Monday, December 18, 2006

Coffs Harbour - A beaut holiday spot in New South Wales

A few years ago a friend and I went along to one of those Time Sharing
meetings. Here you get to sit through three hours of "hard sell" and at the end
of it all you are asked if you would like to sign up and join one of many Time
Sharing Resorts. For attending the meetings one had the choice of a free digital
camera, a DVD player or a holiday.
We had already decided on taking the holiday. There was a choice of holidays
throughout Australia. The holiday we decided to take was at Coffs Harbour.
There was a $19.95 booking fee and that was all. The holiday was for four days
and three nights. The distance was 420 km or 260 miles. Not a lot of distance
to do in one day but we were in no hurry and decided to stop the first evening
at Ballina. I was going to stay overnight at Lismore but decided to travel
further south to Ballina. When we left Brisbane the skies were blue, but as
we crossed the border into New South Wales the skies turned overcast.
The next morning when we woke we heard on the news that part of Lismore
had gone under flood waters due to the huge amount of rain that had fallen
during the evening. As it turned out if we had stayed overnight in Lismore we
would of been trapped by the flood waters. Mind you this would of only had
been for a day or two until the waters had fallen.

................................Jacaranda trees in Grafton.

Our next overnight stay was up in the mountains in a very pretty little town
called Dorrigo. To get there we had to travel through Grafton. In November
every year the Grafton Jacaranda Festival is held. The jacaranda tree has small
purple flowers and when the flowers fall, look out as although they leave a
lovely carpet of purple on the ground the resulting fallout leaves one heck of
a mess to clean up.

..........Another view of a tree lined Jacaranda street in Grafton

The next morning we set off for Dorrigo under wet, rainy conditions. The road
wound up into the mountains. The rain got heavier and heavier. The road was
just wide enough for two cars to pass. Checking the rear vision mirror I saw a
police car, with lights ablazing. The road was too windy to pass. Finally I saw a
small opening in the side of the road and was able to pull in to let the car pass.
The rain was now so heavy that the wind screen wipers could hardly wipe the
rain from the windows. I decided to stay where we were until the rain eased, as
it was just too dangerous to continue. High cliffs on one side and steep ravines
on the other side. After 20 minutes it seemed that this heavy rain was here to
stay, so I decided to push onto Dorrigo. The journey from Grafton to Dorrigo
usually takes about 2 hours. This time it took us nearly 4 hours. Finally we
reached our destination.

........A view of the main street in Dorrigo during a previous visit.

By now it was early afternoon and the heavy rain had returned with a
vengeance. The place we had chosen was a cabin that we had stayed in on a
previous visit. It was obvious that were not going to be leaving the cabin for
the rest of this day. The rain got heavier (if that was possible) and the wind
grew stronger. Finally we decided to go to bed. We couldn't even hear the T.V.
because of the howling of the wind. All night the wind howled and we could
hear "things" hitting on the roof. It was one of the scariest nights I had spent.
I was sure that the roof would be torn off at anytime.
Finally dawn broke and the wind and rain had eased enough that we could
venture outside. My car had been parked between two cabins and the
"things" we hear was parts of branches being torn off trees onto the roof.

..................This was the view of my car the next morning.

Before we decided to head off to Coffs Harbour we decided to visit Dangar
Falls which was only a 5 minute drive out of town.

.........This is a view of Dangar Falls I took on a previous visit.

As you can see from the two different photos there is a lot of dirty flood waters
going over the falls. We then proceeded to head off to Coffs Harbour. We had
only gone a couple of miles when we were stopped by a sign over the road
advising that the road beyond was impassable due to flood waters in the lower
reaches. We turned around and went back into town to enquire at the local
road service office how to get to Coffs Harbour. There was only one way we
could get there was to go all the way back to Grafton, a detour of about
130 kms (about 80 miles). We would need more fuel for this return trip so
I stopped off at the local garage. While chatting to the garage attendant he
told me that he had heard on the local radio station that the winds had
reached 140 km (that's nearly 90 miles per hour). No wonder it felt at times
that the roof of the cabin seemed to maybe going to fly off.

