Seal Rocks – Sat 26th Dec to Sat 16th Jan

So the final stop on the journey.

Seal Rocks is about 25km south of Forster, 3.5hrs north of Sydney and 10km down a dead end road from Bungwahl.  There are a few options for camping here.  Driving in the first is on the right over the road from the beach, a North Coast Holiday Parks site; the second is Treachery Camp, a few km further on and then Yagon, a national park site.

For a number of years we have stayed at the North Coast site, run by Steve and Katrina the very helpful and friendly managers.  It’s the kind of place you rebook before you leave, a very popular place and part of its charm is the number of people who return year on year.

No.1 beach, over the road, is well sheltered and gently shelving; perfect for the kids to mess around in the water, but still gets enough of a swell to make it interesting at times, and keep the surfers happy off the point.

Again the weather provided some extremes.  Of our three weeks, two were fantastic, the middle week was somewhat challenging with high winds and over 350mm of rain.  We counted half a dozen gazebos in bits, ditto a couple of tents – those fibreglass poles only bend so far….

By the end of the week the site was half empty as people bailed out; but with the awning up over the trailer, plus one of the side walls, we sat things out without drama (with a few trips to Forster to the cinema to keep the girls distracted).

Not so lucky was the yacht heading along the coast before the weather drove it onto Yagon Beach.  From the Rolex sticker on its bow presumably it had been part of the Sydney-Hobart just a few weeks earlier.  Supposedly they were going to take the keel and rudder off before dragging it up the beach away from the waves.

 

After a fantastic few weeks with friends our big lap had come to end, time to return to Sydney and settle back into a more regular lifestyle.

That brings us to the end of the trip.  The next post will cover highlights and reflections of a fantastic year.

South West Rocks – Sat 19th Dec to Fri 25th Dec

First up, an apology for the delay in posting.  For the last few weeks of our trip we just chilled out and relaxed.  Then when we got back – CHAOS, unpacking and moving back in from storage.  And just to add to the fun a new job 2 days after we got back.

Heading to South West Rocks from Armidale there are various routes.  A pretty one is what the tourist blurb calls Waterfall Way.

Initially heading east there are various lookouts along the way.  Over time rivers have carved jagged gorges into the plateau, from where you can look down to the waters far below.  Wollomombi Falls is a great example.

15-12-19 Wollomombi Falls 2

There is indigenous history here as well.  As Europeans spread into the area the local people retreated into these gorges, eking out an existence however they could.

Further along there is the less rugged, but no less picturesque, Ebor Falls.  A wonderful place for a picnic, alongside a pretty grassed area scattered with daisies.

15-12-19 Ebor Falls 1

Descending from the plateau toward the coast the road would be heavenly on a bike, over 20km of switchbacks and sweeping corners.  Not so much fun in a 110.

Shortly after the road straightens up there is the small town of Bellingen, clearly a mecca for day-trippers looking for a stop for lunch as the town was heaving.  We couldn’t find a park in town, but in the end all for the best as just outside town is the Old Butter Factory.  Easy parking, no crowds, lovely café and some craft shops to browse through; a perfect break in the drive.

South West Rocks is located just North East of Kempsey, on Trial Bay.  The campsite is set behind a lovely little bay sheltered between low headlands.  Behind the site there is a hotel and a range of shops, with a Coles only a km away.

The campsite is really a tale of two halves.  The sites behind the beach are well protected from the wind, with mature trees for shade.  The sites on the northerly headland have no shade and are exposed to the wind around 270 degrees. Unfortunately, being a late booking, we were on the headland – to be honest this area should be caravans only, on several occasions the gusts were so strong it felt like the trailer was going to be blown away; and sitting outside was not a great option.

Along the northern edge of the headland there is a tidal inlet, leading to a very sheltered waterway, then on the other side the beach stretches into the distance.

To be fair to the place the weather did not treat us kindly.  As well as the wind the rain joined for 6 days of the 7.  Fortunately Christmas day, our last, was gorgeous; blue skies, no wind and a swell just large enough for the girls to mess around in the surf.

To complete the fun was a great Christmas lunch with the Whitemans, a last hurrah of the wonderful times we had shared at different places on the road.