Katie’s Blog

We spent 2 nights at this awesome camping/hostel/compound kind of thing called Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers. It was so not what I was expecting but so cool. Everything was super rustic and outdoors, there were so many tropical plants and just plants everywhere it really felt like we were out in a jungle or something. The bathrooms were outside, pretty much everything was outside.

No one showered for three days haha. At one point I woke up in the middle of the night really having to pee and gave a gigantic possum that was chilling in the toilets eating a pear the scare of its life.

When we first got there we explored around a bit, had some dinner and did this huge beer pong tournament. Thursday we had an absolutely packed day. We all woke up for the sunrise on the beach which was stunning.

Then we loaded onto these converted army vehicles they had to go 4WD on the sand dunes. Dad and Carter would have LOVED IT. It made driving on the beach in Nantucket look like driving through a parking lot. We were flying up and down these massive sand dunes. Video to come. Then we arrived at one to go sand boarding down which was pretty cool to watch but the dune was SO steep it actually made me really nervous which I wasn’t really expecting to be, so I only did it twice and then just took a bunch of photos and videos instead.

After a bit of that we drove along this stunning beach and went clam digging. One of the leaders had a sharp knife and we ate the clams right there on the beach which I loved.

The beach was right near a Great White Nursery so he was telling us all about the different sharks that were loaded into the water. Apparently theres this cool video on Youtube about people feeding the sharks by going out on surfboards and dropping a load of bait in the water. I think he said it was called Stockton Beach Sharks on Youtube, I’m writing it down now because I don’t have internet at the moment and want to remember to watch it myself haha.

After that we went on a hike in Tomaree National Park to this gorgeous peak that looked over the water.

The rest of Thursday was pretty chilled out, we all just hung out and talked. Friday morning we went on a dolphin cruise (and we actually saw some!!), had fish and chips, saw MASSIVE pelicans!

 

Read the Blog at: https://katielofblad.com/2016/09/23/ultimate-oz-week-pt2/

Emily’s Blog

How to go camping in Australia!

Rent a car and set off Saturday morning. Drive 200km north (or in my case, sleep in the backseat while a friend drives). Arrive Nelson Bay, wander around the grocery store like a bunch of zombies looking for pancake batter. Locate pancake batter.

Set up tents at Melaleuca Backpackers campsite and listen as Mick, the friendly proprietor, lays out the perfect 2-day itinerary, including what time to watch the sunset. Walk 5 minutes to One Mile Beach, past a koala snoozing in a tree. Set up shade tent and dip various things in hummus. Apply sunscreen when shade tent is disassembled after nearly blowing away. Frolic on dunes. Frolic in the shallow water, do 360s in gentle waves, lie under said waves and watch them break overhead. Read a book about Western Australian pioneers and fall asleep under a big felt Akubra.

Wake up. Drive to Birubi Point, to watch the sun set behind the largest sand dune system in Australia at Stockton Beach. Ditch shoes behind a bush. Find burnt out car and have dramatic photo-shoot for way too long. Continue to wander along a small fraction of the 32Km long dunes. Walk backwards so as not to miss a moment of the sunset as it turns the sky from blue to gold to fuchsia.

Return to campsite and use the hostel’s kitchen to cook a feast that leaves you sitting on the patio unable to move. Fall asleep in the tent awakening every so often in fear that the hostel’s domesticated ‘roo, Josephine, will play the game where she sticks her toenail through the wall of your tent. Wake up and make pancakes with white chocolate chips, banana, blueberries and real Canadian maple syrup.

Throw tents in the trunk and drive to Tomaree Lookout, walk (you really can’t call it a hike when it’s a 1Km long paved brick path) up to the former radar station and take in the panoramic view. Walk back down – this time not backwards. Have a coffee at Fingal Bay and continue on to the nearly deserted Zenith Beach. Swim and read more about pioneers.

Grab fish n’ chips at Aussie Bob’s in Shoal Bay. Drive back to Sydney and try to get the sand out of everything.

That was easy.

