Published: February 3rd 2010February 3rd 2010
We had to drop the car off at the domestic terminal today. After we had done that we got the train all the way into town and got ourselves some brunch. We had realised that if we were going to camp on the East Coast we would need a bigger tent, as we would have nowhere to put our bags. We looked at Global Gossip internet café for a Big W shop because they are cheap. They didn’t have any in town so we got the train out of town and picked up our new 4 man tent, foot pump and big bag to carry it all, all for £50 - bargain!!! We went back to the hotel and packed up our gear as best we could before our 6.15am pick up.
Up early and out to the Greyhound stop in central Sydney. The bus wasn’t as busy as I expected and off we set over the harbour bridge and up the east coast. Our first stop was Port Macquarie. It is a small seaside town, much like everywhere on the east coast. The bus got there at 2pm and we decided to walk to our campsite which looked near.
that line the port
It was so hot!! As I write this, 2 weeks later, we have had baking hot sun every day!! We had to stop a couple of time on the way to rest, but made it there in the end. The campsite was heaving, full of families in their enormous tent houses. Luckily, we were put on an unpowered site so we had our own little area in the shade. Set up our new tent and it was awesome - so much room for me to stretch out, and a lot more ventilation in the heat. We took a walk around town and went to an Irish pub for a few drinks. It was the cheapest place we had been so far and ended up staying most of the night until an awful band came on. We were sitting outside watching the bats come out for their dusk flight. On the way back, our campsite was in darkness and I managed to stub my toe quite badly and take all the skin off the end. Zo patched it up for me and off to bed for a good night sleep with a bit more room.
Next day we had the
Ridiculous house tent!
Complete with fridge, freezer and telly!
shade in the morning, which was good. Took a walk to the beach, through the hundreds of children cycling and running around, and sat down in the sun. It wasn’t the nicest beach in the world and as Zo and I aren’t really big beach lovers we decided to take a walk down to the harbour. Along the harbour walls, people have painted the rock. It is a really good idea and looked good. We had a walk and looked over the harbour at the activity going on in the water. Went out for dinner that evening at the hogs breath café for a big steak!! On the way back they had an outside cinema playing by the water, all free and full of kids. Unfortunately they were all watching Mamma Mia!!!!
Our bus left at about 2pm so we had a wander in the morning before getting a cab to the bus station. Should have done that in the first place. Got on the bus to our next stop of Coffs Harbour. Again it is a small town by the sea!! We got a cab to our campsite, which again was full of kids!!! Set up camp just
The new tent
very modest compared to others on the campsite
in time for a big clearing up shower, which was a nice relief. We took a walk down to the Jetty and had some food. There is not a lot to do in Coffs and we were a little be bored to tell the truth. Had an early night, because the heat really takes it out of you.
Next day we walked to the shops, which were about 3km away. From there we walked to the Big Banana, another 2km. This area is famous for its Banana growing and to advertise that, in the 1920’s they built a big banana. This is now a place for tourists to go and have their picture taken. From there we got a cab to the CBD, where yet again there was nothing to do. We asked the cabbie what there is to do in Coffs and he just listed off skydiving, go karting etc. They don’t have any history or anything that interesting to see, unless you like beaches!! Walked back from there via the jetty which was about another 3km. Had a relax on the beach and then pool, but too many kids. We walked back to the shops and back
to get some dinner, 6km and sat down by the water front. We were shattered from all our walking and as there was nothing to do , again had an early night.
Packed up our tent at 6am to get the 7.10am bus to Byron Bay. We got there at about midday and it seemed to be a real buzzing town!! The amount of people waiting to get on the bus was the most we had seen so far. We got a taxi out to Byron Tourist Village and there were no kids - hooray!! Lots of backpackers. Byron Bay is a relaxed alternative town. So alternative in fact that everyone now looks the same. Skinny, long blonde hair, tanned and that was just the guys. It is a tiny town but can have up to 80 thousand people there at one time!! I have never seen so many people that look the same or have dreadlocks in my life!! It is a real surf town and situated on a lovely beach. We set up camp and did our washing before having a swim. We took a walk into town, about 20 mins away, and had a few beers
at the Beach Hotel. We the took a short walk to the Railway Bar for a few more. From there we decided to treat ourselves to a nice 3 course meal at Olive restaurant. Great food and not that expensive. After that we crossed the road to the Northern Hotel for a few more drinks and to watch a Harry Healey. He was about 50 something, acoustic guitar and took requests. Overall a really good evening.
The next morning we got up a bit later and took the 20 min walk to the shops to get something to eat and some water. Wanted a lazy day today, so sat around camp playing in the pool and wrote the blog. Took a walk into town in the eve to get some noddles from noodle box before going back to camp to Skype the folks. Nice to have a day doing nothing as it was so hot.
