OK, so we have just arrived at Byron Bay after a 3 hour drive from Coffs Harbour. Thankfully we now have some blue sky and sunshine as the weather has been pretty miserable the last couple of days. Still hot and humid but mostly overcast and raining! Tomorrow is forecast to be a scorcher so a couple of days on the beach and a bit of surfing hopefully. We are here for 3 days for the Australia Day weekend. The town is really busy but it should be good fun as Aussie Day is a big celebration.
The internet access in some of the campsites has been pretty crap so we've got a few days to catch up on. After Newcastle we drove up to Cessnock which is one of the main towns in the Hunter Valley wine region. The town itself is pretty basic but the Hunter Valley region has some really big vineyards and loads of smaller independent wineries. We managed to get booked onto a half day tour which took us around 3 wineries and 1 distillery where they produce local Vodka, Gin and some Schnapps. Needless to say we sampled pretty much everything!! I'm glad it was only a half day tour as they are pretty generous when it comes to the tastings. We felt obliged to buy something from each of the places we went to, so we now have a load of wine to drink. Don't think that'll be too much of a problem though!
After Cessnock we headed back out to the coast via the Myall Lakes National Park. The drive through some of the mountain roads was pretty interesting. The scenery was amazing but unfortunately I had to keep my eyes on the winding roads. We stopped off briefly in Forster which is a quiet little town in the Great Lakes area, we did spot a few dolphins playing about in the bay which was pretty cool. We then headed further up the coast to Coffs Harbour for a couple of days on the beach. Coffs would be a great place as it has some amazing surf beaches but unfortunately the weather was pretty miserable while we were there. The main beach was pretty much off limits due to the weather but we did manage a swim at Jetty beach which is a bit more sheltered. We also had a quick visit to the Big Banana which is one of the main tourist attractions and a sort theme park type thing. Apparently Bananas were big business in this area and there's still a few plantations around, which is why it's known as the Banana Coast.
When we were on the wine tasting tour we met a couple from a place called Maclean who told us that there was a Scottish butcher in the town who sold black pudding, white pudding, lorne sausage and haggis! We decided to check it out on the way to Byron Bay and see if we could get some haggis for Burns night. We got a bit of a surprise when we arrived there to discover it was a Scottish town with Scottish street names and all the telegraph poles in the town painted with different tartans. Unfortunately the butcher was closed so we weren't able to get our haggis.
It's amazing how many of the streets and towns are named after British places but we've had a bit of a laugh with some of the town names. We've already been through Kurri Kurri and Booti Booti but the best so far has to be Delicate Nobby and Bald Knob……Ha Ha!!