Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Port Macquarie, Cresent Heads, South West Rocks, Coffs Harbour

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on June 28, 2011

Pelican at sunset

CP on breakwater

Dan and Wade on other side

Hi Everyone,

We are staying at the Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, another Big 4 Park.  It is right on the water with magnificent views of the water.  The large rocks along the breakwater wall have been painted by the locals with various colours, scenes and names of families and people. It’s very colourful and some of the artwork is particularly good. The kids are especially excited as our site is huge and we look out onto the local skate park and playground. It was great actually as we could stay near the van or read a book but still be able to see and watch the kids.  Wade decided he’s like to go for a

Sunset from caravan park

swim in the pool, even though i reminded him that the pool wasn’t heated! It was like ice but not one to back down from a challenge, (or admit he was wrong:))  he still went in for a swim, did some very fast laps but still couldn’t get warm. Finally he conceded that it was too bloody cold and jumped into a very hot shower! Boys! There are heaps of bike tracks around as well, mostly following the breakwater too, so lovely views.  The kids decided to go for a

Sunset over jetty and harbour

huge bike ride, packed some snacks and drinks and took Joel’s phone, while we did washing, cleaning and odd jobs to catch up.  They rode around the bay, caught a ferry and then rode to a point opposite the caravan park and gave us a call, so we could see them over there.  They did this ride a few times while we were there and the track along the breakwater is fantastic for running and walking, of which we did a lot of both.  The ferry was free for pedestrians and cyclists but a small fee for vehicles. The kids thought it was quite an adventure to go off on their own and we try to let them when we feel it is safe enough. They usually take Joel’s phone with them so if they do get into any

Boys playing

bother, they can at least ring us. The sunsets over the water and harbour were just beautiful but the sun goes down so quickly on the east coast, so if you aren’t quick you will miss it!  We do so miss the sunsets over the oceans!  Port Macquarie is a beautiful place – we all loved this place and i could seriously live here, no problem! It has a great mix of beautiful beaches, fantastic waterfront and

Tacking Point Lighthouse

Town Beach

lush, green forests as well.

We took a drive around the town and further along the coast heading south, taking in some of the beaches, lookouts and stopping at the Tacking Point Lighthouse, the third oldest lighthouse in Australia.   The

Harbour views

coast line is very rocky along here punctuated by some lovely sandy beaches. We chilled here in Port Macquarie for a few days doing homework, blog updates and generally relaxing.

I had a lovely Mother’s Day, starting with a huge cooked brekky,

which was more like brunch! We spent the day just kicking back, reading and generally being lazy, holiday tourists:) The boys surprised me with dinner out at a lovely restaurant on the waterfront. We walked home along the breakwater and had some yummy choc-dipped strawberries the boys had made earlier in the day!

Mother's day brekky

Crescent Heads

Our next destination was a whole 70kms away at Crescent Head.  We met a bloke at Tathra who recommended this place to us so off we went to have

Crescent Heads surf beach

a look.  We decided to stay for a couple of days and check it out.  We stayed at the  Crescent Head holiday Park, which has either beachfront or riverfront sites.  We took a beachfront site, set up and wandered down to the beach.  There is a golf course right next door which must boast the best views ever from a golf course.  The course goes up a huge, steep hill, which would explain a lot of the buggies we saw. I took a walk around the town which took me to the top of the golf course and the views were magnificent! The surf here is amazing! Even though the weather is too cool for us to swim there are heaps of surfers out in the water – it

Crescent Heads Surf Reserve

is a very popular and beautiful spot. The kids and I hired kayaks and went for a paddle up the river, past the other section of the caravan park.  Wade struggled a bit coming back as we were paddling against the current and the wind had picked up as well.  He came back to the double with me and Dan took the single over again.  They should sleep well tonight:)

Next day the sun had gone again and the wind had picked up as well.  Ah well at least we had one good day!  We

Trial Bay Gaol

watched a heap of surfers catching waves and Wade was begging Joel to go in with him.  He even went to the front office of the caravan park, where they hire wet suits and boards and came back with a couple of wetsuits to try on.  His enthusiasm is unfortunately not rubbing off on Joel who declares that no-way is he getting in this water! So we promise him that he can go surfing further up the coast where hopefully it will be a bit warmer and somewhere he can do lessons too. That seems

German Gravestones

Arakoon Park walk

to placate him for the time being:) We took our tennis rackets and tried to get a game of tennis only to find that the courts are maintained by the local sports club. So we walked down to see them only to find that the unseasonal rain has damaged the surface of the courts so we couldn’t play. Ah well.

