Way back when Chris and I were in Brisbane we decided to look for work, sending us 5 hours north to the lovely town of Bundaberg. So after that job we decided to back track a bit, going first to Fraser Island, and then further down to the Sunshine Coast.
Meeting Up With the Gibneys
I was pretty excited about going to the Sunshine coast, not for the beaches, but to meet up with one of my best friend’s from home, Danielle, aka Dizzle/DJ Danni D. She and her Aunt Jill were going to be in Australia for a few weeks visiting their family who now live here.
It had been over 18 months since I’d last seen Dizzle! But she’s been keeping our friendship alive by sending me weird selfies while working night shifts as a nurse.
So first stop was a small town called Buderim to stay with the Gibneys. I hadn’t seen the family in about 7 years! But Dizzle’s Mum, Wendy, and 2 sisters, Caitlin and Ashling, made me feel right at home with beers and tasty home cooked food. And with 7 people from the Emerald Isle being reunited the craic was mighty should I say.
The next day Wendy took us to the market at Nambour. It’s on every Thursday and is definitely worth the visit. You can get everything here from clothes, to foods, to your fortune told. The stalls are bright and vibrant with a hippy feel throughout and everyone’s just wandering around enjoying the chilled out vibe.
New addition to the Gibney Tribe
Over the next few days I just hung out with Daneille, going to the beach, out for dinner, the cinema, getting lost in the shopping mall… (still don’t know how that happened but thought we were never going to find her Mum’s car!) But too soon it was time to say goodbye. Luckily it wasn’t too sad as I knew we’d be seeing each other back home in July. Continue reading →
Going back a bit here but I’ve finally go around to making my 2nd Aussie Road Trip Video. This was all shot in NSW from the Blue Mountains to Evans Head. After the Blue Mountains there were just so many beaches, viewpoints, and national parks to see. I also loved the wildlife I came across along the way.
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)!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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. 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 →
It feels like forever ago that I was in New Zealand! This is just a mash up of different video clips I took while travelling around the North Island. It’s not the best video I ever made but at least I have something!
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!
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.
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.
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…
For the past few months we’ve been crawling at snails pace up the coast, stopping to surf at any beach with a hint of a ride able wave. It is kind of getting to that point now that there’s just beach after beach, I’m starting to lose track of where I’ve been and when, sometimes it all just seems the same!
Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining! I’ve come across some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen! But I suppose the East Coast just lacks a bit of variation, when you’re moving up it so slowly that is.
After Coffs Harbour we stopped off at every beach in our path looking for waves. Moonee, Emerald and Sandy Beach, all nice places but not much to do other than go to the beach.
When we reached Woolgoolga the town seemed to have a bit more to it. It has a large Sihk community, which meant lots of Indian restaurants and smiley, friendly, turban wearing people.
We slept right next to a holiday park in a day use area that said ‘no camping’. But there were a few other campers there who looked like they’d been around for a few days, so we took our chances.
That night just as the sun was going down we heard a lot of flapping and commotion above our heads. I looked up expecting to see a load of birds but instead, was surprised to see literally hundreds of fruit bats flying through the trees and hanging from the branches. They were massive!
Then after dinner we had an inquisitive kookaburra hanging around. We were able to sneak up close enough to get some good photos of it.
I recently came across the following blog by Cody Miller and I thought it would be a good one to share. This guide gives loads of great advice and should answer pretty much every question a backpacker might have when looking to buy a campervan in Australia:
Finding the right car
Registration and insurance requirements
Kitting out your vehicle
Awesome and unexpected things to look out for on a roadtrip in Australia
Backpacking around the driest inhabited country on Earth is a rite of passage for many international travellers, and something Aussies know all too well requires a reliable and versatile beast of a vehicle to go the distance. For this reason, the second hand van has become the backpackers’ transport of choice.
This guide is designed to prepare travellers for Australia’s precarious open roads. It covers the importance of mechanical checks, the legalities of licensing, registration and insurance, and some essential supplies for an outback adventure. Continue reading →