, we drove through the back of the dunes, to reach Little Gibber headland.

Mark mentioned that years back, this spot was shut off from four-wheel drives, and nobody could drive or walk over there. But now, we had a secret campsite all to ourselves.


We parked the ute facing the beach, and carried our deck chairs and a picnic rug to the top of a hill looking over the beach. With a cheese board, South Cape Cheese, cabanossi, strawberries and dipping chocolate, salami and plenty of crackers and dip, we sat and ate until we could hardly move.


As the sun began to set behind the dunes, I went searching for shells along the beach.

Vivid memories from my childhood flooded back as I picked up the small shells and dusted off the sand for the first time in years.

From half way up the beach, I heard Mark yell out to me,

“When the first star appears in the sky, I’ll start the fire.”

As he turned to walk back to the campsite, we both looked above and saw it – the first star.

Without a moment of hesitation, he began chopping up the wood, and preparing the fire.

With a full platic-cup of shells in hand, I gave up shell hunting when the sun set behind the dunes. A beautiful rainbow sunset was above us, with all colours in the spectrum spread across the sky.


We had a barbecued chicken again for dinner, but this time, we placed the carcass in a plastic bag and put it in the ute. It’s so important to leave no trace when you’re camping.

Fun fact: dingoes don’t like smoke. If you keep the fire burning through the night, they’ll be less likely to come near your campsite.Day two

Monday mornings usually start with a groan, and a strong urge to stay in bed. Instead, I woke to Mark shaking my shoulder, trying to unzip the swag, and telling me to get up because the sun was about to rise over the dunes.


I pulled my ugg boots over my camp socks, wiped the sleep out of my eyes, and chased Mark up the nearest sand dune.

We couldn’t get a good view of the sunrise from up there, because the dunes were too high. So I ran down to the beachfront where the tide was low, and plenty of seashells were waiting for me to sort through them, to see if we could catch a glimpse of the sun coming up over the ocean.

Unfortunately, the sky was showing off with different shades of purple, red and yellow right before the sun popped up.

After filling up another plastic cup with seashells, I returned to the campsite where bacon was crackling on the frying pan, and the smell of mushrooms filled the salty air.

Mark had already cracked open a Dare Iced Coffee, which was sitting in the cup-holder of my camp chair beside the campfire.


After breakfast, we cleaned up the campsite, and went for a very short drive to the headland.

We scrambled along the rocks, and heard a friendly American traveller call out to us, “Somebody spotted a brown snake on the headland yesterday, so watch your step.”

With that in mind, we stayed on the rocks, and avoided walking through the long grass.


We sat and watched fish jump in and out of the waves – wondering if they were avoiding the fishing rods in the water.

We drove along the beach front, searching for the perfect stop to park the ute and watch out for dolphins, and hopefully whales in the ocean.

We grabbed the doona, and sat on the roof cage, listening to the ocean and talking garbage to one-another.

Mid-sentence, Mark interrupted me, waving his finger in front of my face, “Milly, I see dolphins!”

I figured he was just teasing. But he wasn’t.

A pod of eight (or so) dolphins jumped in and out of water right before our eyes. It was a mixture of perfect timing, and bloody good luck.

Before we started the three hour journey home, we drove around to nearby Jimmys Beach – a small, Napisan-white beach tucked inside the Nelson Bay/Anna Bay inlet.

Despite being the middle of winter, the weather was warm, and you wouldn’t be a fool for thinking it were the start of spring.

We decided to pop our swimmers on, and with a bit of courage, waded through the clear water.


With salty skin, and the stench that comes with camping for three days, we climbed back into the ute and started the drive home.

It wasn’t until we got half way down the freeway that we came to our first set of traffic lights in three days.

Three. Days.

It’s the simple things that make these little places special. And no traffic lights, or traffic, is just one of them.

June 9, 2015

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