Casino – Brisbane

Yesterday very early morning I left the RSL club at 1 o’clock, as they shut down. I can recommend it, if you need to wait in Casino for a few hours in the night, and have nothing else to do. I watched the tennis game of Roger Federer from the Australian Open, which was almost 4 hours and pretty exciting until the final match ball. Well there was not much else on display ๐Ÿ˜‰. After the RSL Club closed, I slowly walked to the train station. I expected that the waiting room opens at 1:30 o’clock, as it was still closed a few minutes after, I knocked on the door until a staff member appeared. He explained me that these hours are NOT opening hours of the waiting room, but instead staff working hours, and that the waiting room only opens shortly before the train arrives. I explained him, the staff from the railway, that the train will be arriving soon, and that I didn’t make the timetables. He responded that he didn’t make the staff working hours ๐Ÿคจ, but then finally asked me, if I want to come in. Yes, for sure, otherwise this waiting room is never used (probably this is what the staff is intending to achieve). I mean, if there’s only one train per day leaving to Brisbane, departing at 2:19 o’clock, just continue to make the service as inconvenient as possible, so that people are not using it anymore, and then argue due to the low usage, you should close down the service at all. In the end the train was a few minutes late, but this didn’t bother me at all, and as it was dark anyway throughout the train ride I tried to sleep a bit, even as I assume the mountainous landscape was pretty nice.

As I arrived in Brisbane at 4 o’clock local time, it was pretty early. So I decided to take the first train to Cleveland and then the ferry to North Stradbroke Island in order to have a relaxed day at the beach. After checking in at Point Lookout very early, as the rooms were not fully booked I spent the whole day at the beach. I first went to Adder rock and seeked for a bit of shade to relax on the beach, and afterwards have a swim. Then I strolled along the long Home beach and Cylinder beach to the centre of Point Lookout to get some late lunch, before I continued to Deadman’s beach. From there I saw in a bit of a distance a group of dolphins jumping out of the water. The detour along the North Gorge walk was definitely worth. After waiting for a while also a group of dolphins appeared, even it was a bit in a distance, you could clearly distinct them. Followed by two turtles, and a manta Ray which stayed directly at the mouth of North Gorge. I finished my walk at the main beach before I headed back.

Finally arrived in Brisbane…
…with the historical railway station building in the middle of the station.
The Skyline of Brisbane shortly after sunrise, while crossing the Brisbane river along the Merivale bridge
Dual gauge railway in Brisbane, with the standard gauge from NSW and the narrow gauge commonly used in QLD
Home beach seen from Adder rock
Moreton Island is north of us, unfortunately all camp sites in the national park, which are accessible by foot from the ferry were booked out during this weekend, so I couldn’t go there to stay overnight
In the mouth of the North gorge…
…a manta ray was swimming for some time
My train ticket

Lismore / Casino

Friday late afternoon Santu, a German guy I met in the hostel, gave me lift from Nimbin down to Lismore. We had a nice conversion about our travellings, professional life and other stuff. Down in Lismore I catched the last bus to Casino. Almost all people from that bus transferred to the train, which ends in Casino and directly rides back to Sydney. Instead I walked back to the town centre and got some groceries, before I went to the RSL (Returned Servicemen’s Memorial) club. Lucky me, they let me in after registration and didn’t shoot me directly ๐Ÿ˜‰.

The old post office and telegraph station in Lismore, opposite to the bus transfer.
Casino claims itself as the “beef capital”
Two large cumuli during sunset…precursor for rain later on
Casino has a large cathedral, directly opposite to the large fastfood restaurants

Murwillumbah / Nimbin

Yesterday morning Mark dropped me off at the old railway station in Mullumbimby, from where I took the coach to Murwillumbah. 16 years earlier and I would be able to take the train, but nowadays you’ve to sit in a bus, which stops at the old train stations, as compensation. After we drove along the shoreline, we went back to the hilly hinterland and reached the railway station of Murwillumbah after about 50 minutes. As I had a connection time of about 3 hours, and my next bus wasn’t leaving at the railway station, I walked through the town and had a good, but cheap coffee (3.7$, which is definitely not expensive for Australia) in a lovely coffee shop. In the afternoon a small bus drove me along some creeks, surprisingly green meadows and bushland mountains, to Nimbin, again in just 50 minutes. Nimbin is a small alternative village, but you get easily in contact with locals. In the evening I met Bea, who told me that she’s playing at the local markets, and her friend Ben. We had some beer together before they headed off to his mother’s place in Uki.

