Road Trip: Woolgoolga to Yamba

“Awk, that’s a nice beach so it is”

For the past few months we’ve been crawling at snails pace up the coast, stopping to surf at any beach with a hint of a ride able wave. It is kind of getting to that point now that there’s just beach after beach, I’m starting to lose track of where I’ve been and when, sometimes it all just seems the same!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining! I’ve come across some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen! But I suppose the East Coast just lacks a bit of variation, when you’re moving up it so slowly that is.

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After Coffs Harbour we stopped off at every beach in our path looking for waves. Moonee, Emerald and Sandy Beach, all nice places but not much to do other than go to the beach.

Woolgoolga

When we reached Woolgoolga the town seemed to have a bit more to it. It has a large Sihk community, which meant lots of Indian restaurants and smiley, friendly, turban wearing people.

We slept right next to a holiday park in a day use area that said ‘no camping’. But there were a few other campers there who looked like they’d been around for a few days, so we took our chances.

That night just as the sun was going down we heard a lot of flapping and commotion above our heads. I looked up expecting to see a load of birds but instead, was surprised to see literally hundreds of fruit bats flying through the trees and hanging from the branches. They were massive!

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Then after dinner we had an inquisitive kookaburra hanging around. We were able to sneak up close enough to get some good photos of it.

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The next day we went to a few surf shops in Woolgoolga and I gave in and bought a surf hat (something I’ve only seen old men wear). With the sun being so strong in Aus my scalp was getting burnt, and I don’t want skin cancer! Feeling stupid but more protected, we spent a few days surfing at Woolgoolga before leaving to drive on towards Yamba.

Red Rock and Brooms Head

However, rather than go directly there, we decided to take a few more detours. We drove out to a place called Red Rock, where we found a holiday park with a day use area and access to the beach.

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As the name suggests, there were some red rocks on the beach! We walked to the end of the beach where we found some wooden steps that led up the side of a hill. It took us up to the top where there were great views as well as access to another, more hidden beach. There seemed to be lots of little hidden trails in amongst the sand dunes leading to different places, it was a really nice place.

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Next day we took another detour to Brooms Head, which was a similar set up to Red Rock, another holiday park that gave day use for free, so nice of them! We chilled out for a while, eating some lunch, and then went for a walk along the beach.

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As we walked the tide was going out and I could see little clusters of sand balls on the ground. “What sort of animal do you think does that?” I asked Chris. He reckoned it was either a crab or some kind of worm.

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But the question was soon answered! As we walked the balls of sand kept appearing and eventually we could see little crabs running about. By the time we got back from our walk almost the entire beach was covered in crabs and little balls of sand!

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I googled it and the crabs pick the up the sand, filtering it through their mouths for food, and then the left over sand is left behind in a little ball. There must have been thousands of crabs on that beach! If you ever see a hole with balls of sand around it but nothing there, just stay still and wait a few minutes, you’ll soon see the crab appear.

We got out our volleyball and had a bit of fun passing it between us and had a laugh trying to  film it on the GoPro, before moving on to Yamba.

Yamba and Angourie

When we arrived at Yamba it really made me think of Wanaka in New Zealand for some reason! Just a nice little holiday town with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. There were a number of beaches to choose from but our favourite was Pippi’s Beach, where we spent most of the week surfing.

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Pippi’s Beach is also a popular spot for dolphins. It doesn’t matter how many times I see them I always get really excited! And one day while in surfing I had the best experience yet.

I’d seen a pod of dolphins swimming past but they seemed to be keeping their distance from the surfers. There were loads of them! I’d almost forgotten about them when a set of bigger waves started coming in. I wasn’t in the right place to catch them and a wave was about to crash over my head, so I started paddling out hard to try and get through it before it broke.

But just as I went to paddle through the wave I saw about 5 dolphins right in front of me! They were all lined up in the wave about to surf it, so close I think I could have touched one if I’d reached out! As the wave came up over my head and the dolphins came closer I just closed my eyes and turtled rolled on the board so the wave wouldn’t take me out, hoping the dolphins wouldn’t take me out either! When I came up and looked around I couldn’t see the dolphins anywhere, but talk about getting a rush! Seeing dolphins surfing a wave just for fun is unreal.

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View of Yamba from a coastal walk

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Rock Pool at Yamba’s Main Beach

After a few days in Yamba we drove about 5kms down the road to Angourie. This is a surfing reserve and Angourie Point is one of the most famous surfing spots in Australia! For experienced surfers only that is. But still, I couldn’t wait to see it.

But there was no surf that day, the water was just a choppy mess and it was hard to imagine what it would be like on a good day. But still, it was nice exploring Angourie.

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We went to the Blue Pools, which are spring water fed pools in the remains of an old quarry. The water looked so inviting and there was even a high ledge that would be fun to jump off! But there were warning signs for blue green algae in the area. I know the chances of getting sick are slim… But I didn’t fancy getting ill while living in the camper and gave swimming a pass.

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Instead we went for a walk around Angourie Point. The whole area was beautiful to explore, and with hardly anyone about, I felt a million miles away from civilisation. We found rugged rock pools, beautiful pristine white sand beaches, and we even came across this poor puffer fish, who looked like he’d partied too hard the night before.

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