Ask expert surfer Blainey Woodham where the best waves in the country are and he’ll point you towards the Mid North Coast of NSW. He takes a four-day road trip along the unspoilt stretch of coastline from Port Macquarie to Sydney.
Duration: 4 days
Visit one of Australia’s National Surfing Reserves
Go four-wheel-driving along the beach at Port Macquarie
Camp by the sand at secluded Boomerang Beach
Surf along Sydney’s Northern Beaches
Day 1: Port Macquarie to Boomerang Beach
My trip along this supreme coastline actually begins a little north of Port Macquarie at one of my favourite surf spots in the world.
Hop on a barge, go across the Hastings River and head up a little sand track for about 20km and boom; there it is! Protected from the northerly wind and accessible from the south only by 4WD, this spot is uncrowded-sand-bottom-heaven on the right day. With a southerly blowing, conditions weren’t great so I kept trekking north to the tiny town of Crescent Head and the protection of its amazing point break.
Right in town, close to accommodation, the point is completely protected in a southerly wind and most days it provides a super fun wave of varying size and shape. Small peeling mal waves are the order of the day when I arrive. After a fun surf, it's time to hit the road heading south.
Forster is the target for night one, but as we make the destination with daylight to spare I carry on to pitch a tent at Boomerang Beach, about 20km further south.
Day 2: Boomerang Beach to Nelson Bay
Waking up to only the sounds of native birds and the ocean is pretty refreshing. Boomerang’s great beach breaks are just a bonus.
Straight out the front of the campsite, the waves are looking a touch small, so I head just south again to Bluey’s Beach. The swell is lining up perfectly; uncrowded three-foot beach break waves inside a beautiful rocky headland facing south. With heaps of ground to still cover and only two days remaining, I have a good hour or so of excellent waves before hitting the road again.
I find myself driving into Nelson Bay right on sunset. After a night in the tent I don't feel like roughing it again. Luckily there are plenty of hotels to choose from here and a bed with my name on it.
Day 3: Nelson Bay to Avoca
Nelson Bay is something else, with scenery fit to take the breath of even the most jaded surfer.
Crystal clear aqua water in a huge bay that reaches for tens of kilometres inland makes this joint special. Fishing and surfing are both big sports around these parts. I make the quick 10km drive south of Nelson to One Mile Beach, a long stretch of sand offering protection from both north and south winds at either end.
After trekking down from the top of a sand dune, I see nice big four to five foot waves breaking in the middle of the beach with a dozen crew already out. (A warning: Don’t get greedy around these parts or you might find your car immobilised when you exit the water.) After a good session it's time to hit the tarmac again and head 2.5hr south to arrive in Avoca in time for an arvo surf.
Day 4: Avoca to Manly
The sleepy town of Avoca has a great little left hand pointbreak that works under different conditions.
After a good night’s sleep, I do a quick check of the surf and end up settling in for an hour or so of wedgy beach breaks in front of the river mouth just north of the town centre. Offering rock shelf slabs, beachies and point setups, Avoca, Terrigal and Copacabana are great stops for the travelling wave hunter on the east coast.
Before long, it’s time to pack the car and continue south towards my final destination – Sydney. The NSW capital’s Northern Beaches offer world class waves so I have to stop in for a look at Narrabeen, Curl Curl and Mona Vale before finding a great scallop of sand at Manly Beach to round off an epic little adventure.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.