Monday, January 28, 2008

DAY 115: Bulahdelah to Forster-Toncurry

Mon 28th January 2008
64 km @ 14.4 km/hr
Distance to date 7073 km (4421 miles)
Sunny, upper 20’s, nice

Peaceful night; luxury of toast for brekkie (done on camp kitchen grill), chat and photo with Kathleen and Scottie, then back on the road. Beautiful sunny day but getting hotter by the minute. 3km north on H1, then a right turn onto the Lakes Way. Silly me thought this would be flattish today, but I was very wrong - it’s just as hilly as the past few days for the first 30km at least. This week is proving a real work-out! Some short steep climbs and a couple of longer ones (2 to 3 km) thrown in for good measure. Again a case of changing from lowest to highest rapidly as the tops are crested.
The scenery was pleasant though, plenty of forest and consequent shade, though today there was more traffic, mostly heading south after the holidays. Note that between Bulahdelah and Forster there is very little shoulder and I was sharing the carriageway with all the other traffic, which happily was fairly courteous. I saw no lorries except for a bin lorry that kept passing me.
After about 20km I descended to Myall Lake, which looks very attractive indeed; idyllic scenery that you dream about seeing on holiday. There are several places where the lake can be accessed; plenty of picnic tables etc., and some good photo opportunities. There is a roadhouse at Bundwahl where I found a Dare Iced Double Espresso again - mmmmmm. I took the 6km ‘detour’ around Pacific Palms but wondered why I bothered actually - you hardly see the coast, it’s all hills and there’s lots of traffic. Couldn’t even find a toilet.
On returning to Lakes Way the 10km isthmus section starts, and this is very pleasant riding. It reminded me for all the world of Loch Lomond with palm trees - the size and shape, and the ‘A82’ running alongside. There’s a flat calm salty lake on the landward side and a surf beach on the seaward side (my first glimpse of the Pacific this time I think). This area is in the Booti Booti NP, and I would have liked time to explore it’s many walks, however I needed to replenish supplies at the supermarket in Forster.
A little further north in the Green Cathedral - an open-air church on the edge of Wallis Lake. There are hewn timber benches facing the pulpit and lake, and it is a really beautiful setting, with tall palms comprising the ‘walls’. There is a nice campsite there too.
After another 15km of flat roads through bush I entered the outskirts of Forster-Tuncurry. The Forster side is all new buildings with limited access to the sea. It seems to have no centre, and consequently no heart, and it’s not for me except for replenishing and somewhere to stay . The caravan park is nice though (Lani’s Holiday Island) and only $10 pp. It extends over 2 or 3km and reaches out into Wallis Lake - camping is possible out there if desired. The site is very well equipped with camper’s kitchen containing everything you need. I set off to explore the coastal area of the town but after several km gave up on finding an esplanade or coastal track - it just doesn’t appear to exist.
After dinner, as it went dark, I went to watch the sun setting over the lake, and it was stunning - orange sky over blue and orange water with the ghostly gum trees a dark green contrast. I took a few shots at slow shutter speed to try and catch the colours accurately (see pic).
I still haven’t uploaded to the blog - I couldn’t find anywhere open that had USB ports, and this is quite a big town too. As I say I couldn’t find the centre of the town to look for an internet cafe - it’s a weird place.

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