A Travellerspoint blog

Bundjalung and Yuraygir National Parks

Northern Rivers, New South Wales

sunny 28 °C

With our little van packed and ready, to go we headed south .. our destination - the northern rivers area of New South Wales. There are nine major river catchments in the region, and 196 sub-catchments, and which also includes significant coastal lakes, estuaries and river systems. A very important and beautiful area.

Our reason for choosing to visit the Northern Rivers area was to explore two specific national parks ... Bundjalung at Iluka on the northern side of the beautiful Clarence River, the biggest river on the east coast of New South Wales, and Yuraygir at Yamba on the southern side of the Clarence. However, I have to say we hadn't done our homework on the area and didn't know what walks or activities we would find to do when we arrived.

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We travel simply, with all we need packed efficiently in our van. With no access to electricity to charge our various electrical devices, this was a bit of an experiment to see how we coped away from the digital world. However, we do like to be comfortable and have a very good innerspring mattress to ensure comfy and restful sleeps. Most important!!

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It's been quite a few years since I traveled over the border, along these coastal roads south from Kingscliff which I used to know so well, and it was great to check out the changes that the desire to live in this beautiful part of the world has brought, along with the inevitable population increase.

Our first stop, Wooyung Beach,Holiday Park, is one of the very few remaining bush camping sites on the Australian east coast. The beach is amazing - it seems to go on forever, and when we visited there was a lone fisherman sharing it with us. Just beautiful.

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Unfortunately, one challenge that we have when traveling and camping beside watercourses, is the onslaught of mosquitoes at dusk, so we usually have an early evening meal then hibernate into our van before we get carried away. We eat very well with nut cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and dips for entrée, and dishes such as curries, chilli bean and pasta (pre-prepared and frozen) which are delicious and easy to serve. It is lovely to sit sharing our peace and quiet with many varieties of birds and other animals.

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Whilst enjoying a dessert of refreshing sweet grapes I found a couple of 'not so good' ones which I threw onto the grass for the ants to enjoy. To my surprise this lovely fellow - a bearded dragon, I think - (that I'd seen scurrying into the undergrowth not long after we arrived) shot out from the bushes like a bolt of lightning and proceeded to gently squash and swallow a grape. I was astounded, firstly by the speed that it pounced, but also as I didn't expect it to be a fruit eater. So I threw it another, and another, and it devoured all of them. I'm not the world's best photographer but was pleased to get this pic of the grape in its mouth. .Afterwards it climbed onto the tree which was right beside us and remain immobile for quite a considerable time. I imagined it was saying to us ... "Thank you". We thought he was pretty cute too.

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Bundjalung National Park

The next day we traveled on to Iluka. I'd never visited this area before but remember it from my childhood and for some reason it had an allure for me as a special holiday destination. .Once settled in to our new (but not so desired) camp site, we set out to explore. . My first impression was lukewarm .. very small (pop. ~2500), limited services, and not much to see. .However, thankfully we did were able to obtain a brochure on the national park which gave us the info we needed to plan our walks.

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We thought we would start with 'Shark Bay' . We parked the van and walked the 100m onto 'Ten Mile Beach'. Yep, that was all it took. Walking onto the beach was amazing. It was spectacular, with beach stretching as far as we could see .. and we had it all to ourselves.
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The beautiful artistry of the sand and waves ...
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A little gunya we found along the way .... reminds me of building these in the bush behind our home when I was a child ...
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Sharing the beach with us ...
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Chas getting his iodine fix for the day ...
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We could see sea spray over the next bay, so decided to explore ... so we packed lunch and headed to Back Beach.
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How's this for a perfect lunchtime view.
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Images from Iluka Bluff, looking north and south.
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Yuraygir National Park, Yamba

We preferred Yamba as it was a much bigger town (pop 6600) and we were more comfortable with the camping area also.

Yuraygir is the longest stretch of protected coastline in New South Wales. For the short time we had to explore we decided to walk the Angourie Track to the Dirrangan Lookout (2.8km each way). . The Angourie Track is a moderately challenging 10km walk to Shelley Headland in the south.

We started just before noon ... yep, stupid walking in the midday sun, and before we'd had lunch, but we did!!! ... And lunch was well worth waiting for 2 1/2 hours later.

