Here are some places I have experienced while traveling up the coast:
Nimbin: This small town near Byron Bay bursts at the seems with hippies, organics, and magic desserts. Men without shirts strum their guitars in the sweltering heat, outside the “Hemp Bar” where cigarette smoke is not the only thing polluting the air. The macadamia nut is a popular crop here and I learned it was actually Australia who introduced this product to Hawaii. While feasting on macadamia nut ice cream, I strolled through art galleries and bought hemp and string to make some beach jewelry from shells and rocks I found in Byron Bay.
Above: The town of Nimbin
Mt. Warning: This place makes you face every fear you have in just 1 dark hike. Since people wake up at 3 am to reach the peak by sunrise, flashlights and head lamps are used to light the way. However, in the dark, misty rain forest, a small light only reaches 2 feet in front of you. With snakes slithering around us, mud pits appearing, and strange noises made by who-knows-what, the heart starts ticking like a metronome set for allegro. When all lights were turned off to see the glow worms clinging to the rocks, it seemed to get a bit louder, urging us to click on the lights once again!
Above: First signs of daylight from the top of creepy Mt. Warning
Brisbane: Here we are staying with our friend Sarah Holtom’s family. They are sweet, sweet, sweet, treating us like family and feeding us as if we have a 1000 mile adventure hike in front of us! (Which in essence I guess they are just prepping us for the treks to come in the next 11 months.) They are a laugh a minute and we can’t wait to return the hospitality when they come to San Francisco next time to see Sarah! The city of Brisbane, along the river, is clean and well- maintained, with pools and bbq’s open for all to use. This city is the 3rd largest in Australia and makes me think San Francisco needs to get its act together with their homeless issues and nasty Market Street sections. If they have any questions, maybe they should direct them to the mayor of Brisbane.