Neither of us had visited Coffs Harbour before, so along with the brilliant weather, our visit made for a great couple of days. As we said in our previous blog update, while at Coffs Harbour it was our intention to make our home at the Coffs Harbour League grounds. As it turned out it was a good decision – they have great facilities and the club’s caretaker, Vern, an ex Kiwi from Gisborne, ensured we wanted for nothing. Many thanks Vern.
While at Coffs we took the opportunity to have a good look around the area. On Saturday we drove 60 km west to a small town called Bellingen on the Bellinger River. The town was very ‘60’s with many ‘alternative’ lifestylers thriving amongst their population.
On Sunday Coffs had its’ beach markets. It was a compulsory attendance and Dearne came away with a couple of ‘essential’ items while the ‘bag carrier’ was just as happy with a hotdog. It is the first time since arriving in Australia we have seen lots of people on a beach. We are seeing some stunning beaches along the east coast but they seem to have very few people using them.
On Monday we continued our journey south on the Pacific Highway. Much of the journey followed the Nambucca River and the kilometres of oyster farms that are active on the river. There were plenty of roadside stalls selling the product so we were ‘forced’ to make a stop and pick up a couple of dozen.
A few kilometres later we took a coast road east to visit a small beach town called South West Rocks. We had heard about it from other travellers so thought it would be worth a visit. On a good day it would have been a great but on our visit the town was experiencing a vicious wind off the sea wind so it was not the best day to spend too much time there. We made the most of the visit – did a quick walk around the town, had lunch in the van and then headed west through Kempsey and back onto the Pacific Highway.
While we were at Coffs Harbour we heard from another camper about a ‘free’ campsite at Ellenborough (just below the Wirrekimbe Wilderness) called the Ellenborough Reserve. The Reserve is about 70km inland from Port Macquarie and is on the junction of the Ellenborough and Hastings Rivers. We were a bit nervous on the drive as the GPS had taken us on all the backroads so we were not quite sure what to expect. As it turned out it was a perfect area – very flat, all grass and with trees for shade. There were about 10 vans at the Reserve when we arrived but there were still plenty of flat sites to choose from. The park up area was about 30 metres from the river and ‘people were catching fish’. We ended us staying at the Reserve for three days it was so good. Very restful stopover.
We departed Ellenborough this morning and are heading to Port Macquarie for a brief visit. We need to pick up a few supplies so Woolworths here we come. We get great fuel discounts by shopping at Woollies so it’s worth the effort to find one of their stores.
From Port Macquarie we will continue our way south (not sure yet where we will stop tonight) and are spending the weekend with Harry and Jane Parker at Port Stephens in Nelson Bay. Harry and Rod used to work in the same industry (Harry in Australia and Rod in New Zealand) until both sold their businesses and moved on to new lifestyles. They have remained the best of friends.