Nothing ever seems to go to plan!
19.11.2009 - 01.12.2009 35 °C
Well we didnt quite make it to the free campsite we were looking for near Ballina....we drove for about an hour before we realised we were heading in the wrong direction!!! On the way back we were passing a lorry which flicked a stone up hitting the windscreen and about 30 minutes later we noticed a crack forming. So we stopped and phoned the roadside assistance people who told us we had to go back to Ballina to the nearest Thrifty place to get it fixed. Today was not a day for progress!
So we drove all the way back to Ballina and checked in to a paid campsite on the coast. It was too late to go to Thrifty's so we set up the tent then had an early night. On the friday morning we found Thrifty's and showed them the crack. They said it would be easiest to give us a new car so we could get on our way without waiting for it to be repaired...Great! We had a car full of stuff and it was needing a good clean (we were told when we first hired the car that if you brought it back to them dirty they would take the $220 bond off you) we were in a bit of a panic, rushing about to fill the petrol up and trying to find somewhere to clean the car...no luck! We went back to the guy and told him it needed cleaned but we couldnt find anywhere, he said it would be fine and to just leave it. I hope to God we dont get faced with a big cleaning bill at the end.
Anyway we got the new car, a wee automatic Suzuki Swift, which took me some getting used to driving. I kept trying to change gear. My left hand and leg felt useless!
We decided to spend the rest of the weekend at the campsite in Ballina, time to chill out and figure out where we were headed and what we were doing next. The campsite was a 5 minute walk to the beach, it was beautiful but very windy and the sea was far to cold to go in but we enjoyed exploring the rock pools that were near by.
On Monday 23rd November we drove to Byron Bay, only a half hour drive from Ballina. We found a nice campsite 5 minutes from Byron right next to a playing field. It was nice and we got to watch a couple of games of rugby for free!
Byron was full of 'schoolies' (kids who have just finished school and out to have a good time) it was jumping. It had a good feel to it though, very laid back but full of life. There were more of the bohemian style shops that I love and loads of surf shops that we both cant resist.
On the tuesday we went sea kayaking. We had to be there for 9am, it was raining and dull which wasnt a good start but we still went. Thankfully it cleared up a bit by the time we got out on the sea. That was scary, having to jump into the kayak and get paddling out past the waves. I nearly wet myself a few times, I was sure we were going to tip over and after my experience of white water rafting I was a little nervous to say the least! Once we were out past the waves it was quite nice and peaceful but I still freaked out a little every time a big wave came. We paddled quite far and by the end of it my arms were really tired and sore. We paddled over a small reef patch and Kev got out for a little swim and snorkle but he couldnt see much. I stayed in the kayak cause the sea scares me, I hate being in deep water and not knowing what is beneath me or swimming about me. I freaked out and nearly drowned when we were snorkling in water you could stand up in at Coff's Harbour when a tiny fish swam by! Towards the end of the kayaking we saw a small turtle swimming in the distance, coming up for air every now and then. It was really cool to see and amazing to be so close to the wild. It is so much better to see wild life in their natural environment than in a small tank or cage.
After sea kayaking we had lunch and then a wander. By the afternoon my legs were red raw...I had got sun burn! It had been raining and cloudy and I had put a little sun cream on but I had still anaged to get burnt somehow! That showed us just how strong the sun is here, a little scary. So now I pile the stuff on no matter what the weather is like.
On Wednesday we went to Crystal Castle, a really calming and peaceful place surrounded by beautiful gardens with buddha statues and giant crystals. It was really nice and relaxing walking about exploring the place. They have a beautiful pond, little maze, spiritual statues, georgous plants and flowers and a massive buddha statue. We even got our aura photos taken...we were a little skeptical but intreuged so we got them done. They were pretty spot on with our personalties though, I was blown away with how acurate she was. Mine had a lot of yellow and orange above me which she says is to do with creativity and red to my left side which is to do with personal will and keeping yourself grounded and focused and I had green coming in on my left side which she said was to do with spiritual and personal growth and change. That is the 3rd time I have been told that I am in the process of change and personal growth, figuring out who I am and what I want. I do actually feel that I am getting there, slowly, becoming the person I want to be. It was really interesting and made me feel that there has to be so much more to life than what we can just see. It has given me a bit more hope.
Kevs reading was good. She said that she got a really good feeling from his aura, she said that it was a really sweet and genuine feeling to it. His aura was mainly red which is funny because I had said to him before it, whats the bets your aura is red! She said that he was full of energy and get up and go and wanting to strive for better things. She said that both of us are on a good journey and it was a special time for us to take in more than just the average person does. She said it would do us good to go with the flow more, which we are starting to do since deciding not to find work and enjoying our time here as much as we can. It means we cant do China this time round but we can always visit China another time. We feel that we have to make the most of being here in Australia while we can, we may never get the chance to come back. It has been a lot more expensive than we thought Australia would be but we would rather enjoy it and do everything we want while we are here than have a half hearted experience and watching every penny. More money can be made anytime but experiences like this should be grabbed while they can, and what experiences they have been, we will have so many amazing memories and experiences that will have changed us in ways we wont even know yet.
