|Distance: 94.8km||Total Distance: 1982.8km|
Today was our longest biking day between Coffs Harbour and Grafton. There are two options, one being the highway and the other which we choose, the Orara Way. Our choice turned out to be a good one as the road was quiet and pretty.
We started by cycling through Coffs Harbour on a nice cycle track then headed out of town and up a hill through banana plantations and lush forest. Traffic was busy but quickly thinned out as we distanced ourselves from the population centre. The top of the hill 20 minutes after leaving Coffs was the highest point for the day and it was rolling gradual downhill after that. We passed through Coramba and then Nana Glen which were both nice little towns. After Nana Glen we also past the home of Russell Crowe and wondered if we should pop in for a cuppa, being fellow Kiwis (he can’t get Australian citizenship). As we progressed we transitioned from lush coastal vegetation to dryer gum trees and red dirt. It was a hot day and the temperature was 23 in the shade which must have been 26 degrees C on the road.
The last 20km seemed hard as we were getting tired so it was nice to arrive in the river city of Grafton. Approaching the bridge we didn’t see any signs either banning cyclists or directing us to an alternative. On entering the bridge we could see we shouldn’t be there as it was narrow, long and cars couldn’t overtake us. All we could do is bike fast and get over the bridge. Some cars wound down their windows to inform us of the lower deck for trains, pedestrians and bikes. It was too late as we couldn’t turn around. Numerous cars also wound down their windows to abuse us, swear at us, and even try to spit at us. Obviously we are visitors to this town and if the drivers of Grafton are so incensed by cyclists on the bridge, put in some signs! That put us off Grafton and we won’t be returning.
Highlight of today: The way the countryside changed over our longest day.