There is nothing more Australian than taking a driving holiday with the family. It’s an opportunity to spend a little time exploring unspoiled beaches, national parks and small coastal towns. The legendary Pacific Coast takes in so many picturesque locations and today we are exploring the roads less travelled along the Tweed Coast.
Our staring point is the seaside village of Fingal Head. We are taking the opportunity to visit the Fingal Heads historic lighthouse which was built in 1872. The short walk took us through an area of coastal rainforest with tracks leading off to the beach. There were signs for the “Giant’s Causeway” and “Forest Walk to Dreamtime Beach” which was a nice reminder of the area’s Aboriginal significance.
After climbing the stairs to the top of the headland we came upon the lighthouse. The children thought it was hysterical, a mini lighthouse. Anais declared it the cutest lighthouse she had ever seen! It may have been small, but it obviously performed an important job with Cook Island just 600 metres offshore and outcrops of volcanic rock off the coast. Whilst it’s no longer in use it’s well maintained and provides a picturesque historic centrepiece to the headland, and a great photo opportunity.
As we were admiring the beautiful colour of the ocean I couldn’t help letting out a little squeal! I saw a dolphin jump! Then I noticed a pod of dolphins swimming through the waves. There must have been about 12 dolphins of varying sizes playing in the water. They were swimming around the headland so we followed them and watched their games. Such a beautiful and majestic sight.
It was only our appetite that made us leave our perch on the headland.
Still in Fingal Heads is the Sheoak Shack and Gallery Café. True to it’s name the cafe is located under the shade of a large Sheoak tree. The café has a lovely relaxed beach vibe with a fresh healthy menu. Seating is eclectic with the choice of laid back lounge chairs, rustic old wooden tables and comfy cane chairs with a mishmash of cushions.
After much deliberation I decided on the “Warm Tofu Satay Salad.” Brett chose the Vegie Burger which would have been my next choice. We ordered a Meat Lovers Pizza for Anais and Chicken & Bean Nachos for the boy. With the ordering complete we relaxed and enjoyed the view of the water.
In the hot weather I feel the only way to adequately rehydrate is with an ice cold mojito. I figured that after the headland walk I needed a bit of “refreshing” before we tackled our next action packed activity. Sheoak Café has a great range of cocktails available, and if we didn’t have a full afternoon of watersports planned I could have easily settled in for a second.
The meals arrived and they were absolutely delicious! My salad was just so much healthy goodness on a plate! I loved the soft cubed tofu and the creamy satay sauce topped with crunchy pepita.
Hubby’s burger was huge! I swear the bun was nearly as big as his head. The homemade vegie patty was made with every grain imaginable. I was really pleased to see so many vegetarian and Gluten Free choices available on the menu.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the meals, and felt we had given our bodies a huge nutrient burst.
Have you ever tried stand up paddle boarding? It looks like one of those activities that I would fail miserably at, but believe it or not it’s a cinch and LOADS of fun! Tim from Watersports Guru took the family for a stand up paddle board lesson on Cudgen Creek. It was such a peaceful place and the water looked incredibly inviting. We were each given a board and before long we were standing and paddling around like pros. He taught the family a bunch of nifty tricks with cool names like “the submarine”.
“King of the Kayak” was the children’s favourite game. It’s played by standing on top of an overturned Kayak with your heads on your head. Everyone rocks the Kayak and the last one left standing is the winner. Needless to say I was the first off! The children obviously have much better balance than me! I didn’t mind the swim, the water was the most perfect temperature.
Little Anais showed some amazing strength and balance to repeatedly be the last one standing with the Guru. I kind of think Tim pushed her in to win, but he wasn’t admitting anything. I may have worked out why he’s the guru. He was like the aquatic version of a pied piper to my kids, they had an absolute ball.
Next time we are at the Tweed we will be booking the kids into his Junior Adventure Guru Program. It’s 3 hours of exploring, water awareness, outdoor education, team challenges, fishing, snorkelling, Kayaking and all high energy play that kids love.
I managed to lure the children away from the creek and Tim with the promise of more water play and a giant jumping pillow.
The Big4 Tweed Billabong was our next stop, and our home for the evening. On arrival we found that our self contained cabin was conveniently located right near the pool, jumping pillow and coral cove play equipment. Needless to say the children weren’t interested in looking inside the cabin. They made a bee line to the pool, and up the slippery slide. I can’t even imagine the number of times they came down the slide and splashed into the pool. I’m in awe of their energy levels!
The Big4 Tweed has amazing facilities on offer, and is particularly family friendly. There is the choice of self contained cabins, powered sites and simple grassy, shaded tent sites. The park is situated on a tidal saltwater billabong which means more watersports were on offer. Kayaks, fishing rods and standup paddle boards are all available for hire. In the middle of the billabong you will find trampoline style pontoons. After swimming or kayaking out to one, you can climb on the trampoline and jump or dive off into the deep water.
It had been a huge day of exploring, hiking, water and sun so an early dinner was the order of the evening. There are so many restaurants in Kingscliff offering every imaginable cuisine. It was the aroma of Kathmandu Kitchen which proved to be the most enticing. The restaurant was decorated in vivid colours and featured black and white images of Nepalese people, the Nepal landscape and statues of Buddha and Ganesha.
The menu explained that in Nepal & Tibet the preparation and presentation of food is undertaken with deep respect and gratitude. Thanks is offered to the ingredients and everyone that has been involved with its production, from growing the rice to the chef cooking the meal. Ordering was difficult because there were so many dishes on the menu I had not previously tried, and they all sounded fantastic! To start we ordered some Sherpa breads with a trio of traditional dips. The children chose spring rolls (as expected).
I also noticed an entrée called Momo. Momo is a steamed spicy beef dumpling which is served in a tomato based curry sauce. The dish is then garnished with coriander leaves which gives a lovely fresh flavour.
Although we had ordered spring rolls for the kids we found they enjoyed all the entrée’s. The dishes were all very tasty, a little spicy, but not overly hot. When it comes to mains my little ones won’t go past Butter Chicken. It’s their absolute favourite! The Nepalese version of butter chicken is a winner. The curry was so thick and creamy and the chicken had remained completely moist and tender. It was so good the children did manage to keep it all for themselves.
I ordered a Saag Ra Chij which was described as wok fried spinach with feta cheese garlic and nutmeg. Oh my it was good! Creamy, buttery, salty with a mild curry flavour. It was perfect scooped up with the garlic Sherpa bread we had ordered.
Brett chose the Goruko Masu, which is a famous Kathmandu spiced beef dish. The beef was amazing, it had been slow cooked in spices and just fell apart in my mouth. I loved the rich, meaty curry and the heat from the chilli.
Such a perfect way to end our first day adventuring on the Tweed Coast. The kids aren’t going to need rocking to sleep tonight, and nor will I.
It’s already a legendary drive and a legendary getaway, and we have more to come tomorrow.