On the weekend I followed a walking track along Red Rocks beach on Phillip Island. I have a soft spot for this beach. I've watched my kids play here for the last 17 years, summer after summer. I've walked its length in miserable weather and returned home drenched after a quick downpour. It's delivered everything a beach can, and then some. It's even inspired a story.
This is a beach I know well, but last Saturday we took our directions from a guide book and discovered things we never knew. Things which thrilled me, as this is the beach where my hero and heroine fall in love in my book The Everlasting.
I learned this stretch of beach is the least changed of all the beaches on Phillip Island in almost 200 years of settlement. That's exactly what I wanted to hear. To know the coastal vistas and contours are similar to what my characters may have experienced on their long walks.
Just off the walking track, my map showed a detour with a local treasure. Tucked along Chillingworth Road, and high on a hill sits one of the island's earliest homes. Built in the late 1860s by the pioneering Richardson family, it was once known as Everton and later as Tallowalla. Imagine the wonderful stories held there of life in Colonial Australia? And imagine me as the new owner... because it's for sale! Yes... a fancy For Sale sign greeted us as we climbed the hill to the garden gate.
Alas, a friendly chat with the current owner left me with no illusions. While I may dream of hosting writing retreats there and sharing the ocean views with friends, the price tag means I can only add this location to the fiction rattling around in my head.
But, if I cannot live there for real... I know I can set all sorts of dramas there on paper and perhaps feature this beautiful home in another of my stories.