Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia -- Sat., Sep. 17

Coffs Harbour is a bustling town in northern New South Wales, Australia. The population in the whole region is 100,000.

Our timeshare is Novotel's Pacific Bay Resort. Here are some photos from our stroll around the grounds this morning.

We are in the tower on the left.

Crested pigeon on the golf course.

Eastern water dragon on restaurant patio.
Resort landscaping
From the resort, a brief walk took us onto the beach at Coffs Coast Regional Park. From here, there are trails in both directions over the headlands.

This coastal resort town reminds us of Hawaii. On the hillside are banana plantations, avocado groves, and plumeria. The mountains have rainforests and spectacular waterfalls.

Exploring the town of Coffs Harbour, we started at Corambirra Point which we went to by accident. We really wanted to go to the marina and Muttonbird Island. We drove around the harbor to the other side by the marina, parked and walked to Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP) Muttonbird Island. The weather forecast was for 70% chance of rain/thunderstorms this afternoon, but we decided to hike up the island anyway.

At the end of the jetty walk to the island was a display about muttonbirds (wedge-tailed shearwaters).

Hiking the trail to the top of the island you could see muttonbird burrows all over the island. Muttonbirds are not here at this time of year.

Muttonbird burrows are all over the island.
As we neared the top of the island it started sprinkling. I told Bob I was heading back to the car because I could see a heavy rainstorm was heading our way. He decided to walk to the top and over to the other side. Here are two photos I took on my way down the hill.

Looking south across the harbor and down the coast.

The marina at Coffs Harbour.
A minute later, the skies opened up and I got drenched before making it to Fisherman's Co-op, where Bob and I decided to meet for lunch. Bob was at the far side of the island and was soaked when he made it to the restaurant. 

We then went to the Info Centre and stocked up on maps and trail information for Waterfall Way. Weather was on the computer in the Info Centre. Forecast for tomorrow is thunderstorms and rain. No Waterfall Way for us tomorrow! However, the forecast for Monday and Tuesday is sunny with partial clouds. We will head out to spend two or three days hiking in the national parks along Waterfall Way on Monday.

With the cool, rainy weather, we drove to Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout in Bruxner Park Flora Reserve in Orora East State Forest above Coffs Harbour.  On the drive up the mountain we saw two Australian brushturkeys crossing the road.

The Sky Pier is a walkway pier over the top of the forests from which there is a 180 degree view of Coffs Harbour, the ocean, coastline and mountains.

Forest Sky Pier
You can see how wet the Sky Pier is and Bob's in summer clothes. That's because the area is sub-tropical and the temperature is not cold. While we were up ther a long bout of rolling thunder occurred. I headed for the car as I did not want to be out there if lightning struck!

View of Coffs Harbour.

View southwest to the mountains.
We drove back to the mall in town at 4:30 p.m. to go shopping. I just started trying on some clothes when the shops all started closing their doors. This is a major difference we've seen in small towns in Australia...the stores lock up for the night at 5:00 p.m. It's Saturday night and you'd think stores in a mall would be open until at least 9:00 p.m., but they're not. Even when we were in Sydney, shops closed early and certain bus lines stopped running. On Thursday nights, however, Sydney shops stayed open until 9:00 p.m.

Shopping is on the agenda for tomorrow. It's something we can do in the rain.

We're looking forward to Monday so we can get outside and hike again.

Travel Bug out.