View from Arakoon walk

Next day we headed off to South West Rocks.  We had been told by a number of people we have met along the way to definitely check this place out.  We stopped at the Visitor’s Center for some info on places to stay and things to do as well.  We decided to stay at the local caravan park Horsehoe Bay Caravan Parkas it is right on the

Sunset at Horsehoe Bay

Smokey Cape lighthouse

beach and right in the middle of town.  We could see the beach from our site and it was very nice. We could only get 3 nights here as apparently it is a very popular weekend spot. The difference in demographics is quite noticeable.  Crescent Head was a much younger population and South West Rocks a much older population, lots of retirees.

The next day we decided to ride our bikes out to the Trial Bay Gaol and Campground.  It was a decent ride with a fairly steep hill on the last leg, going up to the gaol area.  There is a lot of history surrounding the Trial Bay Gaol and it too boasts magnificent views.  You can also see the whales travelling up the coast but

Another bay

we are in the wrong season to see that:( We locked our bikes up and headed over to the gaol which are basically ruins.  We were mulling over whether to actually go into the ruins when a lovely lady told us that the museum inside is actually closed and there’s no much to see except the ruins and listen to some videos.  We decided not to bother as we have already been to Port Arthur and it’s not really a patch on that.  We did however decided to do a walk around the Arakoon National Park.  It was only about 3.5kms and it took us past some of the WW1 German internees and powder

Smokey Cape Bay

Bay on other side

magazines then down to Little Bay then back to the Goal.  Midway we stopped at a park for a drink and snacks and the park was chock-a-block full of kangaroos – big ones. It was a fairly easy walk in comparison to some we have done but nice none-the-less. We rode back to the caravan park and Wade had a bit of a surf on his boogie-board and I went for a walk up onto the rocks, to watch the sunset.

We decided to drive out to the Smoky Cape Lighthouse and even though the sun is shinning the wind has a definite chill factor of about minus 5! The road out is nearly all uphill, I’m so glad we didn’t ride our bikes out here – oh that and there is no bike track so you would have to ride on the road, which doesn’t have much of a

Wade and Joel in a curl

Dan in the water

All three boys in the surf

shoulder! The walk up to the lighthouse is quite steep but fully paved and stepped.  There are a lot of trees and shrubs which have grown a lot and they do tend to obscure a fair bit of the views. The walk up and back though allows some great views so it was still worth it.  We also did another short walk down to the beach.  We all thought the same thing…easy going down which means it’ll be steep and hard going back up! We decide to head back to the caravan park and have some lunch.  After lunch Wade wants to go body surfing again and the weather is fairly warm so we all decided to go for a swim as well.  Daniel is not really fond of the ocean and salty water but I managed to

Boys at the show

Pig racing

cajole him into having a go at least.  Wade and Dan stayed out in the water for ages, with Joel as well and I had a bit of a body surf but decided to get the camera and get some footage of Daniel actually in the water! Wade met some other kids in the water about the same age and didn’t want to get out.  The rest of us had had enough and laid out on the grass to soak up what was left of the sun.  We cleaned up and went out to the local combined Bowls and Golf Club.  They provide a free pick up service from the caravan parks so we jumped on the bus so both Joel and I could have a drink if we wanted.  They had a buffet area that was about $20 for adults and $12.50 for kids.  Daniel eats like a horse so we pay for him as an adult and there was heaps of food.  There was the standard roast meat and vegies, salads, cold meats, fresh prawns and oysters and a heap of Thai/Chinese food as well, not forgetting the all-important dessert bar that Dan and Wade had a good red-hot go at.

