We were joined at Brunswick Heads (just north of Byron Bay) by Clare, my niece. She was interested in checking out Byron Bay and also catching up. The third day she was with us was beautiful and sunny, so we took the canoe onto the Brunswick River.
With the tide turning, we were able to mosey along the riverbank, annoying many birds, fish and rays. The pelican was the most relaxed, watching our approach without disturbing his grooming.
Past the island, the environment changed from mangroves and mudflats, to forest and sandy beaches. We sneaked up on an eagle having a bath.
Further upstream we found a few cormorants to sneak up on a threesome of cormorants or herons – I can’t really tell the difference. They really weren’t bothered by us so we got almost underneath them.
When we found on why, I began paddling quickly. Can anyone see what is to the right of my paddle-head?
Here is the cause of my anxiety. We got to within 5 metres of her before I clued up to the interesting diamond pattern in the tree.
She was about two metres long and did not move. Still, I believe Python’s should be admired behind a nice glass wall with a near label assuring me that it is not deadly. Clare insisted we go back for a better selfie, but if the snake joined us in the boat, no amount of restatement of the word “harmless” was going to stop us from swimming back to camp!
Moonee Beach is a bit north of Coffs Harbour. As noted in the previous post, we were very lucky to get into it, arriving just after six; most caravan park receptions close at five, this one at six and they answered the after hours number. We stumbled well! It is a beautiful location on the Solitary Islands Walk with a tidal creek (Moonee Creek) running past the camp ground. It is home of the Sooty Oyster Catcher, which did not let us approach within smarty phone photo range with our hairy mutt. There were a number of herons, cranes, ducks, plovers and a lot of fish.
We had three great days there doing walks and going for a canoe. The Dog as usual had the most fun. The Solitary Islands Walk went through beaches, headlands and rainforest. He loved the canoeing – both in the canoe, and swimming behind when not in the canoe.
Fri 12 June – On Friday I had the honour of rowing for Victoria, unusual for a New South Welshman.
The location was Paradise Beach, an unmarked beach in Barooga State Forest on the Murray River. The place was not sign posted at all – it was off a 4WD track. I drove past it twice thinking “that is surely not it”. (We actually found it in a great book titled “Bush Camping with Dogs”. It is surprisingly well researched, and also found
us the Tumut campsite.) However, a chat to the local constabulary confirmed it was. We arrived late at the location in light rain – not ideal for 4W driving. When we reached the Murray, we just stopped and made a quick camp. The following morning showed this to be a great choice.
The Murray River is a quiet river at present (or here) and sides are either coarse sand (such as on Paradise Beach) or reeds. So I inflated the blow up canoe we found at the camping show and followed in the wake of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.
Alex was busy talking on the phone so opted not to be on the first canoe attempt. Surprisingly, the dog was a willing participant.
So off we went, rowing away from NSW and into Victoria. Despite the slow flow, upstream was quite hard work and I had removed my warm vest after 20 minutes. On the way back downstream, we met some fellow dreamers.