|Ruth decided we would go across country, rather than follow the Pacific Highway to Brisbane the turn left. Before that we drove up to Byron Bay along the coast road. Beautiful drive even though we didn't see much of the coast, but Byron Bay was heaving with people. It was Sunday, and it seemed as if had of New South Wales had descended on the Bay. The beautiful beach was almost black with people and here were queues of surfer waiting for the 'next big wave'. The surfing looked good as the rollers went on and on to give the proficient surfers several hundred metres of riding the wave.
We drove up to lighthouse. To find no space to park and a friendly warden waiting to collect $7 were we to park. He just waved us past, knowing we wouldn't be able to stop. We paused long enough to take in the stunning view but had to move on. Back through the town in heavy traffic until we regained the highway. Would have liked to have seen more but it was just manic. Shame.
So across the Pacific Highway into farming land and through little settlements Coorabell, Goonengerry and Rosebank along a scenic route until we came upon Dunoon, the Macadamia nut capital of NSW, there were vast orchards of the nut trees in lovely rolling countryside. On through The Channon to Nimbin, the hippy centre of the region with many building painted in psychedelic designs; weird or what?
We followed the very twisty, turny road up and down to Kyogle, a quiet pretty town with many building from the late 19th century, another cattle town, with huge cattle marshalling yards. It was only 30km or so north of Casino the self-proclaimed cattle capital of north NSW. On up the Richmond river valley, twisting and turning all the way. The roads were atrocious, some times narrow, the surface almost non existent because of so many patches. We climbed out of the valley along even worse roads to Woodenbong in high country, along the Great Dividing Ranges, with fantastic views but crap roads. Slowly we descended, passed through into Queensland and the roads improved dramatically. We were on good fast roads to Killarney, set in open countryside, again big cattle country, and on past Loch Lomond to Warwick, another cattle town.
At Warwick we joined The New England Highway (!) which headed north for Toowoomba. We were able to make really good time, and given that Queensland is an hour behind NSW, we were give an extra hour to make our destination, Highfileds, where my uncle Paul lived. We finally made it about 5 in the afternoon and were glad to be able to stop and unwind.
It had been quite a journey, much longer than expected, due mainly to the poor state of the roads, but also much climbing and descending as we crossed various river valleys. A very scenic route but very tiring to drive.