Saturday, January 23, 2010

- Beautiful Beaches -

Byron Bay is the most easterly point of mainland Australia, boasting beautiful beaches, a hive activity with surf lessons, kayak adventure tours, seaside resorts and quaint cafe's & shopping.It seems to be on every tourists east coast itinerary, so we were interested to see what all the hype was about.

It was a beautiful summers day and as we pulled into the township there was already a hive of activity!People walking down to the beach for their morning swim or off to a late breakfast at one of the many cafe's. We decided to slip in with the crowd and enjoyed a coffee near the beach. We wandered around the shops for a while before making our way to the Beach. It was gorgeous! turquoise blue water, perfect waves for body surfing and not over crowded... yet. Although we got a little too burnt, it was a lovely day spent exploring the coast line around Byron. Later that evening we stayed with Anneke and caught up after not seeing each other for about 7 years!

(Beautiful Beaches at Byron Bay.)

The following morning we set off for Coffs Harbour, home of the BIG BANANA! Its quite a large place of 70,000 people. We spent the weekend there exploring the beaches and local markets. The marina was also a great place to hang out and soak up the towns atmosphere.

When Monday morning came around we headed off south to explore more of the coast line. Calling into Nambucca Heads which offered great views of the beaches and local river system. We pushed on to Arakoon, to visit Trial Bay Gaol. It looks quite dramatic perched on the headland to the bay. In 1886 it was the only jail built especially for public works. Prisoners were to construct a break wall to create a safe harbour for passing boats. However the project was abandoned by 1915 as the the large surf continued to destroy any progress made. It was really interesting to walk around and i must admit a little Erie at times. Before moving on we took a refreshing swim in the bay...

(Enjoying the view at Nambucca Heads.)

(Inside the Trial Bay Goal)

Not far from Arakoon is Hat Head National Park. A beautiful stretch of coastline, with rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, just the perfect mix for camping! After visiting the Light House and admiring the views, we set up camp. The following morning we went for a walk along some of the grassy headlands. It was beautiful and the local kangaroos thought so too!!

(The view from the Lighthouse, Hat Head National Park.)

For Christmas we had received a day out with a fishing Charter out of Port Macquarie. So this was our next stop along the coast. We had to spend a few days there, as with the summer holidays most spots were already filled. We didn't mind, it gave us a chance to tidy up the car and check out the town and beaches. Finally the morning arrived where we went on the fishing charter. We had to be on board Ocean Star at 5:30am!! So it was a very early rise as we had to pack up camp before we went!! There were about 11 on the charter and the day was perfect. We mainly set out fishing for Pearl Perch, Snapper and flat head. We were only about 5 mile off shore and amazingly fishing in 50 to 70 metres of water!! It was very different to fishing up in the kimberley's that's for sure!! Over the next few hours we brought up various species, red rock cod (thrown back), snapper, sweep (thrown back) & Pearl Perch. Although it was all very exciting nothing of real size was pulled over the sides, The biggest fish for the day wouldn't have been much over 35cm! We arrived back from the fishing charter around midday, even though the quality of fish wasn't what we were expecting, it was an awesome day out and we still managed to take home a feed of fish for dinner!

The coast line South of Port Macquarie is very unique with a number of lakes so close to the coast line. We explored a few of these before calling into Crowdy Bay National Park for a swim! We were considering stopping here for the night however it was VERY POPULAR!!! We decided to try further down... We continued on through Forster, a beautiful spot that again boasts both lake and ocean access. I wanted to pull into every lookout, the colours were amazing and the water so clear!

(Diamond Head, Crowdy Bay National Park.)

(Views of the coast line near Forster.)

Near to Forster is Myall Lakes National Park which were were very keen to explore. However upon arrival we noticed that camp spots were very scarce and the information provided by DEC wasn't all that helpful. Today just wasn't working out to be our day... So after a quick look around we headed out and pushed on to find a place to stop the night. Finally stopping in at the quiet town of Karuah in the far reaches of Port Stevens.

We had an amazing time travelling down the North Coast, and were really spoilt for choices when it came to choosing which beach to swim at or which towns to spend some time in. Next stop... a quick trip into the Hunter Valley & into Sydney!!

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