Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Drive North

2700kms on the Pacific Highway was not something we were relishing as we chugged out of Sydney early Sunday morning bound for Woolgoolga, just above Coffs to catch up with our friends Sue and Trevor.

The driving was uneventful, (just the way we like it) and we had a great meal with our hosts, who we had finally come to visit after 5 years of saying we would.

After stopping in at their bike shop in Grafton, we cruised on up to Brissie to inspect our little apartment before heading to Mooloolaba and another catch up, this time with Jane's friend Emma.

We pitched our tent at the campground right on the beach and had a great meal at the surf club. The following morning we grabbed the two 5kg weights I had tucked under the driver's seat and gave ourselves a workout on the beach, followed by a quick swim before making tracks to Rockhampton.

Rocky is in the middle of Qld's cattle country, and the 400gm rump we each had for dinner at the Criterion Hotel that night didn't disappoint.

The longest stretch of our trip was from Rocky to Ayr, which is about 80km south of Townsville. We diverted off the highway to spend 2 nights camped at Alva Beach, where we would give our eyes and backsides a rest from driving and take the opportunity to dive on the wreck of the SS Yongala.

Alva beach is on a small peninsula and provided us with great sunsets each night. I couldn't help myself, and wandered into the cane field across the road to snap away.

From Alva it was only two relatively short driving days to beautiful Port Douglas.

Thankfully our trip was uneventful and driver stupidity was rare and minor. The road itself is not too bad, although patience is required at times as the caravan-towing grey nomads are happy to sit on 90kph. It hit home to me that most accidents must be about speed or a lack of patience (or a combination of both).

We were both surprised how little of the coast was visible from the Highway. As as cycling trip goes, I think it would be safe enough, but relatively uninspiring unless you were prepared to make the (sometimes lengthy) detours to the coast.

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