Reef Adventure Seeker Feature: Van Tripping the East Coast of Australia with Anna Ehrgott
Getting to wake up a stone’s throw from the surf and in a new town every morning is as dreamy as it gets. Add two of your best friends, a (mostly) mechanically functioning van, a bit of a sense of humor and a bunch of surfboards to the equation and you're set - the ultimate recipe for van tripping success.
Australia is one of the easiest, safest, and most beautiful places to embark on a road trip—with consistent surf, diverse wildlife, hikes, waterfalls and lovely people there is no shortage of stuff to do and see.
Mecca for the regular foot; the perfect right point breaks are everywhere you turn, and eventually in your dreams. It’s crowded for a reason, truly some of the most perfect setups in the world. Between Snapper, Kirra, Alley and Burleigh, we could surf a different wave every day.
What to do: Byron’s known for surf, music, amazing food and its beautiful residents and visitors who all seem to gain a connection with the land there. Its really lush, and there’s tons of hiking. One of our favorites was the walk to the Byron Lighthouse. You can check surf spots along the way, and we got lucky enough to see a wallaby beside the path.
Surf: The Pass is the most frequented spot here. It’s a perfect right point and no secret to the thousands of surfers who flock here for the barrel section at the top of the wave that bends into a perfect wave that peels endlessly into the bay. The surf camps are also attracted to the flawless wave. Their students will generally post up right in your way, wherever that may be. The beach breaks around Lennox pick up more swell and are a lot more pleasant in regards to the crowd factor.
Grinds: Folk Cafe for smoothies and earthy plates of goodness. The Roadhouse for a hearty local/organic breakfast, Doma Japanese food for lunch, Santos Organic Grocery Store for savory pies and Top Shop for post surf acai bowls if you’ve got a sweet tooth and an inkling to eat sprawled out on a blanket in the sunshine, as most people do here.
What to Pack
Boards - it was so nice having a log and being able to surf the points when the swell dropped, and I had a fish for the beach breaks. We packed light knowing we'd have limited space in the van. I packed a headlamp, reusable water bottles, and Leatherman pocket-knife to cover our bases camping. Plus sunblock, a dive mask, fins, hat, and basically everything you can think of to prepare for long days in the Southern Hemisphere sun. I kept things casual clothing-wise, lots of summer dresses and tops and shorts for the warm weather paired with my Reef Rover Hi Gladiator Sandals and Reef Rover Low XT shoes.
After two weeks, half a million new inside jokes, a dozen savory pies, a bit of bloodshed, one ER visit, two shark sightings, a fresh new coat of stoke, a constellation of mosquito bites, and some of the best times of my life, we parted ways and returned to the retrospective corners of the world we get to call home. Richer from the experience and deeper into our friendships, we promised ourselves we’d all return.