Published: March 26th 2012March 26th 2012
Well we've managed to locate free internet so here goes a massive belated blog update!
After my last one we headed up to the blue mountains in our vw camper! We picked her up in a suburb called Dee Why which meant once we were in packed up and ready for our road trip we headed blindly back into Syndey over Harbour Bridge which was a) terrifying because at this point paul had only been driving for about 20mins and we still didn't know when/if she was going to conk out on the side of the road, but b) amazing because the views from the bridge are pretty nice! So armed with no road map and only the knowledge that we needed to be west of Sydney to get on the Great Western Highway into the mountains we just carried on driving following any sign that pointed west and as we did this for about 40mins we were beginning to give up and admit defeat but then we saw the road sign we needed and we were properly on our way!
2 hours later we were in the Blue Mountains parked up eating our lunch in the back of the van thankful that she was proving pretty reliable still since. We'd even managed to overtake a few trucks on the highway which if you know vw campers - this means she's practically a sports model with spoilers and go faster stripes! Another 20mins along the highway and we got to the town of Katoomba where our first campsite was. We arrived late afternoon and set her up for the 2 nights we were staying here and she looked very cute parked amongst all the huge modern campervans that were basically houses on wheels! In the morning we were woken pretty early by the noisy neighbours - being the local wildlife. Kookaburras, cockatoos and all sorts of other parrots form the dawn chorus in the forests in the mountains. They're so noisy but it was amazing to be waking up in our cosy little camper listening to the kookaburras laugh and cackle all morning until breakfast time! So then our first day involved walking, walking and more walking. We walked part of many trails through the Blue Mountains seeing the Three Sisters and ending up stood at the top of a waterfall I don't remember the name of now! We had the most amazing views you could imagine all day! So beautiful!
And then as with all camping trips - the rain sets in at some point so that night we hardly slept because it was so loud and we were so paranoid we were going to wake up with the van swimming in water! But although it rained continuously all the next day and the night after that - she didn't leak once so we were relieved! Our second campsite was in a town called Blackheath which is a bit further along the western highway and so we walked some more when the rain stopped on our 3rd day in the mountains! But then it started again and once again we were camping in the rain - just like the Lake District really! After our 4th night camping we headed back to Sydney, checked into a hostel and before dropping off the van we took her to the beach in Manly, parked on the beach front and ate ice creams from Ben & Jerrys! Very satisfying end to slightly damp but amazing visit to the mountains! And she didn't break down once!
So we then had another 2 nights in Sydney before setting off on our surf adventure! on the 21st, we were up at 5:30am to make our way to central station to get on the coach to Cresent Head - the first stop of 2 on our surf camp! If only we knew how much pain we were about to endure over the next few days! On the way we saw kangaroos! You look out the window and they're just there hanging out in the fields on the sides of the roads! We haven't seen koalas yet though - we're beginning to think they lied to us about them living here! We arrived in the afternoon and were promptly given wetsuits and a brief introduction to popping up (standing up on board to you and me) and various other surfing terms that all went straight over our heads, and then headed to the beach. I've never seen a beach so deserted. Well, thats a lie, I've been to beaches in northumberland in winter time. But I mean on a beautiful sunny hot day where the sea is almost green its so clear and actually pretty warm! Its a private strecth of beach miles away from anywhere so only surf camp and residents of the few holiday cottages and campsite nearby have access! Stunning!
We collected our boards ("long boards" because they're for learners and easier to to surf on apparently) and were shown how to paddle and when to pop up when the wave reached you etc etc and then we were all sent into the sea. So needless to say most people spent most of the first day swimming, falling off their boards or just trying not to drown. But I managed to successfully catch a wave, pop up and stay standing up for about 5 seconds in the first lesson so I was more than happy! The rest of our stay at Cresent Head was made up of mostly surf lessons and "expression sessions" where we just did what we wanted and sunbathed, surfed or swam in the sea. It was all very very very chilled out! So after 2 nights at Cresent Head we all piled back on the coach and headed to Spot X. Which is even more beautiful than Cresent Head where the sea is warmer and the surf camp is still unbelievably chilled out but slightly more lively at night! Everyone instantly got better at surfing here because the waves were much easier and so by the end of our lessons I was catching waves at the back (where surfers paddle out to the back of the breaking waves so they're bigger here) and actually standing on my board all the way to shore where the wave runs out and you just flop back in the water satisfied and feeling unbelievable proud of yourself. And needless to say - a little bit cooler than before!
Although by this point we were in so much pain - you have to have arms and shoulders of steel to cope with the constant paddling and pushing yourself up on the board! We also didn't need wetsuits at Spot X because the sea is so warm but that means your knees, thighs, elbows, arms, stomach and feet get scratched raw on the boards so we all had pretty sore rashes. Plus sunburn. Plus cramp. Plus the feeling that we've just spent 2 hours in a washing machine each lesson! But still pretty elated that you actually managed to just stand up once!
So now surf camp is over maybe we'll carry on surfing (or attempting to) seeing as we're in Byron Bay now and our next stop is Surfers Paradise!
I promise I'll try and be better at updating this but our money is being drained pretty fast by the price of everything over here so just always assume we're having an amazing time unless you hear otherwise!
Love Sarah xxxx
ps. the tan is coming along wonderfully! I've never been so brown in my life!