How often do we stare into space dreaming of sunshine, waves and ice cold beers. “I need a holiday!” is muttered all to regularly as we trudge from chore to chore, but how many of us actually take that holiday… Surprisingly, only half of us take our available annual leave and when we finally get around to it, the low battery light is well and truly flashing.
Many assume a flick of the ‘refresh switch’ is obtained by long and luxurious trips to distant lands, michelin star dining, daily massages and pampering; far from the hassles of emails, phone calls, and meetings. However, you don’t need a name brand hotel to disconnect. A 36-hour ‘Get me the hell outta here’ style adventure can administer the required dose of escape and provide you with that well-deserved break.
For me, the line where 2016 ended and 2017 started was a blur of commitments. As the days got shorter, i made a promise to myself to ensure i got out of the city as often as possible. Australia is brimming with easy and accessible adventures, many of which can be accomplished over a weekend! The New South Wales coastline is stacked with pumping surf spots and epic hiking trails, so weekend adventures here i come.
With absolutely no planning, I recently ventured on a 36 hour strike mission to the Central Coast of NSW, the perfect weekend getaway only hours out of Sydney. Rising with the sun, we quickly packed the Jeep, fully content with the high probability of forgetting something. The surfboards (priority #01) got strapped to the roof, the chilly bin was filled with beers (priority #02), and the camping gear (priority #03) was crammed in the back somewhere. We piled in and cranked up the beats.
First stop, Long Reef. Coming from the Eastern Suburbs, a journey over the bridge is almost a holiday in itself, so why not sneak in a cheeky morning sesh. We picked up our Italian chef – who was patiently frothing over surf cams – and with the sunshine bathing us, quickly changed into steamers, tucked our surfboards under our arms and shot into the water. An hour later, the promise of much better waves further north was drowned out by the noise of grumbling stomachs. After stocking up on shopping from Wollies, we went full savage on a pre-cooked chicken in the car park. The look of shock on the local punters faces as they saw 3 men and a woman tear apart a chicken and coleslaw on the back tray of the Jeep was definitely a highlight of day 1!
The Central Coast (a combination of lakes and waterways including Tuggerah, Budgewoi & Munmorah) is located along the NSW coast, just 77 kilometres north of Sydney, and is home to over 60 kilometres of pristine beaches (with plenty of epic surf), coastal forests, and sprawling National Parks. Arriving into Copacabana, no unfortunately not the real one, we were met with a maze of streets where we couldn’t even find the beach- we hadn’t even touched the chilly bin full off beers, i promise. We finally found a walking access and after making our way up over the sand dunes towards the beach, we were happily met by good banks and light winds; little teepees of swell reeled in opposing directions along the stretching, vacant shoreline.
Eventually the telltale signs of a killer sunset began to form in the sky, and it was decided that we’d better find a campsite before we lost all night. As we showered and packed up the Jeep, we started chatting to a local who recommended Putty Beach. We had thought Little Beach looked great, but he warned us off the steep walk down and unsafe choice of leaving our boards strapped to a vehicles roof not within sight.
We drove down into Putty Beach and was met with a nice little set-up by the NSW council. However, it was packed with other campers, vehicles, families, no fire signs and of course a camping fee… I wanted a campfire and didn’t care for amenities or children! Venturing back into the bush we found the perfect spot in Bouddi NP.
Finally the sun danced behind a lingering patch of clouds and provided us with a solid 20 minute kaleidoscope of colours, before eventually sinking below the horizon. As darkness took hold, kebabs and snags roasted upon the fire. Beers were flowing and laughter echoed across the valley. I smiled with contentment, happy that all the pieces of the puzzle feel into place so perfectly.
After a restless night of sleep, we woke early and made our way to Macmasters beach for an epic morning of surf and saltwater. We’d noticed the swell was wrapping into the east facing beaches, so we packed up camp and made our way to Avoca. Upon arrival we were met with dirty cross-shore winds, but much larger swell. The following hour was spent paddling, getting caught inside and generally struggling- the silver lining coming ever so often in the form of a 3ft slab.
Leaving the water exhausted, it was at this point i realized ‘low battery mode is turned off’. Although i could barely lift my arms from 4 surfs in 24 hours, i felt refreshed.