off we go! travel blog

A stroll along the beach before we set off. Lovely golden sands with ap few very large rocks (would have thought this would be hazardous for the surfers, but they seemed to manage). Many surfers at 6 in the morning, but by the time we left the beach was deserted.

We followed the Hastings River Drive back to the Pacific Highway and once again headed north. The Highway varied from a full four lane motorway standard road to ?a simple two-way road, but they were in the process of upgrading the highway to four lanes. A long term project by the looks of progress.

We stopped off at Kempsey, where Ruth had found that the visitor centre had an aboriginal art centre attached. Not sure about the art, but we got dragged into conversation about our travels and what the area had to offer us by a very friendly volunteer at the I-site. Took us a while to make our excuses! On up the Highway to Fredo's Pies, a bakery that produced all manner of pies, including kangaroo, crocodile, wild pig, chicken with various additions and the same for beef and lamb, over 160 different pies, it was said. We bought the kangaroo and the Moroccan lamb, both very tasty.

Back, once again to the Pacific Highway, following the Macleay River towards the coast but the Highway stayed inland and up through the Yarriabini National Park, mostly native forests, that seemed to go on for miles and miles. Eventually we dropped down to the coast at Nambucca Heads, where we went for a stroll along the beach. On again along the Highway to the Bongil Bongil National Park. Ruth had read there were many koala here; we spent some time driving through and walking through the forest around The village of Reston but saw no koala. We did hear two bower birds (we now know them to be Eastern Whip birds, males calling for females!) but were unable to see them. Disappointing. 

The pacific Highway was being rebuilt and widened around here so we took the scenic route through Sawtell and Boambee to Coffs Harbour were we camped for the night. This time we stayed at a commercial site, it had good reviews and for good reason. The site was well laid out, good facilities, and a mixture of cabins, tents and campers, all spa paced out with many tres on the site. It was close to the beach and the Richmond River, so we took a walk out onto the beach where some sort of festival/gathering was taking place. Someone wailing and playing his guitar seemed to be the main event, fortunately he stopped when it got dark about an hour later.

Laundry duties performed and dinner cooked we retired for the night, but we did see a poster for a guided walk around a nearby headland which included a guide to spotting turtles. We tried to book but the trip was fully booked.

After breakfast the following morning we drove to Look at me Point, near Emerald beach, where the walk was to start, met a lovely lady who was to be the guide, and we were made very welcome. So we joined the walk and the guide proved to be very enthusiastic about turtles in particular and man's impact on the environment in general. She was a fund of knowledge about turtles and particularly the local species, Green and Hawksbill. The walk was a laid path around the Point, all part of the Moonee Beach Reserve, and before long we met several family groups of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, either out in the open or in the low scrubby vegetation. It was fun to watch them they weren't too bothered about us, as it was a popular walk and they were used to people, but didn't allow anyone too close.

On to the Point, another talk about turtles, and this time we saw several coming up for air as she was talking; there was also a sea eagle soaring on the wind, an unforgettable experience. Finally, back to the beach where our guide talked about (turtle) mating, egg laying and hatching and her experiences on some Queensland beaches, catching and counting eggs, and helping an injured female dig a nest. Fascinating stuff. We completed a survey at the end and sort of pledged to remove three pieces of litter from each beach we visited as a start to reduce marine pollution.

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