Our return journey started late in the day and became a mission to return to the motor home before dark.
Along the way, signs to call in and buy produce. Loved this cheerful looking home with its produce stall out front:
Unfortunately it was too late to stop at Moo Moo Café at Mooball, NSW. We have heard good reports about this unique type of roadhouse/café with a themed museum (motor bikes). A giant motorbike across the road from the roadhouse is certainly eye-catching.
We arrived with street markets in full swing and bright colours in abundance. We stood out as visitors – our clothing far removed from the (to our minds) unusual combinations of style, textures and colour. We resisted the temptation to purchase clothing from the abundant markets and stores in Nimbin, many that are a throw back to times of peace, love and tie dying, although I think Mike had his eye on a hat.
There are many ‘colourful’ characters living in Nimbin, as seen on the web and on postcards for sale, some of whom we encountered. A very ‘alternative’ lifestyle in this area, promoting art, crafts, relaxed lifestyle and good healthy food – which probably accounted for why Mike didn’t find an ice cream store. We wandered through an art exhibition and various shops. The Nimbin Candle Factory had a unique selection of their candles for sale in stores.
A young woman standing next to Mike on a footpath, was approached and offered ‘weed’. We shouldn’t have been surprised: “Naughty” Nimbin has been known as the Weed capital of Australia; the famous/infamous building in the main street. The HEMP Embassy advertised for the legalisation of medicinal marijuana but it seems non-medicinal as well from the various implements and pictured items that were for sale.
We were glad we went to explore Nimbin and were happy on leaving, to know we could be stopped by the police at the exits of the town and pass any tests they wanted to give us. We don’t know the same could be said of all folk there on the day.
The Channon (Butterfactory) Tavern has plenty of indoor space, but with the drizzling rain abating, we took the opportunity to have our main meal of today outdoors and watch the world go by – The Tavern being at the corner of Terania Street and Turntable Creek Road and a bridge (which may have once gone over a creek, but looks more like a gully today).
In the early 1900’s, the Tavern was a butter factory. It is now a popular place for entertainment and meals within relatively close proximity to Nimbin and Protestor Falls at the nearby Nightcap National Park.
Great food. Can recommend the Tavern for a pub meal stop.
Today was a picnic day at Rocky Creek Dam for the volunteers of “Story Dogs”.
These lovely ladies explained how they were part of a network of volunteers involved in the programme of “Story Dogs”, developed in most States of Australia, where volunteers bring their dogs to schools to assist children engaging in reading books to their listeners – the dogs. The programme is sponsored by businesses enabling this to be a free programme for children in the schools.
These particular dogs are rescue dogs, who patiently listen to children reading to them. Whilst formal studies are to be soon done to accurately assess the programme’s worth, anecdotal advice is that children, who had difficulty in reading, are now choosing which article ‘their dog’ would like to have read to them and are progressing markedly in their advancement of reading and the subject of English. Great programme and well done ladies.
Our thoughts: Rocky Creek Dam? Okay let’s go and see. What a surprise awaited us. Large picnic areas, BBQs and facilities. Walks to view points over the dam and spillway. Rain prevented us from walking the steep (and somewhat slippery) slope to the platypus viewing platform. Around the edges of the dam, the most water lilies we have ever seen. The obligatory set of stairs that in New South Wales is a silent signal that this place is worth a visit, once again was true.
Depending upon whom you speak to in the Byron Bay area, there is a split of opinion as to whether to go to Nimbin or not. What to do? Well of course, we decide to see for ourselves and despite the drizzling rain, take the Suzi for a loop around Mount Jerusalem National Park with a some detours – south of Dunoon to Nimbin and then north (missing the turnoff and going via Murwillumbah) to return to Mullumbimby.
Our first detour – Minyon Falls Lookout within Whian Whian State Conservation Area. Minyon Falls was not at its best with the lack of rainfall, but still amazing vistas from the lookout. The tall trees dwarfed our little Suzi and as we drove further into the Area, we were once again following a winding, narrow road through mountains and rain forest areas of lush green.
It’s a long way down.
Further along the road, more magnificant scenery and macadamia orchards.
Number of WA campers at Mullumbimby Showgrounds? Two.
Not even the thunder cracking over our motorhome, the lightning nor the hail threatening to damage our vehicles could subdue Mike’s enthusiastic responses to Grand Final moments on television – and he was overjoyed when the Eagles finally won.
Just over 15.mins from Byron Bay, we arrived at Brunswick Heads where we had heard there was a tri-annual Brunswick Nature Sculpture Walk. Having parked at the Torakina Beach Reserve we wandered around the parkland and beach areas to see some of the sculptures. Out at the heads, many kite-boarders were enjoying the windy conditions.
Mullumbimby has proven to be a good spot to base ourselves for the weekend and explore the Byron Bay area.
Being Grand Final Day for the Eagles, we set off early in the day so we could be back to watch the game. In 15.mins or so, we were at Byron Bay and it was Market Day! These markets are only for products produced in the area and the stands stretched a long distance along a pathway from the edge of the town centre. There were many stands displaying items we have never seen before. One that peaked our interest were LP vinyl records made into clocks. The records had been cut and trimmed to show silhouette designs of all manner of topics – birds, The Beatles, AC/DC – and looked very effective.
Morning tea time and the highlight – WAFFLES!
Now, there are some great walks to take to get to the Byron Bay Lighthouse and the point, but we didn’t have the time and took a punt to drive to the Lighthouse and walk from there. Only 24 parking bays and it’s a sunny day with everyone having the same idea as us – but we were lucky and were able to park, and then walk the tracks from the Lighthouse to the point. It is high up from the ocean but we were able to watch dolphins in the water near the rocks below.
As we arrived at the lookout marking the eastern-most point of Australia, we were witness to a man suddenly dropping to one knee and proposing to his girlfriend. A great WOW moment. She was very surprised and excited. Everyone there were congratulating them and it was a very happy moment.
As with anywhere we go that is worth going to, there were the obligatory stairs.
Lunch at the Beach Hotel – Thumbs up! Bartender wearing Eagles beanie, born in Margaret River and moved to Byron Bay. Sections of the hotel had groups of Eagles and Magpie supporters accumulating three hours before kickoff. Time for us to vacate and head on to the next stop!
Driving down from the mountains, past low level clouds and the scenery changes once again to more open fields and grazing country. Our journey was slowed by the 155.kms of major road works in progress between Woolgoolga and Ballina and costing millions. The project is massive. We passed many rivers and saw our first sugar cane crops. Finally, we arrived at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds to camp for the weekend. (“Mullum” to the locals.) Unfortunately we arrived as the Farmers Markets were finishing their morning sales. Judging by the crowds that were dispersing, it had been a popular market.