As driving days go, this is close to as good as it gets. The previous Goulburn to Coffs haul is 700+ kms, a long day in anyone's books but when that means cruising at 90 and crawling up hill, it is a marathon. But with a short 250 left, there is a sense of celebration when we climb wearily out of the car at Coffs. Last night we 'celebrated' by eating out at a little Vietnamese place.
"the river at Ulmarra"
The drive from there to here is a beautiful one. After Grafton we drive alongside the northern rivers, slowing as we move through picturesque sugar cane towns. We stop for morning tea at New Italy, a rest stop with museum and set up celebrating the Italian immigrant pioneers who settled and shaped the area. We are thankful for good coffee and excellent morning tea.
And then we hit the hills at Ballina that signal we are nearly there. We go up and down for the last hour and then finally that short 10 minute stretch beyond Byron when the long hours seem all worth it ... we sense Brunswick Heads' welcome.
It never disappoints.
"The Lucky Wonders"
The river, is calm and peaceful, a father and son paddle smoothly and lazily past the back of the yurt as we unload. We potter as we unload, content knowing we're got a week and half of slow. We wander to the shop to get rice to pad out the left over Vietnamese. We walk across the footbridge to the expansive beach full of slow walking locals and visitors and wonder at how beautiful it is. I go for a dip. There is a bloke on the beach fishing in the shallows. He's driven his 'real' 4WD down onto the beach, looks like he lives in it. He catches a brim (for dinner). We wander to the break wall to see if anyone is catching fish there. Then back past the park and discover a little festival celebrating local talent. We listen to and enjoy a band called The Lucky Wonders and buy their CD. Johanna gets a screen print done on a white singlet for $5. A lady in purple trousers walks among the people seated on the grass and hands out free fruit.
Aaah. Brunswick Heads. You are good for the soul.