The inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship at Jervis Bay (hashtag #xterraAPAC) on April 26 has stirred up quite a bit of interest since its announcement less than a month ago.
To get an inside-look on the area and what’s in store for competitors we turned to Aussie native Ben Allen who grew up just about an hour-half north of the starting line.
XTERRA: Bennie, what can you tell us about Callala Bay?
Ben Allen: Sitting at the northern end of Jervis Bay in New South Wales, only a couple of hours south of Sydney, best known for its stunning beaches, swimming and dolphin parades, the town offers plenty of holiday cottage accommodation and a delightful Aussie beach culture atmosphere. There is excellent sailing from Callala Bay and a regional boat ramp and jetty provide easy access to the water.
Myola is a nice and quiet, one-street village just south of Callala Bay on the beautiful Jervis Bay. Here is where the roads end and the Currambene Creek flows into the Jervis Bay. The place is surrounded by beautiful bush.
The bay and the creek are fantastic places for all sorts of water sport activities. You can swim, fish, sail or surf as much as you like. And the bay is safe for children. A nice stroll through the bush brings you to the kilometers long beaches of the bay.
XT: You won 7 World Tour races last year, most of anyone, and now you have one in your backyard…whadya think?
BA: It’s so exciting to be involved in a thrilling, adrenalin pumping & action packed sport such as XTERRA. I’m “stoked” as we say in Australia, to showcase my backyard and share the natural beauty of our culture, landscape, and laid back lifestyle.
XT: Checked out the course yet?
BA: I haven’t yet ridden the XTERRA Asia Pacific course, but I have ridden and run all the trails in Jervis Bay. They offer short technical sections, flat twisty blasts, some modest climbing, a wha-hoo downhill section for all those gravity minded soles and a smattering of natural obstacles, it helps keep the fun factor set to high. Just remember to make a conscience effort to look at the scenery as you ride by, it is simply Jaw Dropping.
XT: How about the beach, can we expect some big waves?
BA: Callala Bay isn’t known for its surfing, but you most definitely will spot dolphins frolicking in the crystal clear water of Callala Beach. There are plenty of great beaches in New South Wales where you can learn to surf at an accredited surf school. It’s also where you might find your surf lesson incorporates a little yoga.
Surfing along the South Coast of NSW brings you close to nature at every turn. There are small towns and villages surrounded by bushland and national parks, birds and wildlife abound and deserted beaches are easy to discover.
XT: As an avid traveler yourself, what should others put this race on their schedule?
BA: The XTERRA Tribe can come experience first-hand Australia’s 50,000 kilometers of spellbinding coastline. Our white, sandy beaches are just as you imagine - uncrowded, unspoilt and utterly enticing.
Australian culture is founded on stories of battlers, bushrangers, sporting hero’s and brave soldiers. It’s all about a fair go, the great outdoors and a healthy helping of irony.
They can come see some of our unique animals, one of the many reasons people visit our country. Australia has more than 378 mammal species, 828 bird species, 4000 fish species, 300 species of lizards, 140 snake species, two crocodile species and around 50 types of marine mammal. More than 80% of our plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to Australia and are found no-where else. Some of our best-known animals are the kangaroo, koala, echidna, dingo, platypus, wallaby and wombat. Be careful you might just fall into our laid back. “She’ll be right” Aussie lifestyle!
XT: Think we might discover some new talent down under with this race?
BA: I know that this is going to be the toughest race of the year! There will be some of the best Aussie Multi-sport athletes, triathletes, Olympian’s, Surf Ironman Athletes, World Champions, National Champions, mountain bikers, off-road trail runner and first timers to electrify the atmosphere.
XT: Any local shops, restaurants or activities you’d recommend close to Callala Bay?
BA: Yeah, Ocean & Earth Surf Wear company based in Sussex Inlet, NSW, Australia. Fantastic place to stock up on surf gear like hats, t-shirts, shirts and shorts. Great discounts too. Only 20mins drive from Callala Bay.
For those that like good wine, the Shoalhaven Coast Wineries has a wine trail meandering through luscious green valleys and overlooks some of the country’s most pristine beaches.www.shoalhavencoastwine.com.au
And I might recommend the Dolphin Wild Cruises - an opportunity to view Jervis Bay and all its wildlife above, below and beyond. The “Wild Essence” is the most loved vessel by the Dolphins in Jervis Bay, as they race for hundreds of meters to play on its bow. www.dolphinwildcruises.com.au
Check out www.visitnsw.com and start making your plans!