Another magnificent and totally isolated beach from where we started our walk.
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The track is well defined and well maintained.
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It follows the coastline and the views of the sheltered bays and rocky outcrops were magnificent. It also passes through areas of lovely coastland heath.

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Looking south to Shelly Headland from Dirrangan Lookout ... the destination if walking the full 10km stretch. This can be done over several days with overnight camping allowed along the way. ... a goal for another time for sure.
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Taken at the lookout.
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There were still many beaches and walks that we didn't get a chance to explore. If you haven't experienced this lovely part of our Australia it is definitely recommended.
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Our relaxing lunch at Mudgeeraba on the way home to the Sunny Coast and home.
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. And not only did we survive without our electronic devices, it was a most relaxed and peaceful five days. I recommend everyone take time out this way every now and then.

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Posted by patsaunder 16:18 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes beaches parks national Comments (0)

Images of Aarhus

overcast 10 °C
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Well, our 4-1/2 month adventure is almost over. We've had wonderful experiences, visited lots of amazing places, and enjoyed the company of many interesting folk whom we have met along the way. The opportunity for this experience is due to the generosity of our four exchange families who have opened their homes to us, which we very much appreciate. They have all told us that they have had an equally fantastic time in our home on the Sunny Coast. A fantastic way to see the world!!

It has also been wonderful to share so many special times with Aaron and Rikke, and especially to have the opportunity to be with, and get to know Olivia .... special times we will treasure.

It has been a pleasure to be here again and enjoy the culture and the friendliness of the Danish people, but the time has come for us to head home.
And it has been great fun to share it all with you on our blog. No doubt we'll be talking about it for some time yet!!

I'll say no more, but will instead leave you with some lovely images of Aarhus.

Our inner-city apartment building - 30sec. to coffee shop!!    Magasin department store is the building on the far right.

Our inner-city apartment building - 30sec. to coffee shop!! Magasin department store is the building on the far right.


Our 2nd floor inner city apartment ... yes, that is me waving!!

Our 2nd floor inner city apartment ... yes, that is me waving!!


Our first dinner together in our exchange apartment

Our first dinner together in our exchange apartment


Aarhus theatre

Aarhus theatre


Looking towards Magasin department store.   This is a trendy restaurant strip beside the canal.

Looking towards Magasin department store. This is a trendy restaurant strip beside the canal.


Magasin department store

Magasin department store


Lovely traditional houses in Møllestien (just across from our apartment building)

Lovely traditional houses in Møllestien (just across from our apartment building)


These small houses in Møllestien date from the 17th, 18th and 19thC.

These small houses in Møllestien date from the 17th, 18th and 19thC.


One part of the pedestrian mall (early on a Sunday morning), stores already bedecked with Christmas decorations.

One part of the pedestrian mall (early on a Sunday morning), stores already bedecked with Christmas decorations.


Danes have a special affinity with their national flag.  It has pride of place whatever the celebration.

Danes have a special affinity with their national flag. It has pride of place whatever the celebration.


Looking towards the Domkirke

Looking towards the Domkirke


Looking to domkirke

Looking to domkirke


Full moon over Aarhus - early morning

Full moon over Aarhus - early morning


Rubbish collection ..  the underground bin is picked up, opened from the bottom and emptied into the truck.

Rubbish collection .. the underground bin is picked up, opened from the bottom and emptied into the truck.


Bicycles are a favourite mode of transport

Bicycles are a favourite mode of transport


Entrance Hotel Royal - also Aarhus's Casino

Entrance Hotel Royal - also Aarhus's Casino


The ducks found refuge on some debris in the canal

The ducks found refuge on some debris in the canal


Råbar - great raw, vegan restaurant by the canal

Råbar - great raw, vegan restaurant by the canal


My first snow ...   well, probably more correct to call it sleet.  It was fun to watch the flurries fall, but it only lasted a few minutes so I only had time to take this one pic.

My first snow ... well, probably more correct to call it sleet. It was fun to watch the flurries fall, but it only lasted a few minutes so I only had time to take this one pic.


Olivia's toys frozen in her bike carrier

Olivia's toys frozen in her bike carrier

Some of the local sculptures and street art that caught my eye ...

