Why I like holidaying on the east coast of New South Wales, Australia!

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It was just over 33 years ago when I first set my eyes on this piece of paradise.

Greg and I had just been married 6 months earlier and he wanted to take me to ‘a great holiday destination’. He informed me we would be camping and it would be fun!

The last time Greg took me camping was during our honeymoon. We had just had a fabulous week in the Whitsundays, cruising the islands and swimming in the most stunning of places. We snorkelled, viewed the Great Barrier Reef, tasted Spanish mackerel and soaked in the sun. It was a fabulous start to our forever.

Then he took me camping.

To Mt Kaputar.

It was COLD!

Let’s just say, after a fabulous week of sun-kissed days, I had swapped my little itsy bitsy yellow bikini for winter woollies and thick socks.

I hated it. I was not impressed this husband of mine would take his bride to such an isolated and boring destination! Within a couple of days, we packed up and headed back to the coast. Thank goodness!

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I think I’ve grown a lot since that time (in more ways than one! Lol!). My city ways have lessened and my love for the country has increased. But it’s still a big, fat definite NO for camping.

I did try camping a couple of times. We stayed a few days at Jimmy’s Beach near Tea Gardens and also at Fingal Bay for a weekend but it just wasn't for me. It felt more like work than rest, so we moved on to either cabins or holiday rentals.

We've been holidaying at Hat Head on and off since that first time in 1985.

Surrounded by National Park, not much has changed in the last three decades, and that my friends is good news!

During our girls’ younger years, we'd rent a holiday house and enjoy a couple of weeks of non-stop swimming, fishing and ice cream eating!

Greg would rise while it was still dark each morning, walk across the bridge and make the long trek to his chosen fishing spot. Along the way it would not be unusual to see a Kangaroo or two and even though they would startle him, he loved the serenity of the area.

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What I love about holidaying at Hat Head is the choice of either swimming at the pristine beach out the front of the Caravan Park or swimming in the creek at high tide. Some of the best times we’ve had has been floating on our boards from the start of the bridge right around to the mouth of the creek when the tide was running out.

And if there was a strong wind blowing, we would hop into our car and drive up the beach to South West Rocks and have a swim at the local beaches there that were tucked away from the wind. It really is a win/win destination.

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This year we ventured up to Grafton first for a night to check out a fabulous location for our foodie retreats. We had a fabulous run from Newcastle and it took us approximately 5 hours to arrive. 

It’s been many years since I visited Grafton. I was quite surprised at the beautiful buildings still standing and the typical wide main street, which is what makes our Aussie country towns so unique.

We stopped in at the local shopping mall as I wanted to grab a couple of things and then we were going to grab something for lunch but all that was available were your typical fast food outlets.

I said to my husband let’s go out in the main town area and find an organic café, or at least a wholefoods café and we can have lunch there. So we did, and we kept walking and walking and after pacing up and down the main street, we were thinking surely a large country town like Grafton would have one, just one wholefoods café? We did find an organic café but it specialised in coffee and sweets and there wasn’t much on offer for lunch so we continued looking.

I'm happy to say we finally found a rustic café called Heart and Soul Wholefood café. Yes we were in luck and we were going to have a healthy and tasty lunch!

If you’re ever in Grafton and looking to eat well, check out this place. Situated towards the river end of the main street, I assure you, you will not be disappointed!

But back to our Hat Head holiday. 

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After a busy few weeks that always turns into months, it was great to get away and enjoy doing absolutely nothing!

Hat Head is the perfect destination if you want to rest, read, swim, fish and repeat.

Staying in one of the cabins in the park alongside the creek means we can walk to the beachfront or swim in the creek, which is less than 100 metres from our front door step.

And for those days you do want to go do a little bit of sightseeing, a drive up north to Scotts Head is worth the effort. I must add here though that the lack of cafes in this area was a let down. But the good news is that there is a small row of new shops being built and one can only hope there will be a wholefoods café popping up real soon.

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We also took a drive down south to Crescent Head and after taking an easy stroll along the wide footpath from the bridge to the cliff edge, we stopped in at a small organic café for lunch. The Green Room is filled with fresh produce to purchase as well as ordering a ready-made salad or gourmet sandwich for lunch. It’s on the corner of the main street, straight across from the Bowling Club.

The mid-North coast of New South Wales has so much to offer and in my opinion, when holidaying outside of the school holidays, it’s one of the most restful places for your soul.

Sophie StokesComment