18th November – Saturday

It rained a bit last night. It was certainly forecasted and was overcast all afternoon yesterday. In fact the last few days have all started looking great and slowly gotten more grey and threatening as the day progresses. And again this morning it doesn’t look as bad as we had thought it might be. The forecast looks like showery weather from here at Coffs to Noosa. It’s ironic that we had booked to stay here at the Corindi Beach Caravan Park at Christmas time with Matt (Maree’s brother) and Amanda, but having now used up all my time off from work, it wasn’t going to work. So we cashed in our deposit for this one night on our way home, and we love it here. It’s a pity we can’t stay longer, but with the dodgy weather and Jessie keen to get back back to school, it makes sense to get home. It’s a slow pack up and leave, but we eventually get going, heading for Byron Bay. We get on the highway heading north. The road is generally good but there are a lot of roadworks and the speed constantly fluctuates from 100 to 80 to 60, and 50 through many or the small towns we pass through. And there’s speed cameras – fixed and mobile everywhere. We are often driving beside big wide rivers bordered by cane fields -some tall and green, and others being harvested. There are rustic sheds everywhere – a photographer’s paradise, and many more times again I am frustrated that I can’t stop anywhere to photograph them. We stay on the highway without taking any detours today as we know we have a long way to go with Brisbane our ultimate destination. We’ve previously found that if we stop in to every town we pass, it adds hours to our day. We were going to call in on my friend Chris who lives at Cabarita Beach, but Maree is feeling crook and wants to get home. But first she wants to show the kids Byron. On arriving we have our usual problem of where to park with a caravan. Some towns cater for caravanners and are generous with parking, other places like here just want to make a dollar out of everybody, so despite being the only caravan parked in a large reserve they put aside specifically for caravans, you have to pay at a meter for the privilege. This has been a theme for us in NSW (Manly, Bondi, Byron Bay). We stroll through town, Maree and Jessie visiting a few shops whilst Zach and I play “yes or no” on the footpath as cars drive by. I think to myself it won’t be long before he’s playing “yes or no” as girls walk by. Byron Bay seems to be more “Sydney” than it was last time we were here. All of the hippies must have been moved on to Nimbin. The only sign of hippie resistance as far as I can tell are all of the bra-less women and the faint aroma of marijuana from time to time. We show the kids the beach, but being overcast and grey they’re not that interested, and Zach just wants to get going. We leave, picking up a plant from a nursery at Mudgeeraba on the way (not marijuana). We haven’t adjusted our clocks or watches to QLD time yet which unfortunately isn’t on daylight savings time, and we’re ready for a feed -coincidentally when we near Yatala Pies. I had told stories to the kids about how good their pies and caramel tarts where, and now I could prove it. Zach got his usual, a curry chicken pie, Jessie a pie with potato, and I got a pie with mushy peas and black sauce. We also grabbed a custard tart and a caramel tart for deserts. This would be the last treat of the trip after all. We went back to the van to enjoy our feed, and did we? Yes, we bloody did! We’ve had a few pies as we’ve travelled around Australia, and I can testify that the Yatala Pie is hands down not only one of the cheapest pies we’ve bought, but also the largest, and absolutely the tastiest meat pie we’ve had. Amazing. And they’re doing a roaring trade too, so good on them. Their reputation is confirmed when we text Amanda (Maree’s sister in law) where we are, and she immediately texts back that she wants a caramel tart!  The roads in QLD have been wetter than any we saw on our drive up today, and we realise that it rained on the way to Matt and Amanda’s at the start of the trip, and now it’s raining on the way to Matt and Amanda’s on the way home from our trip – interesting bookends. Can’t complain though, in the 4 and a half months of travelling we would be lucky to have had a week of rain. We arrive and our kids are stoked to see their cousins Jed and Bella, who have equally missed Zach and Jessie and have apparently been counting down the days to see them again. All the kids go for a swim in the new pool and have a great time playing with each other. Our kids will love sleeping in real beds tonight, whilst Maree and I will do one last night in the van. It’s a little sad that it’s all over. I think the kids are happy to be home, but Maree and I could definitely keep going…

Our “you have to pay to park here because it’s so busy” spot in Byron Bay. A big empty field with only us in it.


Playing “yes or no” with Zach we saw this beautiful 1958 Kombi wedding car drive past. YES!!!


Main Beach at Byron Bay


The best pies in Australia are here at Yatala Pies!


The cuzzies catching up in the pool.