Have You Been to Granny’s Farm?

I got back in the car after my yoga class. I had had a bit of a stressful morning. I looked at Ben and asked him if I seemed calm. He got very confused by this question and thought I had asked 'am I Pam' or 'am I ham…' Crazy Belgians ;-). He told me he was ready to leave Byron and wanted to go to Nimbin. Renowned for being an alternative, easy going hippie town, and knowing there was a market two days later (I have a thing for markets… Perhaps due to picture and cheap food opportunities) I was happy to roll with this. Until he said the words 'I want to stay on granny's farm'… Maybe it's just me, or remembering playing granny's garden on the BBC computers at school and the memory of the cackling witch in the corner of the screen if you lost living on but these words did not fill me with the happiness that I'm sure they should…

With some trepidation we headed on our way. The journey there took us progressively nearer towards big, grey rain filled clouds. It looked like we were going to be able to test how waterproof the tent is… Passing Possum creek road, goats having sex and a cow with an interesting eye, we were welcomed into Nimbin by a love heart… Aww. Arriving into Granny's farm in the dark and the heaviest rain encountered yet, met with some advice from a tree, we assembled the tent with Ben fashioning some impressive tarp work for shelter. We wandered Nimbin's Main Street in the dark. Many people lining the street, hearing the musical tones of a drum circle, we tried out the local pub. Bottles of NZ summer on offer for $3.50, we gave it a whack… Not the best I have to say… I ended up on cider and Ben on Coopers. Much better :-). With an interesting band providing entertainment, singing about Satan, we watched a drunk aboriginal man dancing, an English boy doing the two step and an older lady flow about the floor to the same song! Eclectic ;-).

Woken in darkness the next morning, working out why, it appeared to be the result of a very noisy rooster… All I know is that if it is still dark it is most definitely not time to get up yet…! My first thought, 'I don't know whose idea is was to stay on a camp site with farm in the name…' I know exactly whose idea it was… ;-). Genuinely, me and Ben then both said at the same time 'why hasn't a backpacker killed the rooster yet…?!' This of course leading to pondering as to whether it did actually happen with regularity and what number of rooster this perhaps was on the farm…!!! Falling back to sleep, ducks waking us next, one waddling its way near the tent, to me it did not even look like a duck… Met with a 'what on earth is that?!' awakened into civilisation, crawling out of the tent I was then genuinely met with the biggest turkey I have ever seen in my life!!! It was huge. And very very noisy. It should hide at Christmas…! Got to love noisy farm animals in the morning ;-).

After one of the better showers I've had, we went driving about the region, winding through the hills and mountains and lots and lots of green. Finding a very tasty chocolate zucchini muffin at Lillian Rock market the next stop called 'dirt on a shirt' was a little bit strange and actually quite scary for me… The next town of Uki was much friendlier. Some pretty good pies, some cute little turtles, a funky mural on the wall and a quirky little bookshop, I bought two just because I liked the covers – tied to the tracks and the electronic elephant (I am hoping this might inspire some African adventures 😉 ). Venturing on, finding Mt Warning in Wollumbin National Park, similar to Uluru the mountain is a sacred place. To the Bundjalung people; who ask you not to climb to the summit. We walked the lyrebird track. Taking us through the trees I learnt about lyrebirds (which incidentally Ben told me a face a 10 cent coin), that the palms in the area were called bangalow's in New South Wales and piccabeen's in Queensland and that the local barred frogs and hip pocket frogs would have a croak off consisting of 'eh eh eh' and 'ok ok ok'. I'd love to hear that ;-).

Having a fairly spectacular failure of an attempt at making risotto (note to self: always use risotto rice) we were able to see Nimbin in daylight and sunshine the next morning. Having not really liked the feel of it in darkness, it surprised me with a totally different feel from the night before. We wandered the market, found some funky turtles and learnt of its history in the museum. Overall not quite for me, finding it to have just a little bit too many people in such a small area, it is not one of my favourite stops on our road trip… I still appreciated its story though and in the end, despite some noisy animals, quite liked Granny's farm :-).

Until next time… Road tripping on 😉

Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out… :-)

Byron Bay, a popular hippie hangout between Brisbane and Sydney on the Gold Coast was the destination of choice on the GPS before we left the farm… Slowly meandering our way there as road trips should, we encountered the legendary night manager Charlie in Tara caravan park, found more veggie oil on Fry St of all streets, crossed the Great Dividing Range mountains, drove Lockyer Way (apparently so named in honour of a famous Australian rugby player); found a sign informing that Dundee in Scotland was only 16,263km away; had fun finding the spare keys after locking them in the car; found a place called Moo Moo that yes played on its name and was covered in all things cow related and tried a new fruit called a rambutan. Most tasty. Very much like a lycée.

Reaching Byron Bay, opting to stay in Broken Head Campsite, right beside the sea, the sounds of the waves travelled up the slopes the campsite lay on. Significantly cooler than Queensland but easterly facing with not much shade, there were some pretty hot mornings by 8am! Enjoying a morning on Tallows Beach, having acquired a vest top tan and attempting to even this out with strapless tops, I quite paradoxically managed to burn an interesting shape on my back and outline my bikini mark on my leg apparently missing it with sunscreen… Not quite what I intended to achieve… ;-). Finding two snakes, a duck sign (got to love the sign banter), returning to the beach that my relatives took me to last year, a wander round town found street art, funky shops, a tasty Mexican restaurant and an amazing campervan sporting 'if people were meant to pop out of bed we'd all sleep in toasters'. A van right after my own heart… Also climbing the steps at the pass in Palm Valley and having the best veggie burger I have ever eaten at the Top Shop cafė, it was most nice to relax there for a couple of days.

Focusing on relaxing, and knowing it was still on my bucket list, I made a conscious effort to undertake a yoga class before we left. Due to timing, a purna yoga class ended up my class of choice. New to me, the instructor introduced it as an easy going restorative class. Given many props of a chair, a bolster, two rugs, a belt and a brick, I certainly didn't feel alone in my work…! Given the option of an opening pose to relax into, I lay on my back, tried to zone out the world and focus my attention on the class. Not too much work, used to harder classes, it was good to feel the relaxation through my muscles. It is also the first time I have ever used a chair as a prop… Whilst missing the energy and exercise of Hatha yoga, undoubtedly the best thing about this class was the chavasanah. All through the class I had found it hard to keep my mind still. Concentrating on my breath in the beginnings of chavasanah it finally managed to empty. The instructor walking us through the colours of the chakras, orange had a particularly relaxing effect on me. I left the class feeling relaxed and stronger in mind of things that had been floating that day in my head. A definite good choice for a reintroduction having not managed any yoga since July last year, and choosing an intention that has stuck with me past the bounds of the class, I have decided to try and make more effort and time to practice it when I can.

Gold Coast

Ventured down to the Gold Coast today taking in Byron Bay – relaxed, easy going place with a good vibe. Must spend some time there on my way back up. Also saw Surfers Paradise. An impressive beach!! Whilst at Byron reached the most easterly point of mainland Australia!! I sense a challenge ahead!