Sawtell & Waterfall Way

Sawtell & Waterfall Way


We began our Easter as many other Queenslanders would have – stuck in traffic in the pouring rain. Not only did we have long weekend, Easter traffic, but the Commonwealth Games were wreaking havoc in this beautiful city as well.

Never the less, we made it across the border and into NSW as we headed from Brisbane down to Sawtell to spend Easter with our mates at the BIG4 Sawtell Beach Holiday Park.

Thankfully the skies cleared up and the sun started shining as we approached our destination, and after weeks of what seems like non-stop rain in Brisbane, this was a very welcome change.

Set up in time to watch the sun go down

The sun was setting as we arrived, and as we had called ahead, we were met at the gates with our amenities key and our little info packs. We set up and went and said hi to the guys. Chris cracked open a beer and I fired up the Weber.

Dinner was chicken kebabs, cauliflower rice and the most scrumptious zucchini and egg salad. Chocolate cake and custard followed. With our bellies full, and camp chairs in hand, we headed down to the other guys vans for an evening of laughter and storytelling.

Bonville Headland

The following morning, following a restful night’s sleep of over 9 hours, we drove the 2 minutes up to Bonville Headland to take in the views. Dazzling sunshine reflecting off the turquoise ocean was an incredible way to start our Easter vacation.

We sat and watched dolphins surfing the waves alongside those who were clambering over the rocks carrying their boards just moments earlier. Families were swimming in the tidal pool below as others were carrying hot drinks from the coffee van and sitting down to admire the view. Some were walking the paths, others taking photographs. It’s quite a busy little spot!

From there we headed into the tiny town of Sawtell, parked the car and went for a wander. The old buildings are beautiful, especially the old movie theatre – it has so much character! We admired the huge, twisted trees that were spreading their branches out over the road and smiled at the many locals and tourist who were sitting in the café’s dotted along the street.

Elephantine fig trees in Sawtell

By this time, it was quite warm, so we headed back to the caravan park and changed into our swimmers and went down the front to the inlet beach where our friends were with their kayak, SUP and tinny. We spent an hour or so playing on the beach and in the water, and then we went back to the van to lie in the sun and read, or in Chris’s case – sleep!

This is right out the front of the caravan park

This view, this moment, was unforgettable.

As the sun disappeared behind the horizon, we went down to lay on the Village Green and watch the moon rise over the Pine Trees. It was a full moon and it was beautiful!

So beautiful that we jumped in the car and headed back up to Bonville Headland to watch it rising up over the dark blue ocean and frothing, bright white waves.

I tried to capture the moment with video and my camera but failed miserably. It’s one of those moments that will be etched in my memory forever; the smell of the ocean, the soft warm breeze and the silver moon casting its silvery light over the ocean below.




The next morning, I set my alarm to go off allowing me just enough time to get down to the water to catch the sunrise. It was so very calm and still … almost ethereal.

The most beautiful time of day

The occasional bird was singing, and every now and then a fish would jump out of the water, but aside from that – silence, as the sky slowly became lighter, the sun yet to make an appearance. I managed to capture the moment almost perfectly before Chris called me to tell me he was headed back up to Bonville Headland to watch the sun rise.

Such beautiful colours playing on the water

Straight out of bed and in front of the camera – lol.



So back up we went – along with half the town! It was simply spectacular. It felt like an entirely different place to where watched the moon rise just hours earlier.







One of the most spectacular sunrises we have seen



After breaky we headed off on our first day trip adventure. Waterfall Way was where we were headed, taking us down some lovely windy roads, through lush green countryside and into some quaint little towns.

Our first stop was the bizarre Butter Factory which I am still trying to understand! There was a kids fairy shop, a leather making place with bags and belts, a wood working shop, clothes for sale, a place that did healing, ‘earthing’ and massage … a lovely restaurant was right next to a rather large furniture and homewares store! All these shops are in the building of the old butter factory which was surround by gardens dotted with relics form the past, and mosaic tiles in the courtyard.


We stopped in to Fusspots, a quirky little teashop cafe for some of their famous Devonshire Tea. The walls and shelves are lined with so many different types of teapots – and there was even a large shelf full of silver spoons for sale.  The scones were huge and oh so very fluffy. We couldn’t finish them! In hindsight, one to share would have been plenty 😉


Barely 5 minutes down the road from Fusspots is Ebor Falls which lies within the Guy Fawkes National Park. It is one of the few sensational waterfalls we’ve come across that is less than a minute’s walk from the car park.

It’s a great stop-off between the coast and Armidale – somewhere where you can stop, take a break and watch the Guy Fawkes River plunging 100m over two waterfalls at Ebor Falls.

Ebor Falls offers spectacular waterfall views, scenic lookouts and a picnic area. We also saw some beautiful birds including one curious black cockatoo who was trying to figure or what our drone was ?



We noticed the temperature had dropped considerably while we were out of the car, so we were prepared for the cold, gusty wind that greeted us as we opened the doors at our next location – Point Lookout in The New England National Park.

