So I was lucky enough to spend some time at Spot X Surf Camp which is run by Mojo Surf. Having beach access directly from the camp is what makes this place so special. This place caters for everyone. If you are just after beach front accommodation, beginner learn to surf lessons or you want to join their ever popular surf academy, Mojo Surf Camp has it all. The surf academy is an awesome concept where you live in the camp for up to three months and you can even complete your surf coaching accreditation at the end of it. You get video analysis, fitness training, surf theory and endless hours surfing.
Boosting high
Get up early for the amazing sunrises
Getting There:
Spot X is located around 30 minutes north of Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales coast of Australia. You can get there by driving or public bus with Greyhound or Premier. You just get off at Woolgoolga and the team from Mojo will pick you up. I went with Contiki on their trips which stays there. You can go with Contiki from Sydney all the way up to Cairns and also stopping off at Byron Bay and Noosa as well. Quite a few surfing options as well as awesome adventure and making so many new friends.
The Headland from the beach right in front of the surf camp
Sunrise at a beach just over the headland
When you choose surf academy, beginner surf lessons or if you arrive with Contiki like I did, all of your meals are included. The breakfast is Continental Style with cereals and toast. Lunch is a mixture but usually there are wraps or rolls to make sandwiches. Dinner is always a variety and there is always plenty of food to refuel you after surfing all day.

You can choose to stay in a tipi

Spot X offers quite a variety of accommodation. From the Tipi's shown above to water front cabins, there is something for everyone. There are powered sites if you have your own van, campsites, or the converted container ships are great re-purpose built rooms.
Straight across the bridge and onto the beach
Surf lessons for beginners are the most popular at Mojo Surf

Other Activities:
When you have finished your surf lessons you can do some of the other activities that they offer. There is kayaking, ocean rafting, stand up paddle boarding, slip and slide, volleyball, and kangaroo golf. Kangaroo golf is at the local golf club where the driving range has hundreds of kangaroos on it. Nothing more Australian than that! There is huge TV's in a cinema style room as well as my favourite thing, the camp fire! So you can see, there is plenty to experience even if you don't want to do surf lessons and just do there stay packages.

Overall my review of this place is super positive. The accommodation might be pretty basic, but it is comfortable and the location is killer. It really is the positive vibe of the place that sucks you in and it is no wonder many people end up staying for 3 months or longer.
If you have read this far you must be keen, so get amongst it....YEEEW
There are always options for waves for everyone 

The magical place that is Byron Bay makes you want to stay. The beaches are so amazing and the vibe of the town is something else The mix of people and the lifestyle is awesome. Whenever I am leaving Byron it never feels like I have spent enough time there. Take me back now!
Sunrise over the bay
Don't you just want to be there right now
Can you spot the lighthouse

There have been plenty of storms around in Sydney lately. I went chasing lightning the other day and managed to catch a couple of strikes and fun clouds. Then I sheltered under a ledge from the rain and storm and then managed to find others enjoying the nature show.

Lightning Strikes
Don't forget your umbrella
Storm Front
Storm heading out to sea

The Waverley Cemetery is on some of the most prime land in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. It is quite an iconic cemetery set on the tall cliffs and hearing the waves crashing below is quite peaceful. This early in the morning there are still many people jogging and walking between Bronte and Clovelly. There wasn't much happening with the sunrise as there was quite a lot of clouds around but the long exposure gave some drama to them.

I really like the drama of the clouds
There are some really amazing memorials here
Flowers, Light and Gravestones
How about the view from here

I am really enjoying the sunrises at Bronte Beach at the moment. The beach is a little bit less hectic than Bondi but the jostle for the best places for shooting the sunrise are a battle of the photographers. It has really been making me work on different angles. Fun times!
Bronte Beach Sunrise Delight
Ready for Action
Looks Calm but it is Dangerous
Long Exposure Rocks & Waves
Just watch the sunrise show

