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Remember the good old days of the Sunday drive? Mum would pack a picnic lunch and Dad would put petrol in the family car and off you would go for a drive into the country stopping somewhere scenic alongside a lake or river for a delicious lunch. Those were the days!
I have very happily resurrected the Sunday drive recently and taken off with either a girlfriend or my hubby with camera and picnic lunch to explore my magnificent backyard of the Gold Coast Hinterland and the Green Cauldron of the Tweed in far north New South Wales.
My latest expedition was a recommended 73km round-trip circling the imposing Mt Warning and Wollumbin National Park, which is recognised as part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia. The drive not only takes you through scenic countryside, quaint villages and world heritage-listed rainforests, but leads you to the remnant of a volcano – Mt Warning.
Our trip commenced at the country town of Murwillumbah where we stopped at the Visitor’s Centre to obtain information and a map of the area. We headed south west towards Kyogle passing through Byangum and stopped at the village of Uki where we had coffee and a short walk around the main street.
The village of Uki has an organic-alternative vibe with the beautifully restored old Norco Butter Factory accommodating art studios, funky bric-a-brac stores and an antique shop. There are also the interesting Happy High Herbs, Glorious Organics and Holistic Health Centre in the heart of the village.
Mt Warning stands at a very impressive height of 1157m above sea level and it can be seen from almost every location in the Tweed. If you are adventurous and fit you can try climbing the 4.4km distance, with a challenging final rock scramble,to the summit of the mountain. The walk takes you through stunning scenery and offers magnificent views of the Tweed Valley and beyond. A very popular time to do this climb is prior to sunrise when you can sit on top of the world and watch the sun come up!
If you are not up for the summit walk you can take the Lyrebird track which commences at Breakfast Creek before winding 200m through palm forest and to a platform set amongst lush subtropical rainforest.
Interesting fact: The name Mt Warning was chosen by Captain James Cook to warn future mariners of the offshore reefs he encountered on his ship in 1770.
Only a short drive off the Kyogle Road is the Clarrie Hall Dam which has an impressive steep spillway. Built on Doon Doon Creek, a tributary of the Tweed River, Clarrie Hall Dam has a storage capacity of 16,000 mega-litres of water and the primary function of the dam is to provide storage for Tweed Shire’s water supply. The recreation area surrounding the dam is perfect for photography, bird watching, nature observation, environmental studies, picnicking and bush walking. Activities permitted on Clarrie Hall Dam include canoeing, boating (electric motor, sail or paddle power only) and fishing.
Further along Kyogle Road you can access Crams Farm which is at the other end of Clarrie Hall Dam and is accessed from Doon Doon Road. Crams Farm, as the name suggests was once a dairy farm owned by the Cram family with the old farmhouse, timber mill and the Doon Doon Hall still remaining.
On first sight you would think you were on a lake in the US with its spectacular scenery. It is a incredibly striking area to picnic, canoe, walk and generally spend time just looking and enjoying the scenery.
After leaving Crams Farm we took the Byrill Creek Road at the backside of Mt Warning and enjoyed the drive along a single laned gravel road which wound its way through the rainforest and rural farmlands crossing the creek in several places. We eventually found our way to the historic village of Tyalgum.
What was once a remote timber town is now one of the Tweed Valley’s most popular day-trip destination with its dramatic backdrop of the towering western wall of Mt Warning. Tyalgum has blossomed into a vibrant village with lovingly restored quaint old buildings transformed into cottage cafes, gift shops and art galleries.
Flutterbies Cottage Cafe is a delightful place to stop for an organic coffee, savour the elegance of the Tea Room and partake in high tea or just tuck into some good wholesome country cooking. You must also check out the gorgeous gift shop full of cottage craft, cuddly teddy bears and magical fairies.
Our Sunday drive started and ended on a very pleasant note. The villages of Uki and Tyalgum were a highlight of our road trip as was the brilliant scenery under the watchful eye of Mt Warning – simply stunning! What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday!
Do you ever go on a Sunday drive? Were do you head to?
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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