Road Trip: Wet ‘n’ Wild, Wakeboarding, and Brisbane

We left Brisbane and went back to the Gold Coast once again, but this time, to go to Wet ‘n’ Wild.

Wet ‘n’ Wild

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Part of me didn’t want to spent $64 on a ticket for a water park, but we’d been doing so well living on a budget I suppose you have to let loose sometimes. We arrived at opening time and already the car park was packed and there was a crazy queue. So first bit of advice for anyone going to Wet ‘n’ Wild is to arrive early (although this is kind of obvious…)

After what felt like a lifetime we got in and stuck our stuff in a locker. Second bit of advice for Wet ‘n’ Wild… wear your flip flops. Again, this is kind of obvious, but Chris and I decided to go bare foot not realising how hot the ground would get. We spent the day running from shade to shade prancing around like idiots. After a couple of hours I had blisters starting on my feet from the friction.

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The water park itself was good but the queues were pretty bad, I’d hate to see it on the weekend! You spend all that time queuing for a slide only for it all to be over in a matter of seconds. In the 5 hours we spent there we just about managed to try every slide. Which is a bit ridiculous.

Tamborine Mountain

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After Wet ‘n’ Wild we headed to Tamborine Mountain, a small 525 metre plateau about 1 hour away from the Gold Coast. There was a nice small town here and the whole area was very peaceful and pretty.

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We spent a couple of days driving around the plateau and doing different rainforest walks.

Cable Ski

After all the peace and quiet it was time to do something a bit more exciting again, and spend more money. So we drove back towards Brisbane to Cable Ski Logan. I love snowboarding and have always wondered what wakeboarding is like. So when I read up about this place and saw you could just turn up and give it a go I really wanted to work it into our trip! Continue reading

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

A Day at a Dairy

Feels like a lifetime ago I was working on a dairy milking cows. This is a video Chris and I made showing a day at work. It starts with Chris driving around mixing up the cows food and feeding it out to them, then it’s me milking the cows and feeding the calves! As far as backpacker farm jobs it was definitely a different experience.

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Road Trip: Crescent Head to Coffs Harbour

Crescent Head

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From Port Macquarie we drove on to Crescent Head, Australia’s longboarding capital. At the time it was school holidays and the place was absolutely packed! We drove down to the beach front where there was a holiday park full of tents, caravans and holidaying families.

The beach was nice with small but clean waves coming in, and I would have been tempted to go in for a surf, if not for the amount of kids and adults fighting over the waves. I was fairly entertained watching one guy on his longboard, who would be happily cruising along a wave, only to get cut off by some surfer dropping in on him. Every time he’d throw his arms in the air with an exasperated look on his face.

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The next day the crowds were back fighting over the waves so we decided to drive away from Crescent Head along Plomer Road in search of uncrowded beaches. We’d driven less than 10km when we came across a campsite with showers and access to a quiet beach with decent waves. This was more like it.

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Road Trip: Pacific Palms to Port Macquarie

Failing to find the surf we were hoping for at Seal Rocks the mission continued as we drove up the coast. We went through Pacific Palms only to find the beaches were too advanced. Boomerang Beach looked awesome but I was happy to just watch as the surfers rode massive waves within centimetres of submerged rocks.

Forster

By the time we made it to Forster we’d pretty much given up on surfing. The beaches here were more the swimming type. So instead, we just enjoyed hanging out in the little town and even had a go at hand washing our clothes.

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We seemed to get a lot of strange looks, hasn’t anyone ever seen 2 people doing their washing before?!

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We also checked out the Cape Hawke Lookout. After climbing up 400 odd steps through regenerating rainforest we found ourselves at the bottom of an 8 metre tower. Up the tower you can get above the trees to see a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, worth every step. Continue reading