Day three on the Gold Coast dawned fine and cool with light cloud cover; we needed to fix a leak on the inlet of our water supply so decided to walk to Bunnings to buy a couple of spare parts that I didn’t include in the bits and pieces kit. It was about 5 kilometres each way so we had a good quota of exercise for the day.
Returned to the van and found we needed additional parts as what we bought did not fix the problem – this time I drove back to Bunnings and returned with the necessary items to all the leak to be repaired. Didn’t do too much for the rest of the day and slept well that night.
Day four dawned clear and crisp and a beautiful blue sky day prevailed. Our youngest daughter joined us for the morning and we went to SeaWorld Resort to meet up with Margaret’s cousin and her husband who were visiting the Gold Coast from South Australia with one of their older grandchildren. We enjoyed an appetising lunch and passed a pleasant couple of hours catching up with the visitors.
The Gold Coast is a large city with many sites to see and places to experience; one could spend at least a week (and a small fortune) just taking in all the theme parks on the Coast. Our visit was primarily to catch up with family and was confined largely to the area of the coast around Southport and we didn’t explore much beyond this area.
Our next stop on the journey is Urunga Heads and we were a little concerned that the bad weather then plaguing the Hunter Valley and Sydney may also be affecting the Urunga area (http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/thousands-without-power-as-rain-strong-winds-continue-in-nsw/story-e6frflp0-1227312908475). When we rang the park at which we decided to stay the Manager advised that the sun was out and all clear so we decided to proceed on our original planned route at this stage.
The drive south from the Gold Coast to Urunga (http://www.coffscoast.com.au/urunga) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urunga,_New_South_Wales) was uneventful. We left at around 8:00am and arrived at Urunga Heads around 2:00pm. Along the way we stopped for fuel at Tornik, just north of Grafton, and also had lunch. We spoke to a woman travelling with two horses in a float heading for an equestrian event at Caboolture in Queensland. Turns out the lady was from Maitland and she told us of her problems during the recent severe weather.
Even now (four or five days after the event) the region is still experiencing flooding and widespread power disruptions. Roads are damaged and cut and it will take a while before the regions return to their best. Watching the local television news has also convinced us to bypass the Hunter Valley this time round and plan a future visit when the area has recovered.
The caravan park at Urunga (https://www.northcoastholidayparks.com.au/park/info/urunga-heads) is quite nice with relatively new facilities; everything is neat and tidy and there are wide expanses of green grass which the management obviously goes to a lot of trouble to maintain. There are also lots of rabbits in the park and wherever you walk there are rabbits scurrying away under buildings or behind bins. The first evening we had fish for tea from the local seafood outlet – very tasty. There are a good number of shops in the village along with a pub and restaurant and the town seems like a nice place to live.
A timber boardwalk (http://urunga.com.au/wp-content/uploads/URUNGA_BOARDWALK_2014_web.pdf) has been constructed along the edge of the confluence of the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers and the Urunga Lagoon to the mouth of the river. The boardwalk, which was first built in a basic form in 1908) has been built and extended over time with various sections opened then extensions added; we saw three plaques commemorating openings of various sections of the structure. It is about a kilometre in length and provides an interesting walk from the caravan park to Urunga Beach.
We took a walk along the boardwalk the afternoon we arrived in Urunga and met many others along the way enjoying the same pleasant experience. A branch of the boardwalk takes one further along the edge of the Urunga Lagoon which is obviously a nursery area for fish and crabs as small fish could be seen close to the banks and crabs were plentiful in the mud flats among the mangrove roots. The boardwalk takes one to the ocean beach and there is a good view of the bar and the waves breaking from the open sea.
Friday morning we drove back in to Coffs Harbour. Our eldest daughter and her partner lived in Coffs on a couple of occasions and we saw quite a bit of the place when we visited. One place we did not look at was the Big Banana (www.bigbanana.com) so we thought we would call in to have a look at what was available (apart from bananas). As well as the obligatory gift shop and cafeteria, there is a plethora of other activities that can be pursued in the way of family oriented recreation including mini golf, toboggan, water park and laser tag. Great if you have children that you need to entertain.
From the BB we drove a little further north to take in the sights offered by Sealy Lookout. This spot provides extensive views of the coast adjacent to Coffs Harbour. A new structure – the Forest Sky Pier – has been constructed since our last visit and this affords visitors a view over the edge of the mountain. The location is also the starting (or finishing) point for a number of bush walking and mountain bike trails. Some really spectacular views are available from this spot.
Friday afternoon saw us walking around Urunga. We visited the small museum that has been established in the town and picked up a brochure providing details of Heritage Walks available in the area. We spent a pleasant hour or two following some of the walks detailed in the brochure and seeing the sites of the town. Along the way we saw some very colorful, but very flighty, parrots.
On Anzac day we rose early and attended the dawn service conducted by the local Sub-Branch of the RSL. For a small community the service was very well supported with (I estimate) a crowd of close to 1,000 people attending. The setting for the service was quite apt with the cenotaph located adjacent to a row of very mature pines which added poignancy to the event. There was a later ceremony and a march in the main street but we didn’t attend these.
Tomorrow morning we will depart Urunga and head south to Port Macquarie then turn west toward Tamworth and from there head south to reach Oberon in a few days to check out the Jenolan Caves and the Blue Mountains.