We Came, We Saw… We left still wanting more.
‘Binge explorers’ Ben and Scout set off on a weekend hike through Yuraygir National Park, the largest coastal park in New South Wales.
When Salty Summits bloggers Scout Hinchcliffe and her partner Ben jumped on the #vanlife movement and traded in vanilla weekends for micro-adventures in their Volkswagen Transporter, their lives - quite simply - got way cooler. The pair created their blog Salty Summits in the hope it would inspire others to live a life of adventure, even if it’s limited to the precious hours between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Recently, the pair took off for a new destination – Yuraygir National Park in the heart of the Clarence Valley.
With seven campgrounds, all within spitting distance from the beach, and a four-day, 65-kilometre coastal hike to explore, Yuraygir National Park is ideal for combining a workout with relaxation.
Some of you may be thinking, ‘how is it possible to relax while hiking 65 kilometres through all kinds of terrain? It sounds like a worse concoction than a peanut butter and pickle sandwich!’
First of all, you don’t need to be a serious camper, rambler or expert trail runner to enjoy the secluded trail that weaves through Yuraygir. Nor do you need to conquer the entire distance in one hit, as the national park has been divided into four separate sections. This is perfect for us binge-explorers as it allows us to completely immerse ourselves into one section at a time – that is what binge-exploring is all about after all!
We spent a glorious three days exploring the first section of the national park, from Angourie to Brooms Head. This stretch of coastline is flanked by rocky headlands, crystal-clear waters and luminous sea caves, making the challenging moments of scaling cliff edges and hours spent hiking through sand perfectly balanced with a sensational coastal breeze and rock pools to cool off in.
Follow our footsteps
We started our adventure about 40 minutes south of Yamba, heading straight for the Red Cliff campground to set up our base for the long weekend. There, we spent the afternoon hanging out with the resident kangaroos, enjoying the panoramic views from the top of Red Cliff and scoping out the neighbouring campsite area, which is situated beside a coastal lagoon. (Hot Tip: The campground operates on a first in, first served basis, so arrive as early as possible! Also, park and camping fees apply.)
This was going to be an epic day of hiking and exploring, so a delicious campfire-cooked breakfast was mandatory to kick it off. We then made our way to the Angourie Bay picnic area, where the first section of the Yuraygir coastal walk begins. The route is best walked north to south so the sun is on your back and not in your eyes.
From the picnic area to Brooms Head it’s a solid 18km walk, but we set off early and turned around at Lake Arragan, opting instead to make a return trip of about 26km. Luckily, the tides were on our side (something you should consider before you set off) which allowed us to explore the many sea caves we discovered along the headland. To find them, hug the coastline and cliffs for the first part of the hike. If you plan to return to the picnic area, you can gain a different perspective on the way back by taking the bush trails that meander across the top of the cliffs. This keeps the entire 26km intriguing as the vantage points are forever changing.
What better way to wind down from a long walk than with a surf or a swim, followed by another campfire-fuelled breakfast? That’s exactly what we did, which made the job of packing up camp a bit easier. While we weren’t ready to leave, it didn’t take long before we were checking out the other Yuraygir campgrounds. Time to start planning the next trip back!
There’s plenty more to explore in the Yuraygir National Park. Here’s a few ways to do just that.
With five relaxed and friendly holiday parks set in some of Australia’s most spectacular and unspoiled locations, Clarence Coast Holiday Parks really are your “homes away from home”.
Immerse yourself in nature even more by falling asleep to the sounds of the beach and bush:
- Located about a day into the Yuraygir Coastal Walk, Brooms Head’s beachfront caravan park really is a hidden treasure, and a great stop-over or starting point for your hiking adventure. Brooms Head Caravan Park 02 6646 7144
- Nestled between the banks of the Wooli Wooli River and the Pacific Ocean, Wooli is a coastal village in the truest sense. Wooli Camping and Caravan Park 02 6649 7671
- Minnie Water is a popular stop-over for adventurers on the great Yuraygir Coastal Walk, and with the comforts of clean showers, toilets and a camp kitchen combined with picturesque views, it’s easy to see why. Minnie Water Holiday Park 02 6649 7693
- If you want to be a bit closer to civilisation, but stay within close range of the national park’s beauty, why not stay at Calypso Holiday Park in Yamba? Calypso Yamba 02 6646 8847
These guys can help you plan the perfect hiking trip, whether it’s for a one, two or four-day walk. Guided walks with highly qualified, passionate local guides provide deep appreciation of the flora, fauna and history of this unique and diverse coastal region. Self-guided walkers also have a wide range of support options. Yuraygir Walking Experiences 0455 044 292
Photographs by Scout and Ben