It can’t be denied. As far as the weather goes, 2022 has been outrageously ordinary.
In a ‘normal’ year here in the Clarence Valley, autumn leading into winter is just gorgeous. More often than not, the ocean and the waterways sparkle in the sun like a million crushed diamonds under cloudless skies, the hinterland is lush and verdant.
It hasn’t really been the case this year. Not yet, at least. Here, as with the rest of the NSW North Coast and South East Queensland, showers and rain is the all-too-familiar forecast. Not to worry, the pendulum will swing back to blue skies and sunny days again, and we’ll appreciate it all the more.
In the meantime, though, we’re in luck, because when our famed “Great Outdoors” decides to be not-quite-so-great for a while, the Clarence Valley has a brilliant card up its sleeve:
“The Great Indoors!”
Yep! With no shortage of cafes, restaurants, bars, spas, cinemas, libraries, bookshops, antique stores and galleries, there are more than enough inside-outings to happily fill anyone’s dance card.
So much so, that the enterprising family – either local or visiting – may find themselves needing to disperse to cover the cavalcade of available options on any given day:
And so, while Dad and the youngsters catch the early showing of the latest superhero movie, (and no, 11.00 am is absolutely NOT too early for popcorn and/or choc-tops and/or jelly snakes), Mum and Aunty Jo are nurturing the mind (gallery visit), body (no, 11.00 am is absolutely NOT too early for scones, jam and cream) and soul (well-deserved several-hour spa treatment anyone?)
The Grandparents are flat out, exploring museums and bookshops, and seeking refreshments at the recently opened artisanal distillery (ahhh, perhaps 11.00 am IS too early for a gin & tonic, Darl…) And as for Uncle Les, well – it’s going to take more than a bit of weather to get between him and his fishing, so he’s down at the break wall, happily hoiking bream and flathead out of the Clarence in the rain.
And while everyone’s idea of indoor bliss has taken them to different destinations, they’re all sharing a common thought: in the back of their mind, they’re all psyching up for the late-afternoon rendezvous, whereupon the tenpin bowling family teams challenge will kick off, followed by dinner, where every family member will share their day’s adventures in the Clarence Valley’s Great Indoors.
All except for Uncle Les, that is. By the time the tenpin tournament is underway, he’s still out there on the breakwall. He’s packed his fishing rod away and is just sitting there, watching the world go by: the sea eagles soaring, the pelicans doing their low-level glide, the tide running. The rain’s stopped, the setting sun’s starting to find its way through the dispersing clouds, lighting up the river in a shimmer of gold. As happens so often in the Clarence Valley, even the greyest of days are magic, indoors or out.