After a week of staying indoors to keep cool and working extra at the coffee shop between irksome stints in the shopping mall, by Sunday morning I was really ready to do something fun; to go somewhere scenic; to go for a drive somewhere pretty and to breathe some fresh cool air.
Sadly we didn’t have all day – we had a massage booked for 3pm – so we couldn’t go up to Paluma to swim in Crystal Creek. Instead we drove out to the beach at Pallarenda. It’s much quieter there and – to be honest – a lot more beautiful than the beaches in town, and it’s surrounded by bushland on the hills behind the beach. Perfect.
When we got there we found it was a still day, so no kite surfers to sit and watch. Instead we went for a little walk out to the even more secluded beach further around the headland. Shelly Beach.
Longer-term residents of Townsville (Marny? Tanya?) might know where this is going … but we didn’t. We just clambered around the headland in the mid-morning heat (it was a bit idiot to be out in the sun, really) and enjoyed the views of calm aqua.
We even saw something – a croc? A dugong? Most probably a turtle – poke its head out of the water. Hayden as always tried to capture it on camera. He didn’t succeed.
While we were walking, we kept getting overtaken by single men, each walking alone but with purpose across the beach and around the next headland out of sight (if you click to enlarge the photo to the left you might be able to spot one or three).
We couldn’t work out why there were so many of them, but when we rested in the shade of an old gun placement (left over from WWII I suppose), we saw some graffiti which provided a clue: "Come one come all, come on down to the nude beach and have a Happy Nude Year."
Yep. Turns out that Shelley Beach is Townsville’s unofficial gay nude beach. We must have been the last to know. When I mentioned it to our masseuse in the afternoon, he replied breezily, “Oh yeah, Shelley Beach, it’s beautiful, I used to go there all the time with my,” and then he paused, “er… with my girlfriend.”
I suppose it must still be a bit scandalous to be gay in macho redneck Townsville.