Perched on the mouth of two rivers, the New South Wales coastal town of Urunga offers grey nomads fantastic fishing and the near guarantee of a laid-back stay.
But spending time in Urunga – just 20 minutes down the Pacific Highway from Coffs Harbour – is not just about chasing bream and relaxing in campchairs.
There’s a magnificently scenic golf course, a kilometre-long boardwalk, and some truly gorgeous beaches to stroll along. While it may be pushing things just a little to say that Urunga is ‘Action Central’, there are definitely plenty of non-sedentary activities on offer.
The seaside village’s name is apparently derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘long white sands’, and the first task for a grey nomad trying to resist the lure of a lazy stretch in the sun is to find out why.
With a population of around 2,000, the town is where the Kalang and Bellinger Rivers join the Pacific Ocean. If visitors do nothing else here, they must – if they are able – take a walk along the raised boardwalk through the mangroves of the river estuary to the beach.
It’s a great way to spend an hour or so looking at the pelicans fly overhead, the fishermen cast hopefully into the distance, children splash around in the water, and bucket-clutching families suck up yabbies for bait. It’s also all but impossible not to marvel at the sheer force of the current as the rivers and the sea meet in a whirlpool of power.
The boardwalk starts at the perfectly located Urunga Heads Holiday Park. It’s the sort of waterfront park that persuades even the most ardent free camper to break the budget and the habit of a lifetime ‘just this once.’ The Happy Hour vibe here is friendly and cheery … and why wouldn’t it be?
Just across the road from the van park is the Ocean View Hotel, and there are also cafes and fish and chips shops to persuade nomads to have a day off from cooking … unless of course, self-caught fish are on the menu.
It is the scenery and the ambience that makes this such a great grey nomad destination, but it’s also worth taking a look at the Bellinger Valley Historical Museum which opens three afternoons a week, checking out the views from the Pilot station, or finding out how honey is made at the Honey Place, just south of town.
And after all that, of course, you’ll be delighted to get back to the fishing rod and the campchair. Sigh!
And, if you’re half thinking about parking up the van for a while and making Urunga your home base … you certainly won’t be the first grey nomad to do so.