Road Trip: The Gold Coast

Our flight got into Brisbane pretty late so we spent the night freedom camping on a residential street near the airport and then got up early the next day and drove straight to Tweed Heads, which is more or less the start of the Gold Coast. This is where the first lifeguard hut is (I think there’s 39 up the coast)!

Tweed Heads

IMG_4754

IMG_4802

My first impressions of Tweed were good. The high rises hadn’t quite started yet, it wasn’t busy at all, and there were great views of the Gold Coast skyline across the water. It was also pretty random how the boarder between NSW and Queensland runs straight through Tweed. I didn’t know which time to go by!

IMG_4759Duranbah Beach

Once there, Chris and I went straight to Snapper Rocks, which is apparently an epic point break for surfing. Although not on this day it wasn’t…. With the waves looking tiny and mushy we gave surfing a pass and instead, went for nice walk around the point, taking in the views.

Continue reading

Flying to Adelaide for a 30th Birthday

We said goodbye to our HelpX family and drove to Brisbane airport to catch a flight to Adelaide. We were going to see Nick, our Aussie friend, to celebrate his 30th birthday with him.

Car Trouble

We’d just left Little Pocket and got on the motorway when we felt a bump every second or so on the right side of our van. ‘Is that the road?’ Chris asked. No, the road was pretty new and smooth looking. We pulled over on the busy motorway to see a massive bulge on the side of our right rear tyre.

I felt pretty confident though! Thankfully the guy who sold our van included all the tools needed to change a tyre. Plus our spare tyre was a full sized one. So we got to work, putting the wrench under the van and hoisting it up (even though you’re meant to loosen the tyre nuts first) and then tried to get the nuts off.

But they wouldn’t budge… I started googling tips and realised the van shouldn’t be lifted up at this stage, so we tried to get it lowered again, even that took a while to work out. Finally we got it lowered and tried again to turn the nuts with the cross bar spanner we had. We tried everything! Chris was putting all his body weight into turning the spanner until he was red in the face, when that didn’t work, I jumped up and down on the end of the spanner while Chris held it in place, but the nuts wouldn’t budge. And yes, we were definitely turning them the right way!

Continue reading

Time for Something New

It’s funny how quickly a decision can be made to send your life in a new direction. First something sparks off an idea, before you know it you’re making plans, and then you’re taking actions to make those plans happen.

For Chris and I it was a wedding. Our friend from home, Speedy, contacted us to say he was getting married to his girlfriend, Wenching, in Singapore at the end of March 2015.

We were so excited by the news! Not only would we be catching up with Speedy (who we hadn’t seen in over 18 months) and going to his wedding, but it was also an excuse to go to South East Asia.

The original plan was to aim to be in Darwin by March, fly to Singapore for the wedding, and then come back to Darwin after a few weeks to continue our Aussie road trip.

But then one day we were talking and Chris made a suggestion which I’d already toyed with myself. Why don’t we just leave Australia for good in March and start our South East Asia trip?

All of a sudden I was filled with that feeling of excitement you get before going travelling. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face and my mind was going crazy with all the possibilities that were now opening up. Surfing in Indonesia, chilling on Thai beaches, hiking, scuba diving, experiencing new cultures and food, I couldn’t wait!

Don’t get me wrong Australia’s been great. For the past 4 months I haven’t really had a care in the world. Bumming around in our campervan, surfing at any beach with a ridable wave, partying when we got to the bigger cities, it’s been awesome! But I’ve been here for over a year now and I’m just ready for something new.

South East Asia’s been in the forefront of my mind since I left to go to New Zealand back in January 2012, so I think it’s finally time to go.

So last week, with the click of a button on flight scanner, Chris and I took the action to make things happen. We booked flights to Singapore and then on to Bali. And that’s just the start.

But before I get ahead of myself, I’ve still got 3 months to spend in Australia, and I intend to make the most of that! There’ll still be plenty more Aussie blogs to come.

HelpXing in Little Pocket

About a year ago I signed up to HelpX, an organisation similar to Wwoof, where you can stay with hosts, do a few hours work each day, in exchange for food and accommodation.

With working, travelling and surfing, I hadn’t gotten around to arranging any HelpX. But a few weeks before I went to Byron Bay, a host called Bec contacted me, asking if Chris and I would like to come and stay with her family for a couple of weeks.

She lived about 40mins north of Byron, in a little village called The Pocket, with her partner Trent and 3 kids; 4 yr-old Tiger, 2 yr-old Townes, and baby Roux. With Roux only being 7 weeks old, and Trent working nights as a surveyor, Bec had her hands full and just needed some help with the kids and housework.

