08.02.2016 28 °C
Yesterday I set off early from Newcastle with Port Macquarie in my sights. Once out on the Pacific Highway again I decided that I would take one of the tourist drives that are signposted on the highway. I had noticed some of these on the way between Sydney and Newcastle but didn't take any on that drive with that being my first driving in Oz experience.
However, the first one I took yesterday was tourist drive number 6, taking me through beautiful forests and down to the first stop of Seal Rocks. No seals unfortunately but some lovely beaches, then onto the Great Lakes area stopping at Myall Lakes in a couple of places, very peaceful looking out over the lakes and really stunning views.
The tourist drive joins the Pacific Highway again just after Forster, but I stopped in the town first and picked up some lunch which I enjoyed by the lakes in the town, accompanied by some pelicans! I never knew these birds were so large - I originally mistook one for a statue until I got a little closer, they stand about 2/3 the height of me!
Back on the highway I then decided to take tourist drive 10 which ended near the town where I was staying for the night, Port Macquarie. This drive was not quite as scenic to begin with but I stopped at Rainbow Beach, a stunning long beach backed by a small forest. As I walked along the beach I noticed lots of small balls of sands surrounding little holes in the sand, it turns out there are tiny little crabs cleaning out there burrows and pushing these little balls of sand out of the burrows, very funny to watch! I then moved onto Lighthouse beach at Port Macquarie, another beautiful beach with a lighthouse perched on a high cliff at the end of the beach, before moving to my accommodation for the night.
This morning I was up early again to a lovely breakfast spread that my host had put on, fed, coffeed and watered I set off for Coffs Harbour via Dorrigo rainforest. I made a fleeting visit to South West Rocks, just off the highway on the recommendation of my host. It's another really beautiful area and one to be explored in more detail on another trip in the future, although I was able to see a water monitor crossing the road on the way back out from the beaches.
I made slow progress towards Dorrigo, it is obvious that the authorities are trying to update this part of the highway as there are loads of roadworks and changing speed limits every few kilometres, sometimes down to 40km, very slow for the highway! Most of it is still single carriageway at the moment so it will be good if this is updated to dual carriageway, like it was set out yesterday. Once turned off the highway towards Dorrigo I drove up the very wiggly road up the mountain to Dorrigo National Rainforest. At the top is the vistor centre and some very well set out walks round the forest. True to its name it rained a fair bit and was a little cooler than the drive here but I was rewarded with some gorgeous views, beautiful forest and lovely waterfalls. There were a number of different types of birds to see, including one that looks a lot like a turkey, and quite a few lizards.
Back on the road and it was another hour onto Coffs Harbour where I have rested indoors for the rest of the evening, I'm not used to all this driving! Tomorrow I have my longest drive to Byron Bay before the journeys start to get a little shorter for the rest of the week.