Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

Looking through the Natural Arch

Entering New South Wales

The fruit and veg shop

Brunswick Heads campsite

Brunswick Heads beach

The river mouth at Brunswick Heads

Byron Bay beach

Byron Bay lighthouse

One of the lookouts we visited

Jeff at Australia's most easterly point

We had lunch at the far end of this bay

Our lunch spot at Broken Head Bay

A handsome man at Broken Head Bay

Lennox Head lookout

Sylvia's Comments.

Sunday morning saw us retracing our steps back down the hillside to Beechmont. It had been great spending the last 5 nights in Lamington National Park doing the bush walks. When we got on to the longer trails we found ourselves far away from human activity and when we stood still all we could hear was the breeze in the trees, the water running in the creek and the birds calling out. One distinctive bird was the Eastern Whipbird, we never saw any but their distinctive melodious call sounding like a very loud whipcrack could be heard throughout the forest. Sometimes we could just stand and hear silence, it was a nice peaceful few days.

Jeff described the journey up and our return was just the same. When we reached Beechmont we turned onto the main road and headed towards Nerang. The journey was up and down hills as we traversed through the Darlington Range, passing through a warfare centre used for training Australian troops. When we reached the 97 highway we turned south and headed down the Numinbah Valley, the valley we were overlooking from Binna Burra. At one point we had a view of the café, which was by the campsite, perched way up on the hill.

The road continued on to Natural Bridge, an area created from lava flows from the volcano Mt Warning, situated in the nearby Mt Warning National Park. The volcanic formations of the large hexagonal columns of ballast rock are all around the creek bed, nearby a cave was formed. Upstream a deep pool was drilled in the creek bed by the swirling actions of the rocks. The water eventually broke through the cave roof, allowing water to pour through the hole into the cave below. A short walk took us down to the creek bed then up to the cave where we were able to go inside to look up at the water coming through the roof. The cave is also home to glow worms and it would have been interesting to have been there at night to see the cave lit by them. What might not have been so interesting would have been scrambling down the path in the dark with just a torch to light our way.

We had just completed our walk when on came the rain so a quick dash back to the van was called for. The television stations have been announcing that June was the coldest and wettest month in Queensland since records began. I tell you this as I do not want you all thinking we are having it easy over here. Once back in the van we were heading off again travelling along side the mountains and forests of Lamington National Park, it seems it just does not want to part company with us. The road again was taking us uphill and we eventually emerged from the trees at the top to a magnificent view of Mt Warning and the area below us, which is New South Wales. It is hear we crossed the State Border with no big official sign, just a small one telling us what shire we were entering in the state of NSW. From here the road dropped downhill to the small township of Chillingham, where we stopped at a roadside farmers shop to buy fruit and veg. One unusual veg/fruit caught our eye. It was called Buddha's Hand (it looked like a hand) and we asked the lady what it would be used for. It can be added to stir fries, chopped and used in salads or candied and eaten as it is. It had a strong lemony smell and taste, we bought some to try and found it very pleasant.

With the van stocked with food we drove on to Murwillamba, a fair sized town and one we had been recommended as a good place to stay on the showground's. We found the showground very easily for us but could not find any way in, we drove around it but still could only find locked gates. So we abandoned that idea joined the Pacific Highway and drove on to Brunswick Heads. The road is being upgraded to a duel carriageway and looked like it was nearly ready to be opened, we had to be content to drive along a narrow road with a lot of road works at the side. This was one more case of arriving somewhere too early as the new road was opened two days later. We found Brunswick Heads no bother, which is more than can be said for our chosen campsite. Driving up and down the road we abandoned that idea and found another on sitting right by the river. We had decided to stay 2 nights, as today Sunday, was men's finals day at Wimbledon, and it would not be on our screen until 11pm, so it would be a late night. We were hoping for a quick three set game but Rodger made us go the distance and at 3.30am we switched the TV off.

Next day feeling a little tired we spent a lazy morning cleaning and washing then after lunch went out to explore our surroundings. After a walk along the beach and through the town we found a café with a TV showing tennis, so we went in for a coffee and discovered Jamie Murry playing in the mixed doubles, so we just had to watch and cheer when he won. Tonight we contacted John, a fellow traveller whom we had met way back on the 4 April in Wyndham WA. He had given us his phone number and invited us to contact him when we reached Byron Bay in NSW and visit him. We had spoken to John a couple of times since. It seems he does not live in Byron Bay but in a small village inland called Nimbin. We arranged to visit his home tomorrow and John gave us instructions to get to his home. He also suggested we travel down the costal route before heading inland.

On Tuesday we headed down to Byron Bay and drove through the small town towards Cape Byron. Cape Byron is the easternmost point of the Australian mainland, capped with a lighthouse. There are also some wonderful beaches and some great surf for the enthusiasts. We managed to find somewhere to park, it was quite busy as the schools here are on their two week winter holidays. From our parking spot we set off to walk to the light house via a couple of lovely beaches, two lookouts involving climbing a fair number of steps and some very steep paths. I keep thinking all this exercise must be good for me but the weight stays the same, must be something to do with all the home baked cookies these Aussie café's stock. Eventually we made it to the top and as usual the views were worth it. We continued on the circular path and seemed to be still climbing, I was having a moan and Jeff following behind kept asking if I was sure we were on the right path, does he not trust me! Coming across some workmen repairing the path reassured us that we were on the right path and were very close to the top and then it would be all downhill after that. It did not help that we met a couple of joggers on the path. It was not long before we reached the van again showing I did know what I was doing.

We found a nice beach for lunch and then on to the next stopping place where another lookout up yet another hill beckoned, do we never learn?

After this it was time to head to Nimbin, at Ballina we headed inwards to Lismore on the Broxner Highway and then North to Nimbin. It was now getting late and after driving through the village we realised we had missed our turning, a quick phone call to John gave us new information and so we retraced our steps and John came down to the end of the road to meet us. It was a good job that he did as we would never have found him as he lived right out in the country in a lovely area which Jeff will tell you about.

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