Coffs Harbour to Newcastle

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August 10th 2019
Published: August 10th 2019
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This morning we started heading down the NSW coast in earnest. Yesterday we did a down and back from Coffs Harbour to South West Rocks and back to Coffs so today we travelled straight down the Pacific Highway to Port Macquarie and had a closer (but not too close) look at the fire that is burning in Limeburner NP. Whilst searching for info about the fire(s) I discovered that there are 50 fires burning along the NSW coast! Hopefully most of those have been small outbreaks that have been quickly brought under control. There was a huge plume of smoke blowing out to sea from the fire north of Port Macquarie.

Our first comfort break was at the Visitor Information Centre in Port Macquarie. Very posh! The info centre is co-located with the Glasshouse Theatre so the toilets are the very nicely appointed loos that the theatre crowd use. More large painted animals - this time koalas.

From the VIC we commenced Tourist Drive 10 which took us around Flynns Point and Nobby Head and then to the Tacking Point Lighthouse. My fire search also threw up the fact that the road out to the lighthouse is currently closed. Initially we thought that we could park at the barrier and walk the rest of the way but, no, we couldn’t access the walking path from that point. We drove on down to Lighthouse Beach where we found that there was access from the beach, but it was a long climb up the stairs to the lighthouse. Luckily the views were so spectacular that we really didn’t mind the walk. There were lots of photo ops along the way!

We continued along Tourist Drive 10 to Lake Cathie where we found the BIG Bowl, big lawn bowl that is. We had no idea that there were so many big things to be seen, but now it has become a bit of a theme for the holiday - how many big things can we find?

We stopped at Bonny Hills for another leg stretch and photo op. I was heading out to take a photograph on the pontoon jetty when the guy on the boat ramp (with two very cute dogs in their life vests in the boat on the trailer) started having a meltdown, swearing and chucking things out of his van, seemingly unable to find something he was looking for. What to do? Continue doing what I was setting out to do or beat a hasty retreat and risk drawing attention to myself? I decided I would go and take the photo I wanted to take.

On my way back I could see a laptop on the boat ramp so I bravely approached the guy to check if that was what he was looking for? The guy got a grip on himself and apologised for his language and behaviour. I asked if he was looking for the laptop? No, that was an item he had chucked out in his fit of rage. I said that I hoped that he would find what he was looking for. He quite politely thanked me for being brave enough to approach him and try to help ... and then as I walked away started cursing again about whatever it was he had lost. I felt worst for the dogs. The poor little things we cowering in the boat quite obviously stressed about their owner’s behaviour. I guess he can’t be all bad? He did after all have life vests on them.

There were a few eating options in Bonny Hills and it was about lunchtime, so we decided to make it our lunch stop too. After eating we completed Tourist Drive 10 at Kew where Ocean Drive terminated at the Pacific Highway. We motored down another section of the highway between Kew and Taree. At Taree we had to stop to photograph the BIG Oyster. This was our best worst big thing yet!! It is a giant concrete oyster that has been constructed above the showroom of the Taree Nissan dealership. What?! I mean really, what the heck does a giant oyster add to a car dealership? That’s just ridiculous. At least the Big Lawn Bowl is out the front of the bowls club.

If that was the best that the highway had to offer we decided that we should venture back closer to the coast for some natural beauty. We picked up Tourist Drive 6 at Rainbow Flat and made our way through Tuncurry and Forster. During a quick stop at Forster we found that the wind was now very strong and very cold. It seems that arctic blast that has been freezing Victoria may have moved north. What a shame. It was so glorious in Coffs Harbour it would have been nice to stay further north, but our itinerary dictated that today was the day we needed to start heading south.

We enjoyed the drive past Wallis and Myal Lakes, but decided not to stop anywhere because the wind was too revolting! There is a lot of water along this section of the NSW coast. On several sections of the road we had the ocean on our left and the lakes on our right. Once again another area to explore further in retirement? One thing we gave a miss was the ‘The Grandis’ the tallest known tree in NSW. Sounds magnificent, but today was not a day to be walking amongst big trees that could lose a branch while we were walking underneath.

It was back onto the highway at Bulahdelah and, with the afternoon fading away, we drove straight through to Newcastle. After a few minor hiccups we had the car in the garage and ourselves in our room. Tonight’s accommodation is one of those privately owned appartments in a complex that has a property manager to manage holiday lets.

We organised parking earlier in the day, but hadn’t received a code for the garage door. We rang to ask for the code and the person on duty told us no car park was booked. What?! Our credit card has been debited we really need you to have a car park there for us when we arrive. OK, we’ll check and get back to you. About 20 mins later the code was texted to us and we were allocated car park 18. Then when we arrived there a dirty big fat 4x4 in car park 18. Grrrrr! Another phone call to ask where we could park since someone else was in car park 18 and we were told we could put our car in car park 16.

It has to be recorded that another things we missed was the BIG mozzie. Well, we didn’t miss it completely, we saw it poised beside the main drag into Newcastle when we were stopped at a set of lights but, unfortunately, we have no photographic proof that such a thing exists. Seriously, I’ll have to Google it some time to try to discover why anyone would want to glorify the mozzie with a giant statue??

We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner tonight which made a change from the pub and club meals we have been eating. There were a few mix ups with our food, but we all ate well in the end. Not as good as Pad Cha though, our local Thai restaurant in Preston.

The boys won at Bolivia again tonight. The overall holiday tally must be evening up.

Steps:11,426 (8.49kms)

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