 

 

View the blog at: https://vicariousvoyage.com/2012/02/27/how-to-go-camping-in-australia/

Trips on a bike Blog

It was decided that Port Stephens would be the end of the road for our trip, as it would allow us to be back in Newcastle early the next day to catch the train home. Knowing that we had a short and easy day, we committed to a long stop at Murray’s Brewery, about 30km from Stockton. Their tasting wheel of 6 small beers is expensive at $20, but the beers are superb. After one of those everyone was feeling lazy, so Chris and Millerine had a nap on the grass while I did a bit of wine tasting at the adjoining Port Stephens Winery.

We checked in at Melaleuca Backpackers at One Mile before riding on to Nelson Bay. We’ve stayed there before and it’s great. It’s a little expensive for camping, but they have a nice campground and facilities in a bushy setting. They have quite a managerie; three dogs, a galah, a cockatoo, and a naughty kangaroo who roams freely and stole some of our muesli bars. There are koalas in the area, and sometimes they’ll be found in the trees in the campground.

8km down the road in the tourist centre of Nelson Bay there’s a seafood market type place down near the water – Bub’s “best seafood in NSW”. We bought Myall prawns, which I assume are from the nearby Myall Lakes. They were quite small, but it turns out that freshness matters; they were delicious.

Read the Blog at: http://www.tripsonabike.com/

Clear & Anthony’s Blog

Port Stephens is located on the North Coast 200 kms from Sydney by car. We will go along the coast to join this famous seaside resort . To get there, you need a car, that’s good it will be our first car rental and a first for Anthony to drive to the left. Port Stephens is particularly known for its 26 sandy beaches and for being the Australian capital of dolphins .

We get our car, it will take 15 good minutes for Antho to adapt to driving on the left, even if at the exit of a parking lot, we found ourselves face to face with another car because Antho had recovered the old French reflexes …

We drive on the Pacific Coast Touring Route , this fabulous coastal road that joins Sydney to Brisbane. We arrive in the Central Coast area , still in the state of New South Wales, our first stop for lunch was Avoca Beach. Avoca beach is famous for its big sea rollers. Here surfers are not amateurs. We watch them during our lunch break on the beach. The sand is hot and it is very hot but it is not very recommended to swim outside the areas provided for this purpose because the currents are very strong.

Once our lunch ends, we continue our way. It’s really hot, it’s a beautiful day ahead. We arrive at ”  The Entrance  “, in a small family seaside resort for a specific appointment. Every day at 15:30, we have the opportunity to attend the feeding of pelicans at the edge of the Pacific Ocean . A very nice moment, many tourists are present but it’s free and free for all. Small selfies with our friends the pelicans and it’s gone for a few kilometers to reach the lighthouse Norah Heah LightHouse .

We finally arrive at Port Stephens, we booked a camping pitch not quite like the others. Located in a peaceful environment surrounded by nature and two minutes walk from the beach, we arrived at the owners of this establishment: Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers . Their welcoming wooden house is very warm, as are the owners who took the time to explain the activities around Port Stephens. The establishment in addition to receiving tourists is very frequented by koalas and Kookaburras (Martins hunters of Australia) and opossums . And then there is a free kangaroo and many parrots.There is a camping part where we were and part with wooden cabins and common areas (kitchen, barbecues available, tables, chairs, sanitary …). We set up camp in the evening and prepare our excursions for the next two days.

The next day, early departure to discover Port Stephens, we start for a trip on the beach not far from our campsite. Many surfers as you can imagine, the waves are present and surfers of all ages are there, young and old, here there is no age to surf. Then head for the port of Nelson Bay , breakfast on the terrace before going on a catamaran cruise   with Imagine Cruisein Port Stephens Bay. All cruise ships depart from Nelson Bay. I chose this company because it is the only catamaran in the port and it is also a boat with a reasonable number of passengers, if you know what I mean. Anthony is a little stressed, the sea and it’s two and I’m super excited I know who I want!

We board and it is Yves, our French Skipper of the day who welcomes us with a big smile. We even discover that it has origins Angevin. In the 1h50 sailing program in the heart of Port Stephens bay to meet dolphins , the crew is very pleasant and welcoming, “Odette” the dog skipper of the boat seems to be used to sailing. We will see this day there dolphins and their babies in this clear and turquoise water . We even tested the boat’s sensational net (see video ). A wonderful getaway that we recommend 100%.

