So let’s rewind a little!
On my last day in the blue mountains, Meg drove us to the start of the walk we did. As I was crammed across the top of her fruit blender, squished between the front seat and a load of boxes, a story unfolded. Megan is from Melbourne and moving up north, so naturally she has her whole life in the back of her tiny car (plus a bike and camping equipment for good measure). It was here in this moment something awesome began: the start of a road trip. Yay road trip! This post will tell tales from the 6th-14th May.
So the next morning we packed up the car (and what a struggle that was) and set off for Newcastle.
The city of Newcastle is located about 2 hours north of Sydney, ranked the 8th biggest city in Australia. So not too bad a size. We had a full day Sunday, going to Nobby’s beach and seeing the lighthouse and fort scratchely at the top of the hill. The fort, which was used to defend the city from a Japanese attack in 1942, is still a working fort that could be used if needed.
Newcastle was fairly small and we pretty much managed to see everything in that one day.
On Monday we headed another hour north to a place recommended to us – Port Stephens. We stayed in rainforest type cabins on the ourskirts of the national park.. which were cute but it was bloody freezing!
Thankfully, after a couple of lazy days, the weather picked up and we went sandboarding! Apparently these are the highest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere. They didn’t look particularly big but they were heaps of fun to go down.. going back up again however, was not. In true Bromfield style I managed to skilfully fall off first time and do more of a ninja roll down (Meg seemed to think I looked more like a beached whale). Anyhow, it cost 25 dollars which was maybe a little pricey for what it is but it was definitely an experience worth doing.
Before we left Thursday we did the Tomaree Heads lookout walk which we were told is a half an hour ‘walk’. Now to me, that sounds like a leisurely stroll.. how wrong was I! It was a very steep 30 minute trek uphill. Luckily, it was worth it! There wasn’t much to do in Port Stephens and I’m not sure why we stayed 3 nights – 1 or 2 would have been fine.
Next stop Port Macquarie for the night. We quickly cottoned on that one night is enough to see round these small towns and to spend more than one night is just throwing away money.
After a 9am bike ride we hit the road heading to a slightly inland to a town recommended to us called Bellingen. We drove through Nambucca heads which was a pleasant little town, again dated but had beautiful views out over the river that runs through. Something super cool happened there actually. Just as we were about to leave I heard lots of small clicking noises, in the distance almost. When I looked around there was thousands of blue soldier crabs running across the beach! Apparently this is common but we stood there in awe for a good 15 minutes.
Bellingen town has lovely mountainous views as it is located a short drive from the Dorigo national park. The town had a couple of bars which actually seemed surprisingly busy – maybe due to the 80s night. Meg and I were straight on this, along with Shannon (36, Aussie) and James (33, English). Both were interesting characters and have had a hard time of late so it was a well needed fun night for everyone.
Saturday morning we headed for Coffs Harbour. We were excited to stay in ‘aussitel backpackers’ after hearing such good reviews, however unfortunately the owners were really quite rude and are past running a hostel. On a more positive note, the Coffs Harbour ‘big banana’ was FAB. Bloody loved it. For those who don’t know, there is a fun park located at a banana farm in Coffs Harbour. This, of course, features a giant banana and super yummy milkshakes.
So that’s part 1 of the road trip!