From Port Macquarie we drove on to Crescent Head, Australia’s longboarding capital. At the time it was school holidays and the place was absolutely packed! We drove down to the beach front where there was a holiday park full of tents, caravans and holidaying families.
The beach was nice with small but clean waves coming in, and I would have been tempted to go in for a surf, if not for the amount of kids and adults fighting over the waves. I was fairly entertained watching one guy on his longboard, who would be happily cruising along a wave, only to get cut off by some surfer dropping in on him. Every time he’d throw his arms in the air with an exasperated look on his face.
The next day the crowds were back fighting over the waves so we decided to drive away from Crescent Head along Plomer Road in search of uncrowded beaches. We’d driven less than 10km when we came across a campsite with showers and access to a quiet beach with decent waves. This was more like it.
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.
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 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.
I love my campervan, and I love travelling this way. But shortly after buying our van Chris and I found it wasn’t the most secure. It seems any key, when inserted only halfway, can open the drivers door. And once I accidently started and drove the van with the wrong key. We tried a different lock barrel in the door but it was a dodgy lock too, maybe it’s an ‘old van thing’…
But as Chris pointed out, if someone really wants into our van a locked door won’t stop them, they’ll just smash the window the way they did with our car in New Zealand. I’ll never forget that day at Cape Reinga. We’d been away on an amazing two day hike. It was pissing down with rain but we arrived back at our car in high spirits, only to see broken glass all over the ground along with some of our discarded belongings. I felt sick.
So obviously sometimes it’s hard to relax when leaving the camper, especially after splashing out on two new surfboards. Everything in the world that I own and care about is in that van! And with the surfboards up on the roof racks it pretty much advertises ‘backpackers’. Continue reading →
Driving steeply downhill from the Snowy Mountains and heading towards the East Coast, it felt good. The air was quickly becoming milder and I decided I was pretty much over winter, I couldn’t wait for spring!
We hit the East Coast for the first time at a little beach town called Tathra. Reaching the peak of a hill I could see the long curving bay below, surrounded by trees with cliffs in the distance. I felt excited to see the sea again and everything had a more sub tropical feel. Chris and I got out and went for a walk along the beach, the sand was golden and the water looked pretty inviting, still too cold though.
11 Days ago Chris and I were still in Blighty, NSW. Being our last weekend there, it was pretty busy and non-stop. We cleaned our wee farm house top to bottom, squeezed all our belongings into our campervan, and said our goodbyes to friends, work colleagues, the dogs, cats, and cows. And after 6 months of working and living in the same place, just like that, we were gone. To be honest I was too excited about the thought of travelling again to feel too sad about leaving! And it didn’t take long to used to campervan living again. Once I got used to the colder living conditions, it was like I’d never stopped!
Travelling by campervan can be great. You’re free to explore and go where you want when you want, you have a portable bed and kitchen with you at all times, and overall it can be a lot of fun.
But travelling by campervan can also be hard, especially if you’re determined to freedom camp. I’m coming to the end of my first week back on the road, and although it’s been awesome, it’s not always been easy.