Following the old railway tracks to Murwillumbah…
…before we headed into the mountains.
Hardly to believe that, at the old railway station of Murwillumbah, XPT trains were departing directly to Sydney
Surprisingly it’s pretty green around here, since it started raining two weeks ago
Well, if church service is just at the 5th Sunday of each month…then it’s not too often throughout a year
Literally street art work in Nimbin
These business hours makes it pretty clear, when the shop is open ๐Ÿ˜‰
The view from my tent door ๐Ÿ™‚

Mullumbimby / Brunswick Heads

Tuesday morning I went to the bus stop to take the local bus from Byron Bay to Mullumbimby. To my surprise dozens of Backpackers fell off the Greyhound bus, everything was organised for them, even the guide told them in which shuttle bus to the hostel they need to go…I mean Byron is not that big anyway…but sounds like a big suprise. So a few minutes later, the local bus arrived, and apparently I was the only one who took the ride and left the crowds of backpackers (probably they’re already flashpackers, even without knowing it) behind me. In the small town of Mullumbimby my host Mark picked me up from the bus stop and gave me a short lift to his large house with pool, where he lives with his daughter. I just put my backpack there and we headed back to town. I got a fresh cappuccino for a reasonable price, far below 5$. I set for a while infront of the coffee shop to enjoy the atmosphere of this small alternative town, with nice people around. After my coffee I went for a walk through the main street, and as I didn’t want to shop anything, I just finished right in time to get another bus to the neighbour town of Brunswick Heads. This one has more tourists than Mullumbimby, but still far less than Byron Bay. So I crossed the river and went to the beach. That beach is pretty long and goes all the way back to Byron Bay. As the sun was shining during noon, it got pretty warm. So I decided to go for a swim between the flags, but the waves and current were again pretty high. And after some minutes of fighting them, I decided to get out of the water. Afterwards I headed back to the town and walked once around the block, but Brunswick Heads doesn’t have the flair of the hinterland town of Mullumbimby. So I got one scoop ice cream, and the woman said, it’s “just” 5$. What do you mean with “just 5$”??? I can clearly recall when one scoop of ice cream was 50 penny, so “just 0.26 Euro”, and now you tell me it’s just about 3.10 Euro? Seriously, one scoop is more expensive than a large cappuccino from the morning?!? Well, I had no choice, than just to enjoy my ice cream, and then waited for the bus back to Mullumbimby.

The main street of Mullumbimby is paved with numerous small shops
The long beach of Brunswick Heads
Of course it is honorable to fight against the world’s largest (proposed) coal mine in Queensland…Adani, but are you aware of your own fossil CO2 footprint, while driving individually with such a large diesel, or do you NOT give a fuck?
The old restored cinema, which is now used for various events
The old train station in Mullumbimby looks like it’s just awaiting the next train…but, if at all, this will take several decades.
Mark and I in Mullumbimby

Town Tour Byron Bay

Yesterday I did a walk through the town of Byron Bay. Byron Bay is definitely a great tourist attraction, so you can get everything what you need during your holidays, and as it’s now summer holidays, it’s packed with tourists. I walked up the Tallow ridge track to the Lighthouse, from where I had also a good view south to the endless long Tallow beach, where just a view people tried to get a splash in the waves. The entrance to the national park adjacent to the Byron Bay lighthouse is free, except if you’re entering the NP by car. After a few lookouts behind the lighthouse I reached the easternmost point of mainland Australia, and hence already again the easternmost point of my journey for the time being. But no worries, it’s still far west of Kamchatka ๐Ÿ˜‰. From the viewpoint on top of the cliffs, I saw Cape Byron a bit further to the north, but it’s actually not as east as this point. Additionally, due to the clear water I depicted also two groups of dolphins, who had their fun, or probably were chasing for fish in the surf. On my way down I stopped at Cape Byron, before I returned along the long main beach to the town centre. In the afternoon I had a swim in the marked swimming area, well due to the high waves and strong currents…it’s the Pacific ocean and not the shallow baltic sea, you can’t safely make it behind the surf without a surfboard, so I ended up splashing in the waves, as also the locals tend to do.

Tallow Beach from the Tallow ridge
Old Byron Bay train station, no longer served by trains since almost 16 years, but now coaches stopping just nearby on the street, to get in all the backpacker crowds
The Byron Bay lighthouse.
Easternmost point of mainland Australia. Unfortunately, the sign is dismantled and only the brackets are left.
Dolphins were clearly visible from the top (and probably also a turtle, but I’m not sure about that, as it vanished quickly)…
…and also Cape Byron itself.
This new train station, just a few hundred metres north of the old one, and directly behind a road crossing, is just serving a 3km tourist train…unfortunately, that is all that is left of the 132 km original route