Day 5 Wednesday March 20th 2013, Bellingen to Evans Head
We wake early to a cacophony of birds and creatures in the rainforest. It is a beautiful morning, and it has rained heavily overnight. Watching the sunrise over the Bellinger River is a treat.
Back on the road and Coffs Harbour is only 20kms away, the Big Banana seems to get smaller every time we pass by. It must be an age thing. It’s time for a break when we reach the little town of Ulmarra on the banks of the Clarence River. This town has also suffered recent flooding and the last vestiges are still visible, sandbags around the houses, muddy remnants, and the ferry 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 veranda posts. There are no pedigrees around here.
This is where the sugar cane fields start, wide expanses of it. Where houses annually disappear to roof level below the growing cane. We detour east to Yamba a few minutes away on the coast. It is a pleasant spot, so we grab some oysters and prawns from a barge on the river and park on the clifftop overlooking the ocean to eat them. Yamba still has a relaxed feel to it even though coffee shops and cafes abound.
“No Through Road Ignore Your GPS”. Says a handmade sign created by a frustrated resident.
We leave the highway again to venture into Evans Head, once again just a short detour. Evans Head is a small old fashioned beach town at the mouth of the Evans River with a nice surf beach and soft white sand. The Caravan Park seems larger than the town itself, it has access to both the river and surf beach, and we can hear the surf crashing as we lie in bed. The park is well organized with the best BBQ facilities that we’ve ever seen. There is a beaut BBQ just near our van and great celebrations are on for the grand opening of the new, really flash, camp kitchen across the way. There are retirees dashing back and forth to be first for the free snags. The place comes alive with bandy legs and Bunning’s camp chairs. We shy away from the melee and toss some chicken on the BBQ. We have a lively chat with a Viet Veteran who is travelling around Australia with the missus, though we’re not sure where the missus is. It is a warm evening with a few large plops of rain.
Towing Kms: 210Kms
2020 Note: Once more this ‘Northern Rivers’ area is suffering the wrath of floods. Only this time it’s different. From north of Brisbane down to Sydney 1000 kms, heaven knows what that equates to in area, has been drowned in record-breaking floods. With the inundation to repeat twice more no sooner than things had started to dry out. Now more drenching rain is forecast until winter.
And that new camp kitchen at Evans Head? Well, we spent many nights there when we stayed for several weeks escaping the Melbourne Covid lockdown of 2020.