Helene & I head to Brisbane from Sydney, we’ll spend Christmas there, she with her family & I with my adopted Aussie family. The ride takes around ten hours so we decide to break it & stay half way.
We leave early in the morning, the air smells of burnt, the smoke has reappeared, on the Pacific Highway, once we leave Sydney, the Rainbow Flat forest is full of naked & darkened trees.
Time for the first stop, I am equally surprised & happy to see Oliver’s organic Café, a place with plenty of organic choice & a good hot chocolate, it’s nice to have a healthier option on the road where we mostly find fast food, do you agree?
Upon arrival at Nabucca Heads we stop to have a walk along its wild coast, where many ships sank & many souls were lost at sea. Shelly beach has a walk filled with painted boulders in honour of people who were lost at sea, also as a reminder of the wonderful times spent in the place. They call it the V Wall.
We arrive at Raleigh which will be our home for the next two days. It’s near the Belinger river, a rural area of cow pasture, a fairy tale place.
Our enchanting cottage used to be the dairy in the farm, a place to chill in the heart of nature, we’d love to stay indefinitely, so we’re going to enjoy every moment.
After breakfast in the terrace we depart to discover the area, we take the path to Bonville that will lead to Valery. Groves inhabit by not many people, a community that made me think, should be very united to face the fires that every summer devastate the Aussie bush, although this summer’s ones are taking a horrendous turn.
The roads lead us Never Never Creek, localted in a wonderful area Helene kept telling me about called Promise Land.
In Gleniffer we find a church in the middle of a field, a place for the parishioners to meet as well as an art center.
We arrive at the little village of Bellinger, one of those hippie places, enchanting & a bit zen. We stock ourselves with supplies for dinner in Kombu Wholefoods, an organic & sustainable supermarket that I like. Next to it I see the first trace of the urban art of the place, a bit further I am surprised to recognize a face right in the middle of the bush, it is the face of Dalí.
After a divine supper & a well deserved rest we head north. We pass Coffs harbour aka the Big Banana. We are focusing on Emerald Beach, there, we’ve been told that at sunrise & sunset it gets crowded with kangaroos, some even have a little swim in the sea. It’s a bit late & we can’t find any, only some surfer or early swimmer. But I don’t despair, a kind young man tells us where we will be able to see them.
On the nearby Moonee beach, we only see a couple in the distance.
Or in the Look at Me Now headland, where we see some resting.
I enter the reserve to see a formidable & unexpected wild beach. Miles & miles of sand & fierce waves open up before me to leave me totally fascinated. This country has so much wilderness, some of it so close to human settlements like this one.
We get back in the car, pass Byron Bay (where Thor lives) without stopping, to arrive to Ulmarra, our last stop. We stretch our legs whilst a young boy in a coffee cart prepares some coffee & chocolate, taking his time. Right behind it there’s a river, it looks like a good place to relax our sight after so many roads.
Finally in my beloved Brisbane!, Helene drops me off in Saabi Café, the best café in the world, I know I keep repeating myself, but besides being pretty their kind owners & lovely workers also serve the best delights, I feel at home, I adore coming here to write or chat with the neighbours, but all of that I will tell you on another post when Christmas comes, as here I spent my first Aussie Christmas.
I love reading in the café like I loved reading Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a Spanish writer who believed books had a soul & brilliantly showed us to appreciate it. He sadly passed away yesterday, so today I’d like to pay him a little tribute talking about his most famous novel “The shadow of the wind” (2001), where he takes us into a mysterious, gothic & bewitched Barcelona of the post-civil war years, when the young Daniel Sempere discovers the “cemetery of the forgotten books” & there he chooses The Shadow of the Wind, a book full of mystery written by an author he will be fascinated by. Zafón intertwines suspense & fantasy, & today we thank him for his legacy.