Next day as we were packing up i noticed the local markets on right next door so we popped in there for a bit of a squiz.  They are usually good for finding some second-hand books and we weren’t

Wade feeding Little Penguins

Dan sitting as far away as he can

Joel feeding dolphin

disappointed.  We headed into Coffs Harbour and decided to stay at the Park Beach Holiday Park in town just across the road from the beach. Great special on stay for 4 pay for 3nights so we did. The last time we were around here we stayed out at Emerald Beach but found it was just a little too far out-of-town and no bike paths into town either.  It was nice to see the place with some sunshine as when we were here last it rained the whole time!  We set up and took the bikes off the van and rode along the paths out to the breakwater and along the beach and river.

We noticed that the local show is on so we took the kids for a bit of a treat.  They had a go on a few rides then we lunched – much easier

Dan playing catch

Wade playing catch

to do it that way than have them throwing up all their lunch:) The kids found a stall that sold beef jerky and were off with Joel to have a taste.  They thought it was great and came away with a bag or two.  The boys got to watch a couple of wood chop events as well but didn’t really understand all the fuss about it.  We were told not to miss the pig racing and diving show. Mmmm never heard of it so off we went for a gander.  The seats filled up fast so it was lucky Wade pestered us to get in there early and it was packed.  It’s definitely an eye-opener as the man in charge divides the audience into fours, each group to holler loudly, barracking for their pig.  The pigs race around and a winner is declared. Then they have a couple of pigs that they have trained to dive into a pool.  It was quite a feat and the kids and most of the audience enjoyed the show.  It certainly was different! Finished the afternoon off with some shopping and a relax back at the park.

What a show

Patting a dolphin's belly

We headed off to the Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs.  It was great! They have dolphins and seals performing in the shows which were very entertaining.  They have a lot of audience participation and as it is out of school holidays there aren’t too many people here so you can get good seats.  Daniel decided that he didn’t want to be here, well not with us and sat away from us – a definitely “not cool to be seen with your family day”:/  Lucky for him it usually only lasts a few hours and we just ignore him:) We got to have our photos with a seal and a dolphin, which of course you can purchase later on for a cost, but they did allow you to take your own photos at the time as well – which most places don’t.  Even Joel got called up to feed the dolphins, from a platform over the pool, which was great. After the main show the keepers take you on a short tour of the rest of the place and allow you to feed some of the fish, sharks and even the Little Penguins.  Lots of photo opportunities and the staff were very helpful and keen to answer any and all questions.  A great day out.

Dolphin kisses Joel

Dolphin kisses Michelle

Dolphin kisses Wade

Seal kisses Wade

Yamba breakwater bike ride

Bike ride

Whoo hoo

We had another chill-out day and the kids wanted to do some arts’n’crafts. Initially they were making something each but then they decided to make a boat out of polystyrene and various bits and pieces.  They finished their masterpiece and then hopped into their boardies and off to the pool to test it out.  They had a blast and played with it for hours.

Next day we headed off to Yamba and stayed at the Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort. We had looked at the Big 4 but it was about 10-15kms out-of-town, so we stayed here instead.  A very nice holiday park which I imagine would be very busy in the holiday season.  We set up and took off the bikes and went for a ride out to the South Wall Breakwater. We stopped along the way back and read about the history of the walls and port area.  We were a bit warm when we got back to the caravan park so we decided to have a swim in the heated pool – well turns out it wasn’t heated quite as much as we thought but the spa wasn’t too bad.  The pool setting was a very bali-styled, with the thatched-roof gazebo and beautiful, timber decking and stonework around the pool.

View of East Yamba

Pool at Yamba

Spa was warmish

Something surprising for us, it rained and was quite cool once again so we got the kids to catch up on schoolwork and us on some forward planning. There are heaps of fruit bats in the palms that tend to get a bit noisy at night-time too. The next day we packed up and headed off towards Ballina.  We will probably stay here for a few days and see if we can get some better weather than the last time we were here.

Till next time

Ciao`.

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