A Travellerspoint blog

Ballina to Brisbane

Nothing ever seems to go to plan!

sunny 35 °C
View Our big trip on Wayward83's travel map.


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.

Posted by Wayward83 19:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Working our way up the East Coast

Its getting hot!

sunny 30 °C
View Our big trip on Wayward83's travel map.

Well we made it to the East Coast...2 days of driving through Bendigo, shepparton, across the border to Yass and then trying to bypass Sydney. That didnt quite work though! We did manage to avoid the city centre but it was still manic, cars flying everywhere. The Australian driving system is a little nuts...in Melbourne city we saw in some areas that when you wanted to turn left or right you had to do so from the outside lane! So if you wanted to turn left you had to go into the right hand lane and then pay attention to the traffic not only coming in front of you but also behind you...a little nuts if you ask me...so glad I havnt had to do that, think I would have just gone straight and found another route!

Our first stop on the East Coast was in Taree, a cute little place by the river. We had been trying to phone WWOOF places but everyone we phoned said they were booked up until next year!! We were starting to feel a little disappointed, nothing was seeming to fall into line when it came to finding any sort of work.

On friday 13th we drove to Port Macquarie, one of the original landing spots for prisoners. We sat on the beach and had some lunch and came to the decision that we will not go to China this time. Australia is a lot more expensive than we thought it would be and our money was going fast. We have decided to spend the money we would have used in China to do everything we want to do while we are here in Australia instead of missing out on some things because we need to keep the money for China. We can always visit China another time, we dont know if we will ever be back in Austarlia again so we may as well make the most of it while we are here. And we are not going to look for WWOOF work anymore, we have enough money to do Australia now without having to sweat our days out pulling up weeds! Now that we have made this decision we both feel a lot better and more relaxed about being able to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about money. Its a little disappointing that we cant do China now but its not going anywhere, we can do it another year.

On sat we drove to South West Rocks, a place recommended to us by someone. It was gorgeous, a beautiful golden sandy beach and the water was warm. We had a walk along the beach and soaked our feet before moving on to the next place...Coff's Harbour.

Coff's Harbour is a lovely little fishing town. We walked along the jetty that night and saw turtles in the sea...I love seeing wild animals in their natural environment going about their business, its amazing to watch.
We booked ourself into a motel and had dinner that night to celebrate coming to a decision and having more fun while we are here.

On monday we had a look around the shops and then went to the Pet Porpoise Pool, a sea life sanctuary. They rescue seals, dolphins and penguins that have been hurt by fishing boats and rubbish in the sea. One poor seal had lost its right eye because she had a hook stuck in it and another one had been tangled up in fishing line. Its really good how they save the animals and return them to the sea if they can. The ones that cant go back are looked after and the staff do shows with them. When we first went in we had a kiss from a seal and then a dolphin, the seal tickled and the dolphin felt really rubbery. We then watched the seal and dolphin show which was great because they got the audience to interact. Kevin got pulled up to go and feed the dolphins, he had to stand on a platform and hold out a rod with fish on it for the dolphin to jump up out of the water to catch. It was really cool, lots of fun. At the end we got to stroke the dolphins, we had to pat them under the belly because they dont like you touching their noise or near their blow hole. They felt really rubbery and a lot softer than I thought they would feel.

On tuesday we went to Sawtell, a smaller town nearby to Coff's Harbour. It was a quaint little place with some nice wee shops. After Sawtell we went to Bellingen to visit a shop that makes and sells didgeridoo's. There were some really beautiful piece's but very expensive, we saw one that we really liked but it was $950 (about 500 pounds!)
We got to have a wee go a playing the didg, I was just crap...sounded like an elephant in pain but Kev was quite good. I think he would be able to pick it up quite quickly. So now we are on the hunt for a nice didg that doesnt cost the earth.

We spent another night in Coff's Harbour and I had a reiki tretment done the next day. It was amazing, I felt so relaxed after it, really spaced out. The lady did a lot of energy work to move stagnent energy and help me to flow a bit better. Afterwards she spoke to me about what she felt during the treatment and she got me spot on, saying I keep myself at arms length to protect myself and that I need to find time to do meditiation to help relax me and balance my emotions. She was really good and I came out of there feeling great. I would recommend reiki to everyone.

We left Coff's Harbour on wednesday afternoon much to my disappointment. I really liked Coff's Harbour it is such a pretty, peaceful place and everyone was really friendly. Now that is somewhere I could live, if it didnt get sooo hot :)
We drove through Grafton up to MacLean, a wee Scottish town. On every telegraph pole they have painted different clans tartans. It was really unusual and made me feel a little homesick. We found the Anderson tartan and I got my photo taken next to it :)

From MacLean we have driven to Ballina. We are catching up on the net then having a wander before finding a campsite. Think we are going to spend a few nights in the one campsite so we can explore what is here before moving on to Byron Bay.

