Before we left home I ordered our meat cryovaced and frozen flat so that we could pack it into our Engel which we run as a freezer in the back of the car. We filled the food box with our favourite coffee blend for the plunger pot, some sauces that turn barbeque or one pan dinners into gourmet, flour for campoven damper and all the essential ingredients like baked beans and longlife milk just in case!
After David blew out the 60 candles on his birthday cake and said goodbye to our family a dozen times we headed to our favourite weekend getaway spot for our first shakedown camp on the beach at Minnie Water. Our preferred spot is the Illaroo Campground in the centre of Yuraygir National Park about 40kms east of Grafton, NSW. The park hugs the coast from just south of Yamba down to Red Rock with bush style camping at Pebbly Beach which has a tidal creek crossing, Boorkoom near the village of Diggers Camp (village)where everyone still generates their own power and camp fires are prohibited, Illaroo where the beach is on your doorstep and you can drive up the beach to the village of Sandon. The Sandon Campground is across the river from the village and is accessed from the Brooms Head Road. All campgrounds offer drop toilets, picnic tables and fireplaces (with the exception of Boorkoom).
At Illaroo we walked along the bush tracks and beach to the small township of Minnie Water where there is a General Store with basic supplies. At the right time of year you can watch whales swim by, catch big bream off the beach or retire under the pandanas and do nothing at all. Town water is available for campers just as you turn into the campground road from the Minnie Water Road.
On this visit we caught huge dart off the beach with fresh pippis. David caught two but my one was definitely bigger! The wary goannas visited our camp looking for food scraps at least once each day while the cheeky kookaburras thought nothing of sitting on the table in case there was dinner to share. One night I had to defend my steak by hitting a very fearless kookaburra with the sauce bottle. We’d admired the kookaburras in the banksias and swamp eucalypts earlier in the day and then they turned ‘pack hunters’ that evening.
We drove up Sandon Beach at low tide to find the pippi mounds in the tyre tracks for our bait and find a hole near the shore for fishing as the tide started to come back in. The morning we left we also took the Tvan onto the beach for our coastal header for this part of our trip.
While we surfed each morning the sea fog rolled in ahead of the afternoon thunderstorms but cleared for our evening campfire. David’s been practicing his fire cooking skills for years so he’s now a reliable chef on the barbie plate, in the campoven or foil veggie parcels on the coals.
This coastal section is a ‘soft’ start to our adventure and the only thing we seem to have forgotten is the bait bucket so we’ll sort that easily.
NEXT: South down the Pacific Highway to Arakoon State Recreation Area South West Rocks then on to Point Plomer Limeburners Creek National Park south of Cresent Head.
See you On the Emu Track
Cheryl and David