We decided we wanted to do a road trip up the eastern coast of Australia – renowned for its beautiful beaches – and stop off at the iconic Port Macquarie and Byron Bay. We flew back from Melbourne into Newcastle, grabbed a car and started our journey.

We arrived late into the heart of Port Macquarie and checked into Azura Beachhouse (www.azura.com.au), a wonderful little bed and breakfast located a short walk to the beaches and a 5 minute drive from the centre of town. Tired from the long day of flying and driving we grabbed a bottle of wine and relaxed in the spa before crashing out. Breakfast was waiting for us when we awoke – an array of fresh fruits and something new… Milo is a favourite is Australia- a powdered chocolate malt which is great with milk hot or cold (or with ice cream – just watch out for the coughing which follows).

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We had been told about a local wildlife part, Billabongs, which you could go and feed the kangaroos and wallabies and pat the koalas – so the next day headed there and had a great time getting surrounded by all the animal life wanting attention (and food)!

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After spending a few more days relaxing and enjoying the beach we continued the journey north, taking the scenic route along the beaches and stopping at some of the spectacular lookouts. Above is one of my favourites just south of Lennox Head – down below the cliff Aussie boys were taking their boards, walking out along the rocks and jumping into the waves.

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Byron Bay. I could live here. Beautiful beaches and beautiful people. A big backpacker spot, Byron Bay is the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. We arrived late after a long drive and checked into our apartment (www.breakfreeecobeach.com.au) 5 minutes walk from the main street. For dinner and drinks we headed to the Beach hotel – it was packed! Turns out we had arrived on ‘State of Origin’ night – a big rugby league match which reminded me of the antics on Superbowl Sunday back home.

The next day we went exploring – the main street of Byron Bay is packed with cafes, cool clothing and vintage shops. In one I even got to make my own necklace from scratch and (ironically) bought an American flag t shirt. The best part? Not a fast food chain in sight.  We continued on up to the lighthouse and enjoyed the views out over Byron and Tallows beach.

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Fortunately the rest of the week the weather cleared and we got to swim and sunbake to our hearts content – Wategos beach was definitely a favourite.

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Next Stop: Newcastle

Written by Aimee C