After a nice week of relaxation and sunbathing, interrupted only briefly for a bit of permanent emasculation of some goats, we tearfully said goodbye and headed onwards to Nimbin, which was probably the most exciting part of our trip so far – the drive, not the actual place. First we stopped in at the property just outside of Tenterfield that mum and dad are looking at purchasing. It’s pretty beautiful, with a lush valley running through it and a hill with a large plateau over most of the property.
Mum and I decided to climb this hill to see if there were any good views.
There weren’t, mainly because the bush was so over grown I was starting to ask myself why didn’t I bring my machete (figuratively speaking, because I don’t actually own a machete), but I feel less bad about bulldozing the whole thing so I guess that’s a plus. Mum reckons that because it’s right next to a national park, we don’t even have to feel guilty about bulldozing it, because there’s always going to be pristine nature right next door. Not sure that’s how the greenies see it, but ok. (disclaimer: I often exaggerate things in these emails, and I promise you my parents aren’t going to bulldoze 240 acres. Do you know how expensive that would be?! :D).
Trekking up and down that mountain (I nearly died – hardest 50m of my life!), we worked up an appetite, so mum and I decided to follow Sandor’s advice and go to a cafe in the quaint town of ‘Woodenbong’. The cafe wasn’t open, so we had a pretty decent steak sandwich and chips at one of the local servos (decently priced too – 2 massive steak sandwiches and a large chips – we didn’t finish all of it, so think huge sizes – for less than $20. Pretty good for a servo in the middle of nowhere*!). After that, we rolled ourselves back to the car, slid the seats back as far as they went and drove onto Nimbin.
On bypassing Kyogle, we started on this narrow, crazy steep road with hairpin turns and blind corners. Now, I’m a pretty cautious driver, but I have received a speeding fine before, so I’m no nanna. I was driving a max speed of about 40 on this road, and kept having to pull over to let people speed past me (my motto being ‘never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly’). After that, we got to Nimbin, where we had some really great pizza with my friend Arpad (who also lived with us out on Kachana, being Sandor’s son), who, together with his girlfriend Sam, regaled us with tales of living in Nimbin and how to recognise the undercover cops when they came into the bar (don’t ask how we got onto that topic). My only complaint was that my ‘Mt Warning’ pizza, despite being described as “Super Hot – don’t say we didn’t warn you” didn’t live up to its dire predictions and turn my mouth to ash, however it slightly redeemed itself by being very delicious.
We stayed two nights in Nimbin, which is really awesome by the way – I absolutely recommend a visit! Also, stay that the ‘Crystal Caravan Park’. It’s right next to the town pool, and the staff were just so lovely (and the awesome caravan in the pics was right next door to us).
Actually, all the locals we met there were really nice and friendly.
The town has a bit of a rep for easy access to marijuana, but to be completely honest, it looked like the only people actually smoking it (at least in public) were the tourists. The locals just make a bit of cash selling the crop. Mum was offered some cookies while walking along on our first day there, but to be fair she does look like a bit of a hippy sometimes. Maybe it was the rasta beanie she was wearing to cover her new dreadlocks that gave them the idea (disclaimer: my mum looks nothing like a rasta, and has never looked like one except for some rather unfortunate photos taken in the 1970’s).
Our next stop was in Laurieton, a coastal town about 400km north of Sydney which had another really great little caravan park with comfy cabins and a large selection of trashy romance novels (let me know if you guys want my review on ‘The tall dark and handsome billionaire Greek bachelor’s Achilles heel’). For dinner we went to a little Thai restaurant, after which I bought a bottle of Moscato and retired for a night of literary pursuits. On our way to Sydney, we drove up to the North Brother lookout (and yes, there is a Middle Brother and a South Brother) which was AMAZING. If you’re ever in that area, it’s totally worth the 20 litres of fuel the steep 5km drive requires to see the view. Just in case you don’t think you’ll be able to go there to see the view anytime soon, I’ve included a photo here.
Driving into Sydney we managed to get onto the one stretch of road that had an accident that day, which was basically the city saying ‘Welcome Ye Wee Country Folk’. Not sure why Sydney has a Scottish accent in my head, but I’m sure there’s an (perfectly reasonable, if not quite sane) explanation. The good thing about that day was that these cars tried to drive up the emergency lane next to us, and push in ahead, but then couldn’t, and the police had to drive up the lane and got VERY annoyed at the pusher-inners, and at the end pulled them over and probably fined them :D. It’s actually surprising how quickly you can lose your ‘peace and love’ vibe, so recently picked up in Nimbin, once confronted with the brutal reality of Sydney traffic. They were just lucky I don’t own a machete.
Peace and Love to you all,