29 to 31 August 2019
Binna Burra Lodge to New Brighton via Currumbin, 115km
to Nimbin and back, 145km
to Ballina, via Byron Bay, 58km
Having descended from the national park we stopped for breakfast and a beach walk at Currumbin, our last stop in Queensland before crossing the border into New South Wales.
Despite the gathering rain clouds the surfers were out in force.
Almost instantly we crossed the State border into New South Wales we could see and feel a real difference. The landscape became more British looking somehow with lots of green, rolling hills. The road surface on the other hand became a lot more bumpy. We guess they spend less money on their roads than Queensland!
From the warmth of our cabin in New Brighton we did a day trip in the hinterland. More familiar looking landscape of rolling hills, green fields and tree covered roads. Grazing sheep and cows would have transported us home if it hadn’t been for the odd guava plantation.
Something else caught our eye as we drove on. A strange collection of gravestones grouped together in an unusual pattern at the back of a field. We stopped to check it out. It was the site of the first cemetery in the town of Lismore and burial place of many of its early settlers. All the headstones had been relocated in their current semi circles in 1980.
Our destination for the day was the town of Nimbin but before we reached the town we got a great view of the Nimbin Rocks, volcanic extrusions from 20 million years ago. This cow posed very happily with them for the camera.
The town of Nimbin is a place where time has apparently stood still, specifically in 1973 when the Aquarius Festival was held there. Celebrating counter culture and sustainable lifestyles it was the birthplace of Australia’s hippy movement. It is an arty, alternative place.
The Hemp Embassy promotes all things marijuana. Part shop, part museum it sells all manner of paraphernalia and displays collections of cannabis related just about everything, including an interesting take on the last supper!
The town still has an incredibly laid back, hippy vibe – helped no doubt by numerous substances. It is said that many of those who attended the original festival just never left. Our neighbour at our coffee stop at the Pot of Gold looked like one of them. He certainly appeared not to have washed his hair since 1973.
Leaving Nimbin we just about managed a picnic in the Nightcap National Park before the threatened rain materialised. It truly lashed down making us feel even more at home but occasional gaps in the cloud allowed us a glimpse of 1159m Mount Warning, what remains of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest volcano.
Back at our coastal home the rain stopped in time for a sunset walk along the beach. No high rises or crowds of surfers here, just us and a few local dog walkers.
From the peace and tranquility of New Brighton beach we continued south to Byron Bay where it was all chain shops and overpriced coffee. The surfers seem to love it and to be fair it does have great views of Mount Warning and the headland.
We walked out to the tip of the headland where the lighthouse stands at the most easterly point of Australia. From there we got views of beautiful beaches to the south, migrating whales and hang gliders getting an aerial views of both.
We continued south still sticking to the coast without a real plan for our next camp. We stopped in Ballina to stock up on groceries and marvel at the Big Prawn. It is a quintessentially Australian thing to stick megasized sculptures of random things in equally random locations. This prawn was in the car park of a DIY superstore!
We continued again on the Pacific Highway. A roadside billboard told us of a caravan park at a place called Evans Head. We knew nothing about it but it sounded as good as any …