OK, Day 5. On the road again (insert nasal drawl here)
Well, it’s Saturday morning and we’re here in Kempsey. Couldn’t get onto the ‘Net last night so we’ll have to do a highlights of Day 4 and summary of Day 5 so far.
We left Nerang reasonably early and headed down the backroad through Natural Bridge and lots of swoopy roads to Murwillumbah. Then onto the old Pacific Highway for an exhilarating swoop over the Burringbar Range (taking care to avoid the two speed cameras installed thereon) and very little traffic. SOOO smooth.
A quick detour into Crabbes Creek to check on an old friend’s new house, and a stop at Mooball to admire the cow telephone poles (don’t ask). We then headed west to Lismore, again by guess and and by God. At one stage along the top of the range there was a turn-off that also pointed to Lismore so we tossed a coin (metaphorically) and stayed on the road we were on. I later remarked that this was a good idea because the other road was called Repentance Drive, and I felt that, had we taken that, we probably would have been sorry.
From Lismore we ran back to the coast and the dreaded Pacific Highway, and on to Grafton. 90 kms of utter boredom and frustration. How they have the nerve to call that a Highway is beyond me. After about 30kms, my brain was saying, “Get me outa here!!!”
As soon as practicable we chucked a right and headed up the Gwydir Highway towards Glen Innes. This was a road that we had found on the map that shows a HUGE squiggle in the middle (look it up yourself and you’ll see what we mean) and we just had to explore it. The road winds along the side of the Mann River then heads up through the squiggle (called Mulligan’s Pass) and over the very top of the Gibraltar Range. 14 kms of unspoiled new bitumen…yum. Concentration was becoming a problem here…so many corners, so little ability.
At the top, we took the obligatory pictures, and then headed back down again (as one does). Back to Grafton for late lunch and gas, then hard on the throttle headed down the backroad to Coffs Harbour, through Glenreagh, more twisties, and hardly a car to be seen. This backroad touring, rocks!
Back on the Pacific (yawn) and heads down to make it to Bellingen before dark, which we JUST did.
Regards the Mann River. Photos will show a typical country scene that reminded me so much of the lines from “Banjo” Paterson’s “Clancy of the Overflow”
“And the bush has friends to meet him and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars.
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended.
And, at night, the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.”
We stayed at the Federal Hotel. DON’T stay at Hotel on a Friday night!!!! Earplugs are essential if you want to get any sleep at all. Dinner at the RSL (Bistro prices at the Federal were worse than Wollongong…SOOOO trendy has Bellingen become)
So far, in over 1600kms travel, we have done 90 kms on the Highway. Whoohoo. All the rest has been on backroads, “B” roads and mountain passes. Life’s pretty straight without a twisty.
2 police seen so far, but millions of cameras on the Pacific. If they spent half of the moeny that they have spent installing cameras on the road itself, it’d be a damn sight safer.
Roadworks are a PAIN!
Total mileage for the day: 629 kms