These are just some of the indulgences that await you at Diamond Beach on the NSW Mid-North Coast. At Diamond Beach, the crystalline water sparkles vividly and a lacework of alluring aquamarine pools fringe the shore. Sometimes the dolphins come in really close for a frolic; other times, you can almost make out the feather features on the sea eagles.
As we jogged north towards the lagoon that edges Saltwater National Park, we moved through plumes of tangy sea mist. This is a beach that stretches on, and blissfully further on, for almost 7km. A bird-rich swathe of coastal heather forms the backdrop and, for much of the year, the only footprints in the sand are likely to be your own.
All the ingredients for an escapist beach break feature in abundance here, however, there’s a trump card that makes Diamond Beach really shine: this is a place to live out daydreams of riding along a beautiful beach to your heart’s content.
As one of the rare beaches that are 24/7 horse and dog friendly (with the wilderness vibe unhampered by pesky four-wheel drives!) – it is not at all a stretch to refer to Diamond Beach as a true gem.
Just a short walk from the white sand awaits supremely comfortable, fetchingly atmospheric lodging for horses, hounds and their subsequently deeply contented humans. Sea Horse Diamond Beach is a spacious and thoughtfully appointed beach house surrounded by voluptuous tropical gardens, with a vast, spongy lawn for dogs to play on and a lush and shaded paddock for visiting horses.
Raising our glasses of red wine on a deck shaded by jacarandas and rainforest trees, we watch the afternoon sun ignite the back paddock into an incandescent green. How jealous our horses would be.
As well as Diamond Beach, which can be reached by way of a 10-minute amble from Sea Horse, there are plenty of other rewarding rides in this typically overlooked area north of Forster. Horses can be ridden on nearby Nine Mile Beach (also known as Tuncurry Beach) a sweeping sprawl of sand that’s also horse and dog-friendly for almost its entire length, although vehicles do use this beach. To my mind, the northern section of this long beach is lovelier, more pleasant to access and typically less crowded.
If you ride a little north from Sea Horse onto Old Soldiers Rd, there are bush riding trails in eucalypt forest. Nearby Possum Brush — which you would need to float to — is popular with local riders and offers a diverse range of forest rides, including trails through carpets of ferns.
However, it can feel superfluous to go too far from the beach. Mornings are most magical at our local, when the water is at its most gloriously glassy. After a ride on Diamond Beach, you can top off the buzz by having a coffee at horse-friendly Diamond Drive Café. Or, if you’ve been to the beach for an afternoon ride, a ride-up tipple might be appropriate — at Cellarbrations liquor store.