As we left Port Macquarie we headed into our first spot of poor weather. We planned to stop in Nambucca Heads for much longer than we did, but the rain restricted us to exploring one of the board walks before heading to a cafe for devonshire tea.
We were praying to the great Mother for a moment of clear weather for when we arrived at Coffs Harbour. I did not want to be setting up in the rain. Turns out Mother Nature was listening as the rain stalled for exactly the amount of time it took to set up the camper. It was also nice to know that the camper could withstand a serious downpour with no leaks.
Boardwalk at Nambucca Heads
That night we dined at a nearby pub, where the kids got to watch TV for the first time since leaving home and were transfixed by the magic box. So much so that parents at another table, with similar aged kids, commented on how well behaved our kids were and asked what our secret was. Simple, no TV and massive amounts of exploring outdoors! Needless to say we were pretty chuffed and managed to enjoy our meal in smug peace.
My helpers assisting with the setup in the rain…by playing Playdough
We wanted to explore around the coast line in Coffs the next morning. Our mission was to walk to the marina and head over to Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve and stop at the Park Beach for some quality beach time. However, the wind this day was blowing hard but we persisted and tried to complete as much of our sites checklist as possible. We did not make it out to Muttonbird Island, nor did we stay long at the marina, but we did head out onto the huge pier where we saw a sea turtle. It was so much bigger than I thought a turtle would be. This thing was seriously mutant sized, but no ninja skills were witnessed.
The pier and Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve
We did get to the beach too, but did not stay long as the wind was far worse out in the open. Thankfully all this was in close walking distance to the Big4 Park Beach Caravan Park where we were staying. A quick side note, this caravan park was amazing, the kids playground and pool were epic, especially the resort style pool. The playground had an intense jungle gym that Fletch scaled with ease and Amanda scaled with, well, she scaled it. We later found out that it is currently voted the best caravan park in NSW. It lives up to the hype.
The kids loving the Big4 pool and Fletch showing Amanda how to climb his spider web
That afternoon the weather calmed, so we made the most of it by first visiting the Big Banana. We did not do the fun park as the kids are still a little too young, so instead they enjoyed an ice cream whilst Amanda and I shared the most delicious banana split ever created! After savoring the delicious banana split, practically licking the dish clean, we took the tourist selfie with the big banana and went up the nearby mountain to the forest sky pier lookout.
Just some little tourists at the big banana
It’s a relatively short drive up the mountain through banana plantations. We stopped where we could along the way to point out the bananas growing in the trees to explain to the kids about where they come from and how they are grown. The car park at the top was quiet and we went straight to the forest sky pier lookout, which is amazing how it stretches out over the forest. Fletch in his excitement sprinted towards the end, giving us a moment of panic as we pictured him slipping at the end and shooting straight through the gap between the base and the balustrade. Of course all was fine, we found him at the bottom in a pile of undergrowth, thankfully the trees and giant ferns had broken his fall…joking. He was never in danger of falling, the gap is tiny. Faux crisis averted and we were able to take in the spectacular view of Coffs Harbor and it’s surrounding coast and mountain ranges. Even just looking straight down into the forest was beautiful with the different levels in the canopy and native birds flying around.
Forest sky pier lookout
Prying ourselves away from the view we trekked one of the short loop bush walks from the car park. Fletch was very interested in the different textures of the plants and the shapes of the leaves. We found giant ant hills, tree ferns and many many stunning grass trees. By far my most favorite of all plants, these were all I could see walking along the track, some only ankle high, others towering metres into the canopy. Many had their unique tall flowers on display, but I had better move on and not bore you any longer about these beautiful and uniquely Australian plants.
As it was with every spare moment at the caravan park Fletch insisted on being in the playground and up the jungle gym and that evening was no different. We managed to pack in a lot of adventuring in Coffs Harbour despite the extremely windy weather. It is a great place to have stayed and explored, but I have to admit that we felt we got all we could out of Coffs and it is unlikely we would stay again, with so many other options along the coast for next time.
Now it was time for us to head of to our final and most eagerly awaited destination Byron Bay.
If you have just found our adventures via this post, I encourage you check out the previous stops of our trip in Nelson Bay and Port Macquarie. Or even better you can start from the beginning of this trip and read about our purchase of the camper and our first leg to Sydney in Part 1.
The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below or following #adventuresofduth.