Is there such a place as Paradise On Earth? I suspect one's options on this expand considerably in line with one's tolerance to mould. I love Cairns. No, I do...it's just that the first third of the year always brings with it a constant battle against the forces of evil. I mean, mould. Ahem.
As pre-empted a while ago, I just went to Northern New South Wales to visit some beloved friends and their munchkins as part of my grand Farewell to Oz Tour. I've only been to Northern New South Wales once before as an adult, in the mid-'90s, and I have a very Romantic view of it as one of the most beautiful places to live in Australia. It is also the hippy 'capital' of the country. I think I had been there less than 24 hours this time when Jane drew my attention to a jacket that she'd just pulled out of the wardrobe that was fluffy with subtropical mould. Cue needle dragging across a record...
But if you can get over that (or yourself, and Lord knows I need to do a bit more of that of late!), then gee willikers it's pretty. My friends live near The Channon. There's a creek at the bottom of their driveway and a waterfall at the end of their road. They live on a multiple occupancy intentional community, on which the husband grew up. And yes, it's called Rainbow. No social profiling, please! They are building their own solar-powered, composting toileted, hempcrete-lined, passive solar, recycled or reclaimed when possible, totally awesome home that looks straight out into rainforest. It's truly beautiful and very contemporary in design.
Chedy's mum still lives on the community. She's a ceramicist and a fanatical collector of vintage objects and textiles. I was lucky enough to sleep in an alcove of her studio and woke up each morning to total eye candy of old kitchenalia and a ceramicist's tools of the trade. Heaven for me! She had a very established orchard and veggie patch, and here's what's so great about this region: rosemary grew next to pineapples, roses grew next to pawpaws, Brazilian cherries grew alongside grapefruit, and both strawberries and bananas looked happy. For a gardener like me that's a pretty impressive interzone of domestic food crops! It wasn't long before I was emailing Charles to suggest that maybe Northern New South Wales could be a good spot for us eventually, if we find our way back to Australia. The big, fat kookaburras and the mix of rainforest and eucalypts were giving me a pre-emptive strike of homesickness, too.
That's about it for the blabbing. I mostly wanted to get back in the writing saddle today, and I'll leave you with more pictures than words. Please find here some images of a very extended Anzac Day long weekend holiday: the 'Goldie' from Coolangatta; views from the Pinnacle looking out to Mt Warning; happy snaps from Rainbow; and the mandatory trip to Byron Bay, at the Tallow Beach end.