A Travellerspoint blog

November 2017

Crescent Head

Surfing Mecca

sunny 27 °C

Crescent Head is not too far down the coast from South West Rocks and also has the same clear green ocean and beautiful sandy beaches. Crescent Head has long been a famous surfing town with its point break drawing surfers to its long gentle waves peeling down the point. It is a small town but it attracts lots of visiting surfers and families. We chose to stay 7km out of town at the Waves Campground which is situated across the road from the beach near the rock formation called Delicate Nobby. The camp sites are spread out in a lovely bush setting and come with hot showers, flushing toilets, free laundry, rainwater, camp kitchen and fire pits all for $25 for a powered site or $20 unpowered. Compare this to the national park campground just up the road which has drop toilets only for $24 a night, it’s a no brainer. We loved it here so much we stayed for 4 nights and would have stayed longer if we could have.

Early morning walks on the magnificent beach here were a great way to start the day. There are a number of headlands with protected points here which are suited to surfing plus numerous beach breaks to choose from so crowded surf is not an issue as long as you stay away from Crescent Head itself which draws the crowd. I managed to get a few surfs in here at different spots, usually by myself. Point Plommer just south of the campground also has a campground and it looked busy with families when we visited. The walk up and around the point gives great views along the coast and looks down on some interesting rock formations. Queens Head Beach allows vehicle access onto the beach and is popular with surfers. We drove down onto the beach one afternoon, put out the car awning and spent a few hours swimming, watching dolphins play in the waves and lapping up the beautiful sunny weather.

We are really loving the North coast of NSW, the climate here is just about perfect, the beaches are beautiful and clean, natural beauty is everywhere and the area is not overcrowded. Crescent Head turned on the good weather for us and made it hard to keep moving, but our big lap is quickly coming to an end and we have a few more places we still want to see.

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Posted by OzJourney 02:32 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

South West Rocks

Hat Head National Park

semi-overcast 26 °C

Our next destination was going to be the Red Cliff campground in the Yuraygir National Park but on arrival the weather was nasty with strong onshore winds and cloudy rainy conditions. The campground offered little protection and the forecast was not good so we decided to move on and travel in the poor weather rather than waste the day. South West Rocks was our next destination, with the journey broken up with a stop in Coffs Harbour to see the big banana satisfying Deb’s obsession with visiting all the BIG attractions, and to do some shopping. We also detoured to Nambucca Heads to have a quick look around the town and its beaches. The Nambucca River flows to the sea here and the rock breakwall has most of its rock faces painted with murals of all descriptions, some of them are quite artistic. The town itself is very nice and a place we would return to in the future to stay for a few days.

We arrived at the Smoky Cape campground late in the afternoon and found a nice well spread campground behind the beach dunes amongst the rain forest. The facilities here are basic with drop toilets the only facility provided but a nice place to explore the area from. A walk up to the Smoky Cape Lighthouse gives great views of the coastline and Fish Rock which is a popular dive spot. South West Rocks is a beautiful coastal town facing a protected bay with great beaches. We spent an afternoon at Horseshoe Bay swimming, body surfing and reading, with fantastic views of the coastline to the north and dolphins cruising just beyond the breakers.

Trial Bay Gaol stands prominently at the easterly point of Trial Bay and was worth a look from the outside, but we were reluctant to part with $22 to look inside. The campground below the gaol looked like a nice place to camp but was quite expensive. Hat Head was another great spot we checked out on our last morning before packing up and moving on. The campground there is well situated beside a crystal clear creek and protected surf beach.

While camping at Smoky Cape we ran into Simon from the All 4 Adventure TV show who was camping here with a couple of mates. Who would have thought? South West Rocks will definitely go onto our list of places to revisit, a great coastal town in a beautiful part of the country.

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Posted by OzJourney 02:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Woody Head

Bundjalung National Park

semi-overcast 26 °C

Woody Head in the Bundjalung National Park is a short drive down the coast from Byron Bay and has a great National Parks campground sheltered by high sand dunes. National Parks in NSW have high campground fees compared to other states and the other cost is the entry fee into the National Park which is $8 per day per vehicle, or if you are touring like us it is cheaper to buy a yearly Country Pass for $45. The camp fees at Woody Head are $34 per night with no power and if you want a hot shower it is $1. The facilities are good and the campground is well kept with free firewood.

