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Surfing Australia

The seaside town that offers a slice of Australia on home turf



I live in Newquay, but still get a giddy sense of excitement whenever I come down to its historic harbour. Tucked away from the hubbub of the high street, it’s sheltered from the wind  – and on a sunny day feels almost tropical. Fishing boats come and go, paddleboarders glide through turquoise water and children build sandcastles on the beach. Swimmers forgo wetsuits, making the water look positively balmy. 

And there’s an enticing smell of cooking in the air. Last year, The Boathouse restaurant was transformed into a street food market, with pop-up vendors selling everything from fresh burgers to Mexican (the tempura fish tacos are delicious and gluten-free). You can also get your seafood fix – the flagship kitchen, Elseafood, serves delights such as pan-seared scallops, and lobster that couldn’t be fresher, landed just hours earlier in the harbour in front of you. 

All this is now in easier reach, thanks to a new flight route between London Gatwick and Newquay operated by easyJet. And though the town is a springboard into the rest of Cornwall, it’s worth visiting in its own right; the beaches are beautiful, activities are on tap and there’s a great dining scene if you know where to look. Luxury is also on offer, with smart, ocean-view rooms at Lewinnick Lodge, and the Aqua Club, a shiny new pool complex at the Headland Hotel. Yes, you’ll still find some neon arcades and grotty clubs here – but there is an increasing number of independent shops, cafes and restaurants that are earning Newquay a better reputation. 

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