So now we had a fairly long detour to finally reach our holiday destination.
Although the skies were still overcast, no more rain fell and we eventually
reached the resort where we were going to stay for the next three nights.

..........View of part of the Sebal Resort taken from our room.

Timber getters were the first to settle in the area in 1841. The busy port
was frequented by up to 450 ships a year until the Carywell was wrecked in
1865. The Harbour's navigation hazards were confirmed by the loss of the
Carywell and lead to a shipping boycott of the harbour until the construction of
a lighthouse in 1878. The town was originally named 'Korff's Harbour' by
John Korff in 1847. It was renamed Coffs Harbour when the town site was
reserved in 1861. Gold mining, fruit growing, dairying, and sugar cane farming
also became popular. Fijian Bananas were introduced in 1881 and the banana
growing industry took off in the early 1900's as the population swelled during
the construction of the railway and the harbour breakwall.
With the arrival of the railway in 1915 & the completion of the link through to
Sydney in 1923, the tourism industry in Coffs Harbour developed rapidly.
Today Coffs is one of the most popular destinations on the New South Wales north coast.

Part of the Harbour at Coffs Harbour. We went for a drive out to the harbour
and went for a walk along the long rock wall. The weather remained fine
although it stayed overcast and we temperature was quite warm and humid.
The seas were still high from the previous wild weather and it was amusing to
often watch huge waves wash over the walls and drown out unsuspecting
walking visitor. Fortunately I was not among one of the drownees, but the
lady I was with did get partially wet. I refrained from laughing at her
misfortune. I did manage to capture a couple of good photos of some seagulls
that always seem to hang around these areas.

Coffs Harbour is one of the
prettiest tourist resorts on the
Northern coast of New South
Wales and well worth the visit.

The three hour Time Sharing session we
went through to reach this resort was worth the effort, even to have to put up with the wild weather conditions, but then if we decided not to go "anywhere" just because there might be "bad weather" then we'd always stay at home and never get to see any of our country.

After a day out visiting the sights of a new holiday destination it's good to sit
down with a nice red and watch the sunset.

On the forth and last day it was time to pack up and head on back to Brisbane.
Outside of Coffs Harbour we came across another detour and before we got
back onto the main highway a stone slammed onto the windscreen causing a
fairly large crack. The next town we came to we called into a windscreen repair
shop and had to have the windscreen replaced.
We decided to stop overnight in Lismore and the next afternoon , would you
believe, as soon as we passed over the border into Queensland the temperature
rose steadily, the air conditioner decided to go on the "blink", so we swelted on
the last leg of our journey back home.
BUT, all in all, we had a great time, enjoyed our holiday and except for the fairly
dicey drive up through the extremely heavy rain into Dorrigo would do it all over again.


LZ Blogger said...

Wazza ~ Looks like Dandar Falls could be called Danger Falls right now! Did you happen to catch my post on Brisbane a couple of posts ago? No matter! I just wanted to wish a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family! ~ jb///

Peter said...

Maw and Paw Kettle jus' settin' on the porch at Dorrigo.

Lee said...

Great story and wonderful pics. Unfortunately, I've only been through that area once. We drove from Armidale through to Coffs...magnificent scenery all the way...loved it. Stayed overnight in Coffs and then took the coast route back home up to Noosa. I still have good memories of those beautiful areas.

Jim said...

Hi Warren -- That is a wonderful story, very instructional for me.
Aren't you glad you have time for a nice holiday like that one.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will be slowing down until 2007 now.

Meow said...

Great story and pics, Wazza.
I won a holiday to Coffs Harbour back in 1993 ... we stayed at the Pelica Beach Resort.
Coffs Harbour is a beautiful place, and I love stopping there when we travel to and from Queensland.
Take care, and Merry Christmas ... Meow

DellaB said...

hey Wazza - I agree, those little 'free' holidays are well worth the 'sell' session ::smiles::
Just gotta watch you don't get 'sold'.

wow, your trip covered a lot of the same routes we travelled earlier this year - your travel tales read very well, and the pics just take you there. Many thanks.

Interesting, the Christmas cards ... verry interesting...