Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

The Village That Time Forgot!
- Mylestom North Coast NSW -
North Beach Caravan Park

Just because it’s winter, you don’t have to head to the far north! You can be just as comfortable in a temperate area. Needing a break and only having a few days, we decided to draw a circle from home and put a maximum driving time of seven hours. Bob sent off half a dozen emails with a few questions. As two mates in our age group had undergone open heart surgery in the last month, we have decided to become extra health conscious and do more exercise, so we needed flat surrounds to bike ride and walk. We also needed CDMA phone availability so we could stay in touch with website clients and do the necessary uploads. Some replied, most didn’t - one stood out for being friendly and that made our decision so much easier. Would you go to a place which said “Fish jumping out of the water. Plenty of dolphins at the moment.”


We arrived under grey clouds, but found an area bypassed by the majority of grey nomads. Jan’s welcome was just as hospitable as their email. We were shown to a site totally suitable for our motorhome, with all the facilities, and a few trees which Rex, our border collie, could adopt during his stay. All sites by the way are huge in this lovely park. Wayne and Jan Cheetham have been contract managers (the park is owned by the Bellingen Shire Council) for seven years. They came from Bendalong Caravan Park near Ulladulla where they were there seven years. And no, they don’t have a seven year itch.


Northern Beach was quite run down when they first looked at it, but they could see the potential and have found the Council very responsive to their suggested changes and improvements and have spent over $1 million upgrading the facilities. They certainly deserve credit for the wonderful outcome of their endeavours. Jan reckons this will be their last park. She says, "You just couldn’t get any better than this one.” We reckon she’s pretty right too. In terms of location, people, and the lovely quiet village, it’s hard to imagine anything that could do outdo it. “The South Coast was just too busy, but here it’s a nice pace, busy enough, but not run off our feet all the time”, she added.


“There is one problem” Wayne chimed in, “it is really difficult to find a place to go on holidays when you live here. Generally we go down the road to Nambucca because it is close to the golf course.” Now that’s really tough!! Wayne plays golf twice a week and Jan gets one tennis day – plus they both do the shopping. “We share the chores,” Jan commented “but Wayne gets two games of golf a week whereas I only get one tennis outing”. There are just over 130 sites. For the tourist there are 50 tourist powered and 20 unpowered sites. Add 5 delighful ensuite cabins and a mix of 32 permanents and 29 holiday vans in the on site vans, and you have a good spread across the park. Each flat grassy site is minimum average 10 m x 10 m with electricity, water taps and sullage. So whether you have a caravan or fifth wheeler with a tow vehicle, or a large motorhome, there are sites to fit your rig.


There are lots of local tourist information brochures in the office and also a kiosk which covers quite a good variety of needs. Vegemite to maple syrup, sliced veges, biscuits, sugar, flour, rice, necessities of soap etc, milk and soft drinks. With the general store cum post office, cum tackle and bait shop not five minutes away, you won’t run short of nearly anything. Less than 10 minutes walking away is the North Beach Bowling Club where you can get excellent meals (plus there’s a bottle shop for the necessities of happy hour!). And oh what a view as it's right on the river. From the park you have a 200 metre walk through the dunes, bounded on each side by banksias and wattles, to the 20 kms long beach, which runs from Sawtell in the north to Urunga in the South. Walk north for 20 minutes and you will reach the edge of the Bongil Bongil National Park, so that marks the end of the doggy section of the beach. From the surf club south, you can walk all the way to the entrance of the Bellinger River at Urunga – about 45 minutes each way.


What did we like most about North Beach – the friendly management, lots of wonderfully friendly travelers, the scenic delights for photography, the general peace and quiet (at night the sound of the waves does tend to lull you to easy sleep) and quite literally hundreds of bird species. You can pick up a list complied by Liz Houghton of Houghton’s Wines and mark off what you see. There’s even space for new sightings which can be handed in or posted back so they add to the list.

For caravan clubs and motorhome chapters, you can get an exceptionally good deal - $15 per van per night with a minimum booking of 10 or more. So if you are traveling with a group of friends or belong to a club, definitely put North Beach Caravan Park on your list. The only time this can’t apply is, of course, school holidays, Easter and Christmas.


Another thing we found excellent was the fact there is a single person and a dual occupancy rate. The tariffs have off peak, high season and shoulder rates. In August 2005 a powered site for one person was $16, unpowered $14, for a couple $21 powered and $19 unpowered. Additional adults and children are slightly extra. Day visitors are welcome, but charges to apply. Cabin rates range from $38 to $73 daily for two people off peak to $61 to $115 per night at Christmas.

Late checkouts (other than in holiday and peak seasons) are not a problem for sites, but do attract a slightly extra fee for cabins (due to rescheduling of cleaning).

So what does North Beach Caravan Park at Mylestom have to offer? Try Bird watching - Bush walking - Beach strolls - Beach fishing - Immaculate BBQ facilities – Scenic photographic opportunities - Surfing - The Bellingen River for sailing, water skiing, canoeing, swimming and fishing – just for starters. Oh yes - beautiful peace and quiet!


Sounds pretty good doesn’t it when you add in the camaderie of fellow RV travelers – under awnings or at the tables scattered around the grounds. We found people from as far west as Des and Barbara Puls (and let’s not forget doggie Darcy) who came from Albany WA. They were in Bellingen and asked a local where they could go overnight – that was two weeks back and they were about to extend for another week.

Margaret and Russ Gillespie have been coming here for six years – at least twice a year – so when Margaret broke her ankle, North Beach seemed the ideal place to come and recuperate. She could walk around the park easily, around the village on its flat streets and was aiming to do beach walks in a week or so. “We were going to Noosa every holiday”, Margaret explained, “and kept seeing this sign saying Mylestom and Repton. So one day we came off the highway and found this paradise.” Other travelers we met were from Bendigo, from Albury, from north of Adelaide – so you can see it is a meeting place for many regions, all with the love of traveling, but enjoying the peace and quiet of the little village that time forgot. Easily reached on all bitumen roads the turnoff is 20 kms south of Coffs Harbour. The delightful road in follows the Bellinger River and very scenic.

So when you are looking for somewhere a little different, give Jan and Wayne a ring on 02 6655 4250 or email We can guarantee you won’t regret it – definitely one of our best finds.

Chrissy Eustace

Hema 25 G12
GPS S 30 27.740 E 153 02.784



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Last updated: January 13, 2006
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