Thursday, 30 June 2011

Day 31: Urunga to Nambucca Heads

Today I was to encounter my fair share of cold and rainy weather. From the moment I woke and finished packing my bags, it rained on and off, with a mix of heavy and light showers until I arrived in Nambucca Heads. In these types of conditions as I'm sure you would understand, keeping things dry is important, particularly the feet as they have the unenviable job of carrying me from place to place. I wear water proof leather boots polished in bees wax and I take care to dust my socks in talc powder to absorb any extra moisture. I take the same level of care with just about everything I have packed inside my bag. Everything I carry has first been packed inside a plastic ziplock bag. On days like this I also dress my pack in a yellow ( not sure if it's the colour of the season or not) poncho and then cover the entire bag in a "water proof" bag. To keep as much of the rain as possible off me, I wear a water proof coat. When zipped up to my chin and  the hoody pulled over my head all I'm left with is a little round port hole the size of my hand to see through. With a serious case of tunnel vision it's very easy to become completely disconnected from everything going on around me.
A little wet but no worse for wear I stopped at Valla Beach for some respite. Although very much tempted by the aromas wafting from the Headland Cafe, I was adament that I would eat and drink from my supplies.

But after a brief chat to Maxim, the owner of the cafe,  he insisted that I take up his offer of a complimentary coffee,scone and scroll. And on a cold, wet day the food went down very well indeed. Much better than uncooked rolled oats, trailmix and protein shake. This kind of generousity never ceases to amaze me and always warms my heart. Such a small gesture brings so much sunshine to another's day. Cheers Maxim!


After arriving in Nambucca I have for the past 2 days made my way around the community to spread the word and raise money for the Walk Against Want appeal. My first port of call was the Nambucca Bowls Club. Despite being the smallest club I have visited the members have, without a shadow of doubt, been the most generous I have encountered. Not that the size of a donation matters, but where other club members have thrown in a few cents or dollars, just about every member of the Nambucca Bowls Club chipped in $5, $10 or $20. As I found out in the following days, the same generousity is shared by most of the community. I've been told on a number of occasisons that Nambucca Heads is a community that struggles finanically, and yet here were members of the community giving all they could. Is it just me, or do people with the least seem to give the most? Not in size but in proportion to their means.


Following on from my note in a previous blog about the importance of being an ethical shopper I have provided a few websites links below so that we can make more informed decisions about the products we buy. Please do check them out it's worth you while.


Ethical Clothing Australia:


Fair Trade Association:


The Ethical Consumer Guide:


And of course Oxfam Australia:

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Day 30: Bundagen to Urunga

As I have mentioned many times before, the greatest aspect of the walk is the natural environment that surrounds me. I know I probably sound like a broken record but it really is a captivating space. I never tire of it. Each beach posseses unique and subtle differences to entice and delight your senses. And now in my travels I have come to realise that I'm not the only hopeless romantic who shares this appreciation and perspective.

A white breasted seaeagle. It was so large that while walking along a beach track at first galnce I quite litterally thought it was a hang gilder!

Eventually I made it to the southern most end of the beach where the sand meets the mouth of the Bellinger river. I walked upstream and came across a few older gentlemen making a good start to the days fishing with a few black fish. I felt bad for interrupting a but one bloke was kind enough to give me a lift across to the other side. I set up camp in Urunga caravan park.

Before I put the pen down on another entry, I just wanted to ask if you know where your shoes are manufacturered? What was the cost, to you and to the person who made them? It is well known that most shoe manufacturers particularly those producing athletic shoes make use of sweatshops in third world countries. The International Labor Organisation estimates that 250million children aged between 5 and 14 work in developing countries. Many of these children are forced to work. They are denied an education. Some are threatened and beaten. Sweatshop workers are paid approximately $6 / week. They make shoes which you and I buy for hundreds of dollars. Sweatshop workers may see only $2 or $3 from that pair of shoes you bought.

