Day 6

Today I’m continuing my journey up the east coast, from Coffs Harbour north as far as Tweed Heads on the New South Wales/Queensland border. A much shorter trip than yesterday, I plan to reach my destination by midday, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.

I should have mentioned that I’m driving during a school holiday period, when the traffic up this way is unusually bad. That, combined with the lousy roads and the holiday spirit, led to quite a few of these along my trip. Fortunately the driver in this case appeared upright and OK.

One thing you notice driving this far north-south is how much agriculture patterns change. Back home in Tasmania it’s apples, potatoes and other cool-weather crops. In northern NSW it’s sub-tropical: huge banana plantations and sugar cane fields that seem to go on for miles.

Reminds me a bit of this:

The road north of Ballina winds among the coastal ranges before descending to the coastal plain in the north-eastern corner of NSW. The countryside is lush subtropical, with a verdancy that could almost be described as violent:

The twin towns of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta straddle the New South Wales/Queensland border. The monument commemorating the surveying of this boundary in the 1860s is a reminder of just how wild the area once was, and the pioneering spirit of those who went before us and made it all possible.

On the subject of remembering our forebears, one thing we do here better than just about anyone else (with the possible exception of the Russians) is erect and maintain our war memorials; there is one in every town and village in Australia. The one in Tweed Heads is particularly attractive, and commemorates those who have died in the service of our country, in conflicts past and present.

Due to different state planning regulations on either side of the border, Tweed Heads has a more sedate feel, with less of Coolangatta’s high-rise and international glitz—in other words, more to my liking.

But enough of all that—it’s back to my motel room. The opening bounce of the 2011 Grand Final of the Australian Football League (sorry about the flash). The mighty Geelong Cats are all set to steamroll the despised Collingwood Magpies; I’ve got an esky full of beer, and I’m spending the rest of today doing my patriotic duty.

See you all tomorrow.

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