Day 5

Today I’m driving from Sydney up the NSW coast.

Exiting Sydney to the north is the Pacific Highway which cuts through Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, of which I know just about every rock and tree. A marvellous place to spend one’s youth!

Newcastle (on Hunter, not Tyne) is about 160 km (100 miles) by road north of Sydney, has a population of about 500,000 and is the largest coal exporting harbour in the world. Coal trains carrying many thousands of tonnes each form a pretty much endless procession from the Hunter Valley open cut mines to the Port Waratah coal loader, 24/7/365. Another place I’ve worked and lived in quite a bit.

The highway north of Newcastle for the next hour is now a pretty good road…

…but peters out after a while into the kind of two-lane cattle tracks that unfortunately still constitute most of our nation’s “highways”. At least much of the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane is finally being upgraded to dual carriageway; right now it’s a construction zone, hundreds of kilometres long.

Trees being a bit of an interest of mine, I noticed how tall and straight the gum trees up here are; many trees look upwards of 40 metres (130 feet) tall. Very much like back home in Tassie, though thinner trunks. I believe forestry is still an important industry up this way.

I finish driving today at the tourist resort town of Coffs Harbour, about 540 km (340 miles) north of Sydney, and about halfway to Brisbane. I was going to show you a photo of Coffs’ most famous landmark (erected to commemorate the district’s major agricultural product), but once again the evening light failed my small camera, so here’s a stock photo:

I’m beat—more tomorrow.

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