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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 dinner of steak and salad in the restaurant at my accommodation the River Park Motor Inn.

In the morning I explored the banks of the Richmond River looking for platypus. Due to the drought conditions I was able to traverse from one side to the other on the exposed rocks, ssighting Wood ducks, Pacific black ducks, Dusky moorhens and Purple swamp hen. The noise of the lorikeets and fruit bats in the trees lining the river drowned out the noise of the traffic crossing the bridge.

I was looking forward to a vegetarian breakfast and found a nice cafe called Zeebras in the centre of town. Inside Zeebras I found a peaceful atmosphere and really good coffee. I had to order a second one it was so good.

Many of the shops in Casino are in buildings that were constructed in the early 1900’s giving the town that old-school feel.

It was time for me to head back towards the coast, driving from Casino to Woodburn along the Casino Coraki Road.

I enjoyed the change of scenery along the way, from cattle farms to sugar cane. Today was going quickly and before I knew it I was in Coraki, another small town on the banks of the Richmond River. The river is central to many recreational activities for visitors and locals alike: fishing, boating and swimming. The Memorial Park on the banks of the river displays the “Healing Stones” designed by artist in residence¬† in 1998, Suvira K McDonald.

The stones are a gesture of reconciliation. “This is a place to contemplate the environment we share.”

I sat and contemplated #mylegendarydrive. It was now time for the last leg of my adventure.

I continued on following the signs to Woodburn. Crossing over the Richmond River for the last time, I reached the Pacific Hwy. Woodburn’s famous for it’s yummy hamburgers at Parkside Cafe. I’m close to home now and I know how huge these burgers are so I oredered a plain hamburger and continued on to Evans Head.

Evans Head is a beautiful beachside town that I used to visit often. Years ago I worked here on the beaches for National Parks and Wildlife Service educating people about the importance of protecting shorebirds that nest on the beaches in the Summer. I walked along the Evans River Walk and cycleway reminiscing about many a picnic I have had here with friends and family.

I wanted a view of the ocean and was granted this along my walk and also at the Lookout across the other side of the river. I smiled, breathing in the smell of the ocean realising how much I love this little town!

Leaving the lookout I saw the sign for the Goanna Headland walk. I pulled over and stepped out of the car grabbing my backpack. On entering the walking track and seeing the view of the headland I started reminiscing again. I remembered an old mate who is a Bundjalung man of the Githabul tribe telling me that the Goanna Headland is a man’s place and women should not go there. I kept walking but slowed down and it’s lucky that I did because there was a brown snake sunning itself on the pathway ahead!

I ran back to the car and decided not to do the walk. Some women may want to visit this area but not me! I respect my friend’s culture as they respect me. I know I missed out on a great photo opportunity but I am ok with that.

As I drove down the hill, Back towards the Evan Head township, I thought I would go to one of my favourite places along the river. I thought I would share this little local secret place with you…turn left off ocean dve onto bundjalung st and drive a few hundred metres to the end. You will see a sign saying Bundjalung National Park and a dirt track. Follow this and take the first right to a very small carpark. This a great spot for a picnic overlooking the evans river¬† or a spot of fishing or birdwatching, it’s nice and shady. Make sure you’ve got insect repellant as some days the sandflies can be bad but today there were none. Or you can drive to the very end which is about 1.5kms, you will get to a beautiful wooden bridge. Enjoy the mangroves and the sounds of the water flowing, I did but now it is time to go home.

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