Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by South Coast Register editor John Hanscombe.
Out in the surf on a NSW South Coast beach on Sunday, good fortune seemed to be smiling after a run of grim news from everywhere. Shocking betrayal and war in Syria, political chaos in the United States, extinction rebellion everywhere, raging fires in northern NSW and a crippling drought across much of the states.
Yet here I was on an empty beach in one of the most beautiful places on earth, enjoying wave after messy wave, reminding myself that while I'm rubbish at surfing, I get great pleasure trying. The fact no one is watching helps.
Sadly, though, that may be about to change. Someone told The New York Times about how the South Coast of NSW deserves to be a destination in its own right.
Part of the attraction is its pristine beaches, something borne out by the recent clean beach survey of water quality. All but one of our beaches scored exceptionally well and the one that didn't is really only problematic after rain.
When not surfing, I like to get high.
No, I'm not talking cannabis, which while it's about to be legalised in the ACT, won't be decriminalised in Jervis Bay, the territory's South Coast enclave.
I'm talking drones.
If the coast looks sensational at eye level, it looks even more spectacular from the air.
Mindful of CASA's suite of rules, I look to fly over water so if the aircraft drops out of the sky, the only results will be a startled fish, my broken heart and a hole in the bank balance.
Flying over empty headlands, beaches and rocky outcrops not only delivers stunning photographs. The exercise is quite meditative too - an exercise in mindfulness to drown out all the chatter from a week's worth of news.
You're forced to concentrate on the moment as you fly and frame the shot.
The bird's eye view also brings into sharp focus, the concerns of our young people, who are becoming ever more vocal about climate change and the degradation of our oceans.
From 120 metres, CASA's altitude limit, colours and patterns not visible from land are revealed. The clarity of the water, the way it scultps the sand below, is nature's art at its finest.
For me, a great weekend on the South Coast involves an attempt at surfing, a check of Google Earth to find interesting coastal land forms and, if the wind and light are favourable, a drone expedition. And if the wind doesn't co-operate? There's always the GoPro.
I hope you enjoy the photos I've included with this. Hopefully, they'll encourage you to visit my little patch of paradise before we're overrun with New Yorkers. And perhaps they'll get you out and about with your camera, capturing those views, vistas and vignettes that make where you live so special.
Editor, South Coast Register