Monday 22nd February
After a late start we travelled along the M1 and crossed into NSW and continued to follow the Pacific Motorway turning off at Clothiers Creek Road, driving through interesting thick woodland to join Tweed Coast Road at Cabarita Beach. We had a late lunch of sardines on rice cakes topped with chilli dill pickles. The memory of the meal still lives with me. (Hmmm! Perhaps I meant the meal still haunts me!)
We walked to the top of Norries Headland with grand views to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads to the north, with whale watching seating at the top of a wind driven knob of land. Yes it was very windy today which still does not detract from the need for caution at the top of the sheer cliffs to the rocks below.
Doug Linda and Donnis brave the strong winds on the cliffs above Cabarita Beach.
This location is as far as Donnis and I have travelled on the Tweed Coast Road. Not quite true to coastal being in its name, the road meanders along the coast then wanders back through farmland, crossing the Pacific Motorway then turns back on itself passing through small coastal villages to end at the easternmost point in Australia, Byron Bay. We had been here only once before when we were returning from Tasmania in our Toyota Coaster motorhome in late June, 2009. We spent one night in an expensive caravan park and had an expensive pizza for dinner. It seems very little has changed since our last visit. Traffic was chaotic.
A busy Byron Bay street.
Norfolk Island Pines. Like many beaches throughout Australia these pines are an iconic fixture.
Parking meters have given birth to new parking meters all the way from the edge of town, through all beach locations to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is exempt from parking meters. Here live people collect parking fees.
Byron Bay Lighthouse. Easternmost point of Australia.
We did not stop due to limited parking, bumper to bumper driving and it was getting late. As always this summer the weather has been perfect, provided you like hot days.
Tuesday 23rd February
Today we had an almost abortive picnic. We packed a great lunch in the Esky including ice packs to keep it cool. Donnis also packed cutlery and plates in a separate Esky. Frank picked up the first Esky, packed it in the boot and away we went. We did not discover the missing picnic materials until we arrived at our destination. Hmmm. Lids of plastic containers, a flick knife and fingers were put to good use.
First stop was Hinze Dam. Yes, we visited the dam last year but obviously Linda and Doug have not. The Hinze Dam was named in honour of a local family whose home and farm were to become part of the dam itself and is now underwater. The dam was not named after a shifty politician who was distantly related to the family. The dam on the Nerang River had stage one completed in 1976, stage two in 1989 and stage three in 2011. The dam provides flood mitigation for people living downstream in the Nerang River Valley.
From the dam we drove to Natural Bridge
On the Natural Bridge walk with some of the Hoop Pines planted about a century ago.
Inside the grotto. Home to a colony of bats and glow worms.
Leaving the Natural Bridge grotto.
and discovered we had food but no plates, knives or forks. We have been to Natural Bridge before so we lunched, using fingers, before walking to the bridge and taking the loop track back to the carpark. We were interested to note many, many signs stating swimming is not permitted and heavy fines and penalties are imposed on anyone caught swimming. We saw at least three people walking the track, in their wet swimming gear and not a ranger in sight.
Interesting car with Bamboo roof racks and a bent steel tow bar.
We then drove the back road to Springbrook to see the Best of All Lookouts. The temperature here had dropped from 32° at the dam to 18° at the lookout car park. The walk to the lookout through rainforest and on the cliff face itself the temperature would have been much less and the wind chill factor made standing at the lookout rather a chilly affair. No wonder there are ancient Antarctic Beech trees growing here and seem to be constantly dripping from the clouds which hover around here most days. www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/about.htm We had just enough time to stop at Purling Brook Falls. As the afternoon was getting late and long shadows appearing we did not attempt any of the walks.
Wednesday 24th February
Today was intended to be a lay day where we sat back and did nuffin. Donnis son Peter arrived unexpectedly so we went for a walk on Southport Beach then went to Southport Surf Life Saving Club for a beer before heading home for dinner.
Thursday 25th February
A late start saw us at Burleigh Heads and remarkably, we found a parking spot. We walked into the National Park
Burleigh Heads looking north to Surfers Paradise.
Doug Linda and Frank at the entrance to the Burleigh Headland National Park.
and followed the low walking track as far as Tallebudgera Creek and back.
Looking south to the Tallebudgera rockwall. with Currumbin and Coolangatta in the distance.
The southern shore of Tallebudgera Creek is distinctly family oriented. The norther shore, often underwater is more popular with those not of a family group.
Sometimes the track is closed due to falling rocks.
There are several gates to close access during periods of bad weather when there is a risk of a landslide and as happened last year, a bushfire.
These are just some of the rocks which could tumble down the steep slopes when heavy rain undermines the unstable tallus.
The drone hovering over the surf.
The drone operator.
A group of schoolchildren were on an excursion and treated to a display of a drone.
From there we inspected an RSL Prize Home valued at M$1.7 overlooking Kirra Beach with views all the way to Surfers Paradise in the north to Greenmount beach to the south. A window in the back of the building overlooks Coolangatta Airport. Naturally we bought tickets.
From there we drove back to Currumbin Beach SLSC and had Calamari and chips and Flathead and chips washed down with a cold beer. Our table was on a level overlooking the rocks and surf.
Friday 26th February
Today started as a lay day but escalated to a visit to Robina Shopping Centre where I bought, of all things, a smart phone. I have resisted the urge to have a smart phone until now. I bought a Samsung Galaxy A3 and have a steep learning curve to learn how to use it.
Saturday 27th February
We were all up early so we could drive Doug n Linda to Brisbane International Airport for their flight to Hong Kong.
We then visited a shopping centre for coffee in air conditioned comfort then drove to see grandson Chris play his first ever game of Rugby League. The game was played in searing heat with a hot wind blowing from the northwest.
Sunday 28th February
Another lay day.