May 23: Following a relaxing start in Sydney, I pushed north on the early morning train from Hornsby to Casino–en route to Byron Bay. As the temperature rose outside with our progression towards the equator, the landscape became more amenable to my cause.
Cairrage D didn’t offer much for conversation. A chatty lady in a pink sweater sat glued to her mobile phone wherever she could find reception. A young couple tended to their squirmy young offspring in the seat in front of me. A symphony of kiddy babble accompanied the ride north.
The thick deciduous cover of greater Sydney slowly tansitioned to beautiful rolling countryside. People filed on and off the train all day, mostly of the local variety hitching rides between adjacent towns. About 9 hours in, the crowd shifted to more of a traveler’s mix. Cattle ranches and banana trees lined the rail line as the foliage turned a darker hue of green. I was even surprised to see the occasional conifer in the mix.
Darkness settled in, and a domestic dispute erupted in the seat behind me. A young couple fell victim to the long day of 40mph train travel. Things settled after the umcomfortable spat, and we arrived in Casino where we were herded onto a bus. 11 total hours by train and about an hour by bus and I was at Byron Bay.
A night at the Art’s Factory Lodge in Byron proved eventful. Their massive compound was bustling with live music, travelers and wildlife. I chatted with a friendly trio of Canadians who had just moved to Melbourne and were exploring up north. They, as have most folks I’ve met, warned of crocodiles, snakes and spiders along my intended route.
I awoke from my tent to a kangaroo bouncing through the adjacent scrub, scattering birds as if in a John Woo production.
A local bus north to Brisbane, and I’ll be back on the bike. It has been just over 2 months since I shipped the Green Hornet to Australia, and I’m looking forward to getting this ride officially underway.