Sydney Road Trip: Day 1 Brisbane to Sapphire Beach (Coffs Harbour)

A holiday for the Knights has been a long time coming.  So these September holidays we packed the kids up in the car and travelled south.  The ultimate destination was Sydney but we’ve already visited numerous times with and without children so the aim was to enjoy the journey, rather than only the capital.

Day 1 was one of our bigger drives.  Google Maps says Brisbane to Coffs Harbour takes 5 hours.  That’s without toilet breaks, food breaks and shake-your-sillies-out breaks.  We expected to spend the bulk of the day on the road.

It’s a fairly monotonous highway drive.  However, there were enough road works interspersed to frustrate me but keep the kids guessing what machinery might be round the next corner.  Plus, the novelty of sticker books, audio books and road trip music had yet to wear off.  Starting on the road at 8am and making reasonable time, we pulled into our accommodation at Sapphire Beach mid-afternoon.

Sapphire Beach is one of a number of beaches just to the north of Coffs Harbour.  I chose here to stay rather than the city for two reasons: we were going to stay in Coffs proper on the return journey and most importantly, I had read that the Look at Me Headland offered you the chance to see kangaroos on the beach – or at least with a beach backdrop.  The photographer in us wanted a chance to get that shot.

The town itself is a blink and you miss it affair, with a few accommodation options and a beach possibly best known for the discovery and subsequent sand-dune burial of a dead whale last year.

Golden sands but unpatrolled. Too cold to swim anyway.

We stayed in a cabin in a holiday park that had direct access to the beach.  But gorgeous as this vista was, it was not the local kangaroo hangout, so it was time to explore further afield.

The caravan park suggested to drive around Heritage Drive, a local suburban road so famed for kangaroos that tour groups take their buses on the loop.  Although, some suburbs of Brisbane also sport these marsupials in a urban setting, it’s still a novelty for us and we took the local’s advice to check it out.

We were not disappointed.  There were hundreds of kangaroos among the houses; grazing on lawns, sheltering under trees, handing newspaper and slippers to weary fathers coming up the drive.  Certainly I could see why it was a popular spot with tour groups.  Think Neighbours meets Skippy without family planning.

We drove from here to the Look at Me Now Headland just a few kilometres north east.  A few Eastern Greys’ heads appeared above the scrub as we drove into the carpark so we knew we were in the right place.  The headland has one track that leads you around the cliffs.  Although the weather wasn’t the photogenic blue sky we would have liked, there were still plenty of kangaroos out grazing with Pacific as a backdrop.

I’m sure if you were in the right place at the right time, you could pitch yourself on the sand and bag the money shot of a kangaroo jumping along the beach.  With three active kids, that opportunity was never going to happen, so we contented ourselves with chasing them (the kangaroos and the children) around the grassy headlands instead.


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