On the way home, a stop off at Byron Bay around lunch time on Saturday. We found local sand artist, Craig Gascoigne raking his magic on the beach.
We’re off tomorrow on a road trip, just me, my American travelling companion (henceforth to be referred to as TC) driving a 9 year old Holden Viva called Veronica.
For the next week and a half, I hope to bring you regular briefings on our notes and observations. The route will remain a close-kept secret to all but the driver to avoid accusations of getting us lost.
In the meantime, we broke TC in to some Australian cultural experiences with a couple of nights on Stradbroke Island. A State of Origin football match at the Bowls Club was a curiosity, but not nearly as big a hit as the natural wonders of the island. Here are a few highlights.
Early morning Ibis – Adder Rock beach
Eastern Osprey – Adder Rock
Kangaroo and dunes south of Main Beach
Sooty Oyster-Catchers – Main Beach
Myora Springs at low tide. No place demonstrates the value and beauty of mangroves as this one.
There was a healthy breeze picking up as the mid-morning car ferry left Cleveland on Saturday. We were on the best kind of day trip, one that’s combined with a catch up with friends.
The gannets and pelicans were fishing on Flinders Beach. We were blown away by the wind on the North Gorge Walk then finally our patience was rewarded as we saw whales amid the choppy ocean, fin slapping as they headed south.
Then it was a picnic lunch at Cylinder Beach, some dolphins close in the waves, non-stop talking and laughing.
The last beach run in the vehicle became a race against the incoming tide.
A stop at Brown Lake before ice-creams and a small tipple on the ferry home. It was a good day. A very good day.
It’s a magical place to find some space to clear your head and soul.
There is no bridge to the island. That is a good thing. It means you need to make an effort for the journey and book a space on the ferry. So when an invitation arises from friends to spend time with them at their beach camp site, there is no other answer but yes.
The site on Flinders Beach was nestled in behind the dunes where we communed with local wildlife including curlews, goannas, magpies and willy wagtails. Closer to the beach, it was the territory of gulls, terns, pelicans, oyster-catchers and sea-hawks.
On Sunday afternoon, we took the North Gorge walk near Point Lookout where we had stunning coastline views and watched turtles and manta rays swimming below. During the season, this is a top spot for whale watching. Any season, it’s a top spot for gelato after the walk.
It rained through our second night. Nothing sends you to sleep better than that sound.
If all of the above wasn’t enough, fishing, freshly-caught fish dinners, scrabble, walks on the beach, drives up the beach, crosswords, books, wine and good companions were in the very enjoyable mix.
Friends who don’t live locally beware. When you come to visit us, a trip to the island is at the top of the list.