22/07/2017 Coolangatta to Lismore

We got out our winter jackets in Coolangatta last night for dinner and again this morning for breakfast. A very cold wind blowing. At the beginning and end of the day it is the same temperature as Auckland, but during the day it gets upto 21 deg with blue skies.

We got on the road and headed north, then west to do a nice back road south to Lismore. The Hinterland out the back of the gold coast is full of locals selling organic veggies, massages, natural therapies, hand made soap etc-quite a wide spread ‘alternative’ area. The Hinterland is pretty with the Tweed River running through it, lots of green pasture with cattle and sheep grazing.

All along the journey today I was aware of huge degrees of flood damage. Huge slips, paddock fences with debris caught at the top, huge logs on the side of the road that could only have been placed there by water. The road itself was in poor condition. In a 4×4 you might not notice but on a Harley you have to look out. I got bounced out of my seat a couple of times, and hit one pot hole that pulled the front wheel from me. Hitting a big pot hole could burst a tyre and that would be an unwanted drama miles from nowhere.

We rode for about 3 hours and arrived in Lismore. This is a town of about 30,000 people, so it’s quite a large city. It’s well positioned for us to ride to Coff’s harbour tomorrow.

When we checked into the motel, I saw a sign 5 to 6 feet high on the wall behind the motelier that said March 2017 flood level. I asked him if it was Cyclone Debbie. He said yes, the town was hard hit by the cyclone. It seems there is a dam higher up on the river, and as with Edgecumbe in NZ, some say the authorities didn’t manage the dam and the river burst it banks right into Lismore. Lots of businesses here are still closed.

In 1974, when Cyclone Wanda flooded Brisbane, the same cyclone flooded Lismore, so they built a Levee to protect the town, but it wasn’t built high enough for Cyclone Debbie. It’s such a shame to see all the destruction, it must have been very frightening. To think we first saw the damage 6 days ago up in Airlie beach. Airlie Beach was hard hit by the winds as well as the rain. Many birds lost some feathers in the high winds, and one Cockatoo, which they called Debbie was completely stripped bare. It’s a sad story, I’m not sure why it makes me laugh!

We are staying in a lovely motel tonight. We have had a good feed at the working mens club (Stuart really knows how to wine and dine me!) ((not much open here at the weekend)) and now time to pack to be on the road tomorrow.