That afternoon we went back into Byron. I had been thinking about getting a small tattoo for a while and Kev has wanted to get another one done for ages so we were brave and got them done.
I got a lotus flower on my foot, which hurt like hell but it means a lot to me. I love the symbolisim behind the lotus flower, it starts as a small flower down at the bottom of the a pond in the mud and muck. It slowly grows up towards the waters surface continually moving towards the light. Once it comes to the surface of the water the lotus flower begins to blossom and turn into a beautiful flower. Within Hinduism and Buddhism the lotus flower has become a symbol for awakening to the spiritual reality of life. The lotus flower represents life in general, as the lotus flower grows up from the mud and dark into an object of beauty people also grow and change into something more beautiful (hopefully!). For me it represents me having spent so long in the dark, feeling down and alone to now finally feeling like I am getting closer to where I should be, seeing the sunshine and goodness in life and hopefully becoming a better person.
Kev got a tattoo of a tribal symbol on his right side, one of the worst places to get a tattoo, pain wise. He was so brave, I dont know how he stood the pain. I could see he was in absolute agony but he braved it out til the end. I couldnt watch him in soo much pain, it was awful. He said that of all the tattoos he has that was by far the most painful one and he would not be getting another one on his side! It does look good though.
On thursday 26th we had one last wander round Byron before heading on to Tweed Heads, another lovely place which is just on the border between New South Wales and Queensland. Each place we go to we think wow this is amazing and beautiful and one of the best places we have been but every time we move on we find that we say the say thing. We think we cant find anything better or as nice but we do, every place we go to has its own wow factor and something we love about it. The East Coast of Australia is beautiful and never fails to impress.
We drove to Brisbane on Friday afternoon, a bit of a stressful moment but no where near as stressful as Melbourne and Sydney. Again we were impressed by Brisbane, its a beautiful city with amazing architecure and has a river flowing around it and hills in the background. It has a very cosmopolitan feel, its trendy and clean and has a brilliant vibe to it. We love it here.
The hostel was another story...nice place and really clean but we had booked a mix 4 bed dorm room which turned out to be a 5 bed dorm with all guys in it! One of the guys seemed to be a bit of an exercise freak, doing his sit ups in his boxers and not even stopping when we came into the room to say 'Hi'! I was not about to share a tiny wee room with 4 guys and one of them strutting his tuff in his boxers so we went down to reception and ended up paying a bit more to get a private room because the place was fully booked. That was fine, I prefer my own privacy anyway. I am sooo not a backpacker! That night we were woken at 5am to our neighbours coming home drunk and having a party until 7am....did I say that I am soooo not a backpacker?!! This is the worst thing about travelling for me, living in dorms with people who just want to get drunk all the time and have no respect for anyone or anything. Next time we go travelling Im doing it 5 star
We are spending 5 nights in Brisane, leaving on Wednesday 2nd December to head back down to Surfers paradise and wet n wild we cant wait for wet n wild, it looks amazing. At night they show a film while you laze about in a rubber ring...think we may have wrinkly bums by the time we get out
We have been round the shops, which are starting to get a bit manic with people christmas shopping, something we dont have to do thankfully. Its soo good to be giving christmas a miss for one year.
We saw 'Ringo' from neighbours playing his new song outside HMV. I was star struck again and had to buy his single and get his autograph just incase he makes it big like Kylie
We also caught up with Jill, a lady we met while on our South America trip. She lives in Nudgee just outside the city, so we caught a train out there and saw round her beautiful home which I really want. Then she took us to Southgate for fish n chips by the sea. It was lovely, we sat under a sheltered table and watched the lightning as we ate our fish n chips. It was really warm and dry but there was a thunder storm going on over the sea, some of the flashes were amazing. I really wish we could capture a photo of lightning, thats someting I have always wanted to do.
Yesterday we found a parking ticket for $50 on our car and we had no idea why, we were parked within the lines and we had a parking permit displayed so we went in search of the city council to find out why. After a bit of a detour we eventually found the place and found out that because we had parked facing on coming traffic we had been fined. We couldnt believe it, what a stupid reason to wack on such a big fine. Well at least we learnt not to park like that again!
Last night we walked to the bridge to take photos and then we caught the city cat (like a bus only on the water) back around the city towards the hostel. It was so calm and really pretty to see the city lit up.