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Britz HiTop Australia

A Surfer's Journal

- From Sydney to Crescent Head by Campervan

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My aim was to escape Sydney asap and find a peaceful piece of coastline where I could park my van, open the boot and watch the surf from dawn to dusk before having a beer and doing it all over again. I accomplished that and discovered some hidden gems along the way.

Between Sydney and Crescent Head there are plenty of cosy little nooks and crannies you can spend a few days. I just wanted to surf really good waves and spend time lazing around a quiet little seaside town. 

Depending on your curiosity you can find some pretty good waves and sweet overnight spots perched on top of cliffs from Shelly Beach to Forster on the Emerald Coast. Only thing is that you'll have to turn off the main highway and take the scenic route, which is a slower, windier road but worth it if you have the time. 

Oysters Family at the beach Salad

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Photo by @katokatoworld.

1. Newcastle

From Sydney, it's about two and half hours. Newy is a classic beach-side city. On a map you'd probably think it's much bigger than it really is. The town has a some cool pubs and a very authentic Italian pizza joint called Napoli. There is an amazing ocean pool at Newcastle Beach but the campervan scene is almost non existent. There is ample parking but no room for overnight stays along the coast. Surprising fact for Newy: The public ocean baths have free hot water showers!

2. Crescent Head

The mellow right hander that goes on and on and on. Bring a log or some fun boards. Crescent Head is a regional classic. It's also a longboarder's heaven (or a beginner's heaven). The car park set up and where you'll spend most of your time is sublime. Your campervan will secure one of many poll positions, which sit smack bang in front of the wave, peeling into the bay under the iconic headland. At the end of the car park are public toilets and a shower block, which is open day and night.

Multiple days and even weeks can blend into one here. Days are spent cruising the car park on a skateboard, walking up the point and taking extended walks down along the cliff. If you feel like surfing alone you can take the back road down to Delicate Nobby or Point Plomer and find isolated stretches of beach with no one around. It's the perfect place to go for a romantic walk with your woman (or man) and spend hours basking in the sun. You might even feel the urge to run around naked. Isolation can do that to you.

If you're not into cooking your own food, the Crescent Head Bowling Club serves up classic Australian dishes. Three little cafes will keep your caffeine cravings at bay and a pub, liquor shop and small grocery store will provide everything you ever need. You can also stock up on supplies at Kempsey where it's all cheaper. It's only 20 minutes out of town but by no means do you have to stay longer than it takes to park and sprint around the supermarket, throwing everything you need from the shelves into your trolley.

3. Which Van To Hire

You can go for the more compact hippy feel of a HiTop or the spruced up feel of a bigger campervan. There are even 4WDs available for serious cross-country travel. 

Here are a couple of things to consider for a 2-person road trip: Firstly, climate; Australia is pretty much in the temperate zone of climate belts. If you’re sticking to the coastline you’ll be in pretty good weather all year round, meaning you can always go for a swim and have outdoor showers. The HiTop is a perfect cruising-mobile as it fits nicely into all car parks. The availability of public showers in Australia means you can get clean almost anywhere. The HiTop is also a touch more compatible in pulling up beside other vans and having a bit of a spontaneous campervan car park party!  

With a touch more class, you also have the option of the Venturer which has the awesome advantage of a shower and toilet on board. Nothing beats having a hot shower in the middle of nowhere. And all your campervan buddies will be jealous.    

Photo by @katokatoworld.

4. Surfboards, guitars and other sporting equipment

In my HiTop van I packed 3 surfboards, the largest being 6'6. In the van a second level can be constructed which can actually sleep the second person. I packed my boards and guitar up here and there was still room for more.

5. Hat Head and other campgrounds

There are many 'off the beaten track' camping grounds you can roll into. A quick google search will tell you where they are. Hat Head is one of them. This place has beaches I'm sure people haven't been to in years. Put your walking shoes on, chuck on a hat and day pack and spend the day exploring the great Australian coastline. Be aware of rips when swimming at these beaches as they are unpatrolled and you won't be heard screaming for miles.

6. Summer, winter, spring or autumn?

Any month is a good month when you’re on the road, especially in Australia because there isn’t a massive temperature range in our seasons. But summer is the best. School holidays happen from about mid-December to mid-January, so there’ll be lots of families and holiday makers at the small towns and beaches along the coast. Campgrounds will also get busy. In summer the water is warm, the air is hot and the beaches are perfect.

By Kato Simpson
@katokatoworld