The weather here alternated between cloud and sun with the odd shower of rain and mid twenties temperatures. Our two days here were very enjoyable as we explored the local beaches and the fishing town of Iluka. Iluka is a nice quiet fishing town situated at the mouth of the Clarence River where we were able to buy some fresh fish and prawns. Shark Bay just up the road from Woody Head has access to Ten Mile Beach which curves around all the way to the Black Rocks campground in the northern section of Bundjalung National Park. You can drive along the beach here to fish or find a beach break to surf all by yourself.

This campground was quite busy on the weekend and is popular with families due to the protected beach, boat ramp and large campground where kids can ride around on their bikes. It was nice being able to have a camp fire, the setting was lovely and the vibe here was great which made the high camp fees worth it for us.

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Posted by OzJourney 02:31 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Byron Bay

An Old Favourite

sunny 25 °C

Before heading to Byron Bay we called in to visit friends on the Gold Coast where we parked up the camper and spent the night with our hosts Christina and Tony catching up on each other’s lives. The following afternoon we drove down to Burleigh Heads for lunch with Callan’s mum Amelia before moving on to Tweed Heads for an overnight stay in a caravan park beside the river.

Byron Bay is a town we know well from previous visits, so we were looking forward to spending five days right on the beachfront at Clarkes Beach. Caravan Parks in Byron Bay are very expensive compared to elsewhere but we felt it was worthwhile for the great location which is walking distance to town and close to the Pass where we spent most days surfing, swimming and snorkelling. Byron has a magnificent protected beach which is great for an early morning or sunset walk and to spend time swimming, reading and watching the world go by.

One day we travelled inland through the beautiful hinterland to visit the Crystal Castle, a magnificent property up in the rain forest near Mullumbimby. The gardens are stunning with huge crystals, statues of deities, a rain forest walk, a world peace stupa, a crystal cave and beautiful views adding to the peace and serenity of the property. From here we drove further inland through the lush hills to Nimbin which is an interesting town to walk around. The hippy lifestyle of the 70’s lives on here with plenty of interesting characters wandering around.

Debbie’s brother Craig and wife Karen had flown up from Victoria and were spending the weekend with friends on the Gold Coast. They drove down to Byron Bay to visit their son Tamas who lives in Byron, so we all caught up at the Railway Hotel where Tamas works. On another night we had dinner and listened to some live music at the same venue.

The weather was great while we were here, good beach weather. The caravan park was full even though we stayed here during the week. Our five days flew by and we decided we would stay for a few more days, but unfortunately the park was booked out and we reluctantly had to move on.

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Posted by OzJourney 02:23 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Noosa

Sunshine Coast

semi-overcast 25 °C

On our way to stay with family in Tewantin we passed through Bundaberg which two days previously had been hit with severe thunderstorms producing 100km/hour winds. The trail of destruction was everywhere with large numbers of fallen trees, broken branches and shredded leaves littering the roadside. We detoured through Maryborough for a quick look at the town and to shop for some food. Gympie was our stop for lunch at a nice park beside a lake where hundreds of birds of all sorts were congregated. There were swans, egrets, ducks, geese and numerous other birds filling the trees, water and lush green grass in the park.

It was nice to catch up with Callan, Amy and their two young boys Emmett and Wyatt for a couple of days at their home in Tewantin near Noosa on the sunshine coast. Being used to sleeping under canvas in the outdoors for the past 10 months it felt strange sleeping in a house again. It had been ten years since we had visited Noosa and it was hard to believe how much busier it had become. The crazy traffic and numbers of people in town and down the beach was insane, and this was during the week. I managed to get a decent surf in, with some fun beach breaks along the main beach.
A drive down the coast through Coolum, Maroochydoore, Mooloolaba and Caloundra was very busy traffic wise and a complete contrast to most of the driving we have done on our trip. Give me a remote dirt road any day. The Cotton Tree caravan park at Maroochydoore is huge and looks like a great place to stay and explore the area.

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Posted by OzJourney 04:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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