Sandy Beaches, Muddy Rainforest

Lamington National Park – Tuesday, 09 November 2010

We have decided to take up hiking. Conditions are great: Sun is shining, every town we visit offers walking tracks with amazing views and it is so much more relaxing than running (our initial plan to keep fit).

Andrew Hiking Melanie Hiking

So, Sunday November 7th at Port Macquarie, we took our first long morning walk. After seeing the Koala we felt especially energized. We walked along the coastal line from Sandy Beach to Sandy Beach. The last couple of days we were used to wearing long trousers and that is why we wore them for the walk. Bad Plan. The sun was shining. Hard. So you can imagine we looked like boiled tomatoes when we returned from the walk. New Plan: Short shorts from now on!

On our way from Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour we took the Tourist Drive (side tracks from the Pacific Highway with scenic views) which led us to Crescent Head. A cute Bay were we had a lovely lunch with seaview.

Andrew Preparing Spaghetti

The Tourist Drive brought us through some amazing roads but got us at Coffs somewhat later than expected. Nevertheless we took a walk to the Harbour by sunset – because, as you know – we hike! And we found a spectacular free parking site to camp. We woke up early with the sound of the Ocean Waves and surfers (of literally all ages: 10 to 60+) waxing their surfboards. At 5.30am! But what a view!

Morning Surf Surfing Grandpa

We had lunch in Coffs Harbour at Fishermen’s Co-op, a fish shop where you can have the fish you buy prepared to eat on the spot. Melanie had some oysters (duh) and Andrew a piece of grilled Marlin with a bucket of chips. Yummeh! (cool concept btw). And as desert: the Big Banana!

The Big Banana

We arrived in Byron Bay at 3pm. Byron Bay is a small surfers town with lots of tourists, but a chillaxed atmosphere. Both of us bought a pair of Havaianas slippers to get into the chillaxing groove. We dropped George off at the camping site and strolled to town for an evening out.

Early wake up next morning as we walked around Cape Byron. A walking track (still keeping up hiking!) with views on the Ocean (with dolphins!), deadly climbs to the Lighthouse and a descent through a mini rainforest. A must do! The rainforest preview gave us a taste for more!

Deadly Climb

This is how we ended up here, in Lamington National Park, O’Reily’s Rainforest. The drive up here was kinda special: every time we thought the road couldn’t get narrower, it did! But it was totally worth it! We saw valley views, lakes, mountains, picturesque villages and eventually the misty, Muddy Rainforest. We never expected to see something like this in Australia.

High Trees

We are still blown away. And maybe just a little bit afraid. Because as we went to get a local hiking map (still going strong!), we heard a couple ask the ranger something about snakes – oh dear god. With concern in our eyes we asked the ranger: “Are there any snakes here?”. He replied assuringly: “No worries. We have a healthy population of snakes”. As if we worried about them being extinct or something…. I think Not! Hopefully we’ll get a good nights ssssssssssssleep :)

Morana Falls

After a snakeless night we took another lovely hike in the rainforest to Morana Falls. Where yesterday the weather was foggy and humid, today the sky was clear and the sun was shining. This way the rainforest looked very different. The walk brought us to two amazing lookouts: one overseeing the Falls and the other on the opposite side with a breathtaking view of the Valley.

Valley View

Although it was an experience to be in “the wild” for two days, we yearned for a little bit of city crowds. Thats why our next stop is Brisbane!