July 19, 2018 – Day 109

Harrington to Lake Cathie – 59 km (by bike)

We are on the traditional territory of the Biripi People

An espresso, a flat white, English Breakfast tea
plus an Aussie pie for Wayne from Harrington Bakehouse helped start our day. Lois gave the server our card and we were on our way again along Crowdy Head Road, passing the breakwater at the mouth of the Manning River. At the turnoff to Crowdy Bay National Park, Wayne headed off along the unsealed road, while we did a side trip part way up the headland at Crowdy Bay to be rewarded with a spectacular view looking north to Diamond Head.

Returning to the Crowdy Bay Road turnoff, we cycled along the packed dirt road for 24 km through the park, parallel to the bay, passing by John’s State forest. The road surface wasn’t too bad except near the end when it turned to rough gravel.
While we were having a break on the side of the road, a park ranger stopped to ask us how we were doing. In response to our inquiries about the possibility of kangaroo sightings, he told us that wallabies were more common in the particular sparser habitat we were riding through, but that they were harder to see! He suggested we would be more likely to see kangaroos in the Diamond Head campsite, where he’d seen a dozen the day before.
As we moved out of grasslands into woodland of eucalyptus, blackbutt, brush box and paper brush trees, our app indicated this was one of the best places to get close to an eastern Grey kangaroo or an elusive koala bear. Our necks grew stiff from peering up into the canopy as we cycled, but the shy marsupial continued to elude us. The variety of birds and bird songs, however, was rich and wonderful. Paul added the Channel-billed Cuckoo to his list.
At the Diamond Head campsite turnoff, we found Wayne’s safety vest strategically placed on the sign, giving us another reason to cycle into the campsite. We found Wayne relaxing on a bench looking out on yet another vista of white sandy beach stretching for miles. Just as we were all setting off again, Paul happened to spy a group of kangaroos munching on grass at the edge of the campsite. The animals were quite tame and did not seem to mind our approaching them. One was carrying a Joey!
Outside the park, the main road was quite busy, with little or no hard shoulder. Stopping for tea in Laurieton, we met two cyclists from Dorchester (UK), Holly and Conrad, who had cycled from Britain to Singapore and, in Australia, were cycling from Cairns to Melbourne. We were interested to hear their confirmation of the heavy traffic on the highway from Cairns to Brisbane, a route we had earlier contemplated doing.
Climbing up near Bonny Hills, Lois spotted a bird of prey wheeling over the brush. Paul then added a Square-tailed Kite to his list!
Our smart accommodation in Lake Cathie overlooked the beach, and included a hot tub with a view of the surf!
Wildlife note: possible Bandy Bandy snake (Lois, who freaked out and swerved away from it, cannot confirm absolutely that it was a snake and not a piece of striped tubing)


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