I don't think that it really is possible to get sick of Bondi Beach as a photographer. There is always something different or things happening that you can shoot. I have shot plenty of sunrises and it is rare to walk away without some good shots. The terrible weather that we have been having lately has made it challenging to even get out of bed.
The green rocks at South Bondi are interesting to photograph
Bondi Icebergs Pool and Restaurant
Reflections are fun to shoot
There is always something happening at sunrise at Bondi
It is always changing at Bondi

The Bronte Beach Pool is a magnet for photographers. On any given Saturday or Sunday there will be at least 5 other photographers there trying to capture the sunrise. This morning there would have been close to 25 photographers shuffling around the pools edge jostling for the best positions and frustrating each other by getting in the shots. I wasn't worried as I felt that it showed what it is like there every weekend. .
Bronte Pool
Bronte Cliffs
Bronte Swimming Club
Bronte to Bondi
Great place to swim some laps
Bronte Boggy Hole
How great is the Bronte Pool. No wonder the photographers flock here

It may be cold, but even the blues of winter at the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney beaches are beautiful. This collection of photos are all long exposures. They range from 30 seconds through to a few minutes of exposure which helps smooth out the water and makes it look like a ghost town. I really enjoy shooting long exposure photos as it really makes you slow down end enjoy the moment as well as capturing something amazing.
Bronte Beach
The cliffs between Bronte & Tamarama Beaches
Bronte Beach
Perfect rock fishing spots at Bronte
Winter sunrise over Tamarama Beach
Bondi Beach Sunrise

In the town of Ito, I stayed at K's House which is a traditional wooden Ryokan which is over 100 years old. They have dorm rooms, but this isn't your traditional hostel. I stayed in a private room with a bathroom that had a balcony over looking the river that runs along the back of the accommodation. This was one of my best experiences to feel for how traditionally the Japanese live with tatami mats and sleeping on the floor. The bedding was very comfortable, which I was super surprised about. It is well worth experiencing staying at a Ryokan with any trip to Japan.
Ito Harbour
This is a private room at K's House - Ryokan Accommodation
This is K's House accommodation and the other traditional Ryokan that is worth a visit in Ito

You can get to Ito by train from Tokyo or Kyoto through Atami. I caught the train from further south on the Izu Peninsula from the town of Shimoda. If you stay at K's House Ryokan is is either a short 10 minute walk from the station or a 800YEN taxi if you have luggage. 
More of Ito's harbour
If you are lucky enough to be there on a weekend that the drag net fishing display happens it is worth getting up early. 
There is free miso soup afterwards!

On previous trips to Japan, I have been to Kamakura. Kamakura is a great beach location, but on this trip I went a bit further south on the coast to the Izu Peninsula. Shimoda is a quiet fishing village with some amazing rugged coastline. Shimoda is famous for being the location of where Japan opened their ports to trade with other countries in the 1850. Since then I don't think that much has changed.
Nebetahama Beach Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula
Shimoda Rope Way is worth a trip with amazing views over the town, but also over the harbor

If you have a JR rail pass you can use this to catch the train from Tokyo through Atami to Shimoda. You can catch any JR train to Shinagawa Station and then take the Odoriko Super View which you need to book a reserved seat all the way through to Shimoda. The rail line from Atami is a privately owned line called the Izu Kyuko Line. This means that you will have to pay additional amount when you arrive in Shimoda of about 1500 YEN per person as your JR pass will not cover this. If you arrive early to Shimoda there are luggage lockers where you can leave your bags and use the Izu Kyuko day pass you have just paid for and catch a train back to Kawazu to explore another little town for a few hours.

At Shimoda Station all of the hotels have staff members there to greet you and take you in their shuttle bus to the hotel. I stayed at Shimoda Tokyu Hotel which run shuttle buses twice an hour from the hotel to the station. You can also ask the driver to drop you off on Perry Road which is worth an explore and wander back to town using the walking trail.
Shimoda Tokyu Hotel has great ocean view rooms
There are many abandon houses and buildings that nature is trying to take back 
Shirahama Beach is worth a visit and is a 10 minute bus ride from Shimoda
Beach shops of Shirahama Beach
If I went back I would hire a car to explore the Izu Peninsula. The driving would be easy and allow you to explore more as the public transport is fairly limiting.

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