|Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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27 September 2006 - Tamborine to Urunga |
From Tamborine we drove through Canungra to Nerang via tertiary roads which were sometimes quite steep and gave the Territory engine something to work on. At Nerang we joined the Motorway to the south. Traffic on the motorway was moderate to heavy but moving quite quickly. I maintained about 88 kph allowing most other traffic to pass us. Pending completion of a Tugan bypass the motorway ends on the Gold Coast Road and we went through Coolangatta and Tweed Heads. Clear of Tweed Heads a new multi-lane highway leaves the Princes Highway before Murwillumbah and heads south towards Byron Bay. Before reaching Byron Bay this motorway joins onto the old highway and the traffic flow slows appreciably. Major construction works now in progress will extend the motorway further south. Traffic moved very slowly through the construction zone with some periods spent stopped.
From Tweed Heads we passed through sugar cane at harvest time. The sugar mills we passed, or saw in the distance, were in operation and there were quite a few trucks carrying cut cane to the farm or on the way to collect another load of cut cane. The southern edge of sugar cane is near Grafton and after that the land seemed to be devoted to mixed farming with cattle grazing along the road. South of Grafton to Coffs Harbour was mainly timbered. The Pacific Highway is variable; sometimes a dual carriageway with an excellent surface, at other times a bitumen two-lane road with a few overtaking sections; these overtaking sections had to be treated carefully as some drivers tried passing just before the road narrowed leaving their move so late that they were alongside us when the left lane ended making it very difficult for me to stay on the road with the van. I learnt to change lanes to the right lane early to stop these thoughtless, or selfish, drivers running us off the road. The road surface is generally fairly good although parts of the road between Grafton and Coffs Harbour reminded us of a Queensland road.
The weather steadily deteriorated all day with the first heavy rain we had experienced for many months. The Territory had been cleaned reasonably well while we were in Queensland and the rain left it looking comparatively bright and shiny.
We stopped at Urunga south of Coffs Harbour for the night. We had stayed there before and knew we could walk across the road to the shopping centre. After setting up, van still hitched and no awning, (took about 15 minutes) we wandered to the shops and bought fish and chips for tea.