"We must travel in the direction of our fear..." - John Berryman
No vacancy at all caravan parks
We decided to skip breakfast as we were out of cooking gas. We had a peek at the One Mile Beach of Nelson Bay and stopped at the site office to get our gas tank refilled before we drove off to Port Stephens. Port Stephens is not a city but rather a region spread around and beyond the magnificent waterway. It is a major coastal recreation and holiday centre, rightly known as ‘Blue Water Paradise’. Port Stephens is a mecca for experienced divers, underwater photographers for its colourful garden of soft corals. Port Stephens is official dolphin capital of Australia and well known for its resident population of over 150 bottlenose dolphins. Whales pass very close to shore and are easily accessible by whale watching cruises. The blue waters of Port Stephens are known to produce high quality rock oysters desired for their taste and freshness.'
At Port Stephens, we stopped at McD to have breakfast but the restaurant was closed as there was no electricity. We were informed that the power cut is affecting the whole region and all the petrol pumps could not function without electricity. And our fuel was running very dangerously close to empty.
We braved ourselves and drove on the M1, the Pacific Motorway hoping that the petrol will last us to the next petrol station. We were banking on that their pumps would be on a different power grid and working. We were very lucky to reach the rest area, known as the Rock and filled up the caravan and our empty stomachs.
Both caravan and travelers fueled, we headed north and decided to stop for the night at Ballina but the campsite was full. Ballina campsite is a 10 minutes drive from Ballina Central between the Pacific Ocean and the broad water of Richmond River. It is a secluded spot for a relaxing stay for there is no traffic noise. Ballina is surrounded by white sandy beaches and endless waterways. A blend of tranquility seaside hideaway ad vibrant holiday resort, Bellina is the commercial and entertainment hub of the shire. The historic thoroughfares of the town centre are lined with shopping arcades, stylish cafés and classic country pubs. We tried another campsite but Ballina seems to be a popular resort city and all campsites were fully occupied. We traveled on gravel and even a flooded road to Byron Bay but were greeted with no vacancy signs at every campsite.
We went further north till Surfers Paradise and had the choice of parking at the highway rest areas and spending the night in the caravan without electrical heating, or in a cozy bed of a motel and we decided on the latter. We selected one with outdoor parking available and rested the night in a warm motel bed.