We had booked a tour to go to Nimbin today, a small town about 1 ½ hours away. We sat there waiting for the 10.15 meet and by 11am we had to give them a call. Apparently they couldn’t come get us in
Drive through Liquor store
You see these in a lot of small towns normally next to the drive through ATM!
our park so waited for us on the highway - how we were supposed to know that, I have no idea!! We took a walk into town and decided to get a cab to the lighthouse and the easterly most point in Australia. It was a good view and funny to think that there is nothing there until South America - I think!! You could see the really expensive houses on the coast and the cabbie told us that one of them went for $8.5mil, and the owner knocked it down to build a new house. That shows how in demand land is there. We chose to walk back into town but decided to go the beach way. It was really nice to wander along the beach in the shallow water. We then realised that there were a lot of small blue marks in the wet sand. We thought that they could be ‘Blueys’ and we were not wrong. Turns out that section of the coast had had a massive influx of Bluebottle Jelly Fish. Not killers but will sting you - as we saw with many people. There were thousand of them and people we getting stung all over.
Glad we weren’t in the water. Went for a couple of drinks before walking back to camp.
We had booked another Nimbin tour today with a different company. They turned up on time, in an old ‘magic’ bus, with a rather eccentric woman as driver/guide. Nimbin is a tiny little town of 1 street. It held a festival in the 1970s called the Aquarius festival and is now more famous for hippies and drugs. Zo and I didn’t go for the drugs but thought it’d be an interesting place to see. We set off on our old bus and headed into a national park to see a rather impressive waterfall. Our guide was really interesting, and gave us a lot of information on the history. Helps she had a degree in Indigenous Studies. She was telling us that the road going through the forest are the original ‘song lines’ that the indigenous people would have walked. She also told us that it is the second biggest crater after Yellow Stone. She was a really interesting and the view she took us to see was awesome, shame there wasn’t much water in the waterfall. From there we went back to
‘brad’ - the bus. It wouldn’t start so she got out to have a look. It was like Fawlty Towers all over again, she started hitting the engine with a big stick - very funny. We all had to get out and give it a jump start, and it worked!! From there we went to Nimbin and we drove through it in under 20 seconds. We had 2 hours there, so went to get some lunch first before having a walk around. Most of the shops are to do with their hedonistic lifestyle, such as ‘Happy High Herbs’ and ‘Bringabong.’ It was interesting to see and we had a look around the museum, but not really our cup of tea!! Back on the bus, with a really stoned couple, and back to camp. We walked into town in the eve, got a couple of pizza’s and went and sat on the hill by the beach. A nice place to eat. Went to the beach hotel to watch a few band and have a couple of drinks before going back for some sleep - on our airbed that now only lasts for about 2 hours!!! We really enjoyed our time in
Byron and by far the best place so far.
Up early to get the 8.30am bus to Surfers Paradise. This is in the heart of the Gold Coast and a huge change from the relaxed atmosphere of Byron. We had now entered Queensland and they don’t have daylight savings - the official reasons being ’the cows wont know what to sleep’ and ’the curtains will fade more.’ Crazy people!!!! It is all high-rise buildings and bars and shops. Reminded us a lot of being in Spain!! We got picked up from the bus terminal by the hostels clapped out limo and they look us to our room. There is nowhere to camp in Surfers so we had to stay in a hostel. They had no room so put us in one of their apartments with 2 other couples. Quite a strange set up, but did us fine. We took a walk around to see what was happening and what the beach was like. Managed to get roped into a bar crawl for $40 each. When we sat down over some lunch we realised that it wasn’t us and neither of us wanted to do it. Luckily we managed to
get a refund with a small yarn and we were happy again!! Went back to apartments and sat in pool before going into town in the eve. Had a few drinks at a few different bars but felt very much like being in Spain. Families mixing in with drunk 18 year olds. Had quite a few drinks in a few bars taking in the live music. From there we stopped off at ‘we luv pies’ for a snack before going to bed in the sweat box that was our room.
Had a lazy morning and set off to the beach. Were there for about half hour and realised that it was far to hot and didn’t want to go in the sea due to the stingers. Had a wander around town instead. Australia is a place where you do a lot of wandering as there isn’t a load to do in the heat. We went back to the pool to cool down , had a few beers on our balcony, before heading into town for a few drinks. We watched a street performer try to pull off a Houdini trick of tying himself in chains. Unfortunately he got a
couple of people from the crowd to tie the chains. All of a sudden he is on the floor, unconscious and choking, whilst the 2 people from the crowd are trying to get the chains off from around his neck. It was awful and there were so many kids around. He was ok in the end but shook everyone up a bit. He was an eastern European guy, but we didn’t understand why he would do such a complex trick with members of the public!! Had a few more drinks before going back to sleep.
We got up and got the bus to Brisbane at about 9.30am and it was still so hot!!
There are more photos below