When I was first asked to write a little something for Outbound Living, I instantly jumped at the opportunity to share with everyone some of our favourite places we have visited during our 2-month adventure up and down Australia’s east coast. Choosing only a few of the best places we visited feels almost as hard as which of your children is your favourite (I can only assume if I had children). Therefore, I have come up with two lesser known spots we had never heard of before our trip and one of the better-known ones which was far and away our favourite.

First up is Lennox Head, a coastal town just over 20km south of Byron Bay on the New South Wales northern coast. The whole northern coast has some incredible beaches with hardly anyone on them. The town has a similar vibe to Byron but is far less commercial and you definitely don’t have to pay $4 per hour to park on the street for one! The beach was almost completely deserted with the exception of a few surfers and kite surfers. The surf is huge and although I’m only a novice surfer, it looked great for it! We had a delicious lunch at ‘Coast @ Lennox Head’ café and then waddled back to Marley to watch the sunset across the ocean. Although we only had time to stop there for the day, Lennox Head is definitely somewhere we will be returning to soon to explore the town more.

Van Life Australia

Northern Queensland can get quite hot and dull if you don’t spend the time searching to find little gems which aren’t very well known. Well, at least this was our experience after many long drives seeing only sugar cane fields for as far as the eye can see. After a long drive up the coast and pit stopping in Townsville for a dip in the local pool to cool off, we searched for a place to spend the night nearby. Chiara (my fiancé) found a campground just north of Townsville which had great reviews on Wiki Camps and so we decided to give it a try for the night. The campground was called ‘Big Crystal Creek Campground’ and ended up being one of the most beautiful places we stayed. Not only is the campground completely immersed in the wilderness with wildlife all around, but there is an incredible little swimming hole 100 meters away. We were blown away by the beauty of this swimming hole, with the misty mountains overshadowing us and the crystal-clear water beneath us. Chiara also spotted lots of turtles in the water along with fish and a few eels. This place is only a 10-minute drive from the highway and is a perfect spot to pit stop for an afternoon or stay the night. The campground also has flushing toilets and showers, which is impressive for $7 per night per person.

On our very last stop before we returned back to Melbourne, I made sure that we visited Jervis Bay. This was for the simple reason that I’d been to Jervis Bay as a kid and could only really remember that there were Kangaroos everywhere and as Chiara and I are huge animal lovers I thought it would be the perfect way to end our adventure. Anyone you speak to who has travelled the New South Wales south coast will recommend Jervis Bay as a must-see. It was a bit out of our way en route back to Melbourne down the Hume, but was well worth the 2-hour detour. Jervis Bay is a National Park and therefore you can only stay at campsites. Still, these campsites are extremely well serviced and easily accessible. The fact that there are no buildings or significant structures in the National Park amplifies the feeling of living in the wilderness. As soon as night fell we were astounded by the number of animals that come into the campsite. There were huge possums everywhere, and kangaroos and wallabies wandering around. The next day we went and explored many of the beaches and the botanical gardens. All of the beaches on the bay have beautiful aqua blue water and soft white sand. The beaches felt like what you would expect from the postcards that show the Whitsundays beaches, however they were much less busy and you can swim all year round! We also visited Cave beach, an ocean beach on the other side of the peninsula as well, which was simply stunning. Be careful near the rocks at this beach though as we found out when we went for a wander and Chiara almost got washed into them.

We are so excited to share these experiences and places with you all and hope that you enjoy them just as much as we did. We are starting our new van build soon and you can follow our build and look at some of our photos from our trip on our Instagram page, the_marley_bus.

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