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Christmas is a busy enough time of year without having to haul your tribe to an airport. Thankfully, there are so many beachside havens that are only a road trip away and perfect for making some of those barefoot, old school beach holiday memories. Writer Amy Mills shares some of her favourites.

 

SEAL ROCKS

If you saw the County Road short film Summer Wonder staring supermodel Gemma Ward and her baby Naia, you’d be familiar with the rugged beauty of this idyllic town on New South Wales mid north coast.

Surrounded by lush rainforest and mountains, this untouched bay is the ultimate destination for families who want to a return to simplicity.

Due to the unsealed access road off the Pacific Highway, this little gem remains undeveloped and the town comprises pretty much of two streets, one general store and a couple of camp grounds.

Quiet it may be, but if your kids are bored here, it really is time to get them off the ipad.

For a swim, head to the stunning Beach Number One or surf the point wave at Seal Rocks or head to Treachery or Yagon; walk to the Sugarloaf Lighthouse; throw a line out at Boat Beach or explore the Myall Lakes National Park which surrounds this very special village.

There are a bunch of homes – some luxurious, some more ‘rustic’ – for holiday rentals. Seal Rocks has a holiday park but we love the more ‘free form’ experience at Treachery Camp. You won’t be restricted to one concrete square site right up against someone else here; this is bush camping at its best but with hot showers and a small café serving decent coffee.

Better yet, you’re allowed to light small campfires at night here and you can buy the wood from the shop onsite.

If a tent isn’t your thing, there’s a beach lodge that can accommodate big groups, as well as smaller lodges and cabins.

For a hassle-free, chilled family beach holiday, this untouched paradise is well worth the road trip.

 

03130006WOOLI

The minute you drive into this sleepy village just 90 minutes from Coffs Harbour, you can feel the stress of day-to-day life lifting.

Nestled between the inviting estuary of the Wooli River on the western side and the Pacific Ocean to the east and surrounded by the Yuraygir National Park, Wooli is scenic fishing and surfing haven and a truly relaxing spot for a low-key family holiday.

The retro beach shacks that line the ocean side of town are ridiculously affordable compared to places like Byron [we paid $400 for four nights between two families for an old shack right on the beach over Easter] and you can do a surf check from your own backyard and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves.

Admittedly, the open beach is a little rough for kids but the turquoise estuary, a short drive or bike ride away, is perfect for swimming, fishing and watching your salty, sun-kissed kids splash around.

There are fishing charters and boat and kayak hire if you want to explore the river or take on the sand dunes nearby.

It’s not a fishing town without a Co-op and this one doesn’t disappoint.

The oysters are prawns were fresh and delicious, especially when washed down with an icy cold beer while soaking up the afternoon sun.

The kids loved playing barefoot bowls at the local bowls club, which is also home to a very decent Chinese restaurant called Harry’s. Wooli also has a local pub – the Wooli Hotel Motel – and a takeaway shop for fish and chip dinners on the beach.

Time literally stops while holidaying at Wooli, which is truly one of the most charming little coastal towns you will come across.

 

Micks Bday Portraits 2013 322THE PASS/CLARKES BEACH, BYRON BAY

The hipsters might flock to Wategos and the backpackers to Main Beach but it is hard to beat the natural beauty of Byron’s Clarkes Beach.

Perfect for little ones, the stretch of golden sandy beach up to The Pass has to be one of my favourite places in the world.

With the lighthouse and lush rainforest as a backdrop and views of Julian Rocks and Mount Warning in the distance, this spot is pure magic.

Byron is packed full of accommodation options for every budget but you can’t beat the cabins at Clarkes Beach holiday park for the million-dollar views – and the short walk to the Byron Beach Café for seriously good food and coffee.

If you do want to spend a little more, you will never regret staying in one of the four sustainable National Parks and Wildlife-owned beach cottages, which have been restored in recent years. Our favourite is Mildenhall Cottage, which has unbeatable views, direct beach access and is only a short walk or ride to the restaurants, bars and boutiques in town. That is, if you can muster up the energy to leave this little slice of paradise.

 

Pictures by Natalie McComas at www.natmccomas.com

 

Amy Mills

Amy Mills  

Amy is an experienced and respected freelance journalist, writer and blogger, specialising in news, lifestyle, human interest, travel, health, celebrity and entertainment. She has worked in newspapers and top-selling weekly magazines in Australia and the United Kingdom for the past 15 years. Aside from her husband and two beautiful bambinos, Sunny and Ziggy, writing and travel are her other great loves // www.morethanaprettyface.com.au | @the_travelling_tribe