28.03.2010 - 08.04.2010 25 °C
Arrived in the interesting town of Bellingen on the 28th March. A town on the edge of the rain forest that has so many friendly people that seem to be so many years behind most places. We camped this time, however by the end of our 3 nights we had been bitten so many times by mosquittos and sucked by leaches that it was a little annoying as the site for this YHA was stunning. It poured with rain the first night so by the morning we and the tent were soaked through but was thankful the next day was warm and dry. The 7 pound Tescos tent we have found is great in the dry but does not like too much rain. Visited Dorrigo National Park with its rain forest and water falls which were stunning. It was originally going to cost us 20 pound each to do this tour but again we managed to sweet talk a nice lady from the information centre to drive us the 60km round trip. She was more then happy to help us and was a great guide for the day.
We moved to Ballina on the 2nd April, this time looking forward to our bunk beds which would not normally be a priority but a comfy mattress after camping is a real pleasure. Good facilities again and we are getting more adventurous with cooking curries and meals with veg and potatoes are becoming more common now. We were both amazed recently that we had resisted McDonalds, KFC and fast food joints so far on our trip to SA and OZ. It would be so easy as there are so many and the food is cheap although not very filling and healthy. A 10km bike ride (sore bums again) was the high light of a reasonably dull town. We rode to the Tea Tree Plantation which perhaps some of the more older readers of this blog might recognise the name. Basically oils taken from the Tea Tree plant are used for healing and medicinal purposes and are sold (expensively) world wide but more common in OZ so we splashed out on some tooth picks at 50p for a box of 100!! So continued on our ride around Ballinas rivers, lakes and coastal paths in a loop which was typically spectacular. Coul not leave Ballina on the day we wanted because the Greyhound coach was full due to the Easter holidays and has made travelling on a little difficult, however left Ballina on 6th April to go to Murwillumbah. Good luck trying to say this one!!!!!!!
Arrived at Murwillumbah YHA after seeing the hostel from across the river but unable to get to it without walking 200m the other way then a walk back for another 400m. Was not too bad but carrying 14kg of bag weight, a small ruck sack and a food bag in 28 degrees of heat was back breaking although give me a golf bag to carry all day then i would not proberbly moan!! Hostell seemed to be stuck in the past. Everything wooden with bright reds, greens and blue painting, all the pictures on the walls were all from the 80's and the most tatty looking plastic seating and deck chairs. However it was distinctly different to most places we have stayed with great views over the river. 2 nights in Murwillumbah and did not do anything more exciting than go to an art museam although the playing cards and the reading books are getting good use.