Two hubs in NSW in September

Old Aug 3rd, 2022, 11:54 PM
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Two hubs in NSW in September

Our original plan was to spend 11 days in September in between family visits in Sydney on a road trip around NSW either to the north or south of Sydney (great difficulty deciding which!!). However after a fairly stressful and busy year we decided we could do with some downtime. Rather than moving from place to place trying to see as much as possible , we would base ourselves in two ĎhubsĒ probably in a holiday park or airbnb and set out on day trips from those hubs.

So far I have come up with Jervis Bay or Kiama in the South and Bellingen or Moonee Beach in the north. Newcastle would seem to be a reasonable overnight stop between the two. Are these good/sensible locations?

We are looking for good food at reasonable prices, markets , great scenery, national parks, walking/cycling trails. Heard that eating in clubs is a good option? How would we go about finding them?

Does this seem like a reasonable plan? Any thoughts, suggestions or opinions on where to go and what to dod would be really appreciated!

Have been going around in circles and really need to get this nailed down!

Thanks in advance
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 02:16 PM
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One of our favourite places in northern NSW is Urunga. Small town, caravan park right on the waterfront with good range of cabins. Cross the road from the caravan park and you're in the town with golf club and bowling club and a pub for meals. Short drive to Belligen, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca Heads.
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 07:42 PM
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I live in Port Macquarie (bigger & busier than the places you mention but a great spot) so happy to try & answer your questions. I believe NSW school holidays start on 23rd Sept so things will get busier & dearer around that time. Are you hiring a car? I wouldn't stay in Newcastle itself- nicer places to stay either on the coast or in the Hunter Valley (especially if you enjoy wine). Clubs are a pretty good option for meals- most cater to dietary needs in some way and are usually priced well and drinks are usually a bit cheaper than pubs for drinks. Some pubs are still bistro style but in some places have gone more towards restaurant style & are dearer. The pubs & clubs will all show up on maps & will welcome any walk-in custom Depends if you are going to do some self catering, eating out at lunch will generally be cheaper than at night.
Agree with Marg in post 2 that Urunga is a good relatively quiet spot & not a bad choice as a hub. Bellingen sells itself as a bit "arty" while Moonee Beach is probably a bit quieter overall & a bit of an extension of Coffs Harbour.

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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 11:35 PM
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If you decide against staying in Newcastle, we enjoyed Shoal Bay and Tea Gardens. Both are small but pretty. We stayed in a nice, newish cabin in Shoal Bay at the caravan park. There are a few cafes/restaurants in town for meals. Last time we were in Bellingen, I thought it had gone 'off', just not as nice as previous visits. If it was me, I'd stay on the coast but I like being by the water.

If any of your stay is over a weekend, I'd book ahead. We've found accommodation much busier than in previous years. As far as Airbnb or cabins in holiday parks, we are having the same problems in Australia as many other countries, with homeless, not enough houses for permanent rentals etc so the Airbnb model might affect your thoughts. Cabins in caravan parks vary a fair bit, none are particularly cheap and some are newer and nicer than others.

In a lot of small towns, there are very few places to eat. There is usually a club or two, RSL, Bowls, Golf, Sports, Leagues etc, and sometimes a Chinese or Thai, maybe fish and chips. Ask where you are staying or just Google.

If you just headed south from Sydney, you could stay in Merimbula which is very popular with lots of accommodation, and then another stay closer to Sydney. Just a thought.
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Old Aug 6th, 2022, 09:40 AM
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Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I get the impression , both here and on Tripadvisor, that the consensus is to head north rather than south so I will reflect upon that and maybe revise my plan and just head north. The remainder of this evening will be spent online looking up these places.

To answer a few of the questions raised. Yes will will be renting a car. Picking up and dropping off in downtown Sydney.

We will most likely try and find some sort of self catering unit whether that be airbnb or a holiday park I don't know (thanks for the heads up on the variable quality of cabins in holiday parks!) for say a week and couple that with stays maybe in Port Macquarie or Hunter Valley. In terms of location I guess we are looking forth best of both world a nice quaint small place with lots of restaurant so we have choice as to eat out or in,

I shall have a look at spending a couple of nights in PM or the Hunter Valley maybe one each way. Might tas well have a look at HV - we drink enough of its produce any suggestion for those places would be great.

Thanks for you help so far, I finally feel it is coming together! I used to be good at the planning stuff as my wife and I have been travelling the world more or less continually since 2008 and then Covid Brough that to a grinding halt. Since then I seem to have lost my travel planning mojo so the is all really helpful!
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Old Aug 7th, 2022, 04:32 PM
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I assume you've been already, but a favorite of mine for hiking outside of Sydney is the Blue Mountains. You could easily spend days exploring different trails. And for good food in the area, I like Leura.

Like you I'm also looking at places up and down the NSW coast. What's speaking to me right now are the Hunter Valley and Byron Bay, although I've been to neither.
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Old Aug 7th, 2022, 08:46 PM
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Yes, we have been to the Blue Mountains before and may well visit from Sydney once more with family. I did consider the Hunter Valley but we have seen so many vineyards in New Zealand and South America that we decides that another wine area would be wasted on us (also , as it is springtime, there wouldn't be a whole to to see). Last night I finally found and airbnb near Moonee Beach where we will stay for five nights and explore the coast to the south and north and maybe even take a quick peek at Byron Bay. (some Aussies seem to love it, others find it way to touristy. We then plan on moving to Dorrigo to explore the Waterfall Way for another two nights.