If we are aware of this gross exploitation of human rights, and yet we still buy these items, are we not responsible for contributing to the problem? As consumers do we have a responsibility to change our purchasing behaviours and demand more from these companies? What right does any person, or company, have to inflict such inhuman conditions on any person? When these things happen to people on foreign shores its easy to forget they are human beings just like you and I. Don't sit back and say its not your problem or its too big of an issue. All you have to do is take a little time to see where your clothing and apparell is produced. Instead of buying the cheap version, and condoning human exploitation, buy the one that may be a little more expensive but protects human rights. Its only a small act but eventually the companies using these sweatshops will get the message. 

For more information check out Oxfam's fight for workers rights.

Don't forget to donate by:
Calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110 and mention my walk or,
Follow this link: 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Day 29: Coffs Harbour to Bundagen

Apart from enduring a small hangover, inflected at the hands of a good mate who shall go unnamed, the time spent in Coffs was restful and rewarding. Thank you to the patrons of the Coffs Coast Hotel who sacrificed a couple of beers and donated to the Walk Against Want, despite it looking highly likely that yours truly, the bearded hobo, would make a bee line to the nearest bar and wet the whistle with the newly acquired funds. But I can assure you that every last cent of the $85.75 donated from the bar went straight to Oxfam!

The culprit and I on Mutton Bird Island.

Sunrise from Coffs

Anyway the following morning I was back at work and heading south as I usually do towards Bundagen. Arriving at Sawtell, half way between Coffs and Bundagen, I was confronted by a rather large river crossing. With no other organised way of getting myself across I approached members of the Sawtell Surf Club who were completing some IRB training on the day. I was thrilled when all of the crew said they would give me a lift in convoy to south beach. With all of the gear in the high speed rubber ducks we crashed through a line of breakers and speed along the coastline to the drop off point. Safe and sound on the southern beach, albeit a little wet, I was reminded of how lucky we are to have our Surf Lifesavers. Most of the surf members voluntarily give up their time to patrol beach and keep its swimmers safe. Thanks to the legends of the Sawtell surf club for your help. I really do appreciate the lift! And what a way to do it.
Legends of the Sawtell Surf Club.

Now on south beach I began trekking along the Bongil Bongil National Park. And although I spent most of my time at its fringe I could still get a sense of the natural beauty, diversity and uniqueness of this place. Around 11am I made it to Bundagen.

Bundagen is a small cooperative community situated amongst the Bongil Bongil National Park. Although I hadn't originally planned to stay here (I didn't know it existed) I was recommended by a passer by to touch base with the community and stay for the night. Many people would probably call Bundagen a Hippy Commune and infact many people I spoke to on the way had called it just that. As I made my way off the beach and into the community all of the stereotypically hippy images ran through my mind but I really didn't know what to expect. After staying here in the Bundagen community for a night with the amazingly hospitable Bill and Janelle Huxley all of my misconceptions about a Hippy Community quickly faded away.

Bongil Bongil National Park. 10min walk in from the beach is Bundagen.

Here in the community were 180 members, who in 1981, decided to save a 300 hectare parcel of land amongst Bongil Bongil National Park from urban development. The cooperative established a community based on a principal of environmental sustainablity. Bundagen is independent of mains water, sewerage and electricity. Instead members rely on dams and rain-water tanks and use alternative technology, such as solar power and composting toilets. I know how this might sound for those of you who feel you need all your modern luxuries, but I can assure you that with thoughtful planning many members were living completely "normal" lives with all the modern conveniences most of us couldn't do without.

Bill and Janelle's house was built by Bill out of mud brick. The rich burnt orange clay bricks create a very homely earthy feel and also provide fantastic insulation against both the cold and heat. There is no need for an energy hungry air conditioning system here. After staying with Bill and Janelle I am quite certain that this lifestyle, or at least a good part thereof, is the way of the future. No dirty expensive coal power. Rainwater and recycled water help establish lush and productive vegetable gardens. And the surrounding national park provides the perfect setting to walk, explore, relax, and realign your thoughts. Thanks Bill, Janelle, Jamie and Rohjan for the wonderful food, wine and great conversations. Its not perfect, but I really do believe there is much that the broader community could learn from the Bundagen model. And just as the Bundagen Community strongly supports the fight against poverty and social injustice I encourage all of us to continue doing do the same.

