Published: May 10th 2012May 8th 2012
The first thing we saw when we drove into Ballina was The Big Shrimp. Argh! I refuse to take and post photos of these monstrosities as I simply hate them. Before finishing up my job in Melbourne, a colleague asked whether we would be doing the big things on our trip. I replied yes, thinking she meant the Sydney Opera House and Ayers Rock etc! Apparently there is a whole website dedicated to The Big Things… Ah well, I might come round to it one day, but for now I think it represents the epitome of tackiness.
The shrimp aside, Ballina is lovely and quite peaceful. We arrived around lunchtime, so stopped in a park to prepare some food when we saw a couple of tandem parachutists come into land across the road. That was our friend Kim with whom we were going to meet up later on! It was great catching with him and Grace over a beer and nibbles and in the evening we drove out to Boulder Beach to check out the surf.
We made good use of Ballina’s excellent cycle paths (but they do need to install some bicycle racks!) and explored the town and the beaches. When passing a campervan sales company, we couldn’t resist popping in and having a look (in the name of research and seeking inspiration, of course) and came out with a determined resolution to win the lottery. With a price tag of $110k, my favourite was a Fiat Ducato Horizon Banksia!
On our second night in Ballina, merrily parked in car park by the inlet, we had a pretty narrow escape. Dean got up early and spotted a ranger plastering warning tickets on other vans and improvised by grabbing his fishing rod and pretending he had just driven up to go fishing. Apparently you get one warning ticket and the next time you’re fined $120. I still fail to see what’s actually so criminal about sleeping in your vehicle…!!
After a hot shower and lunch at Kim and Grace’s place (thanks guys! Grace, you are my sushi inspiration!) it was time to hit the road again. It seemed more sensible to hit busy Byron Bay in the morning rather than the evening, so we only drove as far as Lennox Head, a beautiful low key village where we went for a nice coastal walk and are now chilling out near the beach.
People laugh – and so do we – when we tell them that we’ve been on the road for three months, as we haven’t made it very far in that time! It’s lovely taking our time though and we’ve decided that this trip will take as long as it needs to. We’ll need to start working around the end of June and will make sure we find a nice spot for that.
For now, we’re enjoying being nomads and we’re relishing the wonderful sunny weather – it’s just perfect, so long may it last!
I have also bought myself a little ultrasonic gadget (along with antihistamines and anesthetic gel!) to ward off the pesky mozzies. They’re the ones who started it and I am ready for a war!!