We continue our day in the water with a mask and snorkel at Fly Point , well deserved picnic on the water’s edge before diving into the bay. We will stay 1 hour to paddle because a little disappointed with the number of fish and corals, it was better to dive in bottle to enjoy this place known for diving.

We then decide to attack the “Tomaree Head Summit Walk” in a blazing heat , 1 km walk to climb to the top to be rewarded with a splendid view of the bay.

Back down, we enjoy this late afternoon by a nap on the beach and then we return to the camp quietly in the evening, with a stop at Fisherman Bay to end our day with a beautiful sunset.

That night was catastrophic , I think it was the worst storm we both knew. Awakened by a thunder above our head at 3am, the trees were not far from our tent, we were not serene both.

The next day, we discover the damage, not for us but for our neighbors whose tents had not held … But the pleasant surprise was the Koala that we discovered in our tree in the early morning.

Monday is the national holiday in Australia , all the flags are out, hanging on cars, houses, people, they had flags everywhere. After a terrible night and a very rainy weather, we decide to have breakfast on the port and to discover the animations planned for this national day: gathering of the inhabitants and tourists of passage, empty of lofts, animations, and raising of the flag, a moment very symbolic for the community here.

With this uncertain time, we decide to return earlier to Sydney, leaving we go through the Worimi Conservation Lands , 35 kms of moving dunes, the longest in the southern hemisphere. Sometimes if you lose sight of the sea, you could truly believe yourself in the Sahara desert .

In return, small detour by the Morisset park , well known to welcome a whole colony of kangaroos and wallibis . Few people in the park that day, under a fine rain we share a unique moment with them.

The weekend is over, it’s time to go home and find our little newspaper in Sydney. This weekend really made us want to discover Australia in road trip, which will be realized in the next stage of our trip.

 

Read the blog at: https://notreregardsurlemonde.wordpress.com/port-stephens/

Amber’s Blog

Melaleuca Port Stephens is a fabulous campground for backpackers (or anyone who wants to camp) which is run by a very welcoming couple. The owners also rescue animals including a beautiful kangaroo named Josie.  Josie was 16 years old and chooses to stay with this family as there are no gates around the campground.  She is welcome to come and go as she pleases!   As a group we played games by the beach until the early hours of the morning followed by a cozy sleep in the cabins for 6.

The next morning our day was filled with activities! We took 4×4 trucks through the sand dunes and went sand boarding … which is much more difficult than one would think! Tip: DO NOT put your feet out otherwise you will fly off the board! After getting covered in sand we washed off at Nelson’s Bay… Great White Shark breeding nursery.  We also found some neat creatures… Pee-pee’s! This is Aussie slang for clams!

Read Amber’s blog at: https://explore7continents.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/base-camp/

Jemma’s Review

Such a great place to stay for a true Aussie experience! Cabins are cozy and comfortable And the owners were so friendly & helpful. Great location just a short walk to the beach with lots of animals to spot in the surrounds.

Nele’s Review

Mick and Michelle are the nicest people you’ll ever meet! Great atmosphere!

Emma’s Review

Stayed for a week at the end of last year on a spare of the moment decision and we loved it. Beautiful ambience, scenery, facilities were great and the owners were so helpful and friendly  Josie the kangaroo was so friendly and you can walk over to the beach… Will definitely be back to visit soon 

Dan’s Review

A must for anyone travelling the east coast! Mick and Michelle are both lovely, the place is great and if you get a chance do the sandboarding! Could have stayed so much longer but realised we actually have to get up the east coast! One mile beach is a minute walk away! Just loved it! Thanks guys!!

Russell’s Review

Stayed here for a couple if nights during my Ultimate Oz trip and loved every second of it. Michelle and Mick are the greatest hosts. Not one thing a bother. Michelle’s wildlife knowledge is second to known and would even give Steve Irwin a run for his money. The trip to the sand dunes for boarding, the beach for pippin racing and the climb up Tomaree mountain was fantastic! The beach is a 2 minute walk and is perfect for the sunrise and sunset.

If you are in the area make sure you visit here for a few nights!