North of Gleniffer wound the Promised Land loop. A name like that generates high expectations. Let’s see what we found.
Rolling pastures and rainforested hills.
Old wooden bridges over a clear, cold stream.
Never Never Creek that would be a perfect place to cool off on a steamy summer’s day.
It was obvious even after a quick drive-through why the early settlers thought this vale the land of fairy tale. Enchanting.
Ten kilometres north of Bellingen lies the hamlet of Gleniffer, in the vale just below the Dorrigo escarpment. It’s a good place to go on a leisurely drive or cycle. Last time I was here was over 10 years ago, but it hasn’t grown much since.
The community was built on dairy, and there were still a few cows grazing although they were more beef cows.
There was a cute church.
And a hall. And not much else. But everything was well-kempt, meaning that there must be an active community hereabouts.
Elsewhere on the mainstreet, the architecture ranged from art deco…
Through to country.
But on a weekday the entire community seemed to congregate along cafe alley – a short street full of coffee shops!
In the summer, I would think that people would go down to the Bellinger River. It was flowing quite placidly when we were there, but is quite prone to flooding.
Next stop for us was the Mid-North coast. We visited the river town of Bellingen. The main street was quite impressive for a place built on timber and dairy.
The pub was beautifully preserved and was built in a style that’s really different to the pubs inland. It’s also the hangout of David Helfgott, who lives nearby.
Next door was the old general store, now trading as a clothes shop.
The town was full of residents in the winter, and even though it had a bit of a hippy feel, wasn’t as inundated by tourists as those towns further north.
Bridie was happy to be on the beach at Brunswick Heads as it was an off-leash area.
She could check out every single bit of flotsam.
As well as run herself completely silly.
It was another glorious afternoon for everyone.
After a lunch of fish and chips (what else), we visited the beach. Looking to the south, you can see Cape Byron looming. Unlike Cape Byron, there was hardly anyone to be seen.
Like the evening before, the swell was definitely up, producing some spectacular waves.
Not surprisingly, there was a bit of flotsam on the beach, most noticeably (for a geologist anyway) pumice stones. There were some big chunkers high up on the beach. Someone thought that they would make a good sculpture.
Hubby thinks these might have been washed in from a recent volcanic eruption in the South Pacific, perhaps all the way from Vanuatu.
Up the road from Byron, and a thousand miles away in every other respect, is Brunswick Heads. It’s a quiet fishing village that perhaps Byron was aeons ago.
As you can see, there were no crowds here, and the shops were gentrified, but not too extensive.
There were some local touches, like this mural in the park.
The pub though was very grand, indicating that it’s been a spot popular with holidaymakers for a long while. Or perhaps of a very successful fishing industry in times gone by?
I hope you’re not sick of these beach photos yet as I have a few more coming.
There’s not quite enough female surfers around, so here’s one for you.
Actually, the rolling waves by themselves makes for a compelling scene.
Bridie certainly had her fill of beachcombing that afternoon.
And so did we. It made all the other hassles of Byron worth it.
As someone who likes to photograph the outdoors, I often have to make the best of what’s on offer. Much of the time it’s not ideal, whether due to time of day/light conditions/weather/wrong position/difficult subject matter. That’s why I get really excited when everything aligns, like it did that afternoon on Belongil Beach. The light was absolutely perfect for photography, whether it be photographing a surfer and the waves.
Or a fisherman casting a line into the misty surf.
Just when you think it doesn’t get any better, the light changes, and the same view becomes even more beautiful.
Sometimes I wish that moments like this would have more often, but then you wouldn’t quite appreciate it in the same way, would you?
I would have to say that Byron Bay is a town that has been loved to death. It is a beach town that has grown into a tourist mecca, minus the high rises. The shopping strip in particular is amazingly long and traffic-jammed any day or night. We came in winter and (slightly) out of festival time. I’d hate to think what it would be like in festival time or in mid-summer. A shame when the town’s setting is spectacular.
Belongil Beach at least was a good kilometre or two out of town. There are still condos here, but no crowds as the sun, sea and sky put on its final show for the day.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it did.