After taking care of a few last minute errands in Sydney like going to the bank and buying an esky, we set off north up the east coast. I’ve never owned a GPS device before so it was quite handy to have one to direct us how to get out of Sydney. Even as the city gave way to suburbs to farmland I still didn’t feel like I had left Sydney yet. Maybe it’s because I had literally just left my home for the last 12 months or because I still don’t feel like a traveller yet, but regardless I still felt like I was at home.
The weather over the last few days has been less than ideal. On the way to Port Macquarie the weather alternated from cloudy with a few streaks of sunshine to torrential downpours. All of which doesn’t make for comfortable driving when you’re still getting re-acquainted with driving a manual transmission. The car is still full of red outback dirt from the previous owners but thankfully the odour has gone away. Port Macquarie itself is more posh than I imagined. There are international standard hotels and residences all around the waterfront. We parked up by the town beach, made use of the public barbie area to cook dinner, and then settled in for the night in the carpark. It’s rather nice to fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing in the distance the smell of sea blowing in through the crack in the car window. And the rap music from the campervan parked next to us.
After a morning surf and quick brekkie we headed up to Coffs Harbour to get new tyres and a general checkup done on the car. Since that took a few hours we explored the town a bit and decided to spend the night there. The beach just north of the jetty beach has an excellent surf break so I gave it a go. Almost was able to stand up on the new board (7′ shortie) but in the end was unsuccessful. We found a commonly used area for overnighting on the south side of the jetty beach and spent night there, again listening to the sea.
In the morning we woke up to see loads of cars pulling near us to look out at the sea. The night before there were loads of cars out there too, including a fire engine that was shining its search light at the rough surf. We couldn’t figure out why but soon a local shouted out to us to have a look at the dolphins. There was an entire pod of dolphins not far off catching a few waves and playing. That was a wonderful thing to wake up to.
It started raining again not long after so we took off for Byron, taking the coastal road via Ballina. Unfortunately a good chunk of it was being worked on but we still managed to get some nice views in. We made quick stops at Crescent Head and Lennox Head on the way up. Crescent Head has an amazing surf break but you’ve got to walk over some very slippery rocks to get to it. And it’s not for beginners so I passed on getting in. Lennox Head has a beautiful long beach that is lined by very upmarket housing. It was raining all day so we didn’t spend much time at either of them.