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Showing blog posts from November 2014

Nestled in native Newcastle

November 30, 2014 - Newcastle

Before I gained ‘turncoat’ status, I used to visit Newcastle on a regular basis for Knights games. I use the term ‘visit’ very loosely here, as I would literally drive up for the game, then head home – and boy was I missing out on a good thing! How could I not have known that …

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Music and Mullumbimby Magic

November 28, 2014 - Byron & Brunswick Heads

The Byron Shire is a big place serving up some drop dead beautiful countryside, colourful characters and a barrage of holiday experiences often centred on spirituality and creativity. One of the regions great creative focuses is the Mullum Music Festival now in its 7th year and growing steadily to serve up a diverse program beautifully …

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Lost phones, kayaks and Bangalow

November 27, 2014 - Byron & Brunswick Heads

My Legendary Drive around the Bryon Shire: Day 3 First of all, I must explain why I have been a little late posting my adventures on Day 3 around the Byron Shire. As it happens, I was photographing some kayak surfing with my guide from Cape Byron Kayaks and we inadvertently got dumped and my …

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Humble haven by the sea

November 26, 2014 - Central Coast

Today, on this, our last day spent exploring the sunny Central Coast, we do what is the done thing in Terrigal and scuttle up to the top of Broken Head and its iconic feature, The Skillion. The view from the top of the narrow headland offers dramatic views of sun, sand, surf and sky from First Point to the …

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Central Coast: the fun starts here

November 25, 2014 - Central Coast

Day two of our Legendary Pacific Coast road trip around the Central Coast and my two tween-age sons come good on their pinky-swear promise, made yesterday, to come for a walk along Umina Beach in the buttery light of dawn. They need zero convincing, keenly clambering on the rocks in a nook of the beach the locals dub …

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Blue-sky thinking on the Central Coast

November 24, 2014 - Central Coast

There’s something a little bit wicked about sneaking off on a Sunday for a jaunt up to the Central Coast. While most Sydney-siders are returning to their busy city lives after a weekend away, we’re blasting Triple J, playing spotto with Jacaranda trees and feeling a little bit smug about skiving off work and school in …

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A Gourmet Tour – Wollumbin Mt Warning Tourist Drive

November 23, 2014 - The Tweed

From Byron through to the Tweed and beyond, whenever you look west Mt Warning is in the distance. Mt Warning was named by Captain Cook as a reference point which warned of the treacherous coast line in the area. Today we’re starting in Murwillumbah and taking the Wollumbin Mt Warning Tourist drive to have a …

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From Coast to Country on the Tweed River

November 22, 2014 - Southern Gold Coast

It’s another beautiful day on the Tweed Coast! We are standing on the NSW Queensland border and watching the surfers on the most Northern beach in NSW. Can you guess where we are? We’re at the Point Danger lookout. The surfers below are riding a famous surf break known as D’bah. (pronounced Dee-bah) I’m sure …

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Back to Nature on the Tweed

November 21, 2014 - The Tweed

There is nothing more Australian than taking a driving holiday with the family. It’s an opportunity to spend a little time exploring unspoiled beaches, national parks and small coastal towns. The legendary Pacific Coast takes in so many picturesque locations and today we are exploring the roads less travelled along the Tweed Coast. Our staring …

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It’s a Brand New Day over Byron Bay

November 19, 2014 - Byron & Brunswick Heads

My Legendary Drive in the Byron Shire: Day 2 Today starts very early at 4.45 am at Byron Bay Ballooning’s headquarters just five kilometres up the highway towards Tweed Heads. A dozen of us bundle into their 4WDs to head to a field in Mullumbimby where Thomas, Louis and Laure unfold the huge balloon, fire …

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Rediscovering Byron Bay

November 18, 2014 - Byron & Brunswick Heads

My Legendary Drive around Byron Shire: Day 1 Today I enjoy private tour of the Cape Byron Lighthouse with park ranger Lee Middleton. It is located on the easternmost tip of Australia and is still fully operational. Built in 1901, it used to require three lighthouse operators, but now everything is automated. To me it …

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Tourist Drives to dreamland

November 17, 2014 - Ballina Coast & Hinterland

I read once that everyone has travelled some part of America’s Route 66 – “if only in their dreams”. In a way, the same goes for the Tourist Drives linking attractions on the beautiful Ballina Coast and Hinterland of Northern NSW. Besides acting as a convenient guidebook, these drives can also show visitors the countryside …

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Ballina Prawn Festival is a focus for community spirit

November 16, 2014 - Ballina Coast & Hinterland

Witnessing community spirit is good for the soul. Two days on the Ballina Coast and Hinterland, listening to the locals talk with pride about their remarkable part of the world, has left an indelible mark. To say we’re impressed is an understatement. For us, it’s a bit like: “We’ll have whatever they’re all having”. Such …

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Ballina Coast and Hinterland is the complete package

November 15, 2014 - Ballina Coast & Hinterland

If the latest holiday trend is to go retro and revisit places we went as children, then the Ballina Coast and Hinterland is surely top-of-mind. This picturesque area figures prominently in a generation of memories about the rite of passage known as the beach holiday. These memories, in many ways, are part of the Australian …

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Treading carefully around Casino and Evans Head

November 14, 2014 - Richmond Valley & Kyogle

Heading East from Mallanganee on the Bruxner Hwy about 30kms out from Casino, the drizzly rain finally stopped. This is beef country and I bet the farmers are praying for some rain. Casino has a population of around 11,000 and the regional hub has many locally owned shops and big supermarkets. I enjoyed a large …

