I don’t feel well. I have a cough (like Geoffrey’s) and pains when I breathe deeply. I meet Sandy after breakfast and she rushes me around to a doctor’s surgery just outside the hotel. I haven’t kept well for a couple of days and want to keep it quiet in view of Geoffrey’s illness. Every time I have coughed the Yanks have looked at me as if I were something to beware of. They might think it is a virus going around the air conditioning on the bus.
The Doctor gives me a prescription for antibiotics and a cough medicine. She gives me a repeat prescription as she doesn’t think the first lot is going to clear what I have got.
We stop at Byron Bay Resort mid-morning. It is beautiful with golden sands, the sounds of waves and surf breaking under clear blue skies. This is what I thought Australia would be like. Byron Bay is a hippie resort.. On Sundays all the New Age Travellers head to Byron Bay sporting their tattoos and body piercing.
We now cross from Queensland to New South Wales.
It rains as we journey further south. We stop at a cafe on a riverbank. The food is good. I have Chicken Satay and we sit at a table overlooking the riverbank. The cafe owner comes out and throws scraps of food on the grassy bank and from nowhere a dozen or more lizards race towards the food. Their natural camouflage is so perfect we can only see them as they move.
There are beautiful handicrafts for sale in the shop adjacent to the cafe.
We arrive at Opal Cove Hotel in Coffs Harbour. The hotel is spacious and well laid out. Crickets and birds fly freely in and out of the hotel. Again we are warned not to put as much as a toe in the water. We go for a walk on the beach before dinner. The hotel gardens lead down to the golden beach set in a bay between rocky outcrops. The waves pound on the shore with a dramatic force but we wander along in the breeze. We start to pick up stones and pebbles with surfaces so shiny they look as if they have been professionally polished.
This area is banana growing country and the crop was first grown by immigrant Indians. Some of the banana trees are enshrouded in black plastic, others in tinfoil. This is to delay or stimulate the ripening of the fruit to satisfy market demands.
We walk down between waterfalls to meet in the glass fronted hotel bar and have drinks with Danny and Sandy as our party will break up tomorrow. We are a lively and merry crowd and there is a lot of teasing and a lot of laughter
We change for dinner and meet the girls in the bar for a drink afterwards. Anne tells us she will meet her brother who left England thirty-six years ago when we reach Sydney. She has never met his wife, and Valerie, who is black, is going o dramatically shout, “Daddy! Daddy!” When they all meet up with his wife present. The girls have been the life and soul of this coach trip which would have been very dull without them.
Maureen again does some washing to that we are now traveling with everything clean.