Since we decided not to bring any wetsuits on this trip, our best option was to continue north in search of warmer water. Our drive from Sydney to Newcastle took 2 1/2 hours. We managed to find the last site available at Redhead Beach Holiday Park. Since it was Easter break, everything was booked and the prices were jacked up. We paid $40 for our first night of “camping”.
I say camping in quotations because the camping we experienced in Australia was nothing like the camping we are used to. First of all, most people have a sink, a fridge and a stove in their van. Some people even brought huge televisions to watch outdoors and we saw a couple of washer/dryers. Second, at every park we encountered, there was at least one camp kitchen that has everything you would find in a normal kitchen. Most places have pools and laundry rooms, some have tennis courts and there is usually a game room. We were really roughing it!
At Redhead Holiday Park there is a nice trail to the beach and sand dunes. There are also some decent surf spots according to the locals. The night we were there, the sky was really dark blue and everything looked surreal and beautiful. It’s a great place to take pictures of the sand dunes with the ocean as a back drop.
The next morning we waited until the Kuta Lines Surf Shop across the street opened at ten and prayed they would be selling some used boards since we didn’t have any luck finding boards to buy in Sydney. The girl working there was extremely helpful and suggested some good places to stop along our way up North. We found two surf boards at the shop for $200 AU each. A couple of beaters, but the price was right and we knew we would be chucking them in ten days anyway.
We had read about the Merewether Baths, just 10 minutes North of Newcastle, so we stopped there for a little photo opportunity. The waves were head high or bigger, breaking really quick, and it looked like a place for kamikazes only. We watched the surfers for a bit and continued to make our way up North. We stopped along the way at a great little restaurant called the “Salty Dog”. They had extremely fresh fish and chips and a steak sandwich that was to die for.
It took about 4 hours to get to Crescent Head, our destination for the evening. Crescent Head Holiday Park was a step up from Redhead. The best part about this place, besides the waves, was the cafe. It was refreshingly cheap and healthy food. A nice change from dropping $30 at the grocery store for about 5 items. They also have 5 or 6 computers for you to purchase internet.
The next morning we checked the surf and decided it was worth a shot to paddle out. It’s mostly beach break, with one point break near the park. We would have enjoyed staying here longer, but we knew warmer water awaited us further up North.
YAMBA & ANGOURIE
Yamba, they say, is a sleepy little town. By sleepy I think they mean everything closes early (by about 7pm). They have fresh seafood right off the boat and a ferry to Iluka which is a nature reserve. It’s $6 each way but be careful because it is sleepy too. The last one back to Yamba is at 4pm.
There are three caravan parks in Yamba. The Blue Dolphin (close to the river and marinas), Calypso Holiday Park (close to the lighthouse, beaches and ferry, but sites are right on top of each other), and Yamba Waters Holiday Park (quieter, bigger sites, good facilities and probably the cheapest).
We parked our van at Yamba Waters and paid a mere $25 AU, which was cheap compared to our previous $40 sites. We found out later that this park is near a lagoon, which brought on the mosquitoes. Even though we got eaten up pretty bad, I would still recommend staying here. We were also pretty stoked to find a cheap grocery store called Bi-Lo, where we stocked up on camping food.
Our campsite was only 5 minutes from the gorgeous Angourie Nature Reserve and the world renowned surf spot, Angourie Point. Angourie Point is a right hand point break with some decent beach break on the other side of the rocks.
In addition to uncrowded and good waves, Angourie also boasts 2 natural swimming holes right next to the ocean. They call these the green pool and the blue pool. But after some rain, they both turn into brown pools. Here you will find many tourists jumping off cliffs into the pools.
After spending 2 amazing days surfing Angourie and checking out the area, we decided to continue our journey up the eastern coast of Australia in search of another great wave.