Newcastle to Taree: Day 3

Booti Booti to Taree
Date: 21 April 2008

I awoke after around twelve hours sleep to find a beautiful sunny morning. Since my plan was to visit relatives in Forster I let Tom go on his merry way and took it fairly easy in getting going. I spent a bit of time at the beach and gave my things a chance to dry. If you’re ever around Booti Booti I can recommend camping at The Ruins campground. It’s a nice NP campground with a beach and good facilities.

Forster was only about 15km away, but within Forster itself there are a number of hills. The people I was visiting lived right at the top of these, so I felt I deserved the tea and hot crossed buns that awaited me there. Their verandah had a lovely view of the beach and I would have been happy to stay, but the view became that of a dark imposing storm making it’s way towards me. In a bid to defeat it I jumped on the bike and headed towards Taree, but it wasn’t long before I was riding in steady rain. It was still a nice ride along the river though. I stopped in near a place called Darawank for lunch out of the rain.

Darawank rest stop

Lunch stop out of the rain at a rest stop near Darawank

I had a bit of trouble with the rain covers on my panniers, so riding along the highway was slow going. My vaude panniers keep everything dry, but raincovers can just be a pain in the arse in heavy rain. They fill up with water, fall off, and generally don’t always behave as they should. However Pacific Highway has a wide shoulder and it’s not a bad place for a cyclist. It’s little boring and had heavy traffic though.

Anyway I made it to just past Taree to a place called Cundletown and checked in to a Caravan Park on the Dawson River. It was one of the more scenic camping spots I’ve stayed at, even though it was in a Caravan Park.

Newcastle to Taree: Day 2

Bob’s Farm to The Ruins, Booti Booti
Date: 20 April 2008

My first full day of riding started early because I wasn’t particularly comfortably sleeping and felt a need for some water. I arose at around 4am and rode the rest of the way into Nelson Bay, stopping at a servo to refill my water bottles which I had foolishly neglected the day prior. In Nelson Bay I grabbed a big subway breakfast and chatted to a crazy old man about the floundering mullet in the water. There was also some time for more sleep before the ferry to Tea Gardens departed.

The ferry ride was not uneventful, with a stop to watch some dolphins partway. I also met a guy, Tom, who was riding to Byron Bay and had the same route planned for the day as myself through Myall Lakes and Booti Booti National Park. We got off at Tea Gardens and headed along Mungo Brush road. We stopped at Dark Point which was an aboriginal site, but looked like a whole heap of sand dunes on a beach.

Dark Point

Dark Point

At Mungo Brush we lunched and I had a kip, then left Mungo Brush road for some adventure. We had both planned to head down a road between Mungo Brush and Seal Rocks road which was marked as a walking track on some maps and a road on some others. It turned out to be an unsealed road which had been closed since 2005 and was in not a great condition. It was very rocky for the most part, and about 30cm deep in water for the rest, and we had to go about 10km at close to walking pace. I never fell in the drink, but Tom got a little wet. The rest of the way to Seal Rocks road it was good graded dirt road. My pannier rack broke at one stage, but I fixed it up with zip ties. Always keep some handy. Tom had some gear trouble, but otherwise it was a mishap free adventure.

Mungo Brush to Seal Rocks Road

Tom getting wet on Hawksnest to Seal Rocks Road

After that it was Seal Rocks Road then onto Lakes Way and a bottlo. I was getting fairly tired towards the end of the day and Tom, who was a stronger rider, wanted to push on to the campsite at Booti Booti. He left me as it started to rain and made it to the campsite ahead of the coming storm, but I managed to get caught in a huge deluge. I was very glad when I finally pulled into The Ruins campground at Booti Booti and got out of the cold rain.