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Published: April 1st 2010
I Spy With My Little Eye
If only the action below lived up to its reputation... Byron Bay, New South Wales
There we were, stomachs growling.
We were staying with Mel and Sharyn, friends R. had made a couple of months earlier in Laos and we didn't want to inconvenience them when they offered to make dinner. Hopping into the old Ford Falcon we had rented, we made our way north through suburbia towards the nearest shopping centre. The brights lights of a Maccas drew us like a moth. The main entrance was locked and the drive through was littered with loutish teenagers. Loud and brash with a hint of drunk. As we edged towards the pick-up counter a pimple faced youth, whose foot I thought we may have run over turns to us and asks how we're doing. Cool, mate
, I reply. Nice
, says R... Nice and 'smüüt'
I thought I'd shit myself from laughter.
Neither R. nor I slept smüütly that night, however. In a drink-infused disclosure, our hosts revealed they had recently had a two-guy, one-girl threesome in the very hot-tub they were soaking in. R. was visibly perturbed as he shrunk away from Sharyn sitting next to him and I kept an eye on the exit door.
Surfing next day was no
Surf And Sand
A runner works out to the stunning backdrop of Surfer's Paradise
joking matter either. Being on the Gold Coast, with a shore open to the raging Pacific and a main town named Surfer's Paradise, we could not help but go out and try the waves. Mel was kind enough to lend me a boogie board while R. was dumb enough to take the surf board. Half an hour later he had nearly drowned and was bumming the boogie board off me. No worries, mate!
One driver, one navigator and the open road. We were getting some distance behind us. Places we'd never heard of before became important way points. Other places that had excited us before coming Down Under turned out to be over-hyped and boring. Ask any backpacker about Australia and almost the first place they'd recommend would be Byron Bay. The only thing we would remember about the town would be a drunk bogan in a rickshaw pulling down his pants and yelling nice and 'smüüt'
- just kidding - I'm king of the world
, as he passed by.
Heading west from the coast we come across our first spot of car trouble. A quick choco top stop at a Hungry Jack's in Grafton turns into
In and out of the water, there is plenty to be seen
a study of the car rental agreement. As we order and receive our ice-cream treat of the trip, the car stalls and refuses to start. We push, we pant, we park the car and rest but in the heat of the day it refuses to restart. About to give in and call a service hot line, the engine miraculously comes to life and contrary to our belief actually lasts the whole trip.
Temperatures soon subside as we rise into the heights of the Great Dividing Range. One kilometre high. The boring planes give way to lush rain forest and a trek is in order. Luscious plants, glow-in-the-dark mushrooms and a myriad of insects but aside from some bird-life precious little else...until a red belly black snake decides to rush out of the cover on my right and cross our path. Lethal and willing, I pause and warn R. not to come forward but the danger is over, the snake gone. I stomp even more urgently as we continue our exploration and no sightings ensue.
We baulk at the price of camping in the midst of nowhere. Almost twenty dollars for two people with a car for a waterless
Attack Of The Killer Shrooms
Fungus takes on a different appearance as darkness falls. Washpool National Park
toilet and a pit fire-place? Certainly not. There is no park ranger in sight and the payment is on an honorary basis. Well, our honour left us when our budget cried no
. The area is damp and we do not cook, choosing to devour the Cole's grilled chicken and pasta salad. Looking like more rain that night, we sleep in the car. If they want to charge us for that, well let them be damned.
Come daylight, we were off to new pastures as the Road Trip continued.
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