By now we had travelled over 2000klms (about 1,242 miles), and were starting to count up how many beds we had slept in, and yet we still had an amount of travelling and sight-seeing to do. We once again headed east for the coast and familiar country.
We were on our way to see friends at a place called Harrington, north of Taree. Once before we had done this trip from Branxton to Harrington, travelling on back roads that wound this way and that through the Hunter Valley and its small villages, and we called in to a number of little “arty” shops along the way. This time we headed straight for the main Sydney-Brisbane highway and turned north once we got to the junction. Four (sometimes six) lanes of well maintained highway was a bit of a shock after some of the roads we had been on. Bill was happy to do all the driving and I promptly fell asleep, which I am likely to do if the road is straight and fast.
Harrington is a small fishing village located at the mouth of the Manning River. The river opens up to the ocean, and Harrington Beach stretches from this village up to the next fishing village of Crowdy Head, taking in a rainforest national park. Harrington is another jewel in the Australian coastline, blue waters, long river inlet, small surf, and great fishing, but not a lot of work and not much public transport.
The waters of Harrington Bay (actually part of the Manning River), are tidal and still contain some oyster bays left behind when the industry in the area fell away. Also, all of the towns up and down this stretch of coast have a history from the previous century when timber getting was big in the area and the best way to transport logs and cargo to Sydney and Brisbane was to move it by ship along the coast, but that is now in the history books only.
We have a long history with our friends who live there. Originally the men met through work and then our friendship was cemented when we each built houses from the same company at around the same time. They had four young children at the time, and it was interesting to see how two houses of the same age, materials, quality of fit out and workmanship develop when used by a house full of children, versus none at all. The contrast in wear and tear was a source of amusement, which was exacerbated when one of the young boys let the handbrake off his father’s car while it was parked on a slope facing the open garage door. It went straight through the gyprock wall and into the dining room. Not something we had to contend with at our house.
Anyway, they moved north to Harrington many years ago, built a large two storey home a few streets back from the beach, and filled it up with children and dogs and cars and a boat. Now we try to visit at least once every year or two.
Often when we visit, the men go fishing and the wife goes to work, leaving me to my own devices for a few hours. I would like to join them in the fishing, but they decline on the basis of:
- it is bad luck to have a woman on a boat (who would imagine modern men could be so superstitious?)
- there is no toilet on board (well, couldn’t they just look the other way while I dangle off the end?)
- I won’t bait my own hook (hmmmm…..I could try …..)
- I won’t take my own fish off the line (Okay! Now they got me. And the one fishing trip I did go on with Bill, I did catch more fish than him, so I kept him busy with that task.)
So I suspect the real reason is that they cannot risk that I might catch more than them 🙂
Next Destination: Port Macquarie