Friday, December 25, 2015

Nana Glen - Bulahdelah

Followed the Clarence River upstream and the first stop is Grafton for fuel. No option gotta stop for that! Woolies and Coles are here. To top up provisions I will need to fight the crowds but can't find the motivation. Reckon I can make do.

Decision time: Pacific Hwy or Orara Way? Done the A1 to death so it's Orara Way and a photo op with a Golden Dog. As big things go I've seen worse. Just can't recall where :)

Raining. Not the best driving conditions on a minor hwy or should that be way? Begs the question: Is a "way" more minor than a minor hwy?

Called it a day about lunch time and pulled into the polocrosse grounds for the night at Nana Glen. Rained most of the night. On to Coffs Harbour in the morning driving in drizzle. Drizzle or rain most of the day. Stopped for the night at Kendall showgrounds, nothing special but cheap: they charge per head and that suits me.

Just a short drive to the next camp spot down the road at Bulahdelah.

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The Golden Dog Hotel Glenreagh

Bulahdelah camp spot
Sharing morning tea

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


The free camps are near empty. Not a lot of vans on the road. The grey nomads must be either at home with the grandkids or already set up in a beach-side caravan park somewhere.

Stopped on the banks of the Richmond River at a free camp south of Ballina, Dungarubba boat ramp. Just me and one other here.

Next day drove to Maclean expecting to stay the night in the showgrounds but noticed the sugar cane trucks using the bridge. Last time here they ran throughout the night crossing the timber bridge nearby, noisy. Decided to move on and try somewhere new. Crossed said "noisy bridge" onto Woodford Island, the biggest inland island in Australia, then on the other side took the ferry across the Clarence River to Lawrence.

Lawrence Tavern: put that in your book of good spots to stay. The publicans John and Sally are friendly and have good meals and cold beer and the back yard is level and shady with nice grass. Nothing more required for me at the end of the day.

By dawn's early light

Lawrence Tavern

Bluff Pt Ferry, across the Clarence at Lawrence

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cotton Tree - Mt Warning

Well the time comes to move on. Been here for a good long while. On nodding terms with lots of the locals. Not any more.

Had a last paddle on the Maroochy River. I will miss that let me tell you, especially the Slack Boarding (Sit On SUPping) with my paddle buddy.

First-up in the 'Great Southern Tour 2016' is to climb Mt Warning.

Mt Warning and the Wollumbin National Park is close to the border of NSW and Qld and inland from Byron Bay and because of it's 1146m hight is the first bit of Australia to feel the sun's rays each morning. I've detoured to places for far more tenuous reasons than that.

So a quick look at the acute angle of the base car park tells me I won't get a good nights sleep here, so its down the hill 2km and about 200m vertically to a nice road side picnic spot complete with babbling brook. Yep this will do for the tonight. About 3am I start hearing vehicles labouring up the hill to the base car park - that'll be the very keen sunrise hikers. I'm tempted but have decided it's more of a photo op on the way up rather than just the one shot at the top. So I will start about 5am.

First mistake: deciding to walk to the base car park rather than drive. My thought was its only 2km, yes a steep gradient, but hey just 2km. Turns out the walk up to the car park was not the issue it was the walk back down, after doing the mountain.

Second mistake: was to go on a day when the cloud cover was below 1000m. I get to the top and the temp drops by about 20deg, or felt like it, and its a white out.

There is lots of information on-line about the climb but here are some of my thoughts: Its a good hike but be aware its very long and steep and the last 400m is as the sign says at the base "tough". When reaching the chain I didn't have a lot left in the energy department. Six km and about 900m vertical, then this chain. No photo shows you the true angle -it was getting close to vertical. Anyway, did it. But the worst was yet to come, the trip down. Don't think I was the first to wonder what a helicopter ride would cost? Besides the aggravation from the rescue people when they find I didn't break my leg. Hmm how much pain is associated with a broken leg anyway?

The best thing is it has put me in exercise credit for a bit. And I think I got some good photos, be it only below the cloud cover.

First view of the summit,
walking to the base car park

Steps or gibbers mostly good footing.

Looking East.

The last shot before the white-out

The dreaded chain. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mt Ninderry - Sunshine Coast

Mt Ninderry. Off early 6:30am, traffic light but steady. Can see our destination, cos it's standing a couple of hundred meters above the surrounding terrain, but which road will get us to the base. Turns out to be pretty well signposted.

A good little calf burner I've read on-line. Turns out to be true. Start with a well defined track, increase the gradient to steep, add a good pinch of gibbers, sprinkle with early morning dew and yep my calves are burning. The track levels out as we get close to the summit then provides some excellent viewing areas atop of large rock outcrops. A well used phase comes to mind: "It was worth the effort".

Looking towards Maroochydore.

Looking towards Mt Coolum; out there somewhere in the mist.
Looking south-west.

The gibber bit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Slackboarding at Cotton Tree

So Robyn was recently in Hawaii and came back with a photo of this local guy riding his SUP (stand-up paddle-board) sitting in a garden chair. Not being one to get in the water with the bull sharks, she asks "Would that be hard?".

Well that's all it took to start a new craze here in Cotton Tree. Expecting it to take-off, it's fun, relaxing and it still works the core. 

Hayley nails it.
Anybody could do it!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Queensland - Beautiful one night storms the next

Sunny-coast in November -you've got to expect the storms. So far we have mostly seen the edge of the major thunderstorms. Might just get away without replacing the MH roof this year.

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Just me and a pelican in the park tonight.

Thunderstorms and lightning, this one missed us, phew!