Seacliffs, Scarborough review: And now for the surf report ...

Read our writer's views on this property below

Lynne Whiley enjoys the sweeping coastline south of Sydney at a beach stay built for views.

BACK in the day, keen surfers and fishermen coming off the overnight shift at the Coalcliff mine would phone the chap staffing the signal box at Scarborough railway station for a dawn weather and surf report. Depending on the conditions, miners would head for the sea, for home or stay underground and continue working.

The mine, on the Illawarra coast south of Sydney, has long since closed and the signal box went with rail-line electrification. But the splendid coastline remains, and from Seacliffs at Scarborough, built as close to the water as the name suggests, I could give the dawn report on conditions as far as the eye can see, north and east. And I haven't even gotten out of bed.

To say Seacliffs has marvellous views is an understatement - the property has a key position on Scarborough's headland and is intelligently designed to take full advantage of the site. Nothing is built between you and the horizon; nothing obstructs the sweep of the eye from the Illawarra's bush escarpment to its rugged northern shoreline, the breakers and beyond to the east and round to the south.

I wanted a night storm to blow through while I was staying here, just to see how the property's balconies and vast, smooth walls of glass handle the elements. I enjoyed sunshine, a soft sea breeze and the constant thrum of surf instead. Seacliffs is on a main road, but by dint of the way the property sits deep in its site, plus a good-size garage at the street-front and the lull of crashing waves, I couldn't hear traffic. Didn't hear the freight trains passing through Scarborough station either, about 100 metres due west.

We hunted for a draught on both levels of the house, but couldn't find one and we lit the wood heater in the upstairs living and dining area just to test its warmth and draw. It does a cracker job, making Seacliffs a candidate for winter stays, too.

The property has four double bedrooms - of which two have en suites and dressing rooms. The master suite has plenty of floor space in which to unfurl, say, a couple of yoga mats, or portable cots - and fabulous sea views.

A powder room and another bathroom, two living areas, a single fifth room, a big contemporary kitchen (with escarpment and sea views), multiple decks (one with lounges and a windbreak, the other with table and chairs), barbecue, grassed garden and a garage that easily fits two cars and any number of bikes and surfboards completes the package. There is also off-road parking for another two cars.

It's all big enough and private enough for four couples who don't want to be bumping into one another, or for an extended family or two. The design, bathrooms and multiple living areas means no one need feel crowded, and polished spotted-gum floors and white-painted walls give a crisp finish to interiors.


Seacliffs has just two immediate neighbours - a tumbledown old cottage owned by a businessman and, on the other side of the fence, Scarborough Public School. Apart from an annual fete, the small weatherboard school is empty at weekends. Even on weekdays, the hum of the surf means Seacliffs isn't invaded by the sounds of children.

Once you've walked around Seacliffs' garden admiring the view, take another look - a walking track to a small sandy tidal beach at the bottom of the cliffs may catch your eye. Patrolled surf beaches and sea pools are a short walk or drive south, past the Victorian-era Scarborough Hotel where Seascape Cafe/Restaurant is open daily. For coffee and the morning papers, continue south to Coledale's cafes. For a spread of shops and supermarkets, drive a few headlands further south to Thirroul.

For the sports tragics, Seacliffs' lower living area has a flat-screen TV and digital docks. For foodies, the open-plan kitchen is big enough for two people to work in while conversing with the rest of the clan at the dining table, on the upstairs lounges or out on the balconies.

Seacliffs is keenly priced for the summer weekend and holiday markets, so move fast if you want to wake up on this wild coast.

The writer was a guest of Seacliffs.

Trip notes

Where Seacliffs, 369 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Scarborough. 0411 890 532,;

Getting there Head south towards Wollongong on the Princes Highway. Take the Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Helensburgh/Stanwell Park exit. Continue in the direction of Stanwell Park. Drive through Coalcliff and cross the Sea Cliff Bridge. Seacliffs is about one kilometre from the southern end of the bridge, after Clifton, on the left-hand side of Lawrence Hargrave Drive and next to Scarborough Public School.

How much Two-night weekend stays, $1600. Two-night midweek stays, $1200. Weekly rate (seven nights) $3900.

Style statement A weatherboard exterior that's a nod to the region's domestic building history hosts a large, well-appointed beach house.

Perfect for Several couples or an extended family or as a romantic hideaway for two.

Don't forget Binoculars, telescope or long-lens camera. There's a lot to see at sea.

Kudos Seacliffs is on a main road but I didn't hear traffic.

A shame An old park bench placed perfectly on the cliff edge is so hard on the backside.

Take the kids Yes, with boards, bikes and scooters — the bike track south from Thirroul beach is excellent.