We woke in the morning to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, it is at times like this I wish I had a surf board as there were plenty of waves to catch. We spent the first part of the morning getting some of our paperwork done in preparation for going to New Zealand. We have to complete our visa applications and send them off with our passports, as we are of no fixed abode we have waited until we are close to Sydney in order to be able to collect our passports from the embassy.
We are also in contact with a shipping agent with regards getting the van across the Tasman Sea. We have been offered two dates for a sailing, 7th September or 21 September, we would prefer the later one but it seems not everything is straight forward. The shipping company, even though we may book well in advance, could bump the van off on the selected date. If we go for the first date then we will sill be able to take the van to the port for the 21st as our visa lasts until 29 September. If we choose the 21st and it is put off we will have to find someone who will look after the van until it does go on board. The van will be shipped to Lyttelton, which is near Christchurch on the south island, we had wanted to start with the south island first so we are in the north when the colder weather comes.
After a morning form filling and e-mail writing we needed to get out and clear our heads so we set off for a walk along the beach to Nambucca Heads. This is where the Nambucca River meets the South Pacific Ocean and where there are a number of beaches set in small coves. The beach by the caravan park was the main surfing beach and was aptly named Main Beach, but there was no one surfing today. At week-ends the surf patrol, whose headquarters is at the end of the beach, operate their patrols. We walked along the beach and around the headland into the next cove where we found two more lovely beaches. At the end of this bay was Wellington Rock, a large craggy outcrop which had the surf bashing up on to it and with no way around it.
At the back of the beach I discovered a lot of steps leading up into the dunes and as I hadn't climbed steps for a while I decided to see where they would lead. They went across the dunes and around to another sandy beach past the rocks and close to the mouth of the Nambucca River. Jeff was not too pleased with my discovery as he then felt obliged to climb up the steps to have a look. As we were walking along this beach we had to play dodge the waves, I made it but Jeff didn't so he got his sock wet. Well I keep saying he should not wear socks with sandals! At the end of this beach is the Vee-Wall breakwater at the entrance to the river. It is a long breakwater made up of large stones and concrete blocks which has been turned into a giant outdoor gallery for graffiti artists. It is now a visitor's attraction in its own right as people walk a long it to view the pictures and messages or add their own to it. Some of the messages are funny; others are very colourful whilst a few lack imagination. We had forgotten to bring our cans of spray paint so future visitors will not be able to read 'Jeff and Sylvia was here'.
We returned back over the dunes and followed the road around to a lookout named Captain Cook's Lookout. It seems to me that Australia has as many lookouts attributed to Captain Cook than Scotland has of caves where Bonnie Prince Charlie slept. From here you can often see whales passing by but not today, so we returned to the beach and back to our site.
On Thursday morning we had a problem with our virus protector on the computer so we found a local repair shop in the town and left it with him. We had a look around the town and found the unique street mosaic which comprises of over thirty meters of tiled art work by the footpath. It was created by artist Guy Crossley and a team of local volunteers, who scoured the district for cast of tiles, pottery, china and other knick-knacks which were then cleverly "embroidered" into a spectacular streetscape.
After viewing this mosaic we set off down the Pacific Highway to Macksville where we turned off to drive into the Nambucca Valley. We travelled along the side of the river for a while then through pastureland with lots of dairy cows in the fields and the hills in the distance. At the end of the road is the village of Lower Taylors Arm which is home to Australia's most famous hostelry, the Pub With No Beer, the one in the song. Gordon Patterson wrote the song in the pub and used local characters from the village in the verses. Another pub in Queensland also claims that the song was written about their pub. However the Taylors Arm has a news article up on the wall describing a court case which names them as the original pub. Which ever story is correct this pub will not run out of beer again as it has its own micro brewery on site. Inside it has a lot of memorabilia of local history, and information about the songwriter and Slim Dusty, the singer who had the hit record. We had been told they did nice food so we treated ourselves to lunch along with a couple of glasses of each of their home brew.
We were given a tour of the brewery and told about the five different beers they brew, there motto is 'we only brew the beers we like to drink'. They bottle two brands and sell them in the pub as well as in some stores around Australia.
We returned to Nambucca Heads and collected our computer and set off down the Pacific Highway for our next chosen destination, South West Rocks.