Windy Roads Empty Beaches by Ray Collins in Thirroul, NSW, Australia

I just want to interpret what I see and I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by nice backdrops and (sometimes) pumping waves.

Name:Ray Collins

Place you live: Thirroul, NSW, Australia. It’s in Wollongong, which is about an hour south of Sydney

Specific location your photos were taken: All within 20 mins North or South of my house.

Can you sum up the place you live? Thirroul is a place where the mountains meet the sea, where heavy industry meets lush environment, where the roads are windy and the beaches are empty.

Occupation: Coalminer/Photographer

Preoccupation: Weather map navigator and leisure enthusiast, dog lover.

What is your perfect day in Thirroul? Early wake up, coffee in the dark, swim with my camera or paddle out on any form of surf craft (from 42” to 10’ 3”) whilst meeting the sun by the time I get out the back of the breakers. Surf myself silly or until the wind comes up on 4-6ft waves, come in have a fresh juice and a delicious feed at one of the local cafes, watch some NBA, play with Chantic (my Staffordshire bullterrier) wait for the wind to drop. Probably ride a different craft in the water in the afternoon to keep it fresh or shoot some photos whilst bobbing around until the sun sets. Then probably have an amazing thai dinner with my wife and do the sexytime dance!

What is the best thing about your spot? It’s home, its safe, everyone knows everyone

What is the worst? Sometimes six week flat spells, everyone knows everyone

What would be surprising about this place to an outsider? Just down the road Australia was almost ‘Discovered’ here (I use the term loosely as the Aboriginal’s lived here for a very long time before, but by the white man at least), due to the large swell though The Endeavour couldn’t safely make it to shore, instead they sailed further north to Sydney and the rest is history, literally! We learned about it in school.


Name:Ray Collins


What kind of lenses do you use?

Anything from 14mm to 400mm, All Nikon. For the most part they are in a water housing made by Aquatech, so I can swim with them.

Best place to eat?

I think Old Siam is the best! Best Thai within 40km. Otherwise Mylan in town has the best Vietnamese. I think i might go there tonight after this as it has just reminded and inspired me!

Best place to drink?

In Thirroul there are two pubs and a few boutique little bars, they all have their night.

Best place to shop?


Local Tip?

When out and about, nod at everyone like you know them and you’ll fit in. If unsure of peoples names just call them Mate or Matey. It still has the small country town vibe here.

If someone was visiting what must they do?

Drive over the Sea Cliff Bridge, stop at Scarborough Pub (its on a cliff overlooking the water). Park the car and head to Austinmer or Thirroul Beach for the day. I forget how beautiful it is here until I bring someone who has never been before.