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Coffs Harbour

This morning, I didn't think I was going to make it. It started off well enough. I had a whole day (16 hours) to get back to Sydney. When you do a lot of driving and you don't know the terrain it's very difficult to tell which route is going to be the best/quickest/most beautiful so you really take your chances.

But I checked the map before I left and decided to take a detour through the Dandenong mountain range. At its highest point of 633 metres, on Mount Dandenong itself, you can just about see Melbourne's city 35kms away to the South West.

This area is surrounded by eucalyptus forests so to get back onto the Hume highway towards Sydney, you can take a road to weave through these impressive trees. I found one by accident.

Eucalyptus forest

By the time I reached Sydney it was midnight and as I mostly seem to blindly follow the GPS I had no idea it was going to take me over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Since one of my top two favourite experiences on the road is driving over iconic bridges, this was one of those days where the drive takes your breath away.

After a day off, the next drive was to Coffs Harbour, and this is where things got tricky. The show was in the afternoon, which is rare for the house concert tour, and I hadn't realised that it was a seven-hour drive. I try not to drive for more than three hours on the day of a show, let alone have to start immediately on arrival after seven hours in the car, and in 104-degree heat! It's bad for the voice you know. But house concerts are very forgiving and your experiences become part of the personal stories told during the show. There's a fine line between crazy and funny.

Tonight's hosts were fantastic. Skye and her family had packed out their living room and since some of the proceeds were going to the Harrison & Justice Children's home in Kenya, this was great news.

Since it was an early show, there was time for a local tour after the concert by Skye and her Dad, Peter. We saw pier jumping next to Mutton bird Island, which they tried to ban with no luck; and Coffs Harbour's World War 2 bunker, that was guarded by the local scout group (lucky no one came, then). And after a drive along the beach as the sun was going down, returned to the same house for supper. Yes, I sang for it.

Coff's harbour

20 February 2011


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