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Stopping off along the way.
Stopping off along the way.
Lunch at the Moo Moo Cafe.
Last stop, Coolangatta.

NSW Best Western Drive

Thursday, August 23, 2001
Head north from Byron Bay for a drive that offers scenic stops, cafes, shops, beaches galore and accommodation to die for.

Byron Bay is world famous and attracts backpackers and billionaires. Its wonderful beaches, beautiful climate and easygoing residents break down all barriers. Australia's most easterly point is a meeting place of alternative cultures, and thanks to the surf at Cape Byron, attracts surfers from around the world.

Bangalow is the only intact Federation village on the east coast, and its rolling green hills made it a very important dairy town in the 19th century.

Barebones Artspace is run by former South Australian Ruth Ryan and her daughter. The bungalow gallery shows works of about a dozen artists from the local area, South Australia and Tasmania. There are paintings, sculptures, carved marble and bronze castings all being guarded by a life-size goanna made from motorcycle bits and pieces.

Crystal Castle in Mullumbimby is worth a visit. It is on 25 hectares of well cared for gardens and they have massage, crystal healing, reiki, reflexology and use Australian bush-flower essences. The designer of Crystal Castle was cosmically minded and so the rooms "revolve" around the sun. Parts of the castle and dam were positioned to represent the planets. There are also 288 metres of labyrinth based on the ancient maze of Chartres Cathedral in France.

Mooball is the next town. This pretty, rural village has a population of 100, taking up about 600m of the highway with a cafe, service station, hotel, general store, bank and around 15 houses.

Moo Moo Cafe was once an old service station and the current owners decided that a cow theme suited the town name — though really it is Aboriginal for "wetland". The building is painted with cow spots, as are the electricity poles, planter boxes, 44-gallon drums, wheelie bins and a 1950 Land Rover sitting out the front. It continues inside. You can buy cow memorabilia such as cups and saucers, wind chimes, tablecloths, hats and T-shirts. They make Moo-chino coffee and if anyone can eat two moo burgers in one sitting, the second one is free.

Murwillumbah is the gateway to five world-heritage-listed national parks and is a centre for dairying, sugar cane and banana growing. In 1929, the town was pretty much destroyed by fire and was rebuilt in the beautiful Art Deco style. Mt Warning is a focal point of Murwillumbah and the ancient volcano is responsible for the fertility of the area.

As you cross the border, Rainbow Bay is the first place you come to. The surf lifesaving club there faces north and is a pretty place to stop for a refreshment. Coolangatta is quickly becoming the spot for families. It is laid back and offers a relaxing beach holiday.

Location

From Byron Bay in northern NSW to Coolangatta in Queensland.

Cost

For updated costing information, please contact the individual vendor.

More information

Barebones Artspace: Ph (02) 6687 1393.
Crystal Castle: Ph/fax (02) 6684 1196.
Website: www.crystalcastle.net.
Moo Moo Cafe: Ph (02) 6677 1230.
Best Western: Ph 131 779.

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