If only Anne Frank were right in saying, 'how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.' We don't have to save the world on our own but if each of us took the time to think about the lives of others and gave a helping hand to those in need the world would certainly be in much better shape.

Don't for get to donate by:
Calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110 and mention my walk or,
Follow this link: 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Day 27: Yamba to Coffs Harbour

When was the last time we spoke? It really does seem like an age has passed since I last wrote or updated the blog. I know it's only been a week or so since I left Yamba but trekking 'into the wild' this passed week has almost erased any awareness of dates, days or times. Free from the burdens and monotony of life back home, the isolation coupled with my rather intense focus on getting to where I'm going, it has been very difficult to keep track of these measures of time. In my fortunate situation there really is no need. As the birds stir so do I. As they set about their daily chores so I set about preparing for my walk. Up and at em' around 3am packing and preparing I'm on the sand by sunrise. As the sun sets I'm bedding down. Life on the road is simple. As long as I complete my duties by nightfall I'm satisfied. It's an admission I'm a little embarrassed to make but my date and time amnesia has become so bad I even forgot my mum's birthday on the 16th. Sorry Mum. Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great day.

So even though it's only been a week that has passed. So much has happened and there's so much to tell. Unfortunately my SD card from the camera died today so I can't share any of my photos with you. I'll try to keep my rambling as concise as possible so as not to bore you with my trials and tribulations.

Yamba to Red Cliff / Grey Cliff:
Despite being tempted to leave Yamba on Sunday the 12th as scheduled I was very glad to stay a few days longer and wait out the storm. As you most likely heard, a tornado ripped through the village of Red Rock and over 400mm of rain fell in many parts where I had planned to walk. Even though I postponed my departure, the Yuraygir track was still very wet. The downpour caused several landslips and many parts of the track had completely disappeared. On steep, heavily wooded hillsides, the landslips made following a track at times near impossible. If the track hadn't slid to the bottom of the hill, it was most likely covered in water ankle to knee deep or blocked by fallen trees. Bush-bashing and trailblazing (without causing damage to the surrounding vegetation) became my new past time for the next few days.

When I had the opportunity I made my way back onto the more familiar beach terrain. From Yamba to Red Cliff there were several headlands that I had to negotiate. If it wasn't for the pack this rock hopping would have been reasonably easy but with the pack on the back it was important to get every step right. One misplaced foot and I was certain to fall a few meters onto the dagger sharp rocks and crashing surf. I didn't particularly feel like getting that wet so slow and steady was the motto.The tortoise eventually made it all the way to Red Cliff and just in time for another mesmerizing sunset over the grassy plains and mobs of roos grazing.

Red Cliff to Sandon:
Repeat of the same old story... Warm clear sunny day. Waves crashing on the golden sand. Birds, bees and all the other creatures capturing my attention as I walked on to the picturesque hamlet of Sandon. I'd love to post some photos to show you but, as I said, my camera SD card has decided to pack it in so that is going to be near impossible to do. It's very disappointing to learn that I have probably lost all my pics from this part of the walk!

Sandon to Wooli:
I have stepped on or over just about every type of track, rock or sandy beach I could have imagined. One step during this section very nearly came to rest on the back of a 1.5m red belly black snake! As arduous as the pebbly beaches are to walk on I certainly prefer walking where I can see where I'm treading without the fear of being tagged by a snake.

Speaking of arduous beach walking, if I may indulge my ego and detail how difficult walking over the headlands and some beaches has been I might be able to give you a little greater appreciation for what I have experienced. From Yamba to Coffs Harbour the coastline is dotted with many headlands and rocky outcrops, most of which I have traversed. The gradient on most has been extremely steep with sharp jaggered edges. In places the rock has been laid down in almost vertical strata. Crossing these passages was a little stressful and at times scary. Sometimes I had to resort to moving on all fours just to maintain my balance. One time I had to climb up onto higher grassy ground as the rocks were impassable. At this location the ground was soaked with water and at one point my footing slipped out from beneath me and I fell a few meters towards the rocks and crashing waves below. I reached out and grabbed a thin green Banksia branch and held on until I found more solid foot and hand holds to get back up. Apart from almost standing on a snake this was the most hair raising experience I've encountered on the trip. But not to worry. All ended well and I made it through this trying time and onto the next beach. A beach with sand so soft that each foot sunk no less the 5cm into its surface. On these beaches it was virtually impossible to get any traction to push off and steps were so short it felt like I was walking in fresh deep snow.

