Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Life's a beach Part 1: A coastal adventure from Coffs Harbour to Foster

There's many reasons people travel, to find themselves, to find something new, for a sense of adventure or while searching for something incredibly unique and personal. Different adventures can be for many different reasons. For me personally, one of the things I'm searching for when I travel around Australia is the perfect place for me to settle down. In the western world it is quite the norm to settle down first, adventure later. However if I am going to settle down and do grown up stuff, it's gotta be somewhere I really want to be. Somewhere that makes me smile day after day. I'm sure everyone has a different definition of the perfect place to settle down. Whenever I'm abroad, regardless how much I enjoy myself, I know in my heart Australia will always be home but figuring out that pinpoint spot I want to call home is taking a lot of scouting!
Something Jen and I realised is much of the NSW coast we have yet to see! After our recent trip to Coffs Harbour we decided we'd check out as much of the coast and beaches between Coffs and Foster as we possibly could. We had to get back to the Hunter so packed all these beaches into 3 big beautiful days.

THE HONEY PLACE
Ok, so I'm starting a beach adventure without a beach. Truth is Jen and I absolutely adore honey! We had to check this place out! The bloke running the show is madly passionate about honey, happy for a chat and very informative on the subject! Out the back there is a bee hive terrarium setup so you can see the busy bees doing there thing. There's a little house out the back playing an old, but charming and informative documentary about bee's and honey. We really enjoyed our educational stint here, but we really love our honey. If you too love honey, check it out, the ginger honey is out of this world! Now for the beaches!

OYSTER CREEK
North of Valla
 
This little gem was not far from the Pacific Highway north of Valla. Down the end of a road lined with a few large properties we found a dead end. We jumped out of Rocky to find a nice but obstructed view (image above on the left) overlooking a beach with what I assume is a lagoon blocking it off. Nearby we found a path so wondered down and found a gate to a train line, crossed the train line, through a bit of scrub and found a much nicer view (above right). It was quite cold while we were at Oyster Creek so we didn't swim across to the beach on this occasion, however we are keen to return on a warmer day and check it out a bit more!

VALLA BEACH
Valla is a place I would definitely like to get to know better. We stopped off at the beach on the south side of town, the sand was beautiful and clean and the town ensconced in National Park. During this particular trip the weather gods were not on our side, however upon our arrival to Valla the rain ceased.
Dolphins in the surf
We had a bit of a walk about, then decided to stop for some lunch. While eating I notice something in the surf, a shark! Nope, not quite, it turned out to be a pod of dolphins. Never seen them so close to the shore on such a nice beach! Weather was too cold to jump in and swim with them, but we chased them from land across the beach as they rode the waves. They jumped, flipped and played around in a manner that made it obvious they were showing off to all the onlookers on the beach. All the onlookers being just Jeni and I! Didn't manage to capture a photo of the dolphins leaping out of the ocean, but was a memory Jeni and I will hold on to.

SCOTTS HEAD
As you make it over the hill into Scotts Head you are welcomed with a great view of the mountains to the north, it is no wonder this is a popular destination for holiday goers. Little Beach is a nice modest beach on the south and there is a much longer beach to the north by the caravan park. There is also a small walking track up the headland which has several lookouts to the south, east and north. Dogs are welcome on the beaches at Scotts Head making it a great destination for travellers with dogs.

GRASSY HEAD
A modest little tourist destination. We walked through the caravan park which seemed quite nice and pretty quiet. We walked through an overgrown path to an old lookout viewing south then went for a small stroll along the beach that had a calm surf with lots of sea birds hanging out scoping the scene.

STUARTS POINT

Stuarts Point was teeming with activity, very busy destination and full of families and pets. A large river sits between the town and the beach here, but access is just a short walk over a bridge then through a bit of bush. Once you reach the beach it is quite pretty, when we arrived though, we were greeted by a huge front coming up from the south west. We decided not to hang around the beach too long and get back to Rocky. The moment we arrived back at our troopy, so did the storm!

SOUTH WEST ROCKS
Another popular tourist destination. The northern beach was teeming with activity, while the beach on the south side seemed a lot quieter. Great amenities.

ARAKOON
 We stopped off at Arakoon predominately to check out the old gaol here. Sadly we missed the opening times, but had a stroll around the outside of the place to check it out. Quite a nice little area, camping is available and there are some nice coastal amenities were you could come down for a picnic. We also saw heaps of kangaroos hanging around the gaol and read the great story of Ghost Charlie, he'll chuck ya out of the tree says Auntie.

SMOKEY CAPE LIGHTHOUSE
Every good coast trip has to have at least one quick wonder around a lighthouse! These locations always give you a splendid view of the surrounding areas. Lighthouses are also vital for guiding ships around the coastline and without them we would not have had the setting for Around the Twist. They also provide fantastic windy photos.