Mutton Birds and Coffs Crabs

Monday 19th March

As the weather still wasn’t picture perfect, we decided against the surf lessons we keep threatening to have and chose to stay closer to home and try out some of the walking routes around Coffs.

First stop was Mutton Bird Island just off from the marina, and joined to the land by a man made breakwater. The waves were fairly enthusiastic, so we dodged the waves breaking over the footpath and climbed the steep path to the top of the island.

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It’s home to the Mutton Bird who makes it’s nests in the slopes of the island, and several nests were home to large, slightly grumpy chicks – who were at the end of their nursing period and starting to look more like grown birds. A couple of rangers were tagging and counting the birds which looked like grubby, smelly work, teasing the babes out of their nests, weighing and tagging them.

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It’s a nice walk, and we were really lucky on the return leg to see a pod of dolphins just off the shore playing and feeding, with definitely a couple of youngsters in amongst the pod.

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Next stop was the Coffs Creek boardwalk around the mangrove swamps that line the river. It was a real surprise, a completely stunning walking track with raised boarded walk ways through the swamps where we saw birds, lizards and lots of crabs, who like to run for their holes in the mud when we came close but who snuck back out again if you sat really still.

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We took a break and some healthy fruit smoothies in Mangrove Jacks, sitting next to a very swollen river, before wandering back through the rain forest to the house. If you’re stuck in that neck of the woods and it’s pissing it down – definitely a recommendation.

The next day we hit the road again to our next stop at Byron Bay. We’d booked a slightly off piste option between Byron Bay and a town called Bangalow in a really unusual accommodation called Tri Byron Bay built into the hillside on silts with fantastic views over the countryside. The owner, originally from Guildford, had moved out to Byron years ago and had spent the last 15 years building her house and chalet business on a patch of land she had found with a run down cottage on it. It’s really stunning, with great balconies that are perfect for watching the wildlife and the storms

We took a trip into Byron that afternoon / evening to see if Wayne remembered anything from his visit to the area 22 years ago – no… and grabbed a couple of great dishes in the Asia Joes restaurant to try and up our veg quota for the week. We had booked a lesson paddleboarding the next day so had a glass or 2 of our Hunter Valley wine before hitting our lovely huge white sheeted bed.

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