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Published: November 16th 2010
Hello again -
It really is the 10th November now - and I am in Camp Hill , Brisbane, Queensland in Fiona and Antony's house. I am just not sure whether I am still in the same time zone as NSW???
I have driven here in my lovely red VW Jetta automatic ( thanks Susan and Geoff) - it was about 600km and so I took 2 days and taking some of the well marked Tourist Drives on the way. Well the main Pacific Highway road and M1 is a bit rubbish ( if you Aussies dont miond me saying so!!). Sometimes it is a like a country road, sometimes there are bumps and potholes , lots of roadworks and road building ( be good when finished!!) and occasionally there is a nice stretch with 5 lanes - but then there is loads of traffic. So on the way back I will be doing more of the tourist drives ...
And so to yesterday's drive... my lovely friend Geraldine back home got me to meet up with her sis in law Yvonne on the way north. She lives in a small town , Sawtell, with another lovely beach and a pretty
tree lined main street. So it was lovely to meet Yvonne and I hope we will have more time together next week on the way bay back.
After lunch I drove inland on a tourist drive...steep hills and banana plantations reminded me of Sri Lanka!!! It defo is getting a lot more tropical and temperature reaching 26 deg as well as a few heavy downpours. Hilsides also studded with trees - macadamia nuts I think.
And sooooo beautiful - I have been so lucky to be here while all the jacaranda trees are blossoming and you aussies what are the beautiful red blossoming trees which in some places are alongside the jacarandas? ? If Grafton is not famous for something else it should be famous for the trees... I drove through in a purple haze.
And I had forgotten about all the old wooden bridges crossing the rivers ...and yesterday I seemed to cross river after river or was it the same one?? And fields of sugar cane ... this really was getting like the Daintree up at Cape Trib, Angie!! Then after a riverside drive - mangrove swamps - high water levels I was suddenly having to cross a
river on a ferry. My god - that was the scariest ferry crossing I have been on. I was right at the front and felt like we would tip into the river - the water was very chopppy, swirling brown . Not exaclty the Hawkshead ferry on Windermere. Fortunatley it was pretty short- phew!!!
Into the town of Maclean - famous for something to do with Scotland I am not sure what. The B+B I was heading for which sounded nice in the Lonely Planet didnt exist any more ..so tried a motel , which was nice and clean but very 80s and a grumpy old cow running it...so that was off the agenda - and after a visit to the tourist info I decided to drive on a bit to a coastal town Yamba and try the YHA there.
I should know by now that I am always happy in a hostel..the guy running it Shane was so friendly and nice - gave me a 4 bed dorm with en-suite to myself. So I only paid for the one bed $30. This hostel was also a resto and cafe , and bar so lots of locals popping in ,
right on the main street, leather sofas to lounge around and read with a shandy in me hand ( yes Jenny you have got me onto shandies now!) . And i even got a parking space in their garage. So after a walk to the beach and nice dinner of crumbed lamb chops and reading my book I was happy to go off to bed. If I had stayed in a motel I would have been stuck on my own in a the room all evening.
A few km from Yamba it is worth taking a little detour to another exquisite beach at Angourie. See the photos...sorry I havent got any of the jacaranda trees - I just couldnt stop and take photos and I was just ebjoying driving looking at the spectacle.
And thanks to good directions I easily found my way to this house and I will be here about a week and then back to NSW and Port.
The house is a tradional Queenslander house as are many in this area here - with a corrugated iron roof , large verandahs, wooden - in fact they tell me that the top half of the house is 19th
century and was brought from somewhere and added to the bottom half. So it is a lovely big house ( I keep opening a door to see what is there!!) with lots of character ...another nice thing about home exchange - so much variety in the styles of house you stay in. And I have already been invited for lunch on Sunday with Fiona's mum. So I look forward to exploring Brisbane ( I was only here a day last time) and making it a bit further afield.
Suz - was it Noosa Heads you said was lovely when you and Tracie were here? I might have a drive up there as I also want to go to a National Park to see the Glass Mountains.
Well - that looks like I am now up to date with whats happening.
Love to everyone , goodnight.
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