For challenge #9 Jimmy and Amanda ventured up the East Coast in their trusty Jeep Cherokee – ‘Big Pearl’ – bull bars aimed for Byron Bay. Their last road trip as a twosome for a little while, read all about their amazing week long adventure…
We set off on our Babymoon holiday to Bryon very early Saturday morning of the October long weekend. With the car packed full of supplies, camping gear and a pregnant wife we hit the road in anticipation of the adventure ahead.
The drive out of Sydney was delightful and surprisingly queue-free as we breezed our way up the Pacific Highway to the M1. As usual the M1 was as dull as dish water but this would be the longest we had driven up the East Coast and we were just giddy as we got to the service station before Newcastle. It would be a quick stop to refresh and plan our route to our two night stop over at South West Rocks.
The first stop was the sleepy town of Harrington where people go to retire, play golf and fish. After a short walk along the breakwater and seeing the Pelicans, along with our first sighting of a Stingray, we consulted our trusty Lonely Planet and it suggested a stop for lunch at the Harrington Hotel. Hungry as we were we took full advantage. The hotel boasts a lovely beer garden looking over the lagoon with ample shade to eat their hearty fare.
Refuelled and eager to get going we drove onwards to Crowdy Head Lighthouse for a quick photo and then hit the unsealed road though the dappled shade of Crowdy Bay National Park. Back on the Pacific Highway the sun was lowering in the sky so we pressed on to Tracking Point Lighthouse just outside Port Macquarie and a quick look around the town for another photo before reaching our final destination of the day, Trial Bay Gaol Camp Ground.
We got there just in time to get our pitch number before the information office closed. Forty five minutes later the tent was up, minus the usual argument, and we were sitting down taking in the views of our home for the next two nights. I would highly recommend the camp ground with its amenities and different bookable locations to set up your tent. Not too much hammock action though, sorry Henry.
With the beach on our doorstep we took full advantage of the relaxed atmosphere, dipping in and out of the water when things got a little too sweaty. After two nights of listening to the waves we packed the tent away and headed on our second leg to Byron.
Hitting the road reasonable early we had our plan to head in land to Bellingen which was our lunch stop before heading on to Dorrigo and seeing the rainforest via a tree top walkway. Both ticked off the list we calculated are time to Byron. We’d been enjoying ourselves a little too much so it was going to have to be a quick drive if we were going to get to Byron before closing time. We put Big Pearl (our car) into hyper-drive and started to eat up the kilometres. Driving through the countryside, past towns like Glen Innes, Grafton, Bangalow and on to Byron we went from rainforest to rolling countryside, winding roads through the mountains, fields of sugarcane and on to the coast. It all past by pleasantly. Both of us taking in the scenery as the kilometres ticked by. Finally in Byron Monday night after leaving Sydney early Saturday morning we arrived tired but ready for what the surfer hippy town had to offer.
Although the road trip was over for now we had plenty to see and do in Byron. As we were not quite the party animals we used to be, and with a baby on the way this would be a more long walks along the beach and long lunches kind of a holiday. No Cheeky Monkey for us.
Byron has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere without any underlying tension. Fantastic cafes and restaurants along with the odd pumping night venue. There is a great mix of backpackers, hippies, families and grey nomads giving the place the holiday vibe without the high-rises and corporations of the Gold Coast. We had a delightful time walking along the deserted Tallow beach, seeing whales frolicking in waters off of the lighthouse and stuffing our faces in all the different eateries the place has to offer.
If you are up for a road trip adventure from Sydney then this one ticks all the boxes. The wildlife and the scenery helps you forget the job in the city and make your eyes open wide like a child again, taking in all the new and ancient sights the East coast of Australia has to offer.