It’s 2013 and we break for a cool drink at the little town of Ulmarra on the banks of the Clarence River. Like many along this coast of the Northern Rivers region this town has also suffered recent flooding and the last vestiges are still visible, sand bags around the houses, muddy remnants and the ferry is out of action. We have a beer on the veranda of the pub and watch small dogs just being dogs, moseying around, sniffing and peeing on the veranda posts. No pedigrees around here.
This is where the sugar cane fields start, wide expanses of it. Two to three metres tall and in bloom, it waves in the breeze like pampas grass. Single storey houses just appear as rooftops above the fields of cane.