After leaving Sandon at 5am I finally walked into the small fishing village of Wooli at 530pm (Except for a 2hr lunch break I had walked continuously for most of this time). You might ask where is Wooli? Given that it's tucked away off the main roads most people haven't heard of the town let alone know where it is. But the town is positioned on a thin stretch of sand dunes sandwiched by the ocean on one side and a river on the other. After meeting the residents of Wooli Caravan Park and sharing a story over tea and scones I promised them that I wouldn't tell you how nice a place this is. But I can't resist and have to say that Wooli has been one of the nicest little communities I have come across in my travels to date. You definitely shouldn't go there!

Wooli to Woolgoolga and on to Coffs Harbour.
This section was filled with more rocky shores, soft soft sand and a couple of creek/river crossings. I eventually made it to Woolgoolga and was fortunate enough to be provided with a night's accommodation at the Solitary Islands Lodge. A huge thankyou to Denise and John Hannaford for their support. After 5 days camping in the Yuraygir National Park in cold, wet conditions spending the night in John and Denise's luxurious BnB was just what the doctor ordered! After a rejuvenating stay in Woolgoolga I walked 30km to Coffs. This has been the longest stretch of walking I have completed so far. My back ached, the knees were sore and the feet throbbed so much it felt like they were going to explode. I was sure glad to make it to coffs for a few days rest!

Over the last 2 weeks I've built up a reasonable level of fitness and grown accustom to the weight of my pack and the aches and pains it brings with it. The increased "comfort" has allowed me more time to think about the very reason why I am walking at all. Rather than lecture you ( something I have no place in doing) about poverty I would like to put a series of questions to you. These questions I have pondered, researched and found answers to myself but I think it's vital that you establish your own answers and try to make sense of the rediculous reasons why poverty exists and the role each one of us plays.
As I take a break for the next couple of days and then get on my way to Port Macquarie I'll leave you to consider:
1. Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.

2. Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.Source 

3. For every $1 in aid a developing country receives, over $25 is spent on debt repayment.Source 22

Check out some of the following for thought.

til the next post....

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Day 11: Woody Head to Yamba

Day 11. Having covered so much ground yesterday it was relaxing to wake up and know that I only had to walk 7-8 kilometers before I would arrive in Yamba. Like most mornings, I woke around 5am so that I could catch the sun rising over the water. Official sunrise times in Winter vary from 630am onwards however the sky starts to come alive a little earlier with clouds changing between various shades of pink, mauve, burnt orange, red and of course blue. At this time most mornings are rather cold and today was no different. As the saying goes, it was cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey but as I sat on the rocky headland watching the changing sky and a pod of feeding dolphins in the waters below it was difficult to dwell on the bitter cold of this beautiful morning.
Another stunning sunrise to start the day off on the right foot.

As John and I headed back towards our camp site our attention was grabbed by something strange bobbing in the water just off the rocks. On closer inspection we noticed that it was a turtle clearly in some trouble. The turtle obviously needed some help but given how cold it was I was a little reluctant to get into the water and lend a hand. After Johno and I debated about who should do the honours, I finally whipped up enough courage and stepped into the water, complete with beenie, and grabbed what turned out to be a green sea turtle who had eaten some plastic. Apparently 1 in every 1000 turtles survive to breeding age (breeding age is usually around 30-40 years) and of those that do survive, two-thirds die as a result of ingesting plastic waste which they mistake for jellyfish.  All turtles are listed as either endangered or critically endangered, a disgraceful situation largely caused by our careless disposal of plastic waste. 

Helping a sick green sea turtle that had ingested some plastic rubbish. 

