Driving New South Wales


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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Yamba
May 31st 2009
Published: June 28th 2009
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Waterfall under the road
Yamba was a pretty cool little fishing town. In the morning we walked up the hill to check out the beaches and despite the foul weather there were a few people out for a surf.

We left Yamba with no plans other than south. The Pacific Highway still resembled a lake so we headed inland towards Maclean. Maclean has a strong scottish heritage and still looks like a scottish country town. We wished we could have spent some time there but we were dead set on getting around the flood. We got on a road that was still technically closed (signs were still up) but we saw local traffic was travelling on it. We passed lots of flooded houses with piles of wrecked carpets and furniture out front. It was quite sad to see. We eventually made it out to the Grafton Highway which we took to get back onto the main highway further south.

We stopped in Coffs Harbour along the way to figure out where we wanted to spend the night. We read about the Dorrigo National Park just inland from Coffs Harbour. It seemed like the New South Wales version on the Atherton Tableland so we
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Cattle fields in Dorrigo
decided to check it out. We drove up the winding road to Dorrigo and found a rest stop for a free night. We met a fellow traveller from Arizona named Amber and spent the night sharing stories while hanging out in her massive cargo/camper van. She was going north and had spent lots of time in Sydney so we had lots of recommendations for each other.

In the morning the 3 of us went on the Dorrigo National Park hike ... well up to the point where it was completely washed out at Crystal Falls. After the hike we parted ways and Jay and I headed back from where we came. We stopped in at a renewable energy fair in Bellingen on the way. They've got all sorts of interesting ideas for renewable energy and sustainability here in Australia thanks to their abundance of sun and lack of water. Solar panels and solar water heaters are ridiculously cheap thanks to very generous government rebates. Most of the rural properties also have extensive rain water collection systems. On our way back to the water we stopped at a road side stand and bought all sorts of weird, exotic fruit like
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Dangar Falls viewpoint right next to our camp
apples and pears. We're now far enough south and high enough in elevation to see the colder climate fruits that we're used to back home.

After returning to the coast we continued south and spent the night in Nambucca Heads. We really enjoyed this place thanks to all the hiking trails up to the cliffs overlooking the ocean below. There was another Captain Cook lookout, there seems to be a lot here on the east coast! We're fairly close to the Hunter Valley from here so we have a destination to reach. Next stop delicious Shiraz and Chardonnay!


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Dorrigo National Park

Vines climbing a tree
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Nambucca Heads

The view looking north
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Nambucca Heads

The view looking south
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Nambucca Heads

Enjoying the sunshine at the top of the cliff


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