Casuarina, Australia: My New Home
My home, the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales downtown Australia is a lush wonderland of subtropical elements mixed in with the faint or odd eucalyptus tree that Australia is known for. If you look closely you may spot one. A mixture of hinterland, green and gold rolling hills, sweeping rivers, farmland, country towns, village-style hippy areas and surfie beaches along the coastline with the famous pandanus trees swaying in the breeze. Let’s not forget the magic of the mountainous regions that cover the area.
When I first arrived here fifteen months ago I was taken over by the beautiful navy-blue mountains and cane fields that hug the area particularly as you drive through the town of Murwillumbah; a large caldera region with a sacred spiritual feeling about it. Many creatives gravitate here; yogis, writers, artists, healers, wellness and alternative lifestyle folks. But it’s a mix of old and new, farmers and locals who have resided in the area for years and know the history of the region. Everywhere you look is like a scenic country postcard with all the subtropical trimmings of palm trees, exotic flowers, plants and vibrant wildlife. Farmers and craft markets are all the rage and a wonderful meeting spot where friends and family gather and are plentiful in the region with a high dose of community spirit.
One thing to be aware of here, the green fertile landscape is kept this way from the bucketing rains that sweep the area which was a new experience for me. High and dry is best here, and as it’s a known flood zone, it’s a standard occurrence that at least once you will be bunkered in for a few days waiting for the roads to clear from the rainfall and flash flooding. It’s a sight to see. But no worry, you sit in and enjoy the thundering ruckus on the rooftops a chance to catch up on your favourite dvds or tv shows. Or just lie listening to Mother Nature doing its work. A bit of chuckle happens as the signs go up to warn locals `please don’t cross if water is on the road’ as there is always a rogue Indiana Jones to try his luck and get across to no avail, you often see a car or two parked on the side of the road that didn’t quite make it once the heavy rain subsides. The little engine that couldn’t.
The skylines here are epic with either candy pink skies with splatterings of blue in the summer or majestic stormy run for cover type clouds depending on the season. Both are equally beautiful. I live on the coastal outskirts of the region close to the water in a place called Casuarina tucked in between Kingscliff and Cabarita both thriving seaside communities with different vibes and plenty of surf. And of course, the local fish and chips are the popular favourite. Many arrive here in peak season to the family friendly caravan parks to enjoy the rivers and estuaries that lead to the sea. The area is expanding with many families shifting here opting for a sea-change and more relaxed atmosphere from the hectic stresses of city life. And now it is whale season and on my morning beach walks you can often spot these magnificent creatures breaching out of the water and having fun in their playground.
Pleasantly surprising is if you venture slightly off the main roads you can find many a windy backroad of valleys and hills and open country littered with many incredible views especially with the morning fog hanging low over the mountains. Careful though, you have to be sure to pull off to the side to really enjoy and breathe it in otherwise you could get sidetracked by the low rumble of farm utes and locals flying around the well worn gravel and dirt road corners because they know every hook and crook bend in the road. Country roads and drivers take a while to get used to in these parts as the speed limits seem to be just a useful guide. Or maybe I’m a slow nanna driver that wants to hug the corners and soak up the country outlook. Nonetheless it’s a far cry from the straight freeways and multiple lane occupancies of busy cities which I’m used to.
The Northern rivers a wonderful place for the answers you seek, a diverse population full of vibrant life and energy. A hub for creatives, a place of solitude or easy going companionship and magic natural surrounds. Ode to the tropics my new home.