Day 135 Grafton – Coraki 118.4 km 481 m
Taking some back roads from Grafton resulted in a bit of planning on the run to avoid dirt as much as possible. Having said that, however, the last 40 km of the day was on a rough dirt road and resulted in two flat tires, one front and one rear. Miranda kept fairly close by in case I ran out of spare tubes or my legs had had enough of pushing through the dirt. It was a relief to reach the end of the dirt and pedal the remaining few km’s to the beautiful river side council caravan park in Coraki. Miranda remained in Grafton to work on an oil pastel featuring the Clarence River.
Day 136 Coraki – Coopers Shoot 83 km 1,348 m
Today was quite short day as I travelled the small poorly maintained back roads through the northern NSW hinterland. I love the countryside here, lush farmland, many macadamia plantations and tantalising views of the ocean far away. Miranda meanwhile worked on a mixed media view of the bridge crossing the Richmond river – northern NSW does have beautiful rivers, and this was the view from our campsite last night.
I arrived at our old school friend, Mary’s place in Coopers Shoot early in the afternoon. Being so close, I decided to spend the afternoon riding to Cape Byron, visiting the most easterly point of Australia then returning up the steep incline for a pleasant evening in front of an open fire catching up on the past 30 years or so. We loved the magnificent fig tree and wonderful views from Mary’s idyll at the top of a hill in the beautiful Byron Bay hinterland (check out instagram @3figsat350).
Day 137 Coopers Shoot – Murwillumbah 105 km 1,497 m
As usual, Miranda stayed on to complete an artwork, this time a gouache of the view from Mary’s back yard at Coopers Shoot while I headed north, ever closer to Queensland.
It was a delightful day’s ride through more lush vegetation and the hippy paradise that is Nimbin before arriving at the Tweed River and Murwillumbah where we were to stay with Lucy, Joe and Daisy Rae. Lucy and younger daughter Katie are old buddies from Perth. We had a lovely evening catching up and enjoying the company and a delightful Thai take away. Thanks guys we had a great time!
Day 138 Murwillumbah – Canungra 82.4 km 1,365 m
To start the day we headed to the Tweed Regional Art Gallery – a wonderful gallery with expansive views back to Mt Warning and the Tweed Valley. It also houses the Margaret Ollie Art Centre that incorporates much of her Paddington home studio just as it was when she died – fabulous! Miranda then set up outside to paint a cloud shrouded Mt Warming – though she did get caught out by rain, which created some interesting effects on her oil painting – as she says, it is clearly time for some new mediums as what she was using were obviously not working in the way they were intended!
As for me, once I left the gallery there was quite a bit of climbing, and then I crossed into Queensland, whoo hoo! Not far from the border we found a lovely spot at the show ground (along with a heap of other people for some unknown reason) in Canungra.
Day 139 Canungra – Toowong 83.9 km 869 m
An easy day, riding mostly through the urban sprawl into Brisbane where we were staying with our good friends from school days and various cycling adventures, Mark and Leah, and catching up with more relatives and friends. Miranda worked up a pen and ink of the showgrounds before heading into Brisbane.
Day 140 Ultra Provocatorio Invitationale 54.6 km 756 m
It was so romantic, I don’t know where to begin, so I won’t. If you missed it, make sure you line up at the start for the next one…..(here is the link). Miranda, feeling a little unfit and wanting to have a presence at Anzac Park in Toowong in case of strays looking for the excitingly lycra’d up band of cyclists, stayed to paint – this time she did an acrylic of the bike path that everyone was to return along for a breakfast of delicious sweet potato rosti, yum!
While painting Miranda was approached by a lovely woman, a professional photographer who took photos of her as she painted and of us once I returned – here is the gorgeous photo she took. If you are looking for a professional photographer in Brisbane, please consider Mana Photography, a lovely person and great photographer!
Day 141 Toowong/ Little Tokyo Two
While in Brisbane we also took the opportunity to meet up with Cure Brain Cancer Foundation contacts at the very cool Little Tokyo Two precinct – great to meet you Lyn and Beverly! We were now settling into a week of R&R before the push west then north to the Northern Territory.