We were meant to fly to New Zealand from Brisbane but as we loved our campervan adventure from Sydney to Gold Coast (you can read about that here) so much we decided to change our outbound flight to leave from Sydney so we could make the drive back down.
We picked up “The Wombat” from Awesome Campers in Brisbane. The van was spray painted all over and looked about 100 years old. The inside wasn’t much better but it was cheap and cheerful and as long as it would get us from A to B we didn’t mind.
On the first day of our road trip we stopped off at Byron Bay and Lennox Head where we had a quick wander around and picked up supplies. We then set off for Ballina where we planned to stay the night. It must have been quite late as it was completely dark and there was hardly any traffic on the road. I remember noticing a Kangaroo warning sign and then seconds later Sam was swerving the van to the right to miss a small Kangaroo that was chilling in the middle of the road! The Kangaroo didn’t flinch and luckily we missed it and managed to keep the van on the road!! After that we both laughed hysterically at yet another near death experience!
The following morning we got up at 5am and headed along the coast road in search of surf. We accidently stumbled across Sharpes Beach and luckily enough the surf was pumping! Sam went out for nearly 4 hours… I started to worry he was never coming back.
After a quick check at Lennox Head and a small detour to drop off a surfer hitcher we made our way to Yamba via Evans Head. Evans Head was a small town which had a weird vibe so we didn’t spend very long there…I think we did a quick loop of the town, jumped out to check out the beach and then jumped back in the van and scarpered.
It was a beautiful day by the time we reached Yamba and we spent the afternoon sunbathing and swimming.
We continued on towards Angourie and found a little spot called Spooky Beach to park the van at for the night. It was a really small car park…maybe enough for 5/6 cars. I didn’t sleep well at all, I kept freaking out and thinking I could hear noises…It definitely lived up to it’s name!
At sunrise we checked the surf at Angourie and went for a walk to Back Beach before getting back on the road.
We stopped at a beautiful, pretty much empty beach called Mullaway, then Woolgoolga where we saw a pod of dolphins playing in the surf followed by Emerald Beach, Saphire Beach (soooo amazing!) and Coffs Harbour where Sam had a quick surf. Our plan was to sleep at Coffs Harbour but it was so busy we decided to drive back to Mullaway for the night.
We woke up to watch the beautiful sunrise before making our way to Port Macquarie via Sawtell and Nambucca Heads.
Once we arrived in Port Macquarie we made a beeline for Lighthouse Beach as it’s so pretty and the surf can get good. We had heard on the news on the way down that the search had just been called off for a young boy who had been swept out to sea while playing with his older brother. When we arrived at the beach I felt really emotional. There were flowers scattered over the sand and you could see the sadness on everyones faces. It was a reminder of how precious life is and how powerful the ocean can be.
The following day I FINALLY saw a koala! Unfortunately, it wasn't in the wild as I had hoped but the koala hospital we visited was really cool. They take in injured and sick koalas and look after them until they are well enough to be released ... unless they are too poorly in which case they become permanent residents. The most common disease that they were suffering with appeared to be chlamydia!
The second to last day we headed for Nelson Bay and then on to One Mile Beach where Sam got a surf in. One Mile was pretty but a little too busy for my liking! Unsure of where we were sleeping that night we headed towards Anna Bay. By the time we had arrived it was pitch black and we kept driving down dead ends or coming across places where you definitely couldn’t park overnight. Finally we found a little track that led to something that looked like a car park…it was hard to tell. We decided to risk it and got set up for the night. It was so quiet and the sky was so clear and full of stars. It’s crazy how many stars you can see when there is no light pollution around!
In the morning we woke up and looked out of the window. We were surrounded by sand dunes and just ahead we could see an awesome beach! What a good find. The signs revealed we were at a beach called Birubi. As an extra bonus we found a café called Crest overlooking the beach and treated ourselves to a delicious vege breakfast which made a nice change from super noodles!
That afternoon we stopped off in Newcastle before heading to Sydney where we dropped our camper off and checked into a dodgy motel near the airport.
Australia was way better than I had anticipated! The beaches are incredible, the food is incredible and the people are super friendly. Special thanks to Chrissy and Issac for putting us up and to the Bentleys for letting us stay in their awesome apartment in Broadbeach!
We’ll be back…