We’re alive!! We made it safely back to Sydney on Monday and settled into what can only be described as a dive of a hostel but luckily we only had one night there before setting off on our next trip… The Gold Coast. Little did I know that in such a small world that we live in, I rocked up to the bus to be joined by a girl who was in my lectures and seminars at Sheffield Hallam.. We blankely looked at each other for a second before realising what was happening!
So currently we are another week down.. But I would have to say this has been the best yet! It has not disappointed in many ways and our decision to go through a company called ‘Loka’ who offer you a bus route and a driver who stays with you the whole time was definitely a great shout. Swannyyyy our bus driver was nuts, absolutely nuts. He casually brought his mate along for the week journey and they happen to form a band and treated us all to multiple performances – a real way to travel up the coast rather than a traditional journey on a coach where nobody speaks and a driver just opens a door and you all pile off.
Now the Gold Coast is the whole eastern side of Australia and to put that in perspective it would take 5 hours to do in a plane.. That’s more than England to the far side of Greece. We’re doing it in a bus… A small bus which we jumped onto and headed straight to the back seats like the good old days on the school bus.. What a terrible decision that was. The seats were lower at the back than the rest and to put it nicely.. the Australian country roads aren’t all nice and smooth!! Numerous times I have lay across the seats to be literally catapulted into the air as we pile over the bumps in the road, it actually got to the point where swanny would purposely go over them to watch my reaction haha!
After a ‘quiet’ last night in Sydney followed by a quick 2 hour journey, we arrived at our first activity of the week.. Wine tasting. At 10am after the night before, it was just what we needed… Said nobody ever. We tried to pretend we were Wine Connouiseurrs by giving it the old ‘swirl, sniff, sip’ but it ended up one big gulp because we all hate red wine. The sweet Dessert wines were definitely our favourites but still not quite the legendary ozzy ‘Goon’ wine which you can get 4 litres for $10 (£5) .. Scenes
We all then piled back onto the bus and onto our first night on the road. We ended up at a place called Barrington Tops, beautifully located up a mountain with views that I genuinely am still astounded by. Looking out across the valleys and other mountains it literally looked like a cardboard cut out… Check this out during the day and my average photography skills caught a Worldie picture at 5:30am of the sunrise and clouds settling about the valley. Never seen anything quite like it!
However being told this place had the worlds most poisonous snakes literally on its driveway just 2 days before and huntsmen spiders around the house, it definitely wouldn’t be somewhere I’d like to spend a prolonged period of time in!!!
That evening we were supposed to be going down the Rapids in the valley on rubber rings but as there was thunder and lightening we had to push that back to the following morning… However that did not dampen our spirits (see what I did there?) .. Swanny and Armitage set up their drums, guitars, amps, microphones and put on a display for us all which was unreal. With the sunset in the background, we had live music playing, homemade pizzas in the log fire.. What else could have been better!? We proceeded to play ‘Goon Stacker’, Flip Cup (best game ever in a group) and the most intense game of Ring of Fire ever for the Kings Cup.
That next day was perfect rubber ring conditions, I have got Go Pro videos but unfortunately no pictures of the river itself only before but I’m sure you can picture it… Mountains and forests either side of the river bank, beautiful blue sky’s, my first sighting of a python just chilling on a rock next to the side, and watching George fall in to the Rapids multiple times.. A real relaxing day.
We then headed further north to ‘Spot X’ or Coffs Harbour as it’s known on a map. But on our way we stopped off at a Koala Sanctuary, a charity which takes in injured or sick Koalas such as a koala who were severely burnt in bushfires and have no claws so wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild. Very very sad!
We got to Spot X now this was an experience… Staying Tipi’s like this…
We all sat around as a group and spent time getting to know each other and possibly finding out too much about each other, we headed to the beach for a spot of Crabbing (if you have me on snapchat you’ll see it was extreme and swanny got very much involved- ash_bradders) but great to sit around on the beach and take it all in as we knew the next day was going to be a busy/physical one.
Our first ever surf lesson.. What a sport by the way!! Such good fun and I definitely would love to give it another go and test myself against the waves. Beginners luck was non existent, I’d stand half way up and then my balance would give up on me but I’m sure that’ll come with time…. I hope!! We only got around 45 mins in the water itself with safety regs and all that boring stuff but I fancy giving it another crack. Good to see George get in the water even with the possibility of not being able to see should a wave wipe him and his glasses out but it proved to be successful! We then went on to go river Kayaking.. But this is not any normal river. With clear blue water underneath the kayak, it was also very clear to see the Stingrays casually swimming underneath. We were not falling out of that boat.. We couldn’t !!
Unfortunately thunderstorms came again and cancelled our plans to go to a remote river camp in the evening which would of involved sleeping outdoors in ‘Swags’ (a different alternative to sleeping bags) and so we ended up staying in our warm Tipi’s which protected us from the lightening… I honestly cannot describe the sight of the lightening we could see out at sea. For a good hour, every 1/2 seconds a bolt would been seen flowing across the ocean in between the clouds and it will be something I’ll probably never forget! I can’t load a video on here but again it was all on my snapchat to be seen. We played a few games and chilled with swanny and everyone.
Onwards we moved to Byron Bay which is currently where we are based…. Our accommodation appeared to be different to the rest of our groups.. We were staying at the place part of the inbetweeners was filmed – the bit where Will attempts to sing around a campfire and then gets caught on top of the girl in her bunk – that’s pretty cool. But that’s about as good as it got. My god this room was horrendous and the people we were surrounded by was just polar opposites to us 3. Picture hundreds of people with dreadlocks, old and baggy clothes, playing the bongos as well as guitars and ukeles all sat around a camp fire and then there is us 3.. Snapback on, Joss in trackies, George in his Villa shirt… Haha we did not fit in at all… We have moved now, the place we currently are staying is a genuine 5 star in comparison and we have extended our stay here to enjoy the place better.
Byron Bay is the most eastern point in Australia and the next stop from the coastline we stand on is Chile… The Pacific Ocean was the location for our next adventure. Sea Kayaking in the Pacific Ocean.. In this water you have Whales, lots of herds of Dolphins we got up close with and also turtles and the occasional Shark – how very casual! We really are throwing ourselves in at the deep end to make the most of our time here in Australia!
All these activities are definitely giving us a better time here. We are constantly doing something, exploring new places, trying new things and meeting new people and befriending them. Although it’s only been 3 and a half weeks, the amount of stuff we have done is ridiculous and it’s sick mateee (traditional ozzy saying). Our accents are coming along nicely, I’m beginning to get used to using ozzy terms in my normal chat!
Lots of pictures and stories are coming in from home – new members to the family (Archie) and seeing everyone having a good time is what I like to know! Keeps the morale high..
Up next for us.. Well apart from a lighthouse walk tonight to see the sunset which is supposed to be a ‘must see’ – we are unsure when we want to leave and move onto our next destination which is surfers paradise. We aren’t in any rush so will see where life takes us!!
I’ll leave you with some casual photos!
Lots of love X