Thankfully Chris had been here before and made the mistake of doing the reeeally long walk around to find that he’d done a big circle, and he now knew a short cut. Within minutes we were at the place everyone wanted to be at, looking at the views everyone wanted to be looking at!

We thought the view would be obscured by the low-lying clouds that we could see as we approached the cliffs edge, but as we sat and watched, no sooner had the clouds appeared than they were swept up and away.

Mesmerised by the clouds dancing around in front and below us, we spent quite some time here just sitting and taking it all in. I must admit, I caught my breath a few times as I sat on the ledge, my feet right hanging off the edge. This is one jaw dropping place to let your legs dangle!

I was holding on tight!


After the sheer amazement of seeing what we did at Point Lookout, Dangar Falls had high expectations to live up to. And, I could see the potential, but for me it was pretty disappointing. Chris has also been here before and seen it in all its glory, but unluckily for me – there was nothing more than a trickle making its way slowly down the cliffs edge to the tiny speck of water at the bottom.

The paths and viewing platforms are great, and the views are pretty – but I think the water needs to be flowing to appreciate the Dangar Falls properly.  Never the less, we sent the drone up, and it was speccy from above.

I had to go to the loo, so I followed the signs – that led me up a path to a camp kitchen (which looked lovely by the way) but no loo! So I snapped a few pics of the dry falls from a different angle, then ran back to the car park to try and figure out where the toilets were. I found them – drop toilets, located over the other side of the car park!

By this time, it was getting late in the day, so we headed back down Waterfall Way. It was no less sensational heading the other direction! We actually got a better view of the falls coming back down the snaky roads as we were able to look across the road and up, rather than twisting our heads to peer up as we drove past on the other side. Quite a few people had pulled over to take some pics, so we had to slow down which was fine for us!

We made it back to the van in good time, had dinner and settled in to get another good nights sleep before our next big day trip. Port MacQuarie, Crescent Head, Hat Head, Southwest Rocks were all at the top of our list as we made our way up the stunning NSW Coast. Read all about that adventure here.









NSW Mid North Coast

NSW Mid North Coast


This adventure begins on day 4 of our Easter holiday in Central NSW. We arrived at sunset on Day 1, and Day 2 was spent exploring the lovely town of Sawtell and its sensational beaches and coastline. All this natural beauty was just minutes from the BIG4 Sawtell Beach Holiday Park we were calling home for 5 tremendous days.

We hung out with our friends out the front of the park and spent some time relaxing, reading and snoozing. The resting was essential as we were about to squeeze a whole lot of adventuring into the next couple of days.

On day 3 we started at the Butter Factory and worked our way along the gorgeous Waterfall Way, stopping to admire Ebor Falls, Dangar Falls, Point Lookout and a few other places in between. Simply stunning! Read about that adventure here.

This brings us to day 4; waking up at sunrise to start the hour and a half drive down to the delightful seaside town of Port MacQuarie.

Chris has been many times before, but it was a first for me and as soon as we parked and hopped out to admire the views, I started to wonder why on earth I hadn’t been here before!  I’d heard it was lovely, and it truly is.

The trees and the coastline give this bustling little town a lovely, relaxed and welcoming feel. We didn’t spend long, but what I saw was enough to convince me that we need to book into one of the caravan parks we and spend a week or so here. I can’t wait for the kids to see this place!

We stopped at Mrs.Yorks Garden to have a look down on the ocean from above, before heading over to Town Beach Park to snap a few more pics.

Along the southern breakwall of the Hastings River there are some fascinating painted rocks. This one pictured was my favourite, but the Cat in The Hat came in a close second!

These bright, colourful rocks are sure to catch your eye if you’re seeing them for the first time and I wanted to know why they were there, so I did a little research.

Apparently it all began as an art competition back in 1995 but is now a bit like an outdoor gallery that anyone can add to!

A walk along the breakwall is the easiest way to see the joyful wall of colour. The painted rocks begins at Port Macquarie’s Town Green, extends along the river, around the point, and a little way along the back of Town Beach.

The car park up this end is a good place to start if you want to explore the wall. There’s plenty of grass and some lovely shady trees, a playground and a skate park. There’s also a caravan park right there …! I can’t wait to go back with the kids as there really is something to keep everyone happy.

From there we started winding our way back up the coast, starting with Crescent Head.

We parked by the golf course and followed a tiny path through some trees and up onto the hill. What we saw we when turned to look down at the ocean below took our breath away and was enough for me to take so many phots that I am still having extreme difficulty sorting through. This would have to be the most impressive and breathtaking ocean view I have seen yet – and I’ve been to some pretty amazing places!

I could have sat and watched the water circling around and crashing onto the rocks for hours, but we didn’t have hours, so onto the next spot we had marked on the map. Southwest Rocks.

