12 Apr Crescent Head Camping Road Trip :: East Coast, NSW
Situated half way between Sydney and Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast, Crescent Head is a perfect long weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of city life or a mandatory pitt stop on an East Coast road trip. I say long weekend, because it’s just that bit further for a regular weekend. An Easter long weekend is perfect because you have even more time to completely unwind. And no, the Easter crowds were actually not an issue for us (if you know how to escape them).
Famous for its legendary surf and unspoiled charm, Crescent Head is surrounded by long stretches of stunning coastline and a string of coastal national parks to explore. Surfing is the big attraction here, particularly for those graceful long board riders. If you don’t surf, you can hire a surf board in town while you’re visiting or enjoy the other adventures on offer.
Crescent Head has one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world, and the town is one of the hot spots of international surfing. Each year in May, the Malibu Classic, the biggest amateur Malibu competition in the country, attracts surfers from around Australia and the world. For International travellers, this is a great time to immerse yourself in Australian surfing culture, otherwise best to avoid this time of year if you’re trying to escape crowds.
Beyond the popular point break is a plethora of remote beach options serving consistent waves and crystal clear waters, all accessed via a long dirt road, running South all the way to Port Macquarie – Point Plomer Rd. So pile into your 4WD and check out Goolawah Reserve Beach, Big Hill, Delicate Nobby, Point Plomer and Racecourse Beach to name a few. There are always less crowds at these spots.
Other activities to enjoy include:
- Contemplate the beauty around you with your fishing rod in hand
- Swimming in Killick Creek and Crescent Head Main Beach
- In winter and spring, look out for whales breaching in the distance or dolphins riding the waves.
- Play 6 holes at Crescent Head Golf Course overlooking the ocean, so it is not uncommon to spot whales from here during the migration season (May – October).
- Bushwalking. The trails in Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve are worth exploring
Sleep under the stars at one of the many camping options in Crescent Head. Here are our top three picks:
- Crescent Head Holiday Park – Wake up to the waves, or in reality, to surfers waxing their boards before the sun has revealed their rays. Right on Crescent Head point, you are spoilt with ocean views watching the endless waves rolling in. With a cafe on site and walking distance into town, this is a great place to stay. If you’re not into camping, there are cute, small cabins also available. Be mindful this places packs out in peak holiday seasons including Easter. Huge camper set ups line the paved driveways where kids scoot furiously around on bikes, scooters or anything else that has wheels. If you like lots of people and chatting to the neighbours, this is perfect. Bookings essential and book early for peak times.
- Waves Campground – Is more our style. Hidden in the trees off Point Plomer Rd, directly opposite Delicate Nobby beach, this camping ground offers private spots throughout so even in a busy time such as Easter, you don’t feel like there are people on top of you. Kick off your shoes and walk the sandy streets of this camping ground (no paved roads here) while taking in the smell of camp fire. I truly felt a million miles from any city, from any noise. Mexico and Costa Rica vibes came flooding back into my veins. We were blessed with how quiet and peaceful this spot was for the Easter long weekend. Hot tip: If you’re after some peace and quiet too, request a spot “on the oval”… You’re probably thinking what I first did when they allocated the oval to us. I was thinking oh great, out in the sun, no shade. However, that’s not the case. It’s down a private little track so you have no one walking or driving past and there is plenty of shade to go around. We set up camp hidden in the trees away in our own private little oasis. Bookings essential for peak times.
- Point Plomer Campground – A beautiful location right on the beach, delivering a world-class surf break, surrounded by pristine wilderness. There are no marked sites and you cannot book, so you can imagine the chaos on an Easter long weekend, or any other long weekend, as well as peak times. Beyond the chaotic crowds lies a grassy noll, perfect for watching the sunset accompanied by a glass of wine. If you don’t have a board, swim in the glistening blue waters of Barries Bay, and look back to your campsite over the golden sands. If it’s too chaotic to stay, be sure to visit during the late afternoon with a picnic and your surfboard to experience the beauty of it.
If you’re not a camper, that’s fine. There are actually many other accommodation options ranging from eco retreats, luxury rooms and plenty of housing options. We recommend this lovely Eco Retreat.
- Wallum Beach House Eco Retreat – A boutique eco retreat, the Wallum Beach house is set amongst 60 acres of native bushland, just 100m from remote beaches and uncrowded waves with private beach access. Leave your phone at home as there is no WIFI here and reception is limited. Sit back and relax the serenity of this peaceful place. Enjoy a rainforest walk through the National Park or one of the property walks. Treat yourself to a coffee and bakery delight at the on site cafe, the bush kitchen. There is also an open fire pit, private BBQ decks and timber verandas, kids play area, table tennis, pool table and a beach volleyball court. If you didn’t bring your own surfboard, you can also hire surfboards or paddle boards.
These are our picks for munching around Crescent Head:
- Slurp a smoothie from The Green Room Cafe
- Try a pie from Barnett’s Bakery – there are so many flavours to pick from and they are all freshly made in the store
- Relax with a post surf coffee at the Bush Kitchen, Wallum Beach House
- Hang out with the locals at the Crescent Head Country Club
- Buy some natural honey from local producers. As you turn into Point Plomber Rd from town, there is local honey selling on the left. Be sure to leave your money in the honesty box and enjoy the most delicious honey!