IMG_4664

IMG_4663

So after Byron, Chris and I drove north into the countryside to meet the family. We arrived to find a cute 3 bedroom house surrounded by fields full of horses and cows, and a backdrop of rolling green hills.

IMG_4665

There was a 1950s school bus waiting to be renovated, chooks, and a vegetable garden.

Bec came out to greet us and then brought us into the house to meet Tiger and Townes. Trent and his band were playing at a music festival but would be back soon. It’s been a while since I’ve been around kids! But it wasn’t long until they had me and Chris outside playing with them on the trampoline in their garden. So much fun but totally exhausting! Continue reading

Byron Bay

Byron Bay. It’s a backpackers haven. A place where people plan to stay a week but somehow end up staying for months. They arrive clean cut and wearing shoes but somewhere along the way find they’re barefoot and have grown dreads.

When there’s so much hype about a place it instantly makes me feel sceptical about it, and so when Chris and I left chilled out Lennox Heads and drove up the road to Byron I wasn’t sure if I’d like it at all.

The Pros

1932386_10154752028730416_8890180983195044239_n

But it’s hard not to like the place! On one of the roads into the town is a sign saying ‘cheer up, slow down, chill out’, and that says it all.

The bustling little beach side town is busy and full of people, all ages and from all walks of life, just coming together to enjoy that feeling of freedom that Byron seems to give. Walking through the streets there’s organic foods, hippy stores, smells of incense in the air, street art. There’s such a high energy about the place and a good vibe, it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself.

As the sun starts to set buskers take to the streets. A drumming circle by the main beach car park, fire dancers in the park, and guitarists on street corners playing as crowds gather to sing and dance along. With a few drinks in you just walking the streets is an experience in itself. Continue reading

A Spontaneous Night Partying in Surfers Paradise

We spent about 4 days at Lennox Head just surfing, chilling out, and using the library. There wasn’t much excitement, except for one night when we almost ran over a carpet python! But they’re harmless so we let him be.

IMG_4507

But it was now approaching the weekend and we actually had some plans! We were going inland to a town called Lismore to catch up with our friend Micko, a guy we’d worked with last year during the New Zealand ski season in Wanaka.

1146568_10153126130245597_1534203779_n

Micko, Me and Chris at a staff party

It had been over a year since we’d last seen Micko! But after arriving at his house and opening a few beers it was like no time had passed at all. We spent the night drinking beers and catching up.

The next morning Micko cooked up a fried breakfast and then he said, “so, what do you guys wanna do tonight?” It was a Saturday, and I hadn’t really thought much about what we’d get up to with Micko, but I figured he’d maybe have something in mind. A few drinks at the local pub maybe. But no, Micko had nothing planned :p

IMG_4462

It felt like we just sat in silence for a few minutes, no one putting up any ideas, when Micko said unsurely, “We could always have a night out in the Gold Coast?…” Yes! It was a great idea!  It had been ages since Chris and I had been on a night out or even got drunk! And the spontaneous plans are always the best.

Continue reading

Road Trip: Iluka to Lennox Head

I could have happily stayed in Yamba and surfed at Pippi’s beach every day for the next month, but no matter how good a place is I always get that nagging feeling that there might be somewhere better up ahead. It’s not a bad thing, otherwise I’d probably never get anywhere!

Iluka

IMG_4378

We left Yamba and went to the next town, Iluka, which is just over the river but takes a while to drive to as there’s no bridge. This was a strange little place with quite an eerie feeling to it. There didn’t seem to be any tourists about and the locals were all the fishing types who enjoyed to drive their 4WDs on the beach.

We spent the night in an empty beach car park and while we cooked dinner there was a crazy thunder storm. We fried up burgers as lightening flashed above us but luckily by the time the rain came pouring down our burgers were cooked.

In the morning we were awoken by a lovely local who thought it was funny to drive up close to us and beep his horn! I’ve heard that sometimes locals in certain areas aren’t too keen on sharing their beaches with tourists.

IMG_4376

Taking the hint we got up and I thought I’d give barefoot running on the beach a go. I ran about 3 miles and it felt great! Until I got back to the car and realised my big toes had massive blood blisters on them! I think it will be a while before I try it again.

Evans Head

IMG_4386

The next stop was Evans Head, which was a nice enough wee town with a good surf beach. When we first arrived it was pretty hot and I just wanted to find somewhere to chill out for the day. So we drove a bit out of Evans Head to the Bundjalung Naitonal Park where we found Chinaman’s Beach and a half naked girl walking around her campervan with her boobs out.

She looked really young to be a naturist so I thought good on her! But as the day went on she appeared to keep her boobs hidden in a bikini, so maybe we just caught her at a bad time in-between outfits…

Continue reading