Coffs Harbour was our next port of call – we arrived on Wednesday August 2 and stayed until Saturday at North Coast Holiday Park which is very central, located on the Pacific Highway close to the CBD. There is a little more noise than we are used to because of the trucks lumbering past but all in all it serves its purpose well. There is an amazing population of rabbits in this park and they are all colours and all shapes and sizes…
We were able to easily restock the van as the shops are all very close and we even went to the movies, not once but twice, and saw The War For the Planet of the Apes on the first night and Dunkirk on the second visit – seniors discount makes a lot of things possible!! Coffs is a bicycle friendly town and we were able to take full advantage of the bike tracks nicely segregated from the traffic. We cycled out to the Clog Factory – I think you need some inner soles Dawn….
A little bit of sole…
Some things never change and are something of a constant – The Big Banana is one of those places. Coffs is famous for its many banana plantations – this is just one of them
A unique tourist attraction on the run North out of Coffs
We headed a few kilometres further North to a small settlement called Red Rock – and stayed at another North Coast Holiday Park. Red Rock is a pretty place and again we were able to easily cycle anywhere we wanted to go. Over the last 4 weeks we have been truly blessed with the weather as I am sure you have seen the clear blue skies in just about every picture. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are still in the grips of the Australian winter which could return at any time but over the next week or so the temperatures will steadily climb as we venture a little further North up the coast and eventually it has got to 30 degrees as a day time temperature – quite amazing.
Once again we have been rewarded for our patience with lots of (daily) sitings of whales as they migrate north to the breeding and calving grounds in the region of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. We get a thrill with every single one we see – and as you will discover shortly some sitings are somewhat more spectacular than others…
A clear day will usually present a spectacular sunset – we tend to get somewhat blasé about them (just like whale sitings I guess)…
We farewelled Red Rock and then moved 160Kms (100 miles) to Evans Head – another thriving coastal community which is doing very well for itself. Another North Coast Holiday Park provided the camping site and with the beach just less than 5 minutes away we were set for more relaxation.
Lest we Forget
This beautiful, simple memorial to the fallen of every war has a special place in the middle of the town and serves as a reminder to us all…
We walked through the National Park that surrounds Evans Head and came across this grotto in the middle of nowhere. The locals have a sense of humour and it has been added to by visitors over the years.
Welcome to my Grotto. Gnome sweet Gnome
Evans Head is a clean and special environment which we thoroughly enjoyed and on the way out of town we stopped at the very special F-111 Museum. Anyone who knows me will remember that I am passionate about cars and planes and so we made a detour out to the museum. Unfortunately it was closed – in winter time it only opens on weekends but there in the doorway was an official looking chap. “Can we just have a peek inside??”. Better than that, I’ll give you a personalised tour of the exhibits and answer all your questions!! No “Job’s Worth” here…
Australia’s last but one F-111
Stand clear of the After-Burners
Some of the other sites of Evan’s Head
Hello Mrs Foster
And so we rolled into Ballina. The North Coast Parks were full and so we had a change of venue and stayed instead at The Discovery Park at Ballina which is a pretty spot in East Ballina but again waterside and close to the Ocean Beach. Our very special friends Gloria and Warwick Hardwick live in Ballina and we were always going to get to see them. We had a lovely dinner on Friday night with another couple of their friends (Toni and Graham). Lots of activities were planned but nothing prepared me for Saturday Morning. I had discovered at dinner that Graham had a “bit of a car collection” and of course being a car-nut we arranged to meet at Graham’s factory the next morning so I could see it. The door opened and I was both delighted and astonished at what I was seeing. It seemed as if the “bit of a car collection” went on for miles – I lost count of how many Mark 1 Lotus Cortinas there were – not just a Mark 1 with Lotus paint colours but the genuine McCoy with full provenance. As well as Cortinas there were Mark 1 and Mark II Escorts, a couple of Capris (one being an RS3100!!) a Reliant Scimitar GTE Shooting Brake (Princess Anne had one in the ’70’s) and a collection of single seater racing cars culminating in Al Unser Jnr’s Lola Indy Car from 1986. It completely took my breath away – Graham has now agreed to adopt me as his son (yabba dabba doo!!!)… I have so many more pictures – but these few will have to do…
Some of the Single Seaters
A pair of Genuine Twin-Cam Escort Mark I
A Lotus Cortina still wearing its original UK Number Plate from 1965
This (for me) was a hard act to follow. I spent more than 3 hours at the factory and had to keep pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
Ballina is one of the most Easterly points of Australia – it juts out into the Pacific ocean and therefore as the whale population migrates North it passes quite close to Ballina. However on Tuesday the 15th, a mother and calf came closer in shore than we ever seen before and cruised past the Ballina Breakwater less than 50 metres from the shore
Almost close enough to touch her. Her exhalation of breath was quite deafening
As she cruised away into the distance another whale decided to turn on a bit of a show. He was a little further out, maybe 700 metres or so but you don’t get to see this every day so close to the shore
The big splash catches your attention. You can see the whale breaching through the spray…
The next was closer in…
Usually only the males breach like this
It is very exhilarating to see these majestic creatures and we have become quite adept at spotting the whale plume in the distance and then track them across our field of vision – never ever do we get tired of seeing the whales and dolphins that we are privileged to be able to see…
One of our many Ballina whale watching vantage points
It is now Wednesday August 16 – another winters day when the temperature has touched 30 degrees and now, at 11:15pm it is still 21deg!!!
We left the caravan park and we are now staying at Gloria and Warwick’s house (the Sunliner is parked outside) and will stay until Sunday the 20th when we will have to take off for Sydney, 767Kms to the South (about 485 miles) where we have to take care of some business. We’ll stick around for our son’s birthday on the 31st and Father’s Day on September 3. I am hoping that my new Dad who has just adopted me presents me with the keys to the RS3100 – what do you reckon the odds are for that happening.
Hope springs eternal!!
Until next time