We headed for Brisbane via Gosford just after New Year. This is a 1000km journey on one of the most dangerous highways in Australia. The traffic was quite heavy most of the way due to the holiday period but most drivers were well behaved. This was due perhaps to a considerable police presence both in marked and unmarked cars. It also rained most of the way which slowed people down. We stopped at Port Macquarie for lunch and then drove onto Coffs Harbour where we spent the night. Had a great el fresco fish dinner at the wharf, squid ink pasta with seafood and barramundi deep fried in a parmasan batter. Next morning we had a nice brekky at Woolgoolga and headed on a small detour to Yamba and Angourie, an old surfing haunt of mine many years ago.
They say you should never go back.
The once pristine area is now covered in houses and the beaches were crowded with people. The once clear fresh water pools near Angourie Point were murky and on the verge of algae pollution. But the old Yamba pub still sold the coldest beer in the area.
Further north we ventured on another detour (also surfing related) from Ballina to Byron Bay via Lennox Head. Same story! All now over developed. Cape Byron is the most easterly point on the Australian mainland. A very grand lighthouse stands there. The view is usually impressive but on that day a howling north easterly wind had caused a considerable sea mist which blanketed the area. The Byron township was over run with people so we continued our journey north spending the night at Tweed Heads on the New South Wales/Queensland border. We went over to the local bowling club for a drink. It is more like a Las Vegas casino with slots, restaurants, and shows. We played bingo and each won $15 shopping vouchers. It was a fun night with all the old foggies.
The next morning we detoured through Surfers Paradise (a paradise by name only), the main centre of the Gold Coast, and finally arrived in Brisbane for our house sitting duties.
After depositing our friends at Brisbane Airport for their trip to Canada, we began our rediscovery of Brisbane which, by the way, I consider my home town. Our local area has a nice street of coffee shops and restaurants and is handy to the freeway to both north and south coasts as well as to the city via the river ferry.
On Saturday we headed north past the Glasshouse Mountains and up into the Blackall Range to the town of Maleny. Apart from the spectacular views of the volcanic formations of the Glasshouses, this little town is now a tourist hub with lots of arts and craft shops as well as coffee shops and cafes. We continued on and got a little lost ending up a lot further north than expected. This gave us a chance, however, to visit the "largest ginger processing plant in the world" to buy ginger chocolates and biscuits as well as have lunch at Coolum, a thriving beachside town between Noosa and Caloundra. In my surfing days this place consisted of a petrol station and hamburger store in the middle of the sand dunes. Not any more!!!!
On Sunday we ventured into the city for the Riverside markets, saw a movie (The Fockers) and had dinner at the Breakfast Creek Hotel for one of the best (and most expensive) steaks in the country.
So far so good! This adventure continues!