Over the Christmas period, my husband and children were on holidays. As I’m self-employed, I still had work to do, although my workload was quite a bit lighter than usual.
Our teenage kids spent a lot of time going to the beach and the rest of their time on mobile devices! Hubby and I were rather tired of the small screen stare, so we took them out for a Sunday drive in the country, where there is no wifi – O.M.G.! We’re mean like that. We thought a bit of fresh air and nature would do them good. Also, one of my goals for this year is to explore more of my local area, so this outing was a double pleasure.
We headed down to the village of Uki (pronounced Yoo-ky), about 40 minutes south west of where we live in Northern New South Wales, on the border with Queensland. As it was just after noon when we arrived in the village, we decided to visit the local pub for lunch. The Mount Warning Hotel re-opened in August 2015, having been completely rebuilt after a fire burnt down the original historic two-storey timber hotel in 2013.
Located just 14 kilometres south of Murwillumbah, and set beneath the imposing Mount Warning, Uki village was established as a cedar getting district in the mid-1850’s. The village also became known for its dairy and beef cattle industries, with the local Butter Factory and Sawmill becoming the busy economic hear of the surrounding valley. By 1914, the village was thriving, until The First World War erupted, resulting in the loss of 28 local men, who are all listed on the Uki War Memorial. Today Uki is a heritage-listed village with an active historical society keen on preserving the heritage of Uki and the surrounding district.
Uki is well known for its Arts and Crafts community, plus there’s several local cafes, an antique shop, a couple of churches and a general store/supermarket.
The area is also renowned for its pristine natural beauty – many people visit to enjoy the environment and climb the nearby mountain (pictured above). Mount Warning is a distinct landmark in the region, and was named by Captain James Cook, who saw the mountain from the sea when he was exploring the east coast of the continent well over 200 years ago. The mountain was formed from a volcanic plug in the now-extinct Tweed volcano. Due to its proximity to Cape Byron, which is Australia’s most easterly point, Mount Warning is the first place on mainland Australia to see the sunrise each morning. Some people climb up in the dark to be at the summit to see that first burst of sunlight on the horizon.
While the track up and back measures around 8.8 kms, don’t be deceived by what seems a relatively short distance. The ascent is said to be equivalent to climbing a 30-storey building, requiring you to ascend more than 1000 steps. The walk is very steep and should only be attempted by walkers of average to above average fitness – especially as the final section is an almost vertical climb over rocks and you have to pull yourself up using chains. You’ve been “warned” – pardon the pun!
Anyway, back to our lunch. The kids enjoyed large hamburgers with fries, Hubby had frittita with salad and I had calamari with salad. The meals were good, but we were hungry when they arrived, so there aren’t any photos, sorry!
After lunch, we wandered up to the Antique shop, where we discussed our plans for the afternoon with the owners, as they are acquaintances of ours. They suggested we take a drive off-the-beaten-track, around the southern side of Mount Warning to the village of Tyalgum (pronounced Tal-gum). We didn’t even know the road existed! “It’s only about 30 kilometres,” they said.
With verbal directions in our heads, we set off south along Kyogle Road, turning right onto Byrrill Creek Road after about 7km. Crossing a small low bridge across the river, we headed into very pretty countryside. The road become narrower and narrower, which is to be expected in the country. Eventually, we came to a fork in the road … with no signs. Both roads looked to be the same width, and both were tarred, so we sat there for a minute, debating which way we should go. Of course, we couldn’t find the fork on the ancient map we’d brought along (just in case), and we had no phone reception. I suggested left, but Hubby thought right, and as he was driving, we took the road to the right.
Driving along the bank of Byrrill Creek, we enjoyed this beautiful crystal clear water and rocky landscape. We crossed the creek twice, passing two houses and then, about 5km up the road, we came to a large sign which stated “Private Property – No Entry!”. Guess the road to the left was the right one! We couldn’t turn around where we had stopped, so we had no option but to trespass onto the property and quickly turn around about 300 metres down the road. As we passed the houses on the way back, the people must have been thinking, “There goes another one!”
From back at the fork, we proceeded left and around the corner, the road turned to gravel – and became rather winding. It was well-maintained and fairly wide, but gravel just the same. We eventually passed a vehicle coming the other way, which was comforting, as we were wondering whether we were on the right road. Thanks to our wrong turn, the trip felt like way more than 30 kms and we started to think about turning back. At that moment, we stumbled across a side road called Jack Smith Road.
Hubby stopped so I could take a photo, as that was his Dad’s name! It was a good sign – literally, as just over the next hill, the road became bitumen again and we soon arrived in the small village of Tyalgum.
We parked the car and wandered into popular Flutterbies cafe for afternoon tea.
Flutterbies does a gorgeous Devonshire Tea with two scones, jam and fresh cream (although I opted for butter as I can’t eat cream).
The kids had home-made gelato and Hubby indulged in a freshly ground coffee and the Flutterbies cake, which was an individual sponge cake with strawberries and cream, something like the fairy cakes we used to enjoy as kids. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo of his cake before he scoffed it down!
The business extends to a gift shop next door, which we checked out before the imposing black clouds chased us back to the car and the heavens opened on our way home.
What’s your favourite way to spend a Sunday? When was the last time you took a Sunday drive?
Please leave your comments in the box below. Grazie! 🙂
Linking up with A Brit & A Southerner for #WeekendWanderlust
Also linking up with Deep Fried Fruit for the new Lovin’ Life Linky