With "Ox" the Green Sea Turtle, affectionately named by the Australian Seabird Rescue team after my walk for Oxfam, was in their safe hands and a warm tank of water I packed up and set off for Yamba. To cross the Clarence River I boarded the Clarence Head Ferry the last surviving ferry operating on the Clarence River. Back in the day, hundreds of people from Grafton would jump aboard ferries much larger than the Clarence Head and make the journey downstream to Yamba for a weekend or holiday at the beach. While aboard I learnt that the Clarence Head was in a previous life a boat scourge....A boat built to house explosives which would then be ferried to the allied forces during WW2. After dropping off their cargo these boats were then blown up to prevent the enemy from using them. The Clarence Head was built in 1946 and so survived. If you ever go to Yamba I stongly recommend you shout yourself a Clarence River boat cruise. I'm not much of a history buff but the story of the Clarence is intriguing.
On the way to Yamba...

The crew and I onboard the Clarence Head

Arriving in Yamba, my home for the next few days would be the Yamba Backpackers. Staff inform me it has been voted the number 1 Hostel in Australia, and you can clearly see why. It has a great cafe and bar down stairs. A roof top spa and pool. The rooms are more like hotel/motel rooms than hostel rooms. And the staff are ever so helpful. I'm very lucky that the YHA have been kind enough to provide we with my accommodation during my stay in Yamba. And along with the YHA, I must say a huge thankyou to the members of the Yamba Rotary Club who have supported my Walk Against Want.

And I couldn't leave Yamba without saying thankyou to all the members of the Yamba Bowls Club who donated $277.45 towards my cause. Your support is sincerely appreciated!

Well this just about concludes my post. My next entry will probably come after my arrival in Coffs Harbour. For the next couple of weeks I will be heading south through the Yuraygir National Park. Many people have described just how spectacular this part of the coastline is and I'm very much looking forward to checking it out for myself. Unfortunately the weather has turned sour in recent days and it's predicted to only get worse. Heavy rain, storms and strong winds are forecast. Certainly not the ideal camping companions, but you have to take the good with the bad and I can't deny that I have been lucky with the weather so far. And despite enjoying my stay in Yamba the feet are beginning to itch. It might sound strange but I think they yearn for the road less travelled and the excitement of new experiences that brings. 

Until then.... 

Donate by
Calling Oxfam Australia on 1800 088 110 and mention my Walk Against Want to Sydney.
All donations are tax deductible and go towards a very worth cause.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Day 10 Evans head to Woody Head

Day 10 saw Johno and I embark on the next leg of our journey from Evans Head to Woody Head. Thanks Halden and Megan for all of your help and support especially with the media coverage. And thanks for making us feel at home, you really made our short stay so enjoyable.

Johno, Halden and I having a refreshing drink at Evans Head.

Johno and I about to hit the beach just south of Evans Head
  Although there is no escape from the heavy pack, I am starting to grow accustom to the weight. The feet are starting to toughen up and the walking has been much easier in recent days. Johno and I have been able to cover 20+km each day without too many complaints. We have walked alongside huge sand dunes and seen some amazing wilde life on the way. White breasted sea eagles, kites, Crested Terns, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, and several different types of finches are just some of the birds we've encountered. It's difficult to appreciate just how stunning these coastal ecosystems are until you have walked amongst them. The beaches we have traversed in the last 2 weeks have made me realise just how important it is that we continue to preserve these areas and ensure that everyone can enjoy this natural beauty for generations to come!    

Heading towards Woody Point; the walking has been a little easier in recent days...
  After a long day of walking it was great to arrive at the picturesque Woody Heads and watch another glorious sunset.

Sunset at Woody Head

Sunset at Woody Head complete with Pandus
 Tomorrow I'll be in Yamba. Till then...

Don't forget!
To donate call 1800 088 110 and mention my walk to Sydney. OR click on the lick below:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Day 9: Ballina to Evans Head

Wow. What a greezy pizza, water and a good nights sleep can do. I still woke with sore feet but far from the world of pain I was in yesterday. After catching the ferry across the Richmond River from North to South Ballina we made our way towards the beach once more. At the end of a gravel road I was faced with a 50m of long water soaked grass and then another 50m of jungle. Fighting our way through the wall of Lantana and Bitou Bush we could hear the breakers crashing on the beach. This was the first major obstacle of the journey but with commitment and determination we broke on through to the other side. 45mins later we hit the white sands of South Ballina Beach.