Hope eveyone is well and happy. Take care, love to you all xxx

Posted by Wayward83 17:51 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Finally found somewhere with a computer

are you sitting comfortably?

sunny 30 °C
View Our big trip on Wayward83's travel map.

Ok, are you ready for this....3 weeks update coming your way......

We left Sydney on Monday 26th October...what a nightmare that was trying to find a quiet road out of the city! I was a sweaty shaking mess. I managed to calm down about 2 hours out of the city!

We spent our first night in Kangaroo Valley, it lived up to its name. We saw loads of wild kangaroos bouncing about and had wombats chomping on the grass outside our tent all night. It was wet and cold which didnt go down too well for our first night of camping. So first thing in the morning we headed for KMart (a big store thats sells just about everything for cheaper than anywhere else) and got some lilo's to sleep on and a blanket to make us more comfortable and warmer. We spent the rest of the second day driving towards the border between New South Wales and Victoria.

The third morning we had our first cold shower (no hot showers in free campsites, actually we were lucky to find a shower at all) Lets just say...refreshing. We headed along the coast towards a place called Paradise Beach...not Paradise at all...the place was swarming with mossies and ants! Despite being eaten alive that night we stayed for another night before moving on.

Day 5 we went to Wilson's Promentary. A beautiful place on the coast that we wandered around before heading on. It all went pear shape from then...we couldnt find two different campsites on the map and it was starting to get dark. We ended up in a wee backtown place called Koo-wee-rup in a motel, out of our price range but we didnt have much choice. It was so good having a hot shower and a decent bed that we didnt grumble too much. It turned out that it was just as well we were in a motel and not the tent because there was the biggest thunderstorm that night. Ive never heard anything like it, the room actually shook from the thunder. We were so glad we were not in the tent, we would have been washed out!

The next morning, halloween, we found a free campsite....in the middle of the woods!!! Didnt think that one through did we. It wasnt until night time I realised it was halloween and that we were about to spend the night in woods. Thats when all sorts stared going through my mind...it was the perfect storyline of a horror film...2 British backpackers camping in woods in the middle of nowhere in Australia on Halloween....hhmmm!!!
Anyway, we survived...just....there were guys next to us that were blind drunk, shouting and blarring music all night. There was about to be a masacre all right....

Needless to say we left sharp the next morning. We had no idea where we were going so ended up going to Phillip Island and staying to watch the tiny penguins come in from the sea and waddle home. It was really cool to see, the penguins were tiny and sooo cute. They waited until the sun had set before venturing out of the sea and every time they got a fright from something they would all run back into the sea. Eventually they all made it up the beach and headed for home to feed the waiting chicks. We walked up the boardwalk and saw them all making there way home and the babies waiting outside the burrows to be fed. It was really amazing to see wild animals going about their daily routines.

Day 8, Monday 2nd Nov. Finally made it to Melbourne city. We had booked two nights in a hostel to make it easier to see the city and to give us a chance to get a shower! We stayed in St Kilda, which we thought would be quite nice because it was on the outskirts of the city and by the sea....wrong! I think we were staying in the slums, the hostel was very run down and very basic. And all around there seemed to be winos and homeless. Im glad we were only there for two nights.

Tuesday was Melbourne Cup day. A traditional day for Melbourne for years...everyone gets dressed up in beautiful dresses and hats and spends the day at the horse races betting and drinking. It was really interesting to see people dolled up and drinking at 9am. Think booze is a big thing here...they always seem to have a beer in their hand and make up any excuse to drink :)
We spent the day in Melbourne Museum, we didnt have the money to bet or the fancy clothes to get dressed up in. I had said to Kev that we could turn up in our travel gear and wide brimmed hats and see what happens! :)

Before leaving Melbourne on the wednesday we did the neighbours tour. We were up early for starting the tour at 8.30am!! I was slightly embarassed about sitting on a mini bus covered in 'the offical neighbours tour' and 'ramsay street' signs but soon forgot about that when our tour guide got started. He was Irish and soooo funny...now he is what you would call a neighbours buff, he knew everything about everything. He took us to the studio first to see where they film the scenes for Carpenters garage and greese monkeys. He was busy pointing out Paul Robinsons car when Dr Karl Kennedy came round the corner for meet and greet the mad fans. He was really nice and very funny, nothing like his no nonsense character. We had the photos taken and got his autograph which was very exciting!! :)
Then we were taken to the street, which is a lot smaller in real life but looked just the same :) The six houses on the street have 24hr security and the residents are paid compensation for disturbance....sounds like they have got a good thing going on. We had fun taking photos of the houses and with the Ramsay Street sign. Kev has tried to upload the photos while Im writing the blog but its not working for some reason so Im affraid you will just have to be kept in suspense to see Dr Kennedy and the street...sorry.

