BACK TO NA­TURE WITH STYLE COFFS COAST SHOW­CASES BUSH AND BEACH BEAUTY

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Melissa Ri­mac The writer trav­elled as a guest of Coffs Coast Tourism

WE’RE wel­comed to Hun­gry Head House by loung­ing kan­ga­roos and swamp hens emerg­ing from the macadamia plan­ta­tion.

The wrap­around sound­track of smash­ing waves and a cap­pella bird­song has an ef­fect akin to a head and shoul­der mas­sage.

At the spa­cious and se­cluded hide­away we’re us­ing as a base for ex­plor­ing the na­ture-rich Coffs Coast, we’re sur­rounded by 5 bush­stud­ded hectares.

The huge decks and vast win­dows cre­ate a sense of be­ing co­cooned within fra­grant gums.

There are times when get­ting away unashamedly means es­cap­ing the clam­our of peo­ple and set­tling into Hun­gry Head House proves the per­fect en­tree to a re­gion re­plete with reclu­sive op­tions.

Like so many beaches that stretch south of laid-back Coffs Har­bour town, Hun­gry Head Beach is bliss­fully empty; a bound­less un­furl­ing of golden sand and sparkling wa­ter.

Along with beaches you’re very likely to have to your­self – Tuck­ers Rocks, reached by delv­ing through rain­for­est, soon be­come an­other favourite – this sec­tion of coast is dis­tinc­tive for the fring­ing rib­bons of aqua­ma­rine in­lets.

A lit­tle fur­ther north, we drive through ru­ral scenes to reach the sleepy set­tle­ment of Mylestom, where the moun­tains-meets-ocean vis­tas that char­ac­terise the Coffs Coast are es­pe­cially im­pres­sive.

The sort of place I’d imag­ined long van­ished from the east coast; Mylestom is per­fect for a pic­nic. Just be­hind the dunes of Sawtell Beach is a la­goon where deep swim­ming holes form at high tide.

Fish, cor­morants and rays con­gre­gate here, so it’s a good idea to bring a snorkel mask. Boast­ing nu­mer­ous wa­ter­falls that spill into tempt­ing pools, the road that twists up to­wards the misted ranges that form Coffs Coast hin­ter­land is aptly called Wa­ter­fall Way.

The World Her­itage-listed Gond­wana forests of Dor­rigo Na­tional Park can be ac­cessed by un­crowded walks; Crys­tal Shower Falls and the el­e­vated Walk with the Birds board­walk are just two of many splen­did wilder­ness im­mer­sions in­volv­ing min­i­mal ex­er­tion.

A patch­work of forests and limegreen val­leys rolls out as we drive from the time-frozen town of Dor­rigo to­wards fetch­ing vil­lages called Cas­cade and Co­ramba.

Scat­tered through­out th­ese foothills are the evoca­tive, pho­to­genic rem­nants of a tim­ber-get­ting, gold­seek­ing hey­day.

If we had time to fol­low this loop back to Coffs Har­bour, we’d find more rain­for­est at the Bin­darri Na­tional Park. But at the end of the day, there’s no place quite like the open-to-the-bush bath­house back at Hun­gry Head House.

The birds are go­ing bonkers and wal­la­bies are flirt­ing, and best of all I can soak it all up from the bath­tub, bub­bly in hand.

Pic­ture: MELISSA RI­MAC

The Sky­walk at Dor­rigo Rain­for­est Cen­tre­has sen­sa­tional views look­ing out into Dor­rigo Na­tional Park.

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