I used to do kitchen work for Bunnings which involved visiting peoples homes and measuring and quoting a kitchen design on site. Generally most of these jobs were within a 100km of my home on the Gold Coast but my NSW off-sider (Grant) was on holidays for a week which meant I needed to take on some of his jobs. One job in particular took me to Maclean a small town to the west of Yamba, about a two and a half hour trip south of the Gold Coast. On the way down I noted a sign (to the side of the road ) that said Woody Head camping ground and (always looking for new spots to camp) decided to drop in and take a look. It was a beautiful, sunny, mid winters day, typical for the time of year and the campground was quiet and in a exceptional location nestled in the Bundjalung National Park. I took a few snap shots on my phone that included the numbers of sites I liked and continued home. A lot of water went under the bridge between that visit and actually booking in for a holiday here, but we did eventually get organised, locked in five days with a few other friends and counted down the days until our trip.
Now as I said, winter in this region is generally sunny with tops of around 20 degrees Celsius and cool to cold nights. Being a sub-tropical region the winter is like a dry season so you would have to be rather unlucky to get any rain at this time of year, I mean really unlucky. Well we managed to pick the week that broke all records for being horrendously wet but there was no chance that we weren’t going. Our trip down was in the pouring rain and we managed to narrowly get there before the main road in and out was shut due to flooding. We put up tents in one of the heaviest storms I’ve ever encountered, well since our last camping trip anyway. I lit a fire very quickly with the help of some fire lighters and once set up we all sat around its warmth with umbrella’s over our head and enjoyed a beer. It pored rain for the next 12 hours making me question my sanity on more than one occasion but by the next morning it had stopped (only raining lightly and intermittently from then on) and the rest of our week was brilliant, even though a little wet under foot. Lessons learned at this stage of the trip were (well apart from the obvious): Don’t bother bring firewood here, there is more than you will ever need in a huge stack as you come in and awesome little fireplaces at nearly every site. Do bring lots of dollar coins if you plan to have a shower, they are coin operated and do not work at all (even for a cold shower) without money. I’d managed to ditch all my coins (I thought cleverly at the time) on bags of ice for the esky on the way down.
The Woody Head campground is located about 10 minutes drive to Iluka which is a tiny little town that has an IGA shopping centre, bottleshop, petrol and camping supply so you can restock easily. Yamba is only a half hour drive (which is a very large town) or you have the option of jumping on the ferry across to there from Iluka (this is of coarse if you feel the need to go to what you are trying to get away from by camping in the first place). There is very good toilet, shower and hand washing laundry facilities here but there is absolutely no power anywhere in the campground. Saying that, there are cabins for the less adventurous that do have power. Also for those that would like take out a boat there is a boat ramp, although it wasn’t quite boating weather on our trip.
We spent the next three days just hanging out, a little bit of exploring, a little bit of fishing and a little bit of socializing. Mid week a few of us took a walk along Woody Bay which would have probably been very easy except the storm had left the beach littered with trees making it a dodging game between sets of waves and branches. There is National Park running all the way up to Evans Head from here. I think it would be a very enjoyable 2 day walk along the beach using Black Rocks Camping ground (or anywhere really) as your half way point. You wouldn’t even need food just throw in a line. The camera was on its way out in these photos so the colour is a little strange.
I have taken some further snapshots of our trip, don’t get put off by the weather, it was a freak. As I have already advised this is a exceptional campsite set in the heart of a National Park, its is full of wildlife and reminds me of the beautiful Australia of old that we need to save and protect more than anything else for future generations. It is a perfect place for anyone really, it is worth noting though that it can become very busy over the school holiday period.
Hope you have enjoyed my small story on Woody Head, see you next time on My Walkabout Plants.