Broken Head, Northern New South Wales: Wishing on Stars

22 Jul

I characterise daily life at Broken Head as comfortable camping. For a description of our setup and how we got to this place my blog Broken Head 360 chronicles the saga.

What began as a grand vision two years ago of sustainable seachange living has contracted to a modest, second-hand caravan with ocean and hinterland views on 5.8 hectares of pastureland and scrub. I couldn’t be happier. 

Caravan and composting loo viewed from the track to the ridgetop. The peg is a marker for the housebuild #2.

Yes, it would be nice to have lights and hot water whenever we want, but we have clean air, the sound of the sea to lull us to sleep, birdsong to wake and want for nothing (now Stuart has installed the external composting toilet). The caravan has been tested by wind, rain and a cold snap and has proven to be watertight and cosy.
Lennox Head from the top of Gypsy Hill. Housebuild site #1.
Generous friends and family have us to stay ocasionally and my genius status on affords us reasonable hotel and apartment rates in Brisbane for overnight breaks and hair washing, so no hardship is involved, but never again will I take hot showers, long tub soaks and washing machines for granted. We have a tiny washing machine in the caravan, but are loathe to squander the power and water to run it. In a pinch the Lennox Head landromat does a load for six dollars.

We’ve learned to juggle solar and petrol generator power, cook with bottled gas and get by on a total of eight litres of water per day, ten if we have a lot of dish washing! I feel like the character in ‘King of the Road’, I know all the water taps and recycle rubbish bins between Byron and Lennox. We’re prepped for the post-apocalyptic scenario of scarce water and energy resources.

Our daily routine includes siesta, dinner by candle light and leaving the washing up until daylight. It was full moon this week so we ate our dessert of vegan beetroot and chocolate cake (bought) with coffee outside in the moonshine. I wished on a shooting star. No, not telling.

View from bed early morning after a rainy night.

The wombat hasn’t put in any further appearances but a bandicoot scuttled off the drive as we drove in yesterday. He thought he was hidden in the grass but he was clear as day. A fat, brown body with a few white rings on his stumpy tail.
A further benefit of caravan life is housework that takes only three minutes; more time for cycle rides, beach walks, yoga, writing, market visits, trip planning, reading and day dreaming. We’ve also been doing some ‘gardening’ on the land. My self-appointed task is to rid it of prickly pear and fire weed. It’s a tall order but I’ve made a good start. The stalky prickly pear and the ground cover yellow fire weed grow in close proximity. With the recent wet weather root systems release easily, even on the bigger plants. I missed out on Mother’s green thumb for planting and nurturing but I do find yanking out weeds satisfying.

One of our two bush lemon trees has been attacked by Gall Wasp. Mum advises we have to cut it back and burn the branches. Fun task given how spiky it is. Every day starts with lemon juice in warm water so we need this tree.

Revisiting Brunswick Heads, a favourite estuary and seaside village north of us, we cycled the beachside fire trail a long way towards Byron Bay. Looking south to Cape Byron we could just make out one distant figure walking on the beach.
Another beach walk took us up onto Lennox Headland to watch surfers ride the right-hand point break and we tackled the beach cycle path north from pretty Lake Ainsworth looking for a track that would join our property to Seven Mile Beach. Still looking.

We cycle into Byron Bay from Suffolk Park to use the library wifi and stock up on supplies. Now that school holidays are over you can count the swimmers on one hand at beautiful Wategos Beach. 


This weekend is Splendour in the Grass music festival so families have been replaced by hundreds of weekend flower children. 30,000 people in one place is the last thing I want right now.

It’s only a month until Stuart heads back to Europe. He’s booked a motorcycle tour of Rumania with a few days beforehand to recover from jet lag. I’ll head over from Melbourne with our son Cameron to meet Stuart in Lyon in early September. We’ve arranged a guided hike in the French Alps to start the joint part of the trip. Our guide, Darren, is a Scotsman we met in Provence who is based in the region and has been guiding for years. Four nights walking between refuges and mountain inns carrying our kit on our backs will be a real test of stamina.

But first I have a solo trip to Cairns to meet the newest addition to the Tickle side of the family, a son to my niece Jessica and her husband Justin. James Michael Roy arrived just this week to join his three siblings. Then in mid-August I have nine days in Nusa Lembongan and Ubud, Bali, with my youngest sister, Maria. This is our 50&60 birthday trip, a winning formula of beach, yoga, massages, paddy fields and simple, delicious Indonesian food. Bagus sekali!

Sunset view while making dinner.

Some books I’ve enjoyed lately:
‘The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’, Sarah Knight

‘Reckoning: A Memoir’, Magda Szubanski

‘The Course of Love’, Alain De Botton

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