NSW North Coast Roadtrip, through our trip top-to-bottom of Australia East Coast

Having ignored the bit between Sydney and Byron Bay? That’s exactly what we were going to do like many other backpackers, mistakenly bypassing this part of the Central Coast of NSW and head straight to Byron, but thanks to some locals who tipped us off about some coastal hideaways we didn’t miss out some magnificent drives.

At first though, we had to struggle going through the traffic of Sydney but likely we didn’t have to drive far away to find our first peaceful and beautiful stops, about 30km north, first in Palm Beach and then in the lush Lane Cove River National Park. Soon after, we followed the Pacific Highway but couldn’t resist the call of the brown-tourist signs on the side of the road so, now and then, we found ourselves taking a right-hand turn in search of a secluded beach. We spared ourselves a bar-hopping night in Newcastle but not before having spent an afternoon strolling along its pretty waterfront and once again we were off searching our next detours.


The Lakes Way was another pretty drive which weaves from Myall Lakes to Seal Rock. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our favour and, after stared at the tremendous power of the rough ocean, we carried on till we reached the Booti Booti National Park to settle our tent on the pristine Camp Elim campground. The place was literally all to ourselves and with some clear days in front of us we just unwind for days, kayaking through the shallow, peaceful, emerald water of Wallis lake, which silence was only break by the noises of the huge pelicans’ colony on a small floating island in the middle of it, and gazing at the powerful waves breaking just offshore at the untouched Seven Mile beach. At the entrance of the lake, the two twin towns, Forster and Tuncurry facing each other off, were our stop for refuelling our bellies on some great fish&chips.
Not long after we left this pretty place, we found another detour to Crowdy Bay NP. A never-ending unsealed rough road took us where kangaroos roam free in abundance and gum trees blend with the lush forest. Time to move on and soon we reached Port Macquarie from where the highway starts running closer to the ocean and there are plenty more chances to stop along the many seaside resorts, all very similar to each other offering the same holiday-maker experiences and Nambucca Heads was among ours.
It wasn’t long we needed to break up from these holiday-destinations’ atmosphere and for a glimpse of alternatives lifestyle we went up hill to the charming, little Bellingen, where time seems to run very slowly, but nothing prepared us to the mellow unusual charm of our next destination: Byron Bay. Awesome beaches, great weather, cheerful locals, great chill-out atmosphere and although it is a small town it offers all the glitz to surfers, backpackers and artist minded people.

The 7km stretch of sand of Tallow Beach, Byron Bay

Nearby Nimbin is supposedly where all the real hippies had moved since the Aquarius Festival in 1973 but to welcome us was, not the expected very friendly approach, instead the hassle of the pot dealers along the short main street (by the way are they not supposed to “share the love”? ) My vision of the hippie-happy town soon vanished, though my eyes seems amazed to see passing by some “real” hippies, maybe too old to care anymore about sharing a smile with one of the too many tourists.

So far we seen it all, wildlife, tourist-trapped villages, untouched national parks, weirdoes but we still missed something, oh yes the warm tropical weather and the boarder to Queensland was now few miles away.

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