26 April 2011
15th April 2011 - Brisbane
Sunday was moving day: north to Mt Warning. Noticed that things are moving ahead with the new road north of Ballina with the climb almost bypassed but it will be quite some time before they finish the entire 20km to join the existing dual road.
Our directions were to turn onto the old Pacific Hwy (now renamed ‘Tweed Valley Way’), over the Burringbar range, where the sign at the bottom advised “15%” climb – I don’t seem to remember it as that steep, but up we went. I was a wee bit nervous because we were running with the van at full weight of 3 tonnes, and “Tom” Cruiser also carrying a decent load. No need for concern – it happily climbed all the way in 2nd gear with no heating issues.
The directions then sent us onto a small country road that was so skinny we both had to breath in whenever a car approached. Around a corner and the road just pointed upwards – another 15% sign, and up we went. A lot longer than the previous climb, but the real issue was that the road was not really wide enough for comfortable passing so if anything came our way we would need to slow down, thus loosing revs and would force us back to 1st gear – and once down a gear, it’s really hard to get it back. Anyway, we got there with no issues.
The tweed valley is a tourists delight – we visited the Madura tea plantation where they do a great little tour that explains all about the making of tea – the older we get, the more we realise that we still know bugger all about most things! Next place was the Tropical Fruit Farm where, would you believe they grow 500 fruit varieties. We did a tasting of fruit that is in season and found a number of new taste sensations, that unfortunately are not to be found at the local Canberra markets.
Took the long way back via a full lap of Mt Warning and experienced the best fun of the day – an Echidna was ambling across the dirt track so I stopped the car while Shirl got out with the camera. As she approached, the echidna did what they do and folded into a ball – Shirl paused, the echidna poked his nose out, Shirl lifted the camera, the echidna folded again ...... and again ........ and again ....... and again ........ and again. So we have a number of photos of an ecidna rolled into a ball if anyone is interested.