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.
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 →
Leaving Newcastle behind it wasn’t long until we came to Port Stephens. This isn’t a town, but an area, which is made up of a few nice costal villages. We arrived first at Anna Bay and stumbled upon a beach called Birubi Point.
Being a Sunday the place was overrun with tourists, and I could see why they were all here. The beach was long and beautiful running off far into the distance. But even more spectacular, were the Sahara style sand dunes that backed it. They were huge and seemed to go on forever.
Driving steeply downhill from the Snowy Mountains and heading towards the East Coast, it felt good. The air was quickly becoming milder and I decided I was pretty much over winter, I couldn’t wait for spring!
We hit the East Coast for the first time at a little beach town called Tathra. Reaching the peak of a hill I could see the long curving bay below, surrounded by trees with cliffs in the distance. I felt excited to see the sea again and everything had a more sub tropical feel. Chris and I got out and went for a walk along the beach, the sand was golden and the water looked pretty inviting, still too cold though.
11 Days ago Chris and I were still in Blighty, NSW. Being our last weekend there, it was pretty busy and non-stop. We cleaned our wee farm house top to bottom, squeezed all our belongings into our campervan, and said our goodbyes to friends, work colleagues, the dogs, cats, and cows. And after 6 months of working and living in the same place, just like that, we were gone. To be honest I was too excited about the thought of travelling again to feel too sad about leaving! And it didn’t take long to used to campervan living again. Once I got used to the colder living conditions, it was like I’d never stopped!
For the past 6 months I’ve been working on a dairy farm in a little rural place called Blighty in NSW. Since leaving Northern Ireland in January 2012 this is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place, and to be honest it’s not the most exciting of locations.
But for once it hasn’t been about travelling, but instead, about working. It’s been a chance to really build up the funds, and for the first time in my life, I actually have some proper money saved! Which is probably a good idea considering I’ll be travelling around Australia for the next few months with no plans of getting a job for a very long time!
So now the count down is seriously on. Less than 1 week to go, only 4 more shifts left at work. To say I’m excited is an understatement! I can’t wait to say goodbye to the mundane, day-to-day routine that many jobs bring. No more alarms going off at 3am, no more living for the weekend, those days are soon to be over.
Instead, Chris and I will be living out of our campervan, just taking each day as it comes, unsure of what will be around the next corner. I can’t actually wait! The feeling I have right now, it takes me back to when I was in Northern Ireland, waiting to go to New Zealand for the first time. The anticipation of not knowing what’s coming next, not knowing what I’ll see, the experiences I’ll have, or the people I’ll meet along the way. Continue reading →
With around 22 people dying from cow attacks in the US each year, you’re statistically more likely to be killed by a cow, than a shark. In fact, < 1 person is killed each year by sharks (< 6 worldwide). Continue reading →
For the past 4 months I’ve taken a break from travelling to work on a dairy farm. I’m not going to lie, when I first started the job it all seemed a bit overwhelming. Waking up at 3am was tough, I’d never worked with animals before, and I’ll never forget how disgusted and horrified I was during my first few shifts when I saw first hand just how much these cows shit! I would come home every day absolutely filthy! After my first week I was telling people that it was an interesting experience but that I would never work on a dairy farm again.
But of course things change and now I actually enjoy going to work. I have a laugh with my colleagues, really like working with the cows (even when they don’t behave), and believe it or not the shit’s not that bad, it’s just chewed up grass really… So I’m now writing a blog encouraging backpackers to work on dairies! And here’s why: Continue reading →
I look forward to my 3 days off every other weekend. Not only does it mean I don’t have to get up at 3am, but it usually means a road trip and change of scene from lovely Blighty.
Chris and I decided to check out the Hay Plains, about 2 hours north of Blighty. With only a 17 metre difference between the highest and lowest point on the plains, this is one of the flattest places in the world. And you do really get that impression as you’re driving along the highway, as there’s literally nothing around you. Everything is totally flat with not even a tree on the horizon. Continue reading →