Failing to find the surf we were hoping for at Seal Rocks the mission continued as we drove up the coast. We went through Pacific Palms only to find the beaches were too advanced. Boomerang Beach looked awesome but I was happy to just watch as the surfers rode massive waves within centimetres of submerged rocks.
By the time we made it to Forster we’d pretty much given up on surfing. The beaches here were more the swimming type. So instead, we just enjoyed hanging out in the little town and even had a go at hand washing our clothes.
We seemed to get a lot of strange looks, hasn’t anyone ever seen 2 people doing their washing before?!
We also checked out the Cape Hawke Lookout. After climbing up 400 odd steps through regenerating rainforest we found ourselves at the bottom of an 8 metre tower. Up the tower you can get above the trees to see a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, worth every step. Continue reading →
Leaving Newcastle behind it wasn’t long until we came to Port Stephens. This isn’t a town, but an area, which is made up of a few nice costal villages. We arrived first at Anna Bay and stumbled upon a beach called Birubi Point.
Being a Sunday the place was overrun with tourists, and I could see why they were all here. The beach was long and beautiful running off far into the distance. But even more spectacular, were the Sahara style sand dunes that backed it. They were huge and seemed to go on forever.
If there’s one thing I love about Australia it’s the wild life, it’s just so diverse and it’s everywhere, I feel like I see something new every week. And my favourite animal this week is the pelican.
These birds are pretty massive, they almost look like some kind of modern day pterodactyl! I love it the way they stand side on to you, just staring at you through their big unblinking eye… although it is a bit weird.
The first time I saw a pelican in Australia was while working on the farm in Blighty, NSW. Being about 4 hours away from the coast I was a bit confused! But apparently they turn up every year, around the start of winter, when the irrigation channels get drained and there’s lots of fish to be had.
Now, travelling up the East Coast they’re almost as common as seagulls, although much less annoying. You’ll see them on the beaches or hanging around the inlets, patiently waiting for the fishermen to get back, as they know they’ll get some fish scraps.
So this was it, we were leaving Sydney and heading towards Newcastle with not much more to guide us than a Lonely Planet book from 2009, which we’d had for a while but only just started using. I got into the habit of reading a few pages ahead as we went so if there was anything of interest, we wouldn’t miss it. But mainly what we were interested in was finding good surf beaches!
Once out of Sydney we soon got off the highway and headed for the Bouddi National Park to check out the Central Coast. We spent the day exploring the beaches and stopped at Little Beach for a picnic on the sand. But with not much surf around we continued on to the town of Avoca, where although the waves looked a bit messy, there were plenty of surfers in the water showing it was possible.
After our trip to the Blue Mountains we went back to Sydney for one more cheeky night out. This time we wanted to do it completely on the cheap, which meant no hostels! We payed $3 for a shower at a swimming pool in Parramatta and then looked for somewhere to leave the van. We drove around until we found Merrylands, possibly one of the dodgiest suburbs in Sydney! But it would have to do. We parked up in one of the nicer streets, packed a few ciders into my handbag, and got the train into the CBD.
Once there, we went straight to the Darling Harbour and to a bar called Pontoon. The place had caught my eye a few days ago when I saw meals advertised for just $9! At 8pm there was already a bouncer on the door so I had to hide my ciders in a bush before he would let me in. Once in we got $9 burgers right off the grill with chips, and even splashed out on a beer. Who says Sydney’s expensive!
After 4 days in Sydney Chris and I were looking forward to getting away from all the people and traffic by escaping to the Blue Mountains.
We drove for 2 hours along the Great Western Highway before arriving at Katoomba, the chief town in the Blue Mountain area. I suppose I should have realised that, being so close to Sydney, the Blue Mountains wouldn’t have that isolated, middle of nowhere feel to it. But still, I was a bit surprised by the amount of work and money that must have gone into this huge motorway. As we turned off, it was hard to imagine we were right next to a national park.