The first thing you need to know about Crescent Head is they really, really like visitors. So much we counted no less than five “Welcome to Crescent” signs in the lead up to the beach itself. An officious looking council sign, a retro surf one, another tacked onto the side of Food Works… you get the picture.
What a perfect day for Team BabyBump to leave Sydney! Taking off at 9am under dreary skiers, less than an hour later, BOOM, we’re in Port Macquarie with sparkling sunshine. And an hour after that we’re in Crescent Head, a wide sweep of golden bay, small white cap sapphire waves rolling towards what seems like an empty shore.
Actually it IS, empty. In summer this sleepy hollow dotted with charming fibro cottages and campers with surf fins sticking out rear windows becomes, according to one local, “ballistic”. Who wouldn’t want to come here and relive some slow 1970’s style, sandy barefoot living?
But right now we have it to ourselves. Ze German, in his first East Coast exploration, falls in love with the carpark filled with campers (true to cliché). But while the town has painstakingly preserved the character, it has some dashes of cosmopolitan flavour.
Take, for example, the shop Pandanus, run by ex Sydney sider Kylie, a former stylist for Channel9. Her collection of colourful kaftans, wafting culottes and pop-colour jewellery woudn’t be out of place in Paddington or Surry Hills. Like others who have moved here, she’d been visiting with family for years before making the permanent move just six months ago. Crescent is that kind of place.
Such a pocket sized town seemed an unlikely place to get a shop on, but across the road from Pandanus is The Industrial Revolution, half funky designs and half restored furniture and lights. Amongst the mix? A former operating theatre light, a dentist chair light, ancient drying racks…a veritable cornucopia of unexpected objects. Mike Plews travels as far as South Australia to source his wares – a true labour of love.
Other little pleasure pockets include the divine Asian crunchy noodle salad at The Crescent Head Tavern, smoothies at the Green Glass and of course, that blissful, wide, untamed gorgeous-ness of beach.
But the star of the day is Netherby B & B, just 30 minutes away, riverside in Kempsey. The Heritage 1922 homestead is elegant and welcoming in a tropical jungle setting. Lindt chocolates adorn the rooms scented with rose water and as we feast on fresh prawns and sticky date pudding, we watch a function in the garden below from the wide verandah. Tres convivial.
The best bit? The Swiss owners are returning to the mountains and listing it for sale. Tempting? Mais oui. Looking forward to Day Two of My Legendary Drive!