Again, another day of perfect weather helped us knock over 20km of walking. After a day like yesterday I was amazed at just how well the going was. Flat ground and a cool breeze make a world of difference thats for sure. We set up camp 15km from Evans Head in some of the largest fore dunes I have ever seen. A perfect vantage point for watching setting sun.

Don't forget to donate by calling 1800 088 110 or follow the link

Day 8: Lennox Heads to Ballina

Well what a day. A day to remember, not for the fun or the pleasure, but for the pain! Today was by far the hardest day I have encountered. After a terrible sleep I started the walk fatigued with badly blistered feet. One toe nail had turned black and started to fall out. I knew this day was not going to be easy.

Walking out of Lennox Heads we encountered the first of several killer hills. Drained of energy and fluids I was absolutely exhausted as I entered Ballina. Upon arrival at The Comfort Inn I collapsed on the lobby floor and put the feet up to get the blood flowing back to the head so I didn't faint. I was.....stuffed!

I have not endured this pain for no reason. I am asking all those that read this blog to please donate by calling Oxfam Australia on 1800088110 and mentioning my walk to Sydney. Otherwise jump on to: to donate. Please dig deep. Your donation will go a long way towards saving the lives of people living in the world's poorest communities. And they are a huge source of motivation for me to continue, especially after days like this. If you have donated please ask your friends and family to donate too. Thank you all very much for your support. Hopefully I'll be in Evans Head with the next blog.....

Day 7: Byron Bay to Lennox Heads

After 3 days of RnR in Byron Bay it was about time I got on with the walk. I would not be as well rested as I was, if it were not for the amazing hospitality of The Holiday Village who provided 2 nights complimentary accommodation. I have to say a huge thanks to Marc, Ben and all the crew who went out of their way to help me and support the Walk Against Want.  
Hitting the beach at 10am on Saturday morning I made tracks towards Lennox with my great mate Johno who had decided to support my walk and join me on my travels to Yamba. Walking south from Cape Byron the conditions were ideal and we arrived at Broken Heads around 1130. Continuing along Seven Mile Beach Road and over the headlands proved to be a huge workout for the legs especially carrying my 30kg pack.
   After walking 5miles on Seven Mile Beach the legs had thrown in the towel and I was forced to make camp on the beach only a few kilometers out of Lennox Heads. After a large bowl of plain white rice for dinner it was lights out at 530pm. Despite a terrible sleep due to the cold weather and heavy dew, we woke to a glorious sunrise heralding the start of a new day.

......Ballina here I come.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Day 4-6: Brunswick Heads to Byron Bay

Ah Byron Bay....the perfect cure for any travelling ails. After 4 days, 66 km and 74962 steps I was sure glad to stomp on into Byron Bay for the first pitstop. I gave myself 3 days to rest, restock and spread the Walk Against Want word. It sure will be tough to leave the bay behind. Anyone mind if I extend my stay?

Before I got to Byron, I woke on Wednesday morning in Brunswick Heads to pouring rain. With spirits a little dampened I suited up in the wet weather gear again and hobbled toward the beach. The time was 930. And quite literally as my feet touch the sand the rain stop. At first I didn't notice, but it wasn't long before I felt awfully hot and wondered why? I took one look up (I usually start out with my gazed fixed to the ground ahead to help get me into the tramping zone!) and the sky was clear and blue. I made the most of my good fortune and high-tailed it toward Bryon.

The going was good. Everytime I gazed towards my day's goal the cape lighthouse looked ever closer. After 2hrs of non-stop walking I breaked for water and a bite to eat. It has to be done but these breaks are terrible! Getting going again is so hard. The feet burn. Ankles and back ache. The steps start off so small.  Only after 20mins or so do they warm up and I'm back into the swing of things. Crossing Belongil Creek I rolled on barefoot for another k or two and into Byron Bay.  Time check... 130pm. And wait for starts raining again. It hasn't stopped raining for the last 2 days. And now as I start preparing for the next leg of the journey I'm blessed with blue skies once more.  I really can't believe my luck. I'm not looking forward to when it turns...

I have to say 2 huge thankyou's. Firstly to the Backpackers Inn who donated $200 towards the Walk Against Want and for putting me up for a night. The second thankyou goes out to the Backpackers Holiday Village. Thanks to Marc, Ben and all the crew for helping me with the journey.

