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Crowdy Head and a forest ride – Harrington to Port Macquarie (74k/460m)

(June 17, 2020 – written by Dave)

We had a quiet night overnight in Harrington. The oldies in the camp kitchen left right after Masterchef ended on TV. I’ll admit that we’ve been hooked, sort of, on Masterchef as well. The things you do in lockdown. Anyway, the oldies were happy with the result so everyone retired content and they were quiet the rest of the night.

And as for calling the old folks in the camp kitchen “oldies”, well, we get a free pass on that one. I’m pretty sure that all of them were younger than 65 and some even were under the age of 60. We ourselves are just under the age of 60 (some of us are way under, others closer to 60 – happy wife, happy life comment). But the oldies knew we were riding push bikes and called us young. Eventually we compared ages, they discovered we were about their ages and everyone agreed that it must be the bikes that keep us young. Fun night, you gotta love the social atmosphere of the camp kitchens.

We had a very wet tent, inside and out on the rain fly when we retired ourselves. The dew on the coast right now is amazing. We didn’t get a breeze in the morning so we had to hang everything on the clothesline in the sun while we ate brekkie. Love these full service campgrounds that have all the facilities you need. By the time we were done eating (including the last muffin from All Things Yum, which was indeed very yummy) everything was dry so we packed up and hit the road about 9am.

Harrington waterfront

One more shot of the Harrington Waterfront

Harrington Head

Another head in Harrington, not to be confused with Harrington Head

Our first stop was one that was recommended by the NSW Coast Trail folks (lots of info on their site, highly recommended https://www.nswcoastcycle.com/) – the Crowdy Head Lighthouse. It is a small old lighthouse out on the Crowdy Headland with great views out to the sea. Beautiful on a sunny day but probably not so fun being the lighthouse keeper on a stormy day. It was well worth the stop. Try as we might, we can’t figure out why the park and light house were named Crowdy but we do know that Captain Cook spotted the headlands in the park during his voyage in 1770.

Crowdy Bay

It wasn’t crowded at all

Crowdy Head Lighthouse 3

Blue ribbon views of Crowdy Head lighthouse

From there we started on to an unsealed road that took us through Crowdy Bay National Park. In total it was about 24k of unpaved road but it was very well maintained so was easy to ride. There were some mud puddles from the recent rains but thankfully nothing we couldn’t get around. There is lots of evidence of recent bushfires but the park is full of the gum tree swizzle sticks that are signs of regrowth. The trees give a real Doctor Seuss feel to the forest.

Crowdy Bay road

Start of dirt – happy days smooth and it stayed this way!

Doctor Seuss trees 2

Oompa Loompa Forest

Doctor Seuss trees 1

After a fire in a gum tree forest, the trees regrow this way. In fact, the fires here were only 6 months ago and already the trees are coming back. Good for animal habitat.

Doctor Seuss forest ride

2 hours riding, we had 4 cars total

 

We were stopped at an intersection of dirt roads at one point and a ute coming the other way stopped to see if we were okay. They confirmed the right way to go and even offered up their house down the road for a rest stop if we needed it. Gotta love the Aussie spirit!

We came out of the forest and off the dirt road just before Laurieton and just in time for a stop at the local village cafe for an excellent egg and bacon roll and coffee.  Just the thing to tide us over for the remaining 30k or so to reach Port Macquarie.

Camden Haven River

Camden Haven River just before Laurieton – complete with oyster beds

Luncj - jumbo E&B rolls

Giant egg and bacon rolls

Passing through several small retirement communities we had glimpses of the ocean – and on a sunny day it’s easy to see why people move into these areas. Unfortunately the road is not great in places – another example of government letting development proceed without ensuring the infrastructure needs are also addressed. Ah well, sadly it seems to happen the world over. For the record, Ocean Drive is kind of near the ocean, but you only see it for a few short fleeting moments. Perhaps it should be called “Ocean is behind those houses over there Drive” – no wait, that’s too long for a sign.

Coast near Laurieton

Beach near Laurieton where the water still can be seen

The big bowl

We are heading to the Big Banana – today we found the Big Bowl (as in lawn bowl)

We had an easy navigation directly to the local YHA (known as Ozzie Pozzie, how’s that for a name?), where we have gone crazy and booked into a room with our own bathroom! Living high on the hog tonight. While we waited for the reception to open so we could get into a room I hightailed it down to nearby Coles and picked up fixings for dinner. Laundry is already done and I am actually cooking dinner right now as Nancy types this so I think actually she needs to get credit for today’s blog (Senior Editor’s note – see, when you are doing the typing you can add in anything complementary about yourself…).

Ozzie Pozzie hostal

Home for the night

We will wait to see what tomorrow’s weather is before we make the call about moving on or having a rest day here.  There seems to be a bit of rain in the forecast, though the weather here is notoriously hard to predict. We’ve got another unsealed track tomorrow and do not want to be riding it in the mud.

Surf lessons - nope-001

Nope, not going to happen. Some things us “oldies” shouldn’t be doing. One of them is learning to surf!

4 responses to “Crowdy Head and a forest ride – Harrington to Port Macquarie (74k/460m)

  1. What a cute lighthouse. I’m happy to see the forest making a comeback!
    I think you two should try the surf lessons, seems very reasonably priced. I agree with the oldies you seem very young for your old age…not to late to try surfing! Wishing you good weather ahead.

  2. I would agree with Inge. You should try surfing. I have been doing a yearly trek to San Onofre Beach here in So Cal with my VW bus for years to try. The best I’ve done is to lay on the board while riding in to the beach. Great fun in any case.

    • Mate, I don’t think laying on a board is considered surfing – haha – I think I could handle that. The standing, falling, twisting part is what’s got me worried. And the sharks!

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