Robin Cowcher / The Guardian

AUS - Beach Maximalism: A Frenzy for Cabanas and Carts Is Taking Over Australian Shores

Australian beaches are beginning to resemble campgrounds, pushing aside the little old umbrella users

A friend and I took my blue and white-striped umbrella to Noosa beach the other day. I was a bit dismayed. From the path above the beach we surveyed the scene. Perhaps, I thought, we had fallen through the earth on to an Italian spiaggia – one of those private beaches where you can rent a sunbed or cabina and lie alongside rows of the idle rich, inert in large sunglasses.

For half a kilometre or so, from Noosa headland to the breakwater, candy-striped cabanas were jammed, a higgledy-piggledy tent city for refugees fleeing the horrors of 2020. We picked our way through the chaos and found a small campsite near the rising tideline.

But we didn’t fit in. For a start, I am lardishly pale and get freckles in the shade and my one-piece swimsuit is from a discount chain store. My umbrella was also out of place. Aside from its jaunty stripes, there’s not much to recommend it. In terms of technology, it’s backwards, of an era when my bare legs stuck to the vinyl back seat of Dad’s Valiant when we went to the beach and the Big Pineapple was the hottest ticket in town.

As I knelt in the sand – sweating and breaking fingernails digging a hole deep enough in which to secure my unfashionable umbrella’s pole, then struggled against the wind to open its canopy – I felt the eyes of Costa del Noosa upon me.

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