Published: January 8th 2012
January 3rd 2012
Liking the retro effect my daughter has introduced me to on my iPhone. Very cool!!
It is strange for us Brits to grasp the fact that Australians have both Christmas and their summer holidays all come at the same time (a bit like buses). Anyway, we had talked about doing a road trip for a few days whilst Josh was with us, but stupidly left booking accomodation to the last minute only to find there was nothing left within a sensible budget. With the forecast so good and us all on holiday, this was really disappointing so with Josh and I willing to rough it in the car, decided to do at least a 2-3 hour trip North anyway to an area we had heard was worth seeing. With a couple of pillows and duvet on board to widen our chances in hopes of finding perhaps a couple of beds, we knew if nothing found we could drive back that far.
Everything fitted in easily to our current Hertz hire car a Toyota Kluger which really is a beast (we have already decided is far too big for long term use) but really useful for the trip. With nothing booked this did give us the freedom to see where we'd end up and it felt
Our apprentice doing well
A memorable evening and BBQ
like the start of an adventure as we set off early Tuesday morning on the Pacific Highway North. Josh and I did nearly all the driving finding the road and journey very straightforward and within 2.5 hours we reached Nelson Bay. This was a bit busy, so we carried on a little further to Shoal Bay. I think I was determined to stay at least one night as soon as we got our first glimpse of the beach when we emerged through paths from the road which I have to say, took my breath away. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined and could have been on some remote island. Very few people, white sand, unspoilt and the sea VERY blue. Perfect.
We settled here for a few hours of picnic, sunbathing and swimming but then decided to move on as we could see so many lovely places in the distance. We started making a few enquiries but no rooms free anywhere there, but after a short time driving spotted a motel that as luck would have it had a cancellation for a room with 4 beds. It was basic but just what we needed so couldnt
Could have been Fiji. Stunning!!!!!
believe our luck. This meant we could now relax and enjoy. We headed off to another fabulous beach - Fingal Bay. This was beautiful but on the windier side, so after being sand blasted there treated ourselves to that old beach favourite -coffee (always great coffee here) and fries.
I dont think I've explained that there are commonly found public areas of grass, playgrounds etc called Reserves everywhere and most have outdoor (usually electric) BBQs on them that we initially were pretty amazed to find are usually FREE. We picked up beer, wine and provisions in Nelson Bay and ended the day having a BBQ on the aptly named 'Sunset Beach' on Soldiers Point Reserve which now seems the norm. Here we enjoyed the sight of Pelicans silhouetted in the setting rays of the sun with the gentle chatter of other groups of people doing the same around us. No one being a pain, just making the most of being able to socialise outside at the end of a lovely day.
Out for the count that night then off in fairly good time next day, driving just a further hour to the north side of the huge bay
Brekky on the Barbie
Breakfast never tasted so good
around Port Stephens. Stopped at another beautiful beach area - Hawks Nest to BBQ a brunch of eggs, muffins & bacon which tasted so good outside. Another thing we have found is don't expect to 'swim' in the sea in Oz. Go to the pools for that. In the sea, you just get pounded and wiped out, but great fun. After we had our quota of this there was a big commotion with the life guards. The red flags went up, there was a lot of shouting and they shot off on their quads to the deserted beach a little further up where two guys had apparently been caught in a rip and dragged. They were given CPR and airlifted by helicopter to hospital, one with suspected spinal injuries. The lady providing the info then proceeded to tell me there had been a very bad shark attack there last year where a young woman lost her arm and shoulder but finished with 'but I've grown up and swum these shores for over 50 years and never had a problem' in true Aussie style. Thats ok then, we didnt see one either - this time! Trouble is, if you thought about
it too much you'd never do anything, so we swim here along with the rest of the mad fools, lathered in factor 30 lest the big 'C' becomes the biggest problem!!
So after another full day of sun, sand and sea, we decide we actually are happy to go back 'home' as there really are still so many places we have yet to visit within a few miles of us. The whole area was amazing national park land and knowing how easy it was now, I am keen to go off soon to do more, but once the mad holiday period has calmed down. Think a road trip to Claire and Perry is definately on the cards soon after seeing their fantastic photos of their trip to us and back!!!!
I have a cockatoo moved very close as writing this back home, imploring me to feed him, but I'm not weakening!!!
There are more photos below