Sculpture carved from old tree - by the canal

Sculpture carved from old tree - by the canal

Sculpture carved from old tree - by the canal

Sculpture carved from old tree - by the canal

An exhibition of broken pianos.  Couldn't work out what it was for, but people were having a play as a couple of the pianos still worked ok.

An exhibition of broken pianos. Couldn't work out what it was for, but people were having a play as a couple of the pianos still worked ok.

Street art (this one is on the side of our apartment building)

Street art (this one is on the side of our apartment building)

Street art

Street art

Street art

Street art

This is my favourite

This is my favourite

Local sculpture

Local sculpture


Sculpture - entrance Hotel Royal.   Hmm .. I don't get it!!!

Sculpture - entrance Hotel Royal. Hmm .. I don't get it!!!



'Madam'  - while this is the title, the sculpture also has confusing male characteristics.  Very interesting.

'Madam' - while this is the title, the sculpture also has confusing male characteristics. Very interesting.


An excellent metalwork sculpture.  It has many different elements and perspectives.  Even the frame around the door is exceptional.

An excellent metalwork sculpture. It has many different elements and perspectives. Even the frame around the door is exceptional.

Fun with the kids


Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves


A lovely day in Mariager

A lovely day in Mariager


Playing 'peek-a-boo' with Grandma

Playing 'peek-a-boo' with Grandma


The cobbled streets of Mariager.  We had a lovely lunch in the traditional style cafe (building with the flags).

The cobbled streets of Mariager. We had a lovely lunch in the traditional style cafe (building with the flags).


Sharing a joke

Sharing a joke

Preparing apple tart together

Preparing apple tart together

Play doh's a winner

Play doh's a winner

Checking out the sights on Saturday morning

Checking out the sights on Saturday morning

Coffee and cake on Saturday morning walk around town

Coffee and cake on Saturday morning walk around town

Sharing 'early' Christmas glogg, a hot, mulled wine.  Delicious.

Sharing 'early' Christmas glogg, a hot, mulled wine. Delicious.

Olivia at play

Olivia at play

To finish the party here's Chas's party trick ...

Posted by patsaunder 23:20 Archived in Denmark Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises art buildings places historical denmark family_travel Comments (0)

The Frigate Jylland, Ebeltoft

.. the world's longest wooden ship

overcast 10 °C
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On a cold, wet and very windy day Chas and I took a trip to Ebeltoft, a little town north of Aarhus in an area called Djursland, known as the nose of Denmark. This is a lovely part of Denmark with the Mols Bjerge national park close by.

One of the main attractions in Ebeltoft is The Frigate Jylland, a restored Danish Naval ship from the 1800s, and the world's longest wooden ship. Built in Copenhagen, she sailed as a warship from 1862-1874, becoming a national symbol when she won the battle of Heliogland in 1864, even after a direct hit from one of the Austrian-Prussian fleet. After service as a Royal Yacht, a training ship, and cruising the seas, she was decommissioned in 1907. She came to Ebeltoft in 1960 as a wreck. With much enthusiasm from many, and at considerable cost, extensive restoration has resulted in a unique and impressive ship which they hope to preserve into the future.

The majestic Frigate Jylland - the world's longest wooden ship

The majestic Frigate Jylland - the world's longest wooden ship


Top Deck with its amazing rigging and three masts.   The ship was also powered by a steam engine ..  the funnel was lowered into the ship, and the propeller pulled up, when the sails were set for long voyages on the ocean.

Top Deck with its amazing rigging and three masts. The ship was also powered by a steam engine .. the funnel was lowered into the ship, and the propeller pulled up, when the sails were set for long voyages on the ocean.


Commander's Day Room where he would receive distinguished guests at foreign ports

Commander's Day Room where he would receive distinguished guests at foreign ports


Commander's cabin

Commander's cabin


The Battery Deck with its 30 cannons (equivalent weight of 17 elephants).   Each cannon has a crew of nine men.

The Battery Deck with its 30 cannons (equivalent weight of 17 elephants). Each cannon has a crew of nine men.


The crew worked in teams of eight who ate, slept and worked together.

The crew worked in teams of eight who ate, slept and worked together.


The Orlop Deck - where most of the crew ate and slept.  Up to 350 people would be fed at once.

The Orlop Deck - where most of the crew ate and slept. Up to 350 people would be fed at once.


