Unexpectedly, we moved to yet another time zone as we travelled south towards Byron Bay from Brisbane. I hadn’t previously realised that time zones varied by Australian state as well longitude. It reduced the challenge of getting up in time to see the sunrises!
The country drives around Bangalow, where we stayed for three nights, were wonderful. Sometimes, if you squinted a bit, the countryside was reminiscent of the emptier parts of England. Then I’d look again and the tropical trees would shake me into realising the differences.
And then there are the hordes of metre-wide black fruit bats and the ear piercing crescendos of the crickets! We don’t have them in Gloucestershire. Both were jaw-dropping.
The quality of the Australian breakfasts, the clean sand and sheer scale of the beaches, and the friendliness of all we met continued to be uplifting.
Other highlights from our trip south, for me, included the wildlife (including eagles, pelicans, dolphins and whales) in Byron Bay and on the lovely, almost empty Kings Beach just to the south.
Nearby, Minyon Falls, a 100 metre drop, was impressive but would have been more spectacular with some water!
That shouldn’t be a deficiency now the drought has broken. We drove through huge storms on the day we returned to Brisbane and then again as we moved north to Noosa. At least bringing my umbrella hasn’t been a waste of luggage space. Also, I’m glad we are missing out on hurricane Ophelia back in the UK.