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Pottsville


“Can you ride from Tweed Heads to Byron Bay on the beach?”

Darb and I talked about this one day and decided it was a bit far to do it in one day.  But if we stayed at Pottsville overnight it would be possible to do it over two days.

So we did…

Day One

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Pottsville is a small coastal town in northern NSW on the banks of Mooball Creek.

We stayed the night at a local caravan park, then got up early the next day for a leisurely ride to Byron Bay.

The low tide was due at about 10:30am.  We figured if we rolled onto the beach around 7:30am we’d be able to ride on it for most of the day.

There’s something exciting about that first squeak of sand as your tyres meet the beach first thing in the morning.

The sun had recently risen, the air was still cool, and the receding tide had left us a nice wide firm causeway on which to ride.

 

We rolled southwards for a few kilometres, past “Black Rock” and a bouncy Black Dog who seemed excited to see us.

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

Jason was keen to check out a cafe his friends had told him about.

I tried to forget deadlines, and beating the tide, and enjoyed the coffee.

Half an hour later we rejoined the beach and continued our southward ride.

The Brunswick River halted our progress.

We rode out along the rock wall to enjoy the view…

(Photo: Calum Campbell)

…and take pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a bit of a detour to get over the river.

We retraced our steps, found the bridge, and continued into Brunswick Heads.

Brunswick Heads is another pleasant town.  We decided if we timed it right we might pop in here for lunch on the way back.

Back on the beach we pointed the bikes into the fresh southerly breeze and pedaled on.

Jason tucked his head down and disappeared towards the horizon.

This whole stretch of coastline has a “party time” feel to it.  Everyone was out enjoying themselves.  On horseback…

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

… on the waves…

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

…even in the air.

 

This Border Collie seemed to enjoy the party too.

 

(Photo: Adam Lynch)

At Byron Bay the drums were beating.  People stood around bobbing to the beat and soaking up the warm sun.

We slowly weaved in and out of people on the beach and made our way towards the headland.

Cape Byron is the eastern-most point on the Australian mainland.

As we reached the cape, the shadows of Mount Warning silhouetted the western horizon.

This is a picturesque place.

We turned around at Cape Byron and headed back up the beach past a surfing class…

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

…and more happy surfers.

We’d been riding for about three hours so far and were starting to feel hungry.  Would we reach Brunswick Heads on time?

Yes we did ๐Ÿ™‚

Back on the northern side of the river, we were curious about whether or not we could find some coastal tracks around the headland.

The tracks ended up being a dead-end.  We eventually had to turn around.  But it was still nice to ride some gravel roads beside the water.

The coffee break earlier in the day and the leisurely lunch had shifted our schedule.  The tide was now starting to come back in.

The sand was softer and harder to ride on.

We worked hard as our tyres sunk in the sand.

We eventually decided to leave the beach in search of some firmer tracks behind the dunes.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Ahh perfect!

We followed some single tracks northwards for several kilometres.

If you can’t ride on the beach, single tracks are the next best thing – especially on a fat bike.

We rolled back into Pottsville after riding just over eighty kilometres in eight hours.

This was a big ride.  Sand is much tougher than gravel, especially when you have a headwind.

I’ll rate this ride 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Day Two

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The next day we packed our bags, left the car at the caravan park, and rolled back on the beach for the northern segment of our ride.

Today we’d keep riding north until we hit the Queensland / NSW border at Tweed Heads.

Miles and miles of remote beaches….  If you need space to get away from it all, Northern NSW is the perfect spot.

The headland of Hastings Point blocked the beach north of Pottsville…

We couldn’t go around it, so we went over it.

Adam dropped the bike down into a low gear, gritted his teeth, and powered up the hill.

We enjoyed the great view from the top of the headland.

Adam gave us some more lessons about how to ride up steep hills.

We rolled down the other side of the headland and onto a rocky beach where we had to dodge rocks for a while.

There are a few headlands on this stretch of coastline.

The next one was Norries Head at Cabarita…

It’s about three times the height of Hastings Point.

Darb pushed his bike up the hill.  I followed…

A solitary woman sat on a cliff watching the waves…

She exuded peacefulness.

I felt calmer after watching her watch the waves.

 

If you need a break from the stress of everyday living, and don’t have a couple of weeks for an extended vacation, why not just stand on a clifftop and watch the waves roll in?

 

We rolled down the other side of Norries Head, through a grove of Pandanus and back onto the beach.

On our right, the dark blue water of the Pacific Ocean sparkled in the mid-morning sun.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

This time Cudgen Creek blocked our way.

We stood on the end of the rock wall and watched a fearless sailor manoeuvre his “tinnie” through the shallows of the bar.

It took him a while, but after his determination won out over the elements, he clambered back aboard, and sailed his little craft up the river.

We took the easier option, and followed a bridge and a board walk around Cudgen Creek.

One final headland, Fingal Head, stood between us and our turnaround point.

We scrambled up the stairs to the lighthouse…

…and soaked up more impressive views from the top.

 

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

I was pleased with the way my big soft tyres gripped the large boulders on the other side.

It wouldn’t be much fun to ride over these on a normal mountain bike, but the fat bike handled them perfectly.

In the distance, a sand out-fall jutted into the water.  We were nearing the Tweed River.

Governments spend large amounts of money to build these pumps, and associated rock walls to make sure the beaches don’t get washed away over time.

We made it…

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

From the end of the rock wall we looked north over the Tweed River towards Coolangatta where we had ridden a few months ago.

Now, apart from large waterways like this one, our tyre tracks covered almost all of the coastline from Fraser Island south to Byron Bay, a distance of almost 400 kilometres.

That’s a lot of fat bike riding ๐Ÿ™‚

We followed a gravel road south, back towards Pottsville.

The tide was rising, and our legs felt tired, so we stuck to bike paths for most of the way.

The Tweed Coast has some impressive bike infrastructure which runs all the way from Kingscliff past Pottsville.

Fat Bikes aren’t designed for bike paths, but we enjoyed the cruisy ride back home.

This second day ride covered almost sixty kilometres in about five hours.  It was an easy ride with plenty of places to stop along the way.

I’ll rate it 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.


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Thanks Darb, Adam, Calum and Jason for a fun weekend riding some beautiful beaches!


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