As the name suggests, Southwest Rocks has some pretty large rocks jutting out of the sand that you can see along the coastline from the next beach over, separating the beach into two.

There was a lovely caravan park right by the water, and the streets were lined with giant ball like palm trees and tall, pointy pine trees. The main road of the town led straight down to the palm trees and water front and some lovely beaches.

We drove past the Hat Head Bowling and Recreation Park and into Hat Head Beach Reserve. There was a lovely caravan park that was set in the bush, right by a little inlet complete with a busy little boat ramp. There were plenty of people on their inflatables floating down the little stream and out to the beach. I really wanted to jump in! This looked to be the pick of the camping spots for our next family trip away.

Also under the Southwest Rocks banner came the Trial Bay Gaol, a curious place that I’ve wanted to explore for years. I’ve heard ghost stories that have put me off wanting to camp around the gaol itself, but adventuring was never out of the question!

As we drove through the grounds, we could see some people had camped right up hard against the gaol walls. Eeek! It gave me shudders just thinking about nightfall. People seemed to be camped wherever they felt like it; right beside the gaol, in the camp grounds, along the road and on the water’s edge.

The story behind the gaol was intriguing as I found out as I wandered through and read the signs that were dotted around. A couple of large signs warned campers to ‘please do not feed the wildlife’ and it was quite obvious to see why. There was some almighty large kangaroos (that at first looked like statues) that seemed quite at home by the front gates!

Never content to stick to the standard roads, we carefully edged our very lifted Hilux down a tiny dirt road that was covered with overhanging trees. I’m pretty sure we collected a branch or two with the rooftops!

It wasn’t long before the green trees parted in front of us, giving way to a brilliant blue sky and sparkling ocean. When we couldn’t go any further, we pulled up and got out. To the right of us was a tiny beach and huge rock break wall that we could hear the waves thundering up against, and to the left was a calm little beach, dotted with holiday makers.

This was another place I reeeeally wanted to spend more time; just a few hours sunbaking and laying on my floating bed, soaking up the autumn sunshine. But alas, the lighthouse was calling our name! So, we reversed out of paradise, headed out of Arakoon and towards Hat Head National Park.

One would expect spectacular views from a lighthouse, and this one did not disappoint. Standing high on a narrow headland, Smoky Cape Lighthouse is surrounded by the stunning coastal scenery of Hat Head National Park. However, the best views were from our drone.

Chris sent the drone up and I made the ‘long trek’ to the top. I think Chris got the better deal (although I got to close the rings on my Apple Watch! ???)

The lighthouse itself is as beautiful as the views – with its winding staircase and octagonal tower. And while the views from the top were lovely, you could get equally stunning views from further down the path, and in my opinion, the viewing platform doesn’t go out far enough to see around the trees and bush in front. Of course, factoring Easter Sunday into the equation, there wasn’t much room to move with everyone trying to get ‘that shot’.

Thankfully I knew Chris would get the best pics with the drone and boy did he deliver!

As we drove back to the caravan park, I began the long process of transferring the photos and videos from the drone and GoPro across, trying to pick the ‘stand out’s’ as I went. Who was I kidding? Almost every photo from the day taken on the GoPro, the drone or either of our iPhone X’s was spectacular!

It was a whirlwind day, scoping out the dazzling NSW coast for future caravanning adventures.

We arrived back to an almost empty caravan park, with most holiday makers having headed back home, ready to start back at work the following day. We took an extra day off which allowed us some down time, and a much less hectic drive home.

With enough time left in the afternoon, Chris took me on a quick tour through Coffs Harbour. I found it to be quite a bizarre place – rather industrial, with an almost ‘unfinished’ feel about it. A bit like it was going to be an amazing holiday destination, and then attention was diverted elsewhere, and Coffs was left to fend for itself.

We went to Park Beach, McCauleys and the Breakwater … all unique locations and quite photographic as the sun was casting its last glowing light of the day across the water.

I’m not sure I would like to go back to Coffs anytime soon, but maybe there is something about the place that only the locals know about. Who knows? I did read about what appeared to be a lovely walk – the ‘Solitary Islands Coastal Walk’. That might have been nice if we’d had more time.

Maybe one day I’ll find out if there are any hidden secrets that Coffs is holding back on. Until then, I’m happy with my hour or so spent having a quick look around.

Our last night in Sawtell was relaxing, and our morning was a lazy tidy up. There wasn’t much traffic heading home, so we took a few breaks along the way, stopping in at Little Italy for lunch. I had a bit of a wander through the gift shop and museum before we headed home to Brisbane.

It was a lovely end to a fabulous Easter holiday and we now have some great NSW locations earmarked for some of our upcoming family adventures.

Our next group adventure has already been decided and was locked in on night 2 at Sawtell! We’ve all booked in for a few nights at Kingscliffe to celebrate Chris’s birthday in May. Well, it’s our ‘next, next’ adventure, as Cotton Tree is already booked for late April!

Aah .. the caravanning life. From one adventure to the next 🙂