At the last census, Crescent Head clocked in a population count of 1,586. In the whole town, there are less people than there were students in my high school.
The Crescent Head coastline, though, is huge.
I saw my first telltale spout of the season while standing on the headland, the deep blue Pacific stretching before me. Then I saw my second, and third. Distinct puffs of water in the distance, occasionally followed by the visible splash of a breaching whale.
Finally, a traffic jam on the Humpback Highway.
I was so captivated that I didn’t realize there was another, higher lookout point, from where I would be able to see even more whales and even more coastline.
We followed the trail, climbing through a hillside golf course and hiking past a gaggle of steely-eyed magpies, to reach the zenith. By the time we arrived, I was sweaty and anticipating more incredible views. There, in front of me, was what we’d come for.
It was a giant water tank.
Sometimes, it seems, the best views are not found at the very top, but on the way there.
We walked back down, pointing out whales as we went, relishing the hot sunshine and the endless sky.
The drive back to the campsite revealed peeks of more vacant beaches, and I remembered that I was on a giant island and this was just the beginning.
We stayed at Waves Campground, directly across from Delicate Nobby beach. On our first night we arrived just before sunset and had to rush to set up the camper trailer (made especially fun because it was our first-ever attempt to do so).
Once we sat down, satisfied with our work, I became aware of a repetitive rushing sound.
“What is that?” I asked, alarmed.
It was the ocean, of course. We were enjoying what was essentially beachfront living and I thought it was the sound of the tent collapsing from the inside out.
Within a few minutes we’d walked over to get a better look at those crashing waves and soft white sand, and I was reassured. During low tide the next day we were able to climb over the rocks and investigate the tiny ecosystems buried in the rock pools.
We only stayed in Crescent Head for two nights before heading inland to our first house sit (more on that coming soon!) but it was a stop that reminded me how big this country is, and how vast its coastline, and how much I have ahead to see.