My job for today is to decided where to spend the remaining 4-5 nights on the way back to Sydney! I have been looking at Warrumbungles National Park for a couple of nights and then on to Dubbo, driving back to Sydney through the Blue mountains.

Another thought was to head back down the coast stopping along the way. Not expecting to swim at this time of year but fish and seafood is calling us (esp. my wife!)

Any thoughts on how and where to send those last few days would be appreciated.

Last edited by crellston; Aug 7th, 2022 at 08:59 PM.
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Old Aug 7th, 2022, 11:26 PM
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If travelling inland, you could look at Mudgee. We stayed there earlier this year and thought it was a great place. Fairly small but prosperous with historic buildings and lots of shops and cafes. It contrasted strongly for us with Orange where we couldn't understand the appeal. I'm sure we were influenced in Orange by staying at an awful, overpriced motel (all we could find).

You could do 2 nights at South West Rocks and 2 nights at Shoal Bay. Both small places on the beach with a few places to eat. Shoal Bay would have better food.

I don't know Moonee Beach at all but have you looked closely at the map? It is not directly on the beach but on an inlet.
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by KayF View Post
If travelling inland, you could look at Mudgee. We stayed there earlier this year and thought it was a great place. Fairly small but prosperous with historic buildings and lots of shops and cafes. It contrasted strongly for us with Orange where we couldn't understand the appeal. I'm sure we were influenced in Orange by staying at an awful, overpriced motel (all we could find).

You could do 2 nights at South West Rocks and 2 nights at Shoal Bay. Both small places on the beach with a few places to eat. Shoal Bay would have better food.

I don't know Moonee Beach at all but have you looked closely at the map? It is not directly on the beach but on an inlet.

As I mentioned on my other thread, Mudgee is out for us -beyond ridiculous prices! I have now managed to find a reasonably priced place in Shoal Bay as you suggested. It is fully refundable so if anything else pops up I can switch .The place I booked Moonee Beach is actually on Sapphire Beach and walking distance to the beach. also close to the highway so we will use it as a base to explore the coast further maybe even up to Byron Bay
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Old Aug 10th, 2022, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by crellston View Post
As I mentioned on my other thread, Mudgee is out for us -beyond ridiculous prices! I have now managed to find a reasonably priced place in Shoal Bay as you suggested. It is fully refundable so if anything else pops up I can switch .The place I booked Moonee Beach is actually on Sapphire Beach and walking distance to the beach. also close to the highway so we will use it as a base to explore the coast further maybe even up to Byron Bay
Mudgee has become very trendy, especially on weekends, so I am guessing the prices are reflecting that .Make sure you visit Sealy Lookout early in your visit to Sapphite Beach- great spot to get your bearings
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Old Aug 11th, 2022, 03:07 PM
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If you do make it to Byron don’t forget our cottage is still on offer for a night or two.
We are located in Collins Creek, a couple hours drive west of Byron. We’re on the edge of rainforest and might even be able to spot you a wild koala.
Only 20 km to Border Ranges NP with amazing rainforest walks and we have an annual pass !

PS, we recently road tripped to Melbourne and Mudgee was by far the most expensive accommodation over the 16 nights. Food was great though.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 04:22 PM
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That is very kind Sartoric! Because of changing flights etc, we will have less time for our mini road trip than anticipated. Our first stop from Sydney will be for 5 nights at Sapphire Beach which I think is a couple of hours south of Byron. The plan is to do day trips from there and, as one of Carolyn's prime objectives is to see a koala in the wild, I am pretty sure she will insist if it is not too far for a day trip and, of course to meet you after all these years!

Time has been running away from me a little over the last couple of months and I haven't done nearly enough planning! I will message you on Facebook near the time once I am clearer on dates etc.

I don't know if is the lack of travel for the last few years but although this is a short trip for us have really struggled to get this trip organised.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 11:46 PM
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Not koalas in the wild, but if going Sydney to Sapphire Beach can I suggest you might like either of the following. Billabong Zoo, Koala & Wildlife Park and/or the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Both have web sites with plenty of info & you are certain to get a viewing.
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Old Aug 16th, 2022, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rjbAust View Post
Not koalas in the wild, but if going Sydney to Sapphire Beach can I suggest you might like either of the following. Billabong Zoo, Koala & Wildlife Park and/or the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Both have web sites with plenty of info & you are certain to get a viewing.
Many thanks for the thought rub but it is the wild thing in which my wife is most interested. We saw captive koalas in Taipei zoo a few years ago and there are some in London Zoo which is just a short walk away fro us here. May well try and fit in the PM koala hospital as we watched a documentary on their good works following the recent wildfires of which , incidentally, we have had more than a few in our record breaking heatwave this summer! V. Concerning what is going on with the climate.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2022, 07:27 PM
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Thereís a very nice caravan/ holiday park at Nambucca Heads which has good on-site cottages. Iíve stayed there a couple of times and think itís a gem of a place. White Albatross.

I lived about 500 kms west of Mudgee for much of my life and although itís a nice town, I prefer Orange. Itís bigger, so has a wider variety of accommodation - and also a number of small townships nearby with good accommodation options.

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Old Aug 24th, 2022, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for the thought Bokharra. The last remaining piece of the jigsaw is a couple of nights on our way back to Sydney to drop off the rental car. I shall have a look at that place for a couple of nights on our way down the coast. I currently have a place in Shoal Bay reserved which is a couple of hours to Sydney, Nambuuca seems lie 5 hours. May look at changing the time to return the car..
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