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Christmas is almost here, and we have 3 days to get to Bellingen, where we’ll spend the festive period with our much-missed friends Beth, Wes, Charlie and George…we can’t wait to see them!

Hiring a car in Sydney, we had a whistle stop tour up the coast, stopping twice overnight en route.

First stop: Anna Bay in the Port Stephens area. PS has a bay twice the size of Sydney Harbour and is apparently the official dolphin capital of Australia.

Anna Bay (as we’ve discovered with the multitude of glorious beaches here) has a beautifully wide expansive beach backed with endless sand dunes.

A storm was cooking up when we arrived and Lola described the resulting sky perfectly as “a vision of good vs evil”…

Fortunately, we saw such stunning cloud formations as we were surrounded by the shimmering sand flying around the dunes, but, because of the weather, dolphins were out of sight. Not the dolphin capital on this occasion, shucks!

We stayed in a cute Airbnb caravan in Tegan’s front garden!

Love this poem that we found in the van…

We revelled in the near empty beaches and viewpoints of:

Boat Harbour – great whale watching spot during the migration season.

Fingal Bay – quiet town with a laid back vibe, beach, cafe and playground.

Shoal Bay- beautiful beach and postcard worthy scenery. Mt Tomaree provides amazing views.

Further up the coast, our highlights were:

– driving around Myall Lakes National Park and Smiths Lake

– looking out over the ocean at Seal Rocks, where we found out about a successful whale rescue that took place in 1992 as we shared a coffee from a cute mini caravan.

– running down to deserted Blueys Beach and chatting to ‘Men at Work’.

Our second stop was near the Manning River, the only double delta system in Australia with 2 entrances to the ocean, in a riverside town called Harrington. With torrential rain from the minute we arrived to the morning we left, our only near visible vista were the sprawling sands of Crowdy Head, where it was hard to make out the sea vs the sky!

Bellingen, here we come!!