Aussie Road Trip (part Two)

Posted on December 13, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

As I turned the car around another sharp corner more gravel pinged off the underside of the car and I thanked my paranoia that I had paid an extra charge up front to reduce my single car damage excess liability to $0 from $2000 (and some). How we ended up going down a narrow unsealed road, through a very leafy National Forest, I'll never quite know for sure. The last car I had passed was a Holden ute, 15 minutes and thus some 20 kilometers back, as we turned out of the charmingly named Matilda towards our final destination of Coffs Harbour.

The day had started back in Port Macquarie – checkout was early so we left quite early, still following the Pacific Highway on up the coast towards Brisbane. We drove straight past the intriguingly named town of South West Rocks (hmm), and made our first stop in Nambucca Heads. The town is strewn out along the bank of the river with a couple of interesting walks up and down the banks. Here's a picture of our car in the parking lot:

I figured I should take one for posterity's sake :->.

After that we headed inland, to follow a bit of the Waterfall Way. We stopped for lunch in the beautiful town of Bellingen (but sadly took no pictures), and passed the oddly named Dangar (sic) Falls:

Half an hour later, I passed the ute and we 're back where you joined me.  Needless to say, we successfully arrived in Coffs about an hour and a half later, having pass through more farming country and across more unsealed roads. I am the road king.

Coffs Harbour is a beautiful place, although oddly structured. We decided to spend the second of our 2 day stops here (the first being at ). The youth hostel we stayed in was cheap and clean, and well located for the jetty and beaches.

Although Coffs is also famous for the Big Banana (a worrying Aussie trend which keeps on flourishing), we opted instead to stop in at a carob sweet factory on the way out of town, and picked up national award winning honeycomb (hokey pokey) and nut brittle. Yum!

Our final stop before Brisbane was to be the famous Byron Bay. The fame comes from the ongoing hippy culture, excellent local art scene and numerous excellent beaches – but we didn't actually like it there very much. It didn't help that the hostel we stayed in was dirty, badly organised and filled with raucous school leavers (it turns out that we *are* told old for that type of thing after all), but there was also a huge over-touristed vibe to the place. We did get a quick thunderstorm though, and our room looked out onto a verandah which gave rise to fantastic sunsets:

Two quick notes here: Rachel has been getting scary-crazy-is-she-taking-classes-in-her-spare-time good at taking photos with her camera. I think these later Australia shots are jaw-dropping, and I'm so proud of her. Secondly, we passed through the mispronounced large town of Ballina. I know! That will mean something to one of you, but in the meantime, here's a giant shrimp:

So, on to Brisbane. We left early, drove through Surfer’s Paradise (UGLY), got to Brisbane airport even earlier (because changing State borders changed the time by an hour, unbeknownst to us), and were picked up by an old school friend of mine, Todd. 

We spent the evening at the house of our host, another family friend from our Malaysian days, Penny. 

Her two sons were there (which was awesome – Chris and Scott are very funny guys), and we had an excellent dinner. The next day Penny drove us back down to the Gold Coast, to an outdoor water park. We have no pictures, but it was an excellent day to be crashing down water slides – hot and dry.

On our final day in Brisbane, we went down to the town's South Bank and walked around the Gallery of Modern Art, playing host to the Asia-Pacific Trienniel. The local and regional art on display was top notch.

We had a final dinner with Todd, Scott and Chris (and their respective partners) – hugely cheap and high quality steaks, crashed at Todd's for the night and then jumped on a plane to New Zealand.

One more country off the list, five to go! And we're not even half way yet.

James

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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