Now the count down to the next departure begins. Although I could quite easily stay in Bryon for a few more days, I'm strangely looking forward to getting back on the road. Maybe it's the solitude. Maybe it's the amazing scenery. I'm not entirely sure, but there's something alluring about the challenge. Having a job to do and seeing it through provides a simple but powerful intrinsic reward. I might come to doubt these thoughts during the first few km's of tomorrow's walk. Here's a pic of what lays ahead... Lennox heads, Ballina and Evans Head. And the sort of blisters I'm walking with.

Till the next check in. Peace.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Day 3: Pottsville to Brunswick Heads

The days are getting tougher to start that's for sure! With a sore left ankle and several blister the first few km's out of Pottsville were hard going. It was difficult to find any kind of rhythm and I was hoping that every bend in the road ahead was the half may mark at Wooyong. Several times I was left disappointed only to find the road meanering on. Slowly I found some rhythm and made it to the half way mark as planned.

The next half of the leg was by far the most enjoyable part as I trekked through an old bush track the cut its way through the coastal heath and dunes towards Brunswick Heads. Golden Banksias were still in flower along with the occaisonal wattle and wild flower. Perched high in old casurina a sea eagle watched on at one point and finches and honey eaters seemed to follow me for most of the walk through the Billinudgel nature reserve. After leaving Pottsville at 6am I was very glad to stumble into Brunswick Heads around 1130am. A huge thank you to all of the amazing staff at the Brunswick Hotel who put me up for the night.

Tomorrow... byron bay. Can't wait to get there and take a day to restock, rest and recover for then the next leg to Yamba.

Please don't forget to donate by calling Oxfam on 1800 088 110 and mentioning my Walk Against Want. Alternatively donate by following this link:

Day 2: Kingscliff to Pottsville

The first day on my lonesome I woke up to puring rain. Not exactly ideal conditions for a 17km walk to Pottsville but I told myself at least it would keep me cool. Wearing my wet weather gear I left Kingscliff around 530 and did not encounter a single drop of rain until I checked into Pottsville. The weather was actually perfect. From Peppers I followed the beach down to Caberita and watched 50 or so surfers making the most of the conditions off the headland.

Apart from a bizzare encounter with a couple of white and black rabbits on the beach the walk to Pottsville was mostly uneventful. For the entire distance I managed to maintain a good speed of 5km/hr. but ended up with several good size blisters for my trouble. Limping in to Pottsville I was very glad to have a hot shower and put the feet up at the Pottsville Beach Motel. Thanks to the Chris's who put me up for the night and feed me with Tong's Thai. I have a feeling tomorrow's 20km walk to Brunswick Heads will be a test....

Day 1 Coolangatta to Kingslciff

This is really it! The day has come to walk the walk. And now as I sit here in Kingscliff it's a great feeling to get the first step of the journy out of the way.  Breakfast at Aqua on Marine with family and friends was a wonderful start to the day. Nervous butterflies were out and about but thanks to the boy's barage of brotherly banter making light of the situation, my mind was taken off the enormity of what lay ahead. A 900+km's of solo walking with a 30kg pack on the back. Boots carefully tired it was time to make tracks.

Leaving Coolangatta at 0930 I arrived at Kingscliff at 130pm. Thanks to John and Dad who walked with me for about two thirds of the way the first leg went by quicker than expected. However the last 5km in the mid-day sun were certainly the toughest and it was hard not to think about those in third world countries who have to do this on a daily basis. Trudging on I finally rolled into kingscliff. And I'm not to ashamed to say that I went straight to the pub for a cold beer. Probably not the best rehydration strategy but given the circumstances a more refreshing drink I have not tasted.

After a thirst quenching schooner I checked into Peppers Salt Resort for the night. I certainly wasn't expecting luxurious accomodation like this on my travels but the Kingscliff Rotary Club and Peppers made the arrangments and ensured I was well looked after for my first night. With a many rough camping days ahead of me I savoured those few hours of luxury.  Day 1 of 80 or so down. Pottsville I'll see you tomorrow!