Having finally hung up the chalk after a very long teaching career, my new career is: travelling, blogging and writing from the beautiful northern end of the NSW coast.
You can read about my progress at www.maureendurney.com
Life is Good!
Published August 9th 2016
Are You Ready?
The first signs have appeared; buds forming in the trees, the weather finally starting to warm up, but how ready are you for shedding the winter coat and stepping out into the warmth of the spring sun? And have you made your list of places to visit in spring?
Spring isn't just a one-day event. Fortunately for us, spring rewards us for making it through a bleak winter by putting on a fabulous display, and giving us a whole three months to enjoy it.
The beginning of September to the end of November in the Southern Hemisphere is a time for rebirth, regrowth, and all things waking from their winter slumber. This not only applies to the splendours of nature, but to humans as well. Like a bear, I tend to hibernate in winter, not venturing too far from my cave. But with the first sign of warmer weather I not only venture out, but am amazed that the world is still out there, just waiting to be enjoyed again.
Mt Warning frames Murwillumbah, making it the perfect spring picture
Spring signifies a time to embark on a new journey through the warmer months. A time to be busy and do all the outdoor things that we've avoided over the colder months. A time to enjoy a new energy and shake off the sluggishness of cold days and nights, and a time to enjoy the perfect weather before the unbearable heat of the Australian summer forces us back indoors to congregate around the air-conditioner.
Speaking of air-conditioning, don't forget to clean the filters
So, what can you do in springtime in Murwillumbah? Follow me as we journey through the little village that time has left behind. A place where modern, fast-food, and big commercial enterprises are out of place, and quaint little businesses that would look more at home in a sleepy village of fifty years ago than here in 2016, are the essence of the town.
But, just before we head off, let's make sure we're really ready. Here's a checklist that might help.
1. Drag out the summer clothes and start packing away the heavier winter woolies.
2. Find the fake-tan; you can work on the real thing when the weather is a lot warmer - but for now resorting to fake tanned skin is okay.
3. Drag the lawnmower out of the shed and make sure it's ready for the extra workload of the warmer weather.
4. Clean the filters on the air-conditioner before the summer heat arrives.
5. Check the car is up-to-date with servicing - you might be clocking up a few extra miles getting out and about in the perfect spring weather.
6. Restart that fitness program you put on the back-burner over the colder months.
7. Make sure your camera is fully charged - you're going to need it to capture the magic of springtime in Murwillumbah.
Ticked off everything on the list? Then let's go.
As you drive into Murwillumbah you'll be inspired by the beauty of the majestic Tweed River as you follow it southward. No matter what time of day you arrive, the river will put on a display that will take your breath away. What better way to enjoy the beauty than to stop, shake out a picnic blanket and enjoy lunch, or morning or afternoon tea. Or settle back on a picnic table and throw a snag or two on one of the many BBQ's available along the way. Either way, you'll have all you need to savour the spectacle of the mighty Tweed River. A houseboat or fishing boat might pass by, but the backdrop of the spectacular mountain range, including the magnificent Mount Warning, will always be there.
Use the BBQ or picnic tables or dine on the verandah of the Riverview Hotel
Warning! If you decide to stop on the roadside on your way into town to capture some of the magic on camera, don't stand on an ant's nest. I'm speaking from experience here - it's just I didn't realise until I was back in the car and driving down the road. Those ants bite!
When you've finished lunch, take a drive into Murwillumbah for a coffee at one of the great little cafe's in town. With spring in the air, and the sun getting so much warmer, you could take advantage of the outdoor seating at any of the alfresco dining options along Wharf Street. Cenzo is a popular spot, where you can sip your coffee from a table on the pavement while getting your fix of 'people watching' for the day.
If you want a taste of an old Diner experience, you can't go past the Austral Cafe. If you decide to dine inside you'll find vinyl bench seats reminiscent of the sixties where you'll be magically taken back to a scene from Happy Days or American Graffiti; the only thing missing will be Richie Cunningham or The Fonz, for those of us old enough to remember these iconic salutes to the late fifties and early sixties. There are tables outside where you'll meet the locals who prefer the sunny side while enjoying a coffee. In true diner style, the milkshakes here certainly won't disappoint - the hardest part will be choosing from the long list of fantastic flavours. Austral is open 7 days a week, with shorter hours on the weekend.
Eat in or out and enjoy the flashback to the sixties
Make time to stroll along the streets of Murwillumbah and be reminded of how life used to be - nice and easy; you won't find the hustle and bustle here. Check out the bargains to be found in New Releases Antique Store, a treasure trove of all things old but at very affordable prices. Avail yourself of some new 'old' pieces and use the great spring weather to either restore them or give them a new lease of life with some very easy-to-use Chalk Paint. The store is open Mon-Sat but with limited times.
If you didn't stop at Tumbulgum on your way into Murwillumbah, make sure you do it on the way out. Just a short drive off the Tweed Valley Way, with Wow! factor guaranteed. Since it's probably going to be late afternoon by now, why not have dinner at the Tumblegum Tavern? What better way to end a perfect day, and the view just doesn't get any better than this.
Warning! Tumblegum is pronounced 'Tum-BUL-gum' not 'Tumble-gum'; just saying, so you don't upset the locals.