TRAVEL: The most surprising beach

Sun-Oka Beach





My beautiful wife and I do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to surf beaches.

She got dumped on her head in Hawaii and has hated the waves ever since.  I got dumped on my head at Coolum and have loved it ever since.  Throughout our marriage, we’ve agreed to disagree and have tolerated visits to our non-preferred shorelines.  One such consolation destination, though – British Columbia’s Sun-Oka Beach – may be the perfect compromise.

Before I write any further, let me be up front: there are no waves at Sun-Oka, unless you count wind-whipped whitecaps or the ripples from the odd speedboat. Now, I know what you’re thinking: What compromise?  The beautiful wife has pwned you in the wave war and eaten all your potato scallops!  Stevie Wonder could see who wears the Speedos in this relationship! Well, in my defence, I contend this little sand-strip skirting BC’s famous Okanagan Lake doesn’t need rolling barrels to provide plenty of bang for your beach buck.


For starters, there is no shortage of aquatic action to take on.  From water-skiing to sea-dooing (what Canadians call jet-skiing) to stand-up kayaking, many a wet n’ wild adventure can be indulged.  For the more sedate visitor, a selection of for-hire pedal-boats and trikes provide some leisurely fun in the summer sun.  Of all the accessible activities, my personal favourite was the giant floating trampoline.  Whoever came up with this idea is part genius, part sadist.  My Coolum dumping looked like a spa treatment next to some of the wipeouts I witnessed on this instrument of mayhem.


If you’ve got littlies, or just fancy a lazy loll in the shallows, the generous swimming area is protected by marker buoys.  On shore, there is a volleyball net, a children’s playground and a gaggle of picnic tables.  Sun-Oka is also well-served with a concession stand on the beach itself – there you can buy a burger or an ice-cream or a bandage for the head gash you sustained on the giant trampoline.  Change-rooms, showers and taps round out the convenience.

It all sounds pleasant, I hear you say.  But, really, how can it compare to any stretch of sand on Australia’s breathtaking coastlines?  That’s fair comment – not much in this world can be stacked up against a Manly or a Whitehaven or a Cable.  But what beach in Oz would find you surrounded by towering cliffs of clay?  Or five minutes from orchards where you can pick cherries, apples, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums and pears?  Or a hop, skip and jump from some of the best wineries in North America?

In the end, Sun-Oka is a gem in its own right.  And as for the lack of surf?  Well, maybe that concussion I sustained at Coolum is finally starting to wear off.

Sun-Oka Beach is located six kilometres south of Summerland in the Canadian province of British Columbia.  Check it out on Facebook here.

Darren Groth is a prominent Australian author, speaker and mentor now living in Canada. You can read more about Darren at

Where is your favourite beach? What is it about it that you love?


More articles