Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
The rest of our country roadtrip is entirely coastal, with much shorter driving stretches so that we can try out random beaches as we go.
We started out with a quick trip into Byron for coffee, and then made a brief stop at Lennox Head for a swim. The surf was a bit too rough for enjoyment so we didn’t linger there and decided to try to get to Yamba for lunch and a lazy afternoon.
Ducati, one of Munson’s old playmates from Sydney Park lived with his owner Mary in Yamba now, with Mary running Caperberry Cafe there. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to reach Mary before our arrival and we had to make do with catching up over the phone in the evening.
I established that there were at least two dog friendly beaches on hand; the first one we tried was Wooli Main Beach where these first photos of Munson are taken. One small grumble from our coastal journey was the difficulty in locating the beaches where dogs were allowed. Council websites would list a number of beach sections relating to places that couldn’t be identified on a map. In a few cases when I asked locals where such and such a beach or creek was, they could only shrug. Dear Councils, please put marked maps on your website!
From there we moved onto the more sheltered Whiting Beach in the mouth of the Clarence River.
|I’d had trouble locating dog-friendly accommodation near Yamba, and ended up booking a farm-stay back up the highway. Our quarters were a lot more luxurious than our previous experience of “farm stay”. |
We hoped to find something seafood-y for dinner but the dining options were limited around Yamba itself, with the much lauded Harwood Hotel restaurant being closed early in the week. We decided to try out some of the pubs in Maclean (one of the Scottish towns). While not auspicious from the outside, the Clarence (Bottom) Pub turned out to be a real find. Our meals were so good I found the window to the kitchen and sent my thanks directly to the chef.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
Munson’s properly getting into the thrill of the road again. This is his first big roadtrip since we left the French farm heading for Paris and the UK eighteen months ago.
We chugged north for a few hours through Guyra and Glen Innes. There seems to be some competition for Scottish-ness in this part of the state: Glen Innes proclaims itself at the heart of Celtic Country, and Maclean is Australia’s “Scottish Town”, both sporting street signs in Gaelic.
At Tenterfield, we parked outside the shop of the Tenterfield Saddler, famous from locally-born Peter Allen’s song of the same name, written in tribute to his grandfather who plied his trade there for over half a century. The saddlery still operates, its wares intermingled with memorabilia of Peter Allen and his first wife Liza Minnelli. I met the former at a Bondi BBQ on Australia Day, exactly a year before his final performance in 1992, and nearly met the latter a few years’ earlier when working as an usher at Sydney’s State Theatre. At a weekend matinee performance of Anything Goes, I found myself in the foyer wedged between Liza and Sammy Davis Jr, both touring with Frank Sinatra.
|Tenterfield seemed to be cash-only and short on ATMs so after I bought a belt from the saddlery, we just scraped together enough for lunch away from the midday heat at a pavement cafe. |
The next stretch of road was the most tortuous of the week, a couple of hours of up hill and round dale between Tenterfield and Casino. The time was occasionally enlivened by idiosyncratic Australian locality names like Mummulgum and Bingeebeebra; always good for throwing over to Gustav for ‘Strine elocution purposes. There’s also a Dalek roadside letterbox on the highway out of Tenterfield, which we didn’t stop for.
|Casino earned a quick leg-stretching loop around the main street before pressing on to Lismore and the final journey to Eureka in the Byron Bay hinterland. |
We’d now have the luxury of three nights at the house of my friends Nick and Craig, who had exited Sydney life a few years earlier.
Our longest driving days behind us, it was very easy to fall into the relaxing embrace of the idyllic Eureka scene, Munson working the room at the neighbours’ Friday apéro.