Have you come across an intricately painted rock lately? If you haven’t, look around because secret rocks are being painted and hidden all over the Northern Beaches for you to find.
On the back of each rock you will find the hashtag #NBSR which is Northern Beaches Secret Rocks, a Facebook group dedicated to the painting, hiding and finding of these special rocks.
I was walking the dog with my two kids when my two-year-old son found Olaf painted on a rock at Dee Why Beach. He was totally ecstatic with his find. His glee was honestly on par with opening Christmas presents.
The very next day we found, sitting on a wall, an abstract rainbow painted on a rock. Ok now my interest was piqued. I got onto Facebook to find the hashtag and that when I discovered the group of 4.8k rock enthusiasts.
The page is riddled with rock-finding and rock-painting enthusiasts. Many share their finds on social media with the hashtag #NBSR.
I got onto the page founder, Warriewood local Sarah Downes who’s up to her 680th rock. Sarah numbers all her rocks so she can keep track.
“I didn’t invent the idea [a lady in the US did], but I started NBSR in May 2017. The page had 1,500 followers in July, but quickly jumped to 4,800 followers after channel 9 ran a story,” she explains.
“It’s random acts of kindness or surprises. Whoever paints the rock is considering sharing something with a complete stranger and they may never ever hear what happened with their rock,” SARAH SAYS.
The Facebook group enables rock painters and hiders to see who has encountered their rocks.
Sarah: “Ive got three kids 25, 24 and 22 and they’ve been ‘rocking’ with me since the beginning.”
Within the group I discovered a multitude of rock-enthusiasts who all partake in rock-painting and hiding for various reasons.
Mother of three, Anna, from Allambie recently separated from her husband. She has found the group extremely cathartic to her healing process.
“Due to Covid, I wasn’t able to go and meet my best friend for a drink or anything, so I found rock painting to be an extremely healing activity to do with my kids,” she explains.
Anna paints rocks with her kids and they go on weekly bushwalking adventures to hide their rocks.
For Anna, it was the thought of someone finding her rocks and making their day better that fulfilled her the most. Of all addictions to form after a break-up, rock painting has gotta be the most wholesome.
Another group member is dad of three, Michael from Warriewood who spends every night painting rocks on his back deck. “I got onto it a month ago, then the wife joined in, then I unintentionally got into little themes. I’ve done underwater, streetfighter and I’m currently doing some ghostbuster themed rocks.”
Not only does Michael paint and hide rocks with his kids, but he’s also taken it to another level, where he creates short films of the rock-hiding adventures he has with his kids.
Michael: “The kids love it, always get excited over it when they find one. They don’t wanna part with some of the ones I have done. Hugo the eldest loves penguins so I had to do him some extra ones for him to keep.” Michael says the pen to use on rocks is Posca’s. “They’re paint pens.”
Within the group I discovered ‘The Rock Fairy’. Her name is Kara and she paints beautiful inspirational themed rocks and delivers them to people in need.
Kara drops the inspirational and motivational rocks into people’s letterboxes. She is currently making rocks for a son who’s mother has stage 4 terminal cancer.
If you want to have rocks dropped to a loved one’s letterbox, you can contact Kara via her Instagram @rockfairykara.
Kara started painting rocks a few months ago after seeing her friend doing it on social media. It has turned into a full on hobby and she now has painted about 500 rocks. “I pretty much do it every single day. I buy the rocks from bunnings or flower power. 20 kilos for $25.”
Kara is planning to do a workshop to teach how to do acrylic pours. She’s currently planning on creating an acrylic pouring kit.
“It’s become addictive, the whole process of painting, hiding and looking for rocks. My 3 and 5 year old just love it and it’s so nice to go for long walks and not hear any complaining because they’re busy looking for rocks!”
Simone, Northern Beaches mother of two says “It’s become addictive, the whole process of painting, hiding and looking for rocks. My 3 and 5 year old just love it and it’s so nice to go for long walks and not hear any complaining because they’re busy looking for rocks!”
So if you haven’t found yourself a rock already, start looking! The kids and I will commence our first rock painting session this weekend and we will be dropping them around Dee Why next week.
If you find a rock don’t forget to post it with the hashtag #NBSR to make the painter’s day- all rock painter’s have told me they get a real kick out of seeing someone find their rock, especially if it makes someone’s day.