We woke up on Saturday morning with itchy feet, and half an hour later had decided a rough destination (South Coast, NSW). We hit the road with our favourite travel companion, our dog Quinn.
We’re constantly jumping in the car and going on random drives (often, long drives) to amazing places, without plans. It is second nature to us now. We can’t get enough of the freedom. All we need is each other, somewhere to sleep and a change of clothes. We freedom camp majority of the time thanks to awesome apps like Wikicamps, so the only costs are fuel and food. We see so much, yet spend so little.
We had three days. Let’s get to it. Keen! Here’s what we got up to:
Urunga: There are so many beautiful spots along the East Coast of Australia that we haven’t yet explored. Urunga is one of those places. A quiet little beach town with pretty beaches and a small main street with a couple of great cafes. It was a windy day, but we happily grabbed some delicious burgers from the Boardwalk Cafe and took the 4wd beach access track onto Hungry Head beach to eat.
Sydney: We drove through the city late on Saturday night to reach the South Coast of NSW. The traffic was quite light being 10pm so we drove around and checked out a few places in the beautiful city light such as Rose Bay and Bondi. The drive over the Harbour Bridge is spectacular at night time when the traffic’s quiet.
Royal National Park: This park is so beautiful, and we highly recommend that you explore it during the day so you can actually see it. Established in 1879, it’s the world’s second oldest national park. We drove through at night to reach the South Coast before we went to sleep. If you’re based in Sydney or close by, make sure you get here at some point! It’s really close to the city and will refresh you completely.
Stanwell Park: Surrounded by bushland, this beach town is the perfect getaway for Sydney folk. An easy daytrip which rewards you with beautiful scenery. Picnic on the grassy headland which looks over the South Coast or have a surf at Stanwell Park Beach. We slept next to the beach in our camper.
Stanwell Park: Catch the sunrise if you can at Stanwell Park, the view from the lookout is stunning at first light.
Sea-Cliff Bridge: This 665m bridge is a highlight of Grand Pacific Drive. Starting at Stanwell Park, the bridge makes an incredible drive and has great walking access for beautiful views.
Kiama: Kyle lived here for a couple of years when he was younger so it was a fond trip for him to remember his favourite beaches and hang-outs. The surrounding areas and townships in the Wollongong region are all well-worth visiting. These towns have a small-town beach vibe, great cafes and stunning views. A couple of our favourite spots in Kiama include the Blowhole and the Bone Yard. There are a couple of man-made ocean pools around the harbour of Kiama for a swim, or check out Surf Beach around the corner for a popular sandy beach. It is amazing to think that these places are only a couple of hours from the city.
Macquarie Pass National Park: As soon as you drive into this park, you feel completely surrounded by wilderness. The drive is only short (approx 9kms from top to bottom) and takes you up a steep winding path of rainforest and before you know it, you are very high up with a view of the entire South Coast. Again – an easy day trip from Sydney. Get in your car and explore Sydney-siders!
Thirlmere Lakes National Park: We drove via Bowral to reach this region. The landscape is very different from the coast and is a great spot to breathe in some fresh air and have some ‘country’ experiences. The national park has 5 lakes so pack your swimmers and your country boots for some peace and quiet in the bush.
Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains National Park: I hadn’t visited the Blue Mountains before so I was really excited to see something new in my own country. The drive was amazing! The Blue Mountains in parts takes you about 1050m above sea-level, so as you can imagine, the views are ridiculously good. Wentworth Falls is a beautiful waterfall with a really far drop which you can view from lookouts above the falls or you can get up close and personal to the falls by walking down using one of the many (short or long) tracks. The view surrounding the falls is also amazing, miles and miles of bush and mountain ridges – pack your camera.
The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains National Park: Park your car at Echo Point to lookout over the stunning Jamison Valley and The Three Sisters. This area was fortunately untouched by the October 2013 bush fires, and the views are spectacular. The Three Sisters is basically three unusual rock formations which sit in the large Jamison Valley. Aboriginal legend says that three sisters were turned to stone to be protected from a tribal battle, but the witchdoctor who turned them was killed before he could turn them back, so they have remained as stone for many generations. The rocks are lit up until 11pm each night for amazing views. The sunset over the mountains is amazing if you are able to catch it; the colours in the rocks are very pretty as the sun sets over them.
The Blue Mountains has many camping spots. We came across a nice spot on the drive down the mountain that allowed free camping and had toilets – there are a few of these about in the national park, so keep your eye out for ‘rest stops’ with camping icons.
Grey Gum Cafe: This country cafe is situated on Putty Road with Wollemi National Park on one side and Yengo National Park on the other. Even though you’re only a few hours from the coast line, the feel in these parts is quite ‘outback’. Dusty dirt roads and public fire trail roads make for great 4wding. We came across Grey Gum Cafe in perfect timing for breakfast and were very happy with the service. They also offer 48 hours free camping on their property, with toilet amenities and showers ($5 charge for shower). This was a great spot for a break to grab some food and a coffee.
Crowdy Head: By driving the back roads and through National Parks, we bypassed Sydney traffic completely (yes!). We travelled north up the highway to head home, and pulled off the highway near Taree to a small beach town called Crowdy Head. There is a large stretch of beach here with 4wd access which we were keen to try out. Crowdy Head itself is a cute little town with some great camping spots in the area. We got onto the beach from Crowdy Head and exited at Kylie’s Beach. If you have a 4wd, get onto this beach and find your own spot. We stopped in a few places for a swim and had hundreds of metres of beach to ourselves. Perfect for fishing, reading a book or a beautiful swim! Our dog Quinn happily lost his mind running around this beach without his leash.