The entire length of the New South Wales coastline is kinked and wrinkled with bays, inlets and estuaries, some offering good protection for cruising boats. However, there are only a few choices when it comes to harbours that offer check-in. Our choice of Coff's Harbour put us about halfway between Brisbane, Queensland and Sydney, NSW.
We were pleasantly surprised that Coff's Harbour was
such a pretty spot to make landfall in Australia. We were surrounded
by beautiful beaches, lush growth and clean water. Everyone was
really friendly and all facilities were an easy walk to a nearby
shopping centre or a bus ride to the main town. There were numerous
hiking trails around and lots to see.
We were directed into the marina for check in procedures, a little apprehensive about the stringent check-in to Australia. As we had heard from some of our friends, dogs were brought onboard to sniff out weapons and narcotics. We were sort of looking forward to the opportunity to see the dogs working. But the customs officials only brought a swab for testing and were very pleasant. I only lost my chick peas, nuts, milk, and bananas, although we had made sure to eat up all the fresh/frozen meat and vegetables onboard.
Since there was no berths available in the marina, we were fortunate enough to raft up to a schooner (from Friday Harbour) tied on the break wall, surrounded by fishing boats. The surge was very powerful and the wind howled and the sky opened up once again with rain and lightening so we were glad not to be at anchor.
We were able to secure a slip in the marina so got settled in. We spent the day cleaning up and organizing the boat, doing laundry, shopping and internet.
Like clockwork, the torrential rainfalls ascended every evening along with the most extraordinary lightning displays I have ever seen. The following morning it would be over and the days were usually hot. Then, on schedule at about 4pm, the sky would blacken with ominous angry cloud formations and the storms would begin again. I donít know if this is typical Australian weather but it sure provides for some amazing light shows!
|Although there was a bus running to the main town of Coff's Harbour, population 26,000, we decided to walk the roundabout way to town taking the "Nature Walk." It turned into an enjoyable 3 hour hike one way.|
We took a little side trip off the main trail to visit the Botanical Gardens which had an amazing network of pathways through sub-tropical, arid, native and endangered species of plant life. At the reception desk we enjoyed visiting a cuddly little Sugar Glider Possum that had fallen from its tree during the high winds from the previous evening and was making friends with anyone who came along.
We finally reached the town of Coff's Harbour, a very pretty area with tree lined streets and courtyards surrounded by an ample array of shops and facilities. After lunch we opted for a taxi ride back to the marina.
We took a walk up to Muttonbird Island Reserve, where chicks from 12,000 pairs of Shearwater Birds lay still in burrows under the ground, waiting for the return of their parents out searching for food. The island is quite barren and, although the area afforded great views, they were hindered by the threatening grey sky and winds that were blowing in for the regular afternoon downpours and thunderstorms.
We had arranged to get together with Endless, Aliesha, Drala Magic and the locals at the Yacht Club that evening and just as we were ready to leave the boat, the rain came down in droves and the skies flashed with spectacular lightning.
The sky was finally clear and blue! The sun was shining and so we took the opportunity to walk along the sensational beaches adjacent to the marina. Park Beach was a startling expanse of sand and surf with only a few people speckling the beach. Across a small headland, another beach, Diggers Beach, with more pristine sand came into view. The water was bubbling with surfers, boarders and swimmers all enjoying the warm water.
As we continued walking, we found a chain of beaches, never ending, all stunning. Eventually we stumbled upon a nude beach and, feeling somewhat like intruders, finally turned back.
Together with Pam and Dick from Aliesha and Endless, we rented a car for the day to do some inland sightseeing. We traveled through Parkland and Forest Reserves, with the hope of sighting a kangaroo along the way. The landscape was precipitous and profuse with eucalyptus trees of all varieties.
for a break at a scenic point along the highway.
|We visited Dorringo
National Park where we took a hike along a rainforest
trail with a huge diversity of vegetation. Dick couldn't
resist going 'Orangutan' with a convenient banyan vine
hanging along the path. The trail led right under an
After almost 2 weeks of waiting for a weather window, we decided to chance the volatile environmental patterns and continue on our quest toward Sydney, making Port Stevens the next stopover.