Nambucca Heads is the centrepeice of the Nambucca Valley, one of New South Wales’ most idyllic locations. From sweeping beaches to lush farmlands, a visit here is the start of a lifetime love affair with this beautiful region. We set our minds on a couple of days of R&R so that John could fish and I could have some time out, and set off for Nambucca Heads.
Caravan park in Nambucca Heads
The sun was shining in a perfect blue sky but there was a stiff breeze blowing when we arrived at the Headland Tourist Park ([star][star][star][star_half]). As the name implies the park is located on the headland overlooking Main Beach and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It’s not a large park but it is set in pleasant rainforest-like surroundings with magnificent views of the coastline and out over the ocean. It is also pet friendly and while we set up camp our little dog, BJ, took the opportunity to explore a little, albeit within the confines of our site. There’s not too much setting up to do with a caravan and before too long we wandered down the Beach Walk, a path that leads from the headland right down onto the sand. It’s a lovely walk on a shaded path but coming back is all-uphill and really not for the not-so-fit ones amongst us. We went about halfway down to a small lookout and watched a kite-surfer putting on quite a display in the strong breeze. He was having a great time and how he could stay up on that board was a complete mystery to me. John said it was easy but I noticed that he wasn’t attempting to do it! The afternoon was waning and we had a bottle of Two Tails Sparkling Wine waiting for us back at camp so we returned to the van and settled in for a quiet evening.
Exploring Nambucca Heads
We woke the next morning to a stunning, sparkling day. The sun was shining, there wasn’t a breath of wind, or a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was climbing to what would be an ‘almost-summer’ day. We decided to explore a little before setting off to the beach and that elusive big fish. Gordon Park Rainforest Sanctuary is in the middle of Nambucca Heads, right next to the main shopping thoroughfare. Whether by luck or design this magnificent tract of rainforest is a welcome respite from the bustle of Saturday morning shopping. An old abandoned water well was discovered in the early 1990’s and it is fed by a natural spring that runs right through the forest. This well and the spring were said to have been the main water source for the town in the 1880’s. There is a walking track that meanders through the rainforest and is surrounded by dense foliage with the sun’s rays peeking through the lush canopy, and bench seats along the way where you can sit and catch your breath while you listen to the calls of native birds.
Nambucca’s Foreshore Walk
We decided not to take the rainforest walk and made our way down to the river and the foreshore walk. The path along the foreshore follows the inner harbour west from the Vee-Wall to Gordon Park, the site of the original village of Nambucca where timber mills and a shipyard were once located. Along this stretch of the river lie the seagrass beds. These are only exposed at the lowest of low tides and in spite of its name it’s not a true grass. Few animals use the seagrass for food; it is used mainly as shelter by some species of fish and crustaceans. We walked along the path by the river for a short distance, crossing a couple of the small bridges that had been erected. The path is quite some distance long and there are several seats positioned along the way. It was nearing lunchtime when we left the foreshore and drove down to the breakwater at the Nambucca River entrance. The Vee-Wall Breakwater is a huge outdoor gallery for graffiti artists. Everyone is welcome to leave a lasting monument to their visit and most people do. There are
hundreds, even thousands, of messages painted on the wall; some are funny, some are clever, and some are even romantic, and together they add colour and fun to what would otherwise be just a pile of rocks. We walked out along the wall, reading some of the graffiti messages along the way. By the time we’d walked to the end and back it was time to go back to camp for John to get ready for an afternoon of fishing. Not that that takes much getting ready!
Fishing in Nambucca Heads
Fishing in Nambucca is a matter of preference, and not merely the choice between ocean and river. There’s beach fishing, deep-sea charters, and rock fishing, and then there’s fishing from the breakwater or you can hire a boat and make your way up-river for the challenge of fresh-water angling. We opted for an afternoon on the beach so that BJ could take me for a walk while John caught dinner. As it turned out this was not to be one of our better afternoons. A strong and quite cold nor-easter started blowing not long after we arrived. Conditions
became most unpleasant with sand being blown in our faces and even BJ decided he’d rather stay in the shelter than go for a walk. The water was rough and the waves made fishing almost impossible. We stuck it out for an hour or so and then gave up. John was so disappointed with the whole afternoon that I didn’t even make any jokes about pizza for dinner! The wind howled throughout the night and showed no sign of abating the next morning as we packed up the camp ready to head home. On the way out we made a stop at the Captain Cook Lookout and the view was stunning! It was a clear day and we could see Scotts Head to the south, about 18 kilometres (11 miles) away, and Urunga to the north, approximately 20 kilometres (12½ miles). The lookout offers 360° views of the panorama and I felt as if I could almost see New Zealand from there! A slight exaggeration but I think you get the picture. Nambucca Heads is on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales approximately halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. It enjoys a sub-tropical climate, is the centre of the beautiful Nambucca
Valley, and is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Nambucca River on the other. In spite of the wind that spoiled an otherwise perfect afternoon, we weren’t disappointed with our stay there and will return often to renew the love affair that began on a picture perfect spring afternoon.
The information contained in this journal is derived from our personal recollections of our visit to this town or region and is correct as at the time of publication. austracks accepts no responsibility should any of this information be incorrect or misleading due to changes, improvements, or upgrades that may have occurred to places and/or attractions since our visit.