There is nothing quite as fun as a spur of the moment road trip! We had been working hard all week on our bus and juggling baby in steaming 35+ degree heat and were both tired. Saturday morning rolled around and on the spur of the moment we decided to make the trip to IKEA to pick up two cabinets for our kitchen after work. It is a 5 hour journey to Brisbane in the bus, so, as we were in no rush we drove a little way and parked up for the night before heading to IKEA on Sunday morning.
We stopped at the small Scottish town of Maclean on the banks of the Clarence River in northern NSW and were pleasantly surprised by what a sweet little town it was. There was a family of ducks who came by for some bread and baby Nahko was fascinated! The next morning early, the ducks were back and to our delight, the Mumma duck laid an egg right by our door!
We packed up early and headed for IKEA. When we arrived I somehow took a wrong turn at the off ramp and had to make a Uturn- no small feat in a 40-foot bus! I found a wide-looking street and proceeded to make my way around the block, only to end up stuck in a very narrow street between two signs which were definitely not designed for busses to pass through. It took some manouvering but we got her out. It turned out to be a good thing as Jack found $5 on the footpath!
Relieved to be out of that pickle we headed back to IKEA and took the correct turn this time, however the driveway to the carpark quickly became very narrow and I thought we would become stuck again. Luckily there was an intercom and, although there were no signs saying so, they had two heavy vehicle parking spaces on the rooftop and a woman kindly guided us to them. PHEW! The parking spaces were not exactly big, but we managed to fit and get out again with minimal stress.
After quickly purchasing our cupboards and retreating from the chaos that is IKEA in school holidays, we headed south from the city toward home. In the distance were the pretty peaks of Mt Warning and the surrounding mountain range. Not overly excited to be returning to Coffs Harbour, Jack suggested we head toward the mountains and world heritage listed Wollumbin National Park. I happily agreed!
30km off the Pacific Highway through fields of sugarcane and the larger-than-expected town of Murwillumbah, we arrived at the turn off to Mt Warning. There was a tight bend and creek crossing at the entrance, and I was unsure if I would be able to get Molly through. Two dodgy looking characters pulled up and assured us we could get all the way into the national park. We decided try. We got about half way and came to another creek crossing -this one even tighter. There was a beautiful sandy spot beside the creek which, with some good luck, looked as though I could turn around in. We had no idea what lay ahead or if we could turn the bus around so I made the call to stop there for a while.
There was another small camper parked up, owned by the sweetest couple Marty & Aylar. They welcomed us and said that they were just heading off, and encouraged us to stay a while. We got chatting about vehicle conversions and they told us about conditions further up the road, and showed us two fantastic swimming holes in the creek. We were so happy to have met such genuine kind people and exchanged details in the hope of meeting them on the road again some day.
After they left I put baby down for a nap and Jack went to explore the creek. He came back with video and some great photos of a beautiful python swimming in the creek!
That afternoon we hiked the kilometer or so to one of the waterholes. The road was very steep and narrow, it was hot and we were exhausted by the time we got there. It was so worth it! A spectacular spot where we all had a dip. By the time we came back to Molly, we had decided to stay the night by the creek as it was very pretty and nobody else was there. We had no reason to rush off and we were enjoying the fresh air and beautiful sound of the crystal clear creek babbling away.That night we all slept like babies, including the baby!
The next morning we woke with energy to burn, and decided to hike all the way up the mountain to the summit car park. The walk itself was only 3.8km to the top but it was a very hot and steamy day and an extremely steep incline, without exaggeration it looked to be 45 degrees at the steepest part. (To see our ridiculous youtube video click here.) Edit* We decided not to use this video as it has some not-bolg-worthy language in it lol. We took turns pushing Bubs in the pram. He really enjoyed it and slept most of the way up.
We are both a bit unfit at the moment and we died!! But we came back to life again with the spectacular views that met us. It was good to push ourselves out of our comfort zone, and challenges like that are always good for your relationship and good for the soul.
We made it to the top and were greeted with cheers from another couple in a van who had passed us on the way up. There was a creek with the most pristine water in it, which we had a splash in and filled our water bottles from. It was so beautiful, with large smooth boulders set in a natural tropical forest.
From the car park, there are two walks. One to the summit of Mt Warning, a 9km, 5 hour climb rated as difficult which at it’s steepest, has chains and footholds in the rock to make your way up. The other walk was the 25 minute picturesque ‘Lyrebird Walk’ through the forest rated as easy. We were tempted but tired and still had to make our way back down the valley to the bus. We will however definitely be back!! We’ll take the big boys next time and do the summit walk. By then I’ll have a baby hiking backpack to put Bubs in, as the summit walk is definitely not accessible with a pram.
The trek back down was uneventful and we were glad to return to Molly, our home on wheels. That afternoon as we were about to leave, who should turn up but our new friends Marty & Aylar! It was great seeing them again and we chatted for a while about anything and everything. Aylar is a wealth of knowledge about all things natural and gave me some great ideas for baby Nahko.
She makes beautiful hand crafted chai tea, named ‘ChaiPotion’ which she sells at markets and festivals and can also be purchased here: email@example.com I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more about ChaiPotion in the future 🙂 Marty very kindly gifted us a CD of his music, and after listening to it we were awestruck with how fantastic it was! The album is called Light Being Sounds by Manyhands. To find out more you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love discovering the awesome talents of people we meet on the road!
After goodbye hugs and promises to stay in touch, we hit the road in the late afternoon sun and headed back to Coffs. It was a great few days of unexpected adventure and we can’t wait to see what the next adventure brings!
Until next time, happy travels 🙂