Last post I promised more on the Narrabeen locals. A couple of days after I started surfing Narrabeen, got dropped in on a few times and had words with some locals someone sprayed the retaining wall with “Locals Only!”. On the day we left I noticed someone had changed it to “Locals Lonly! Surf Here 24/7”. Coincidence I waited until we were safe across the border to tell the story?? Maybe, maybe not…
Its too busy in Sydney, lovely, but busy! So we hit the road, a lot of people we met along the way told us to head to Seal Rocks so we took their advice and checked into Treachery Camp. Its a lovely bush camp that’s reminiscent of the South West of WA. A bit of a squeeze getting the van in there but it was worth it as the peace and quiet and simplicity of free form camping was exactly what was required after the hectic nature of Sydney.
The surf was either surprisingly small for a south facing beach, or blown out so we spent a fair bit of time exploring the surrounds and the nearby towns of Forster & Tuncurry. The views from the Sugarloaf Lighthouse looking over Lighthouse Beach are pretty impressive and well worth the walk, you can drive up there as well, but that’s cheating.
Treachery is located in the Myall Lakes National Park, part of the NSW Great Lakes region which is home to a unique triple lakes system set by the rugged northern coastline. With dingo’s howling each evening and at dawn and snakes cruising past in the middle of May you really notice the stark contrast to the city.
Having been on the road for 4 months and with the kids whinging and moaning about dummies every time we jumped in the car we seized the opportunity to ditch them completely. We woke up one morning and at first request for the dummies we told the kids that the dingo stole them. The boys took some convincing, and a few hours of tears, however by the end of the day each one would tell the other “no dummie, the Dingo stole the dummie” when they cried for it and we haven’t looked back since. YAY!
From Seal Rocks it was time to hit the fabled North Coast point breaks. Crescent Head was next up the coast and although the surf was small it didn’t disappoint. The top end of the caravan park is located right on the point and blends nicely into the surfing reserve. My first taste of rock lined points strewn with pandanus trees, watching all the old salty dogs ride the small waves from the swell wrapping around the point almost made me want to ride a mal…, almost. Instead I drove down the coast about 20 minutes and found some great barrels at Barri beach.
On our way from Crescent Head to Angourie we took a trip out to Dorrigo, more specifically Dangar Falls. Not the best place to tow the van, as at times we were pulling about 4000 revs in third gear doing about 35 km/h up Dorrigo Mountain.
There are about half a dozen other falls in the area but I’m told this one is the most spectacular. There is a path that heads down the valley and then doubles back toward the base of the waterfall and lands you on the waters edge about 20 metres from the falls. Spectacular indeed!
The second leg of the Crescent to Angourie via Dorrigo turned out to be another one of the Hema’s shortcuts. A mere 40 kilometres on corrugated, gravel logging tracks that twisted and turned up and down the mountain didn’t agree too well with the bike rack. Luckily we stopped for fuel in Grafton and I noticed the cracked weld that was hanging on by a thread. A few more kilometres and it would have been bye bye bikes.
There is no caravan park in Angourie itself so we stayed at The Blue Dolphin Resort in Yamba which is only 6km up the road. Arguably the best Caravan Park we have stayed in with 300m of riverfront, games rooms, pool tables, playgrounds, a kids pool, a heated pool for adults and even a swim up bar.
But lets face it, the real reason we were there was Angourie Point, an absolutely classic surfing setup. A headland that sticks out almost like an island with a left and right point break on each side. When the wind is from the south you can surf the right – Angourie Point, and when the wind is north head to Back Point for a barreling left. Both waves are very good and very different offering some great variety. The best thing is nothing has changed since I first saw this place on the 80’s classic surf movie “All Down the Line” with Tom Carroll. Angourie is one of the 18 current National Surfing Reserves so its in good hands to stay that way for another 20 years and then some. I scored some solid swells while we were their and had some of the best sessions I have had in a long time.
Walking to the caravan park one day we just happened to pass the Yamba Fire Station as one of the Fireman was about to park the fire engine in the garage. The kids got free fire hats and Fireman Lego and even a ride in the fire engine – 10 metres up and down the driveway. Thanks to the legends at Yamba Fire Station (I think they had had enough paperwork for one day) we couldn’t wipe the grin off the boys faces.
Yamba is home to one of two Naiad builders in Australia, the other being back home in Perth. I think we passed this factory every other day while we stayed in Yamba, on our numerous trips to the hardware store next store. This seems to be a never ending activity while touring for some reason.
On the other side of the Clarence river is the small town of Iluka. Its about an 80km round trip to get there and back by car, or you can jump on the Yamba – Iluka ferry which runs about four times a day. A great way to spend a day with the kids. There’s also some pretty good surf on the other side of the breakwater at The Wedge.
The forecast for our last weekend in Yamba was less than attractive, a massive East Coast low was set to cross the coast just north of us. We tried to get the annex and awning down the day before but after letting it dry all day from the rain the night before it started bucketing down again just as we were about to bring it in. Not wanting to pack it up and store it wet for a couple days we left it up against our instinct and bunkered down to wait for the storm. She hit with all the intensity and fury as forecast and we ended up with 100kmh wind gusts and 10 inches of rain over two days. The van, awning and annex all held strong but in hindsight I think I would pull it all down next time, wet or otherwise. Thankfully we weren’t a bit further up the cost at Kirra and Burleigh Heads as they really copped it hard with major flooding and damage.
They weren’t the only ones to cop it hard, the downside of being located right on the ocean is there’s no buffer from the storm.
The last of the North Coast fabled spots Byron Bay up soon in the next post.