Day 52, 3/9/2019 Tuesday Chinderah to Wooli, 27
We pull out of the park into peak hour traffic but thankfully most of the traffic is going north to the Gold Coast. Further enhancing my theory that Brisbane, Gold Coast & Sunshine Coast are rapidly merging into one very large city. Woody wants to know where they’re all going. How quickly we forget that some people do work. We’re contemplating this when we start bouncing. Oh shit! Not a puncture. We pull over and check the tyres, the car, the van. Gotcha! Bloody New South Wales concrete roads! We always forget how bumpy they are.
This Tweed area is so beautiful, small hills, sugar cane in the valleys, sub-tropical vegetation.
We stop for coffee and a good walk in busy and trendy Brunswick Heads. The creek is clear and schools of mullet are swimming past.
The hills behind Byron Bay are carpeted in macadamia nut orchards and banana plantations. The highway is so good now that Ballina whizzes by and we’re in the river flat sugar cane country. We cross and follow the wide Richmond River down to Woodburn. Two storey homes on the busy highway overlook the river, in a few months time life will become much quieter for this town as the next section of highway (Ballina to Woolgoolga) will bypass the town to the east. Although there is a lot of roadwork underway we slide back and forth from old to new sections of road without any delays. Until we come to a halt at the site of the new Clarence River bridge near Yamba. But it’s the old bridge opening for river traffic that causes the hiccup.
South of the bridgeworks we turn east onto a backroad and pass through idyllic small farm properties.
Coastal scrubland reveals Lake Hiawatha and a few kilometres on we reach the Wooli Wooli River and the fishing hamlet of Wooli. Yep, Wooli on the Wooli Wooli River. Wooli sits astride a narrow sandy isthmus between the Pacific Ocean and the river. Houses are both quaint and ramshackle for it seems that building restrictions aren’t high on the agenda when the fish are biting. The river is a deep teal green, clean and clear and oyster farms float along its upper reaches. At the southern end it sweeps dramatically under a high rock face to meet the sea.
The town is home to the Goanna Pulling competition, no goannas are involved in this crazy event but for a laugh check out ‘Goanna Pulling in Wooli’ on YouTube.
Not being fishermen, we check into the more salubrious of the two parks, the Solitary Islands Resort and score one of the many riverfront sites. If only we could fish. There are spacious green lawns, palms, paperbarks and pelicans with a backdrop of densely treed Yuraygir National Park across the river. It would be a treat for kids as there is a huge water slide, jumping pillow and free canoes. The camp kitchen is impressive, two story and set up as both a café and bar for busy nights, of which this is not. Our neighbours have their fishing lines in the river and pelican hang about waiting to cadge the leftovers. In the evening the surf becomes a roar. Now that’s better than aircraft.
Summary 222kms, power, water, toilets, showers, accom $45, no internet, river frontage and the excitement of a new place.