Friday, May 04, 2007

Leaving NSW, entering Queensland

If you click on the map, you may see more detail. We have drawn in the first half of our trip.

Just north of Ballina, on the NSW coast, we visited the first commercial tea tree farm in Australia, called the Thursday Plantation (the licence was issued on a Thursday). If you have never used any of the many different tea tree products, you are certainly doing yourself short. The gardens around the factory include a permanent art exhibition with some beautiful designs. In Ballina we visited the factory where our trailer was made. A team of 25 people complete 3 trailers in two days. Two minor repairs were done under warranty and all is well again. We are very impressed with their quality of work!

On the right the view of Boonoo Boonoo National Park, west of Lismore. On the left the remains of "tank traps" (cut-off tree stumps) built during WWII as a secondary obstacle for invading Japanese armies from the north. The first obstacle was the "burn and poison" tactic, meaning withdrawing all people and leaving nothing for the invading armies. Hostile terrain, the incredible distances and poisoned water wells would have created a logistic nightmare for the invaders.

At Bald Rock National Park on the Queensland border, we did some bouldering. Bas and Daan check out how we have mastered the bouldering technics, clinging to smooth rock ......

The views were amazing.

Moree, NSW, in the middle of the drought, had a special surprise for us in store in the form of artesian springs. Actually they were allowed to drill down to 750 m into the artesian basin, which covers most parts of Australia. There were 4 different pools, 35, 37, 39 and 41 degrees and yes, it was wonderful. Lots of "Grey Nomads" make a detour to soak the old bones.

Before we got to Nimbin, we took a western detour and visited Moree, a thriving country town where they cultivate cotton, pecan nuts and sorghum. On the right you see the leave, the bulb, the bloom and the cotton with a multitude of seeds inside. On the left we see a huge machine which surrounds a semi trailer and picks up a compressed block of cotton which is covered with a tarp and which is then stored in a paddock for a while before being picked up again and transported to the mill where the seeds are removed from the cotton. The cotton is then compressed and wrapped, ready for transport (95% to China, 5% to Bonds in Australia).
The drought has reduced the crops to 50% this year and they will not be able to plant any new crops until rain falls.

Next to the house near Nimbin where we stayed in 1990 the new owners showed us their "pets", two huge carpet snakes. They are happy to keep them around the house because they keep the rat population in check.

Thanks to Kate's computer, we can upload pictures again. The sequence is not quite right, but here is a shot of Nimbin, NSW, which we also visited in 1990. There was a huge music festival (Aquarius) in 1973, ala Woodstock, and a group of hippies bought one of the last remaining bits of rain forest, complete with waterfalls and including a sawmill. Originally it was a purely agricultural community, but now the "alternatives" moved in and

cannabis became part of the local scene which later attracted a lot of "socially disadvantaged" people. Today Nimbin is a tourist attraction and art in various ways is demonstrated through out. The Tuntable Falls area is still the same separate community with most of their original principles in place. We find it a fascinating community because the mixture of cultures and ideas seem to co-exist fairly well. The garage where I worked in 1990 was thriving and they offered me a job on the spot!

Wauw, wat hebben jullie er al veel km's opzitten! Wat fijn dat jullie er zo van genieten!
Ik hou van jullie, veel liefs van je zusje.
wonderful pictures!!
Hi, Tanneke and Renne :D
Awesome photos!!(Except the snake one.. :p)I'm surprised that you've already travelled half of Australia! I wish I could travel with you... :(

Take care & much Love
Hahaha! Love the bouldering moves :)
The photos are lovely except the one of the snake! I thought my fear was dissapearing but I am still scarred for life! Mum knows she was there in Bold Park. Good to see you guys having a good time. Cant wait to have you back.

Lieke xx
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