The ships hold - a reinforced structure was provided by the amazing cross pattern in the wooden frame, which was necessary for a ship this size.

The ships hold - a reinforced structure was provided by the amazing cross pattern in the wooden frame, which was necessary for a ship this size.


The Figurehead -'Ran', the goddess of the sea and wife of the sea god Aegir in Nordic mythology.  Ran would catch dead sailors in her net which is wrapped around her body.  This provided a sense of safety for the crew as only a few of them could swim.

The Figurehead -'Ran', the goddess of the sea and wife of the sea god Aegir in Nordic mythology. Ran would catch dead sailors in her net which is wrapped around her body. This provided a sense of safety for the crew as only a few of them could swim.

It is an excellent exhibition. The conditions for the crew on board were difficult - cold, cramped, smelly and at times dangerous . These aspects were very well depicted by the various models set up on the ship.

For example, any necessary surgery was conducted in the officers' room as this was the only room with an overhead light ... remember this was before medical breakthroughs such as the understanding of the importance of washing hands, and also before anesthetic or antibiotics. The only 'support' the patient was given was alcohol. During the battle of Heligoland 31 Danish soldiers had legs or arms amputated .... only 9 survived.

This exhibit is complete with sound effects of the doctor talking and coughing, implements clanging together, and the patient groaning. Sorry ... I just missed recording the part where the patient screams!!! Excellent.


(Best watched in full-screen on youtube.!!)



As well as the ship itself, an excellent museum has been established with exhibitions on the battle of Heliogland, a personal story on one of the sailors, the restoration of the ship, and Danish maritime history. One exhibit takes you on the (simulated) deck of the Jylland during the battle of Heligoland. With the mast broken above you, the deck moves with the waves while a video of the battle is projected on to the wall. Very well done.

An amazing replica depicting each of the decks on the ship

An amazing replica depicting each of the decks on the ship


The detail of one of the several models displayed in the museum

The detail of one of the several models displayed in the museum



As we left we stopped to speak with the two staff members to share our observations on the excellent museum, the ship and its history, and the hardships endured by the men during the long voyages. I also signed the petition requesting government funding to help conserve the ship. One of the ladies had been to Auz and was proud to tell us that they drove from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, and had stopped at the Sunshine Coast. As we were about to exit the museum they called us back and presented us with a gift .. a DVD on the history of the frigate. It was a lovely gesture which we much appreciated. So, if you would like more info on the Frigate Jylland, just ask and we can show you the DVD.

Chas contemplating what a great day we'd had .. in the comfort of the warm cafe of course!!

Chas contemplating what a great day we'd had .. in the comfort of the warm cafe of course!!

Posted by patsaunder 12:23 Archived in Denmark Tagged me boats places historical denmark Comments (0)

A walk in the forest

semi-overcast 15 °C
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There are a number of forests very close to Aarhus city which are very popular with the locals for walking, running and just enjoying nature.

They have their own special magic in autumn when the trees begin to lose their leaves. Chas and I decided to go for our last walk in one of our favourite areas, Moesgård Forest which is part of the Moesgård Museum grounds.

It is a lovely, peaceful area and a joy to visit. It had rained the day before we visited and the ground was very damp and mushy, and it was also quite cold. The trees had lost most of their leaves which made a beautiful carpet on the ground. In summer the trees are so thick with leaves can you cannot see through them, but in a couple of weeks they will be completely bare for the winter. Unfortunately the leaves were too wet for Chas and I to have fun throwing them on each other. Moesgård is primarily a beech forest, but we also saw birch, ash, sycamore, and oak trees.

The trees will soon lose all their leaves

The trees will soon lose all their leaves

Autumn leaves create a beautiful carpet beneath the trees

Autumn leaves create a beautiful carpet beneath the trees

Chas enjoying the peace

Chas enjoying the peace

Beside the Giber River

Beside the Giber River

A beautiful Sycamore leaf

A beautiful Sycamore leaf

The museum staff have developed a walking trail with signs along the way explaining the history of several reconstructed ancient buildings/monuments, which adds interest. This pic also shows the beautiful autumn colours.
Reconstruction of a prehistoric temple, one of the many ancient buildings/monuments in the Moesgård Museum grounds.

Reconstruction of a prehistoric temple, one of the many ancient buildings/monuments in the Moesgård Museum grounds.

