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Romantic drives … Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie

coffssmokycape

THERE are some places in Australia where the weather has obviously been designed with romantics in mind – count this part of the world along the lower north coast of NSW as one such place where the sun always shines and where there are plenty of beaches to worship the rays or have a dip and ample charming little hamlets to explore.

A great place to park your camper is Emerald Beach Holiday Park, just 10 minutes up the road from the Big Banana (warning: the banana is overrated and will kill any notion of romance, so skip it – though there is a cool little puzzles shop attached for those with an interest, but better suited to couples with kids in tow). This Big4 venue set on a gorgeous beachfront with wildlife everywhere, great beach walks and fishing nearby. The accommodation options are diverse, from 5 star villas to budget cabins, and “convenient shady and peaceful unpowered, powered and ensuite sites for caravans, motor homes and camping”.

Whether it’s a morning or afternoon cruise, it doesn’t matter, as you wind your way down to beautiful Port Macquarie – about 2 and a half hours drive direct, but you will want to absorb some of the sights, walks and tastes along the way including nature trails and world heritage areas inland and along the coastline.

Make a stop in the coastal hotspots of Urunga and Mylestom where¬† you can avoid the crowds and¬† find some serious sunshine at Urunga’s gateway to a tidal lagoon and an array of beautiful beaches. This seaside hamlet is found at the join of the Bellinger and Kalang rivers, while beaches can be reached on an almost 1km long boardwalk across the Urunga lagoon. Don’t be surprised if a dolphin pops up to say hello.

Further along, Nambucca Heads is a sleepy seaside town with great views while you are encouraged to make a detour off the main road and head for South West Rocks for some spectacular sights at Smoky Cape Lighthouse (pictured), set on cliffs high above the ocean. Also spend a bit of time at Trial Bay Gaol and discover it’s amazing history. Scoot along for another 20 minutes and enjoy some beachcombing at Hat Head National Park before making the journey to the final destination, Port Macquarie.

If planning to stay overnight, our accommodation recommendation is Jacaranda Caravan Park, offering splendid powered sites on its six acre base of sub tropical setting. At night, either indulge in a river cruise or soak up the sparkling views across Hastings river as you wine and dine at Whalebone Wharf Seafood restaurant.

AUSTIN BONHAM

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