The Road to Cudgera

Hastings Point lies at the mouth of Cudgera Creek, just a few km south of Kingscliff on the far north NSW coast. It’s still a quiet respite from the housing developments that are constantly moving towards it. However, it was once a focus for (mainly Queensland) fishermen in the post WW2 years, with its foreshore camping area invariably crowded with their tents every Christmas and Easter holidays. Our family was just one of the many to spend its holidays there. It was known to us then as Cudgera. Just getting there then by the sand track from Kingscliff or by the narrow winding dirt Round Mountain road was a feat in itself, but made the reward of arrival all the more worthwhile. 

The old bridge at Hastings Point (Cudgera)

Invariably, dad chose the sandtrack and our overloaded Zephyr Six was always in imminent danger of getting bogged. So it always a relief when we finally trundled over the rickety bridge and set up camp (usually in the middle of the night).

I am told the bridge had been constructed by a Mineral Sand Mining Company, the beaches having had their wealth extracted and sent to US markets. In building the bridge, the abutments filled up half the creek and in doing so created a deep hole which abounded in fish. The Black Bream were so thick in number that they could be easily jagged by pulling a three barbed hook through their shoal (illegal of course).

Dad fishing at Hastings Point (Cudgera) from the old bridge

The alternative to fishing the creek was the beach, and my father would spend hours casting all along the beach. He was nothing if not persistent. No wonder his favourite book was Ernest Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’. Yes he really was a Santiago at heart.

Strangely, when the coast road and the bridge at Hastings Point were upgraded, the campers went elsewhere. Today, though, visiting this unspoiled area still holds many happy memories for me.

Cudgera Creek in 2020

7 thoughts on “The Road to Cudgera

  1. Big coincidence…we just yesterday moved our holiday caravan out of the Tweed Holiday Park at Cudgera Creek, Hastings Point. All permanent vans, as is happening in most van parks around Australia’s coastline, are being told to leave and move out of the park, this has been happening over the last few years, ours and another van are the most recent to leave. We only had a holiday van for 2.5 years, but enjoyed it a great deal and used it as much as we could. We hoped for 5 years, but that was unfortunately not our fate. Wonderful holiday spot, right opposite the beach with creek behind. Very busy at Christmas and Easter, with camping allowed across the road, further up towards the headland at major holiday times, as overflow to the park. Paddle boarding, estuary and surf swimming (patrolled beach), fishing, canoeing, sun baking, whale watching, the list goes on. We will now have to find a new holiday spot, as we set off on our next adventure in life. Downside though, can be very windy and, it seems to us, that an oversupply of rain, it rained an awful lot in the time we owned it and often very heavily.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Peter

    Those photos are incredible. Is there any way I can speak to you directly for some more information regarding Hastings Point?

    Kind regards

    Like

  3. We have just spent a week in May 2022 at Hastings Point staying in an ocean view Unit at “Maggies” Hole.

    We have returned to our old holiday destination many times over the years. On this occasion I took particular notice of the date on the plaque fixed to the New Bridge. It opened in 1963. Note that I still refer to it as the “new” bridge. I have come across your blog because I was looking for a photo of the Old Bridge. Maybe your photo was of an Older Old Bridge !! I don’t recall it looking as primitive as this one in your photo but maybe I was looking through a child’s eyes! It seemed bigger and higher. Everyone jumped from it into the deep hole. I recall that the Ice / Bread / Milk Delivery truck made a loud rumbling noise as it crossed over about 10am each week day.

    Yes, there were many black bream caught in that hole especially in the August school holidays – there was an art to this that involved wearing waders, using a coloured float that bobbed below the surface when the fish nibbled and using a fresh green sea weed or the headland’s rocky sea squirts as bait. I believe though that my father used yabbies on most occasions – pumping fresh yabbies was part of the holiday ritual. He fished for regular sea bream using mullet gut that I think he had ordered from an outlet at Wooloongabba – it went into an old tin and was sprinkled with something, possibly breakfast oats. Mum preferred fishing for whiting with sea worms which they purchased from a “local”. They seldom used pippies that could be “wriggled” out of the beach as you fished and we never considered eating them. The kids fished for sea mullet using stale bread – in retrospect, probably not environmentally friendly.

    We “camped” in a caravan – no electricity, no mains water but there were bore water hand pumps in the park. Our holidays at this destination ceased about 1968 but Mum and Dad returned there after they retired and all their grandchildren also enjoyed holidays in the same caravan. My youngest and 40 year old daughter even asked if the shop still sold lollies selected from the large bottles ! No, I don’t think anyone serves lollies from bottles anymore . . . fortunately, the word “candy” only reappears at Christmas time.

    Many great memories of simple pleasures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice memories Dianne,
      the photo on my blog would have been early 1950s. And yes, the delivery truck did make loud rumblings as it crossed the bridge. The shop was owned by Miss Hannay for many years. Perhaps the name rings a bell with you?

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s