and to popular vacation spots like Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, and Byron Bay. There is a bit of everything: the famous rainforests, deserted beaches, dilapidated seaside towns, brightly colored tourist facilities, extensive suburbs zone and modest villages.
By 1:30 p.m. we got to the city of Port Macquarie. There we pulled off the highway and drove into the park of koalas and other Australian animals, where we spent two hours.
The park is not very large, especially if you compare it to the zoo in Sydney. It is divided into 2 zones: the kangaroo area and the area of enclosures and without, where different animals walk and birds fly free.
First, we walked through the main area of the park, where we saw parrots, wombats, some rodents. Then he went to the area where kangaroo and wallaby were walking free. At the entrance to the park, we bought two cups of food for kangaroos for 2 USD (as of 2006). We liked wallaby more - they're so cute, good little fluffy little animals with little faces. Kangaroo is twice as large, less fluffy and soft.
First, we fed them from the cup and then just out of our hands. Wallaby eat so slowly! Then a large kangaroo came and quickly ate everything we had :-).
Later we went back to the aviary with koalas. It was lunch time for them. I had a chance to touch it, so I got to know that its fur is pretty tough and short.
We did not regret about those two hours that we had spent in the park and went further. It started raining after the Port Macquarie and then it turned into a heavy downpour, markedly deteriorating the visibility. We had to reduce speed to 60-70 km/h, instead of the allowed 100. Though the roads are fully equipped with reflective devices (you are going like on the tracks), but during heavy rain and when it is dark only distant light can help you.
Generally, Australian roads are of quite good quality. The traffic is organized clearly and understandably.
We stopped overnight at 9 p.m. in the town of Ballina, which is 750 kilometers away from Sydney. We passed 650 kilometers for one day. There was a tropical downpour at night.
In the morning we got up at 8:30, had a breakfast and went from Ballina northwards to Queensland. There were 130 kilometers left to get Gold Coast, so we could take some time.
First, we stopped in Byron Bay - the easternmost point of the Australian mainland - 159 degrees 39 minutes east longitude. Byron Bay is known for its sandy beaches that attract surfers from around the world, but the greatest popularity it received thanks to the lighthouse, which stands on a cliff top. This lighthouse has long been the first thing that the ships noticed before they reached the Australian continent. We will definitely want to visit it. This is one of the most beautiful places in the entire northern part of the coast. Lots of artisans, art galleries, artists, folk music and markets have originated from here. You can watch humpback whales from Cape Byron in June and July.
On our way, we saw a plantation of sugar cane and then went in Byron Bay.
We stopped at the city beach, where you can see a lot of lovers of the sea, wind and fresh air at any time of the year. Even despite the cloudy weather and strong waves, there were many people on the beach and in the water.
Almost from the entrance to the town, we started to see the signs leading to the lighthouse. As I said, the lighthouse is located on a rock, to which a steep and narrow road leads.
A parking lot, located 200 meters from the lighthouse, is designed for 10-12 cars, and those people, who wish to visit the easternmost point are much more. Although, we were extremely lucky!
On our way to the lighthouse, we saw a stunning view of the beach. The wind was so strong, that sometimes it was difficult to breathe. The waves were so big that the wind wafted the sprays to the lighthouse at a height of over 80 meters. It seems that it was raining.
Having visited the easternmost point of the Australian continent, we went further around noon. We passed glide the border of the states of New South Wales and