Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Brisbane Trip Day 9: Coffs Harbour -> Byron Bay

It rained for most of the night so everything was pretty soggy in the morning. The leak near Liam's bed didn't get too bad which was a relief. There were a few hours where it looked like it was going to clear up, the sky was a bit lighter and there was some time without any rain falling. I booked our accommodation at Sea World and then started packing, trying to get as much done as possible before the rain started again. The last hour at least we were packing up in steady rain, and all ended up soaked through to the skin. We packed in a different order to try to keep things as dry as possible and it worked much better than usual. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to tow the trailer out because the ground was very wet and sandy, but it was fine. We drove down to the carpark and headed to the shower block to change into dry clothes and retrieve our washing from the dryer.

Once we were dry we headed down for one more look at the beach - the sun was trying to come through and the water was shiny and beautiful, a nice ending to our time in Coffs.

I found it a bit difficult driving with the rain coming and going, so it was a slow drive north. I hadn't driven beyond Coffs Harbour before so it was all new. A lot of the Pacific Highway is dual carriageway now and they are working on lots more of it. We saw a pretty spectacular bridge in the process of being built - it is going to be high enough to replace the current bridge which lifts up to let boats through. There were cranes and diggers on pontoons in the middle of the river, it was pretty cool. As we drove we listened to 'The Colour of Magic' by Terry Pratchett - it took the kids a while to get into it, now everyone is enjoying it and I'm pleased to be sharing this series and world with them. I stopped once for a cup of tea and once to retie some straps on the trailer and the short breaks helped me stay alert.

We arrived in Bryon Bay around 4pm and I was astounded at the number of people around - lots and lots of pedestrians and the traffic was heavy. I dropped the kids off at the information centre and drove back out of the main street to the free parking for long vehicles which was a block from the main street. Lots of people parked here and walked back through across the old railway track. The kids played in the park and we used the toilets and I rang around the caravan parks in town to see how much it would cost us to stay - the costs varied between $50/n and $95/n. I'd been trying to get in contact with the local football club who let people camp at the football ground - I couldn't find out how much they charged for kids. We decided to drive out there and check it out and if too expensive we'd come back to the cheapest caravan park. The grounds looked green and inviting and they said it would be $30/night, and there were toilets and hot showers and only a 5 minute drive back into town - so we decided to stay here.

It had started raining again while we were in town (we sat under a big tree while I made my phone calls and it kept off some of the rain) and it had settled in by the time we arrived at the football ground. Liam and Amelie decided to stay in the car and play on their iPods, and Caitlin braved the weather with me to set up. It was windy by now as well which added a whole extra challenge. We got the tent up - we'd left the annex roof attached and the tarp over the tent, which made putting the tent up much harder, but setting the annex and covering the roof much easier. It still took us a while to get everything tied down and in an optimal position for avoiding leaks - and we were soaked right through again. The inside of the tent was pretty damp, there was water in several corners. We set the beds up closer to the centre than usual, and put blankets and mats on the floor so that we didn't spread the water around, and it felt pretty cozy. Luckily the weather was warm despite the rain, so it wasn't completely uncomfortable.

We boiled the kettle and had cup-a-soup and noodles for dinner. There were lots of backpackers staying there as well and we chatted to a few of them (and lent one group a saucepan) and headed to bed as soon as we could.

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