The day before heading off on our road trip we headed into Sydney harbour for a sailing tutorial. This was a Christmas present from Mum and Dad and we were very excited. The sailing boat was in the America’s cup and was once used to race. There were 5 crew members but they encouraged the passengers to help. Every time the boat turned slightly it would go almost vertically on its side. We all had to ensure that as the boat tipped we were on the side of the boat which was most out of the water, avoiding being knocked out by the boom, the base of the sail, as it moved! Nathan had to help wind a mechanism which made the sails change direction. It was like the pedals of a bike. I was asked to steer the boat for a while which was really fun!
Once we headed back to shore we were ready for a good nights sleep.
After a hours journey through busy Sydney with a very chatty uber driver we arrived at Spaceships to pick up our car. Armed with the lonely planet, we hit the road as soon as possible, itching to start the road trip. I was in charge of directions, Nathan drove and Ari was in charge of refreshments! We drove through Hunters Valley, passed vineyard after vineyard which was really beautiful. We then headed to Nelsons Bay for our first night! Nathan had kindly volunteered to sleep in the tent and Moria and Kerri had lent us a thick yoga mat for him to sleep on. We put up the tent and added the little spaceship bubble on the back of the car to give us more space.
We then headed to Port Macquarie, a little further up the coast. Australia is so hot and as soon as we parked we wanted to swim in the sea. The beach was breathtaking, white sand, lots of sand dunes, a few miles long and a few camels (which were a bit random). We headed to the safe swimming area and spent a while jumping the big waves.
The next day we broke up the journey by stopping at Coffs Harbour for a cup of tea. Ari and I also couldn’t resist the massive scones which kept us full until dinner. We then headed to Woologa for some more beach action.
Our next location was the famous Byron Bay. Everyone is barefoot and rocking the hippie-chic look. We all decided to head to a pub in town with live music for a few beers, about 11 everyone seemed to be leaving the pub. Ari asked where they were all going and they said that there is two options to go to after the pub, a reggae night of a rock night. Nathan was really tired from driving so he headed back to the campsite while Ari and I headed to the reggae night not expecting much. The music was amazing and we did not stop dancing. When the evening was drawing to the end we wandered out looking for somewhere to get a snack, we then stumbled upon a beach party – a speaker and a load of locals dancing around. We joined them for a while then headed for some pizza before the 45 minute walk home.
The next day we stopped off at Nimbin on a slight detour, every one on our campsite was raving about it and so we decided to check it out. It was like going back in time, there were lots of hippies walking around, reggae being played though out the town and lots of old rainbow shop signs. It’s a throwback to the seventies where the Aquarius festival was held. The festival goers decided to stay in Nimbin to try and live a more ecologically mindful lifestyle using the teachings at the festival. There was a beautiful art gallery where I picked up a little painting to take home.
After a long drive (thanks Nathan) we arrived on the Gold Coast. The beach on the Gold Coast is supposed to be one of the best for surfing. We headed to Burleigh Waters which has a lovely little section of beach. At the end of the beach is the financial district, this made us all feel like we were in somewhere like Dubai. The waves were massive here and Nathan spent a long time in the sea, trying to catch a good wave. The currents are so strong here and there was almost like a river you had to wade through before you got to the sea. The lifeguards always had to be alert here often heading out on their boards to help people who had been pulled out by the tide.
To try and save money we decided to spend the night in a free campsite, which is basically a lay-by next to the motorway. Unfortunately there was no space for Nathan’s tent so we decided to sleep three in a bed. We cooked a curry and hoped that it would cool down slightly before we went to bed. There were lots of signs saying beware of snakes which made us all a bit nervous. We then spotted a massive spider which was black and yellow! We all decided to head to bed, me in the middle. It was the hottest night of Australia’s summer…. I ended up sleeping in a ball at Nathan’s and Ari’s feet with all the windows open!
We woke up super early as it was just too hot and decided to head back to the Gold Coast for a quick swim before heading to Brisbane. We didn’t realise that there was a time difference between the NSW and Queensland! We were very confused when we had gained a hour! After a little swim and a sunbathe we piled in the car to head to Brisbane. We stayed in a campsite just outside of town so we hopped in an uber (the advice of the nice reception lady) to get into the centre of town. We first headed to the gallery of modern art. There was a fantastic exhibition on, celebrating Australian artists. On of the galleries held the aluminium slides which were in the Tate a while ago. There was also a fantastic piece where the public had to made a skyline out of Lego – using the view of the Brisbane skyline as inspiration.
After cooling down in the galleries air con we wandered along the South Bank (yes it’s the same as home) to the artificial beach. Each town north of Brisbane has artificial beaches. This is because of the jellyfish which are deadly if they sting you! We had a great time at the fake beach and was even able to chill on the sand. We then jumped in another uber back to the caravan site. Our uber driver is from Colombia and gave Nathan and I loads of tips. We added each other on Facebook and he is going to put us in touch which his brother when we are there!
We cooked up a nice meal in the campsites cooking area and chatted away to the other campers who were really friendly. We wished we had more time to explore Brisbane as it seemed like a really cool city.
Until the next time…