Our Northern NSW Roadtrip Adventure

The Brisbane summer was unrelenting and we were really feeling the heat. When even the locals are melting you know it’s a hot one! [vcm_short_ad] There was only one thing for it. Steph, Willow, and I packed into the van and headed on an ‘escape the heat’ road trip to Northern New South Wales. Our whole trip spanned a leisurely 20 days, covered just over 1000km, and took us on a return trip from Brisbane down the North Coast of NSW and up onto the Dorrigo Plateau where we found the cool weather we were searching for. Here we share with you some of the highlights.
Where is it?
Other places we have visited

Cabarita Beach

This popular surf spot gave us the most spectacular sunset as Steph and I walked out to the headland (Willow was napping in the van). We sat and watched out over the waves as the last of the surfers came in before it got too dark. After dinner and taking Willow for a quick walk, I took the camera down to the beach and to do this long exposure of the waves breaking on the rocks.

Lake Ainsworth

Though many who cruise down this coast are there for the endless surf breaks, there is a different treasure hidden behind the dunes at Lennox Head. Lake Ainsworth is one of a handful of ‘tea tree’ lakes on the East Coast, named so for the tea trees that line the banks infusing the water with its tannins.
It’s also a great place to cool off on a hot evening. Willow enjoyed hanging her paws out the side of the van and watching the birds do their thing – especially the brush turkeys with their bright red and yellow heads. As paradisal as this place might seem, it’s best to check the algae warnings before swimming!


The historic port of Ulmarra on the Clarence River was a great place to spend an evening. The old main street is lined with little shops and of course the Ulmarra Hotel.

Down by the water we found a peaceful scene. A few boats floated by and down river the cable ferry would be taking vehicles across the river.

We tried to entice Willow out of the van but she wouldn’t have any of it. That may have had something to do with the thousand or so bats ‘hanging out’ in the trees by the bank.


At the mouth of the Clarence River is the beach town of Yamba. A favourite amongst sun-loving holiday makers for its countless swimming and surf beaches, it’s also a favourite of mine. Yamba is set 15km off the main highway which I think gives it more of a chilled out vibe. We found ourselves at Turners Beach which is an excellent spot for some surfing. Willow enjoyed spending the day under the solar panel watching the world go by.

The beach carpark was very busy with traffic so we kept her on leash to explore. This way Willow could have her outdoor time and be kept safe.

Nymboida River

The Nymboida River is a stunning place to spend an afternoon.

Read the full article from our afternoon at Nymboida River.

Styx River and Wattle Flat

Passing through Ebor we found ourselves at The Wattle Flat picnic area. We had finally found our cool weather. Read the full article on Wattle Flat and the frogs we didn’t find

And all the other things!

We saw lots of interesting insects. And this beautiful monarch caterpillar. Steph got lots of nose boops from Willow. And so did I! But most of all we had lots of time to just hang out! We hope you enjoyed the highlights from our NSW road trip. Now we are back in Queensland ready for our next adventure. We hope that you can join us again!

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