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Ballina Bird Girl takes to The Bush

November 13, 2014 - Richmond Valley & Kyogle

Last night I had the pleasure of staying at Feathers Home Stay on the Wiangaree Back Rd to Kyogle. Linda and Peter are wonderful hosts who welcomed me into their renovated farm house and within a few minutes, I felt like I had known them for years. Linda’s cooking was the best food I think …

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Ballina to the Border Ranges National Park

November 12, 2014 - Richmond Valley & Kyogle

Today I left from Ballina to Kyogle which is an hour and a half’s drive (84.6km) if you take the scenic route via Bruxner Hwy and then along Bentleigh Road. I was keen to get off the main roads and travel up to Wiangaree along the Summerland Hwy to The Border Ranges National Park. My …

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Country roads and community values

November 11, 2014 - Lismore & Nimbin

Lismore/Nimbin: Day 3 The Northern Rivers hinterland seems like a tiny pocket when you look at a map, but once you’re behind the wheel and start exploring, you’re amazed at how many winding streets and back roads there are. I used to think I knew the region well, as I have friends living at Possum Creek …

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Hippy, happy holiday

November 10, 2014 - Lismore & Nimbin

I was up bright and early at Amanda Fruze’s Eternity Springs Art Farm as I wanted to see “Heaven” by day. With a brilliant blue sky as background, this really is a wonderful place and space. Try as you may you can’t lose your way in Amanda’s amazing garden as the path to this pavilion is …

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Farewell Clarence Valley and Hello Lismore/Nimbin

November 10, 2014 - Lismore & Nimbin

Leaving the Clarence Valley and Coast was really a sweet sorrow. I loved the slow pace, the warm people, the beaches, rainforest and fantastic food. My last morning was one I’ll never forget as I breakfasted on the river at Iluka watching the little ferry putter towards me as it made its way from Yamba. …

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Paradise for surfers and bushwalkers

November 8, 2014 - The Clarence Valley

Day 3: The Clarence Following a restful night in our cabin by the river at Calypso Holiday Park  – (we didn’t dance too much to the Calypso beat) – we headed to Mantra Café for a caffeine hit and chatted with the owner Reena. A Yamba-ite for the past four years, Reena hails from Mumbai, …

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A little magic in Maclean

November 6, 2014 - The Clarence Valley

Day 2: The Clarence Valley It was a wrench to drag ourselves away from the arty Kings Studio Creative Stays B&B and our hosts Malcolm King and Julie McKenzie. Not only are they hard-working and prolific artists (Julie’s works adorn almost every space of every room and her paint-speckled studio was just off my bedroom) …

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Grafton dressed in Purple

November 6, 2014 - The Clarence Valley

Clarence Valley Day 1: Welcome to the Clarence Valley. We were greeted in Grafton with a blaze of colour. They don’t call this city of 19,000 people the Jacaranda Capital for nothing. Hundreds of these trees line the streets and it’s a joy to cruise randomly along, turning down whatever street takes your fancy and …

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Okay so they went bananas

November 6, 2014 - Coffs Coast & Bellingen

In the Gumbaynggirr dreaming the giant goanna formed Macauleys Headland and it is in the lee of this headland that acclaimed local water photographer Tom Woods from ST Surf Images swims out into the line up. Sophie, Nick and Lucy revel in the small conditions as local surfers go about their early morning ritual and …

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On the other side of fear is freedom…apparently

November 5, 2014 - Coffs Coast & Bellingen

In case you have already forgotten, I’ll give you a hint. In hushed voice and dulcet tones, ‘last horse moving into the barrier… almost set…three thousand two hundred or two miles the journey…green light… racing… good luck punters!’ And remember where you were on the fabulous Coffs Coast … the day that stops a nation. …

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Climbing out of our comfort zone

November 4, 2014 - Coffs Coast & Bellingen

It takes a lot to get a teenager’s head out of an electrical device. Sometimes eyes scroll up, only to quickly scroll down and glaze over. When we pulled off the Pacific Highway just north of Coffs Harbour and drove into the Opal Cove Resort we had an OMG moment followed by a lot of …

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The coast of endless promise

November 3, 2014 - Coffs Coast & Bellingen

Jamie Callister is the grandson of the man who invented Vegemite. He recently wrote a book also titled The Man Who Invented Vegemite which was shortlisted for the Queensland Book of the Year. He is travelling with his wife Libby and their three teenage children, Sophie, Nick and Lucy. The children are all keen surfers …

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I left my heart in blissful Bellingen

November 2, 2014 - Coffs Coast & Bellingen

We woke to the gentle trickle of rain on the tin roof at Bellingen Farmstay, as the rising sun glowed a rosy hue beneath grey clouds. The brief morning rain brought relief to the valley, which had been slowly drying out. Farmer Fiona had told me yesterday the animals and people alike grow restless and …

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Where the mountains meet the sky in Dorrigo

November 1, 2014 - Coffs Coast & Bellingen

Ok, there are some advantages to being woken at sparrows by little ones too excited to sleep. A comforting cuppa while watching the pre-dawn sky transition from tangerine to lilac to muted blue. The tiny duckling grazing on the lawn, the mist rolling low and slow under the bridge, and jumping fish breaking the mirrored …

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