Words cannot describe the amount of happiness when I finally saw the waters of the East Coast. To me, it officially meant we were completely done with the farm life. We had put over 1200km between us and the farm and we were able to truly relax and be beach bums for a couple weeks.
We made a big driving day Wednesday November 18th. We had slept overnight at a roadside rest stop in Balmattum, VIC; we woke up early, had breakfast, I made sandwiches for the afternoon and were on the road by 6:30am. We drove nonstop (minus pee breaks for Dani) until lunch time where we stopped at a park in a small town to eat our sammies. Since Kels does all the driving, I am in charge of navigation (I know, we’re doomed). I always get us where we mean to go; however, I also always manage to take us the most obscure, steep, narrow and windy roads possible. On this occasion I did just that – we found ourselves driving up through a nature reserve on these crazy narrow roads. It was a really nice drive, but Jean-Claude (our lil ol’ van) much prefers the flat and straight roads.
This drive also made Kels and I so very thankful for our lives. We passed an accident where it seemed as if a gentleman on his motorcycle wiped out and over the cliff. We saw someone giving him CPR; we never found out if he was okay. Seeing this brought up a good moment of quiet followed by a “Holy Shit, Life is Short” conversation. So if you’re reading this right now, take a quick moment to be thankful for how beautiful and blessed you are for having the opportunity to be breathing and able right now.
After a loooooong drive (over 660km in one day) we found ourselves squirming in our seats at the sight of the ocean on the horizon. FINALLY! We had been craving a swim for so long now! We pulled into the parking lot at Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay at 3:30pm and a may have shed a tear or two I was so happy.
We quickly changed into our swimmers, slapped on some sunscreen and raced to the beach. It was 30°C outside, but as soon as we hit the sand – we were also hit by the wind. Our plans of jumping right in were put to a halt, we decided we could wait one more day. Instead, we wandered the beach. It was crazy because we were on that very beach in May 2014, the sand was just as white as we remembered, the water just as blue.
We knew we wanted to stay in the area for a couple of days so we chose to splurge and pay for a campsite. We chose to stay at Green Patch which is in Booderee National Park, NSW. It was $62 AUD for two nights and the cost covered the $11 park entry fee. It was totally worth it too! Most campsites here in Aus seem to be Holiday Parks; basically fields with concrete slabs, fancy amenities blocks, kitchens and zero privacy. Green Patch Campground felt like actual camping, we had bush separating us from our neighbours. The bush didn’t give us privacy from some of our neighbours though – we had a wallaby who helped himself to our site and a kookaburra who almost helped himself to my dinner – STRAIGHT OFF OF MY SPOON THAT CHEEKY BUGGER.
We were also right next to the beach, which is where we watched sunset that evening.
The next morning we were up early again; partially because we wanted to make the most of the day, but also because we were so used to being up for the milkings. We made breakfast and coffee and then walked our chairs down to the beach to enjoy our books in the sun. We had the entire beach to ourselves, so when we were done eating we left our stuff on our chairs and explored! There was a crystal clear creek running into the ocean on one end of the beach. We walked through it and enjoyed how beautiful it was.
We quickly drove to pick up groceries (so we didn’t have to have oatmeal for dinner again), and then we drove to Murray Beach. The man at the info centre had told us it would be the most sheltered from the wind; he was right! We got to the parking lot around 10:30am, suited up and made the lil’ 300m walk through the forest to arrive in paradise. Calm waters, sun sparkling off of the blue of the sea and the white of the sand. I may have teared up again.
We laid out our towels and finally into the salty sea! The water was incredibly clear and once we were in, it wasn’t cold at all. We spent over three hours at the beach splashing about, exploring the inlets, caves and rock pools and working back the tans we had lost from being in South Australia during winter.
We decided to check out another beach that afternoon, so we drove to Caves Beach. From the parking lot to the beach was roughly a 600m walk downhill past the walk-in campsite and then to the beach itself. At the beach our ankles were whipped with sand being blown by the strong winds. No way were we hanging out here.
Instead, we did a 700m walk from the campsite to Bherwerre Beach. We were the only ones on the beach; however, we still had the company of the wind. We explored the rocks a little bit, practiced our handstands and then made our way back to the van.
On the hike back we ran into a snake. We had absolutely no idea what to do. It was right on the only path we could take back to the van. We stood less than 10 feet away from it and told it to move. Kels pulled out his music in hoped that it would shimmy itself away. We were caught between being freaked out and laughing – eventually it slowly slithered off the path and into the bush. We walked past it very quickly (but not TOO quickly) and to the safety of the open campsite.
After that “close call” we were happy to see heaps of a different type of Aussie wildlife – a bunch of Kangaroos! There was a mama with her joey in her pouch and about 5 or 6 others roaming around. We enjoyed their company quite a bit more than Mr. Snake!
We were all sunned out for the day, so we headed back to our campsite for an early dinner and board games.
We had an incredible couple days of sun, beaches and beautiful weather at Jervis Bay. We can now say that we’ve been there twice, and neither of us would hesitate to go back again and again. It’s often passed over by travelers; many backpackers fly from Melbourne to Sydney and totally miss it. Others just don’t plan the time to stop. If you are doing an East Coast road trip, this is a MUST DO. Seriously. You’ll thank me later!