North of Coffs Harbour, Moonee Beach is our chance for a bit of quiet time after the noise of Sydney and before we reach the Gold Coast. We are nearing the end of our journey up the Pacific Coastal Highway and want to slow down for a while before boarding the plane back to normal life. The campsite is directly on the beach, situated on a small hill overlooking the river estuary and bay. After chilling out on the beach for the rest of the late afternoon we take an evening walk out onto the headland through the trees and on to the grassy slopes of the headland which dissects the two beaches on either side. We watch the waves roll in on the beach for a while before walking back through the trees in the cooling heat of the evening.
After leaving Moonee Beach the next day we head north inland towards Grafton, passing just outside the main town flood warming signs are hard to miss with height poles at the side of the road indication depths of 3m…humm glad it’s summer. Most people drive around in big four-wheel trucks in Australia even in the large cities, it’s the ones with an exhaust pipe about the roof who are the real outdoor types as they are ready for driving through road floods.
The road follows the broad sweep of the Clarence River out towards Yamba, before turning north again in the direction of Ballina. Camping up in Ballina we take a walk along the Richmond River which runs out to sea next to the centre of Ballina. It is a small town famed for it’s surfing community and there are a number of surf shops lining the main street.
In the morning we take a walk down onto the beach in East Ballina and watch the surf of the Tasman Sea roll in over the rocks. We are heading a short distance further north today into Bryon Bay.
Dolphins in the Bay
We find out there is a pod of dolphins out in the bay so we backtrack to the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina and walk out on the breakwater to see the dolphins fishing out in the bay. A crowd soon develops and we watch the pod for a good half an hours, somehow seeing them gives everyone a lift, it’s like a treat you weren’t expecting.
We take the coastal road from East Ballina north into Lennox Head, stopping for a break at the great Italian Restaurant the Quattro the cafe on the seafront. From the beach in Lennox Head the headland rises up and juts out into the sea at the end of the beach.Lennox Head and Ballina have been relatively low key so far but as we head towards Bryon Bay we suspect that is about to end as Bryon Bay is a magnet for good time party people….
Check out the visitors website : Australia.com about time I put this link in, all about NSW
Where : Moonee Beach & Ballina, NSW, Australia.
Travelling : leaving Port Macquarie we journeyed a further 172 km on the A1 North through Coffs Harbour and on into Moonee Beach. The next day we travel 200 km further up the Pacific Highway via Grafton to Ballina along the trusted A1.
Camping or Campervan: Moonee Beach North Coast Holiday Park, situated directly on the river estuary and beach, a mixture of permanent residents and visitors, we ended up in the park area where you can park as you please under the trees.
North Coast Holiday Parks -Ballina Central easy walk into town or across the road to the riverbank, one of the more central parks we come across.
Don’t tell anyone: Quattro Italian Restaurant, Lennox Head. good place to chill out for a while with a large Cappuccino
Next up: Bryon Bay
pjbourne is a full time architect, urban masterplanner and sustainability designer. In his free time he’s outside with a camera, running, hiking or mountain biking through the Alps where he lives or indoors in front of the iMac planning another long road trip in a campervan to the other side of the world.
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