The museum grounds cover approx 100 acres which stretch from the museum buildings right to the beach which is very popular with the locals in summer months. The pic of the beach shows how cold and grey the day was. At the mouth of the river is a lovely old house which was built in 1856 for the fisherman, his wife and 8 children. They supplied the locals with trout, eels, lobster and other fish which they caught in the river and on the beach.

Looking up Moesgård Beach towards Aarhus

Looking up Moesgård Beach towards Aarhus

The Fisherman's House, Moesgård Beach

The Fisherman's House, Moesgård Beach

The Giber River where it meets the sea

The Giber River where it meets the sea

.... and the fisherman's house also.

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The wind catcher was swinging strongly from the brisk wind, as you can see in the pic.
Interesting wind catcher made from plastic bottles

Interesting wind catcher made from plastic bottles

Also in the grounds is Skovmøllen Restaurant, one of our favourite restaurants where we had our last lunch. I really love this area of Aarhus so .... - 'goodbye' until next time!!

Delicious lunch

Delicious lunch

Lunch at our favourite table, Skovmølle Restaurant

Lunch at our favourite table, Skovmølle Restaurant

Avenue of trees that have already lost their leaves, Moesgård Alle

Avenue of trees that have already lost their leaves, Moesgård Alle

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Posted by patsaunder 05:57 Archived in Denmark Tagged me landscapes beaches buildings trees places historical Comments (0)

Den Gamle By

.... the old town

overcast 15 °C
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Chas and I enjoyed Den Gamle By so much when we first visited five years ago, we decided to go again to see what had changed.

Aarhus's Den Gamle By (the old town), established in 1909, is the world's first open-air museum of urban history and culture. It comprises 75 historical houses which have been brought from various locations all over Denmark, and reconstructed on the Den Gamle By site. The oldest section contains buildings dating from 1550 to 1900 and recreates a Danish town as it looked in Hans Christian Andersen's time.

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Village street

Village street

The town square

The town square

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Horse and carriage transportation

Horse and carriage transportation

Young children

Young children

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Locals going about their chores

Locals going about their chores

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Several of the houses are especially interesting. For example, the Mintmaster's Mansion .. originally constructed in 1683 in what is now central Copenhagen, it is the only surviving building from the area. Its interior and exterior have been restored to how they would have been around the mid-1700s. Beside it is an excellent example of a wealthy family home, The Mayor's House, with furnishings from 1600-1850.

The grand Mintmaster's Mansion

The grand Mintmaster's Mansion

An interesting water spout on the Mint Master's House

An interesting water spout on the Mint Master's House

Looking out on the garden, the Mayor's House

Looking out on the garden, the Mayor's House

The Avian ceiling room, the Mayor's House

The Avian ceiling room, the Mayor's House

The ceiling decorated as a sky, completed with birds and clouds

The ceiling decorated as a sky, completed with birds and clouds

Wall decorations, the Mayor's House

Wall decorations, the Mayor's House


There is also a half-timbered house from Zealand (1700) which is the only surviving building of its kind. The house was reconstructed in Den Gamle By in 1930 and now the home of the hatter.
Half-timbered house, circa 1700.  The only surviving building of its kind.

Half-timbered house, circa 1700. The only surviving building of its kind.

Back of the house.

Back of the house.


The Hatter's home.

The Hatter's home.

Also another from Aalborg (north of Aarhus), (1571) with patterned brickwork and elaborate carvings. Reconstructed in Den Gamle by in 1942, it now the home of the chemist.
Corner house, Aalborg, 1571

Corner house, Aalborg, 1571

As well as the 1800s era, there is also a section from the 1920s which continues to be updated with new buildings, shops and homes. A entire neighbourhood block from 1974 is also under way where you can stroll down the shopping street and visit the radio sales, embroidery and camera stores of 1974.

As you can see it was a wet and overcast day, but it was still very relaxing just wandering the cobbled streets, down the alleys, into the homes, shops and gardens, and watching the 'locals' going about their chores. Many of the stores have items for sales, e.g. traditional household items, books from the bookshop, or tasty pastries from the baker made from recipes from before 1900. A fun day.

The Danes do 'living museums' exceptionally well.

Posted by patsaunder 10:46 Archived in Denmark Tagged places historical Comments (0)

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