From the tour we headed out of the city...nerve wracking stuff driving in a city I dont know, I hate driving in Glasgow city centre.

Making it alive out of the city we stopped off at the scienceworks museum so Kev could see the Starwars exhibition they had on. It was pretty cool to see all the models and costumes on display.

The next day we headed out along the Great Ocean Road, first stopping at Torquay and finding an Anderson Street :) and watching all the surfers out on the waves. The coast was stunning, beautiful clear blue waters and sunshine all the way. There were so many nice places to stop along the way and take photos. That night we camped at Johanna Beach, 2 mins walk and we were on the beach which spanned for miles. We spent 3 nights there just chilling out, we were feeling pretty done in for some reason, we had no energy and just wanted to sleep. I think we had just overloaded ourselves with too much to see and do, so a few days rest did us good.

From Johanna Beach we moved on to a campsite just before you get to the 12 Apostles. The 12 Apostles and surrounding areas were stunning, really beautiful. They reminded me a bit of Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall. I really wish we could upload the photos to show you guys. After visiting the 12 Apostles we headed for the beach at Port Campbell because it was way to hot to do anything but melt. It was really good to get in the sea and cool off a bit. Am I making you jealous yet? :) Its really weird to think its November. I keep thinking its strange when they talk about christmas on the radio until I realise that it is nearly christmas. It is soo odd being somewhere hot in November. Its been getting really hot over the last few days...too hot mid day. You just cant do anything....and its still only spring...God help us for when summer comes around. You will just find us living in the sea I think.

Ok, day 16 and we are spending the night in Ballarat before heading on up towards Newcastle in New South Wales, about 10hrs away, so I guess that will take another 2 days of driving. We knew Australia was big but we never imagined it would be this big. Someone told us that you can fit 8 Uk's in the state of Victoria alone, and that is the smallest state in Australia!!

We are hoping to get some wwoof work when we reach the East Coast cause money is going down fast. Australia is a lot more expensive than we thought it would be. Its more expensive than back home for just about everything, food, drinks, clothes, etc.

Did you survive? You did well :) Thats it for now, we will update again when we can. Hopefully with photos too.

Posted by Wayward83 01:53 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Monster caught....

....Kev is a hero


At 5 am this morning I woke up to one of the girls sharing the room with us calling out to her friend. Straight away I knew the spider was back....

Poor Kev had to stand on a swivel chair to catch the thing, while the two girls hid in the bathroom and I hid outside in the hall! Surprisingly it was over quite quickly, Kev said it didnt even make any attempt to run. It must have just thought why bother, I may as well just give in...get me away from these screaming girls! :)

It was horrible....4 sleepless nights later and we finally catch it! Now Im heading into the wild to sleep in a tent right beside them...why???!!!!

Check out the photos, he's pretty big.

Posted by Wayward83 15:04 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Taronga Zoo

Sydney's big zoo

View Our big trip on Wayward83's travel map.

Well I survived...the little horror didnt appear!! I have no idea if he just wasnt hungry or if he has moved on to terrorize someone else now. All I can say is thank God we are leaving soon!

On saturday we took the ferry to Taronga Zoo. Its only on the other side of the harbour and took about 10 minutes to get there.

The zoo was massive, home to many animals we have seen before and some we have never seen. It was a good day, although it did get quite hot. Think the animals were feeling it too, they were all slumped in any shaded area they could find. Poor things. There was a massive tortoise that looked like it had just dropped on the spot, its legs were spread eagle and its head was slumped on the floor. It was so funny, the poor thing looked like it had just given up.

There were a few baby animals running about, they were the only ones with any energy. A baby gorilla was swinging about in the ropes provided and a baby chimp was doing rolly pollies, very cute.

There was a wombat playing with a cardboard tube, rolling it up and down a hill and then too exausted from the heat he passed out on top of it! He was the cutest thing ever. A bit like a cross between a small bear and a giant hamster :) He looked so cuddly. I now want a pet koala and a pet wombat :)

After visiting the zoo we headed back to the harbour and found are really nice burger bar for dinner. We had the biggest burger ever, I could hardly get my mouth round it. It was the tastiest burger we have ever had...yum!

Once the sun had set we had fun playing about with the camera, taking photos using a slow shutter speed so that the famous landmarks were surrounded by blurry people moving about around them. We spent hours experimenting and trying different things, anyone watching us would have thought we were mad! We've uploaded some of our masterpieces, check them out :)

Posted by Wayward83 04:09 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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