My exact route for the great Auzzie adventure has always been a bit vague, I’ve sorted of just hopped from friend to friend and gone with the flow. But now that I’m out of the city I need to have a more precise plan and route…..which looks a little like this….
First stop Coffs Harbour –
Coffs Harbour is a very quiet little place, very quiet in fact, as I realised pretty much as soon as I got there. Paul had already told me this but according to my guide-book Coffs Harbour is the “action capital of the South West Coast”….let me just say this….they lied. I will be writing a letter and informing them of their lie very shortly. But it wasn’t all bad, I did meet Maggie (the aging naked yoga lady), I also enjoyed the harbour, the quiet beaches and the pier. But after about 2hrs you realise that there really isn’t much else to do, but just relax and let it all sink in. And that’s exactly what I did.
I walked to the very end of the pier and sat on a little bench looking out to sea. There wasn’t another soul in sight, I was totally alone. Just me, the sea and the breeze. It was a beautifully still sunny day. The sky was ocean blue with just a few tiny whisps of cloud. Perfect. It was at this moment everything just sort of caught up with me. I’m not ashamed to say I shed a little tear on this pier. I think it was one of the first times I’ve been able to fully take it all in. The space, the freedom, everything I’m trying to move on from and how much I’m moving on. But it was a good moment, I needed it. And as I walked back down the pier I felt a whole lot better. Because of that, little quiet Coffs Harbour and this pier will stay with me for a long time…..
After a 4hr bus journey, which started at 6am and involved sharing a small space with the great unwashed (seriously the bus stank!), the next stop on my travels was Byron Bay –
I had already been told that Byron Bay was going to be pretty awesome. It’s know for being a bit of a party place, with very cool people, great beaches, great surf and lots of fun. But after Coffs Harbour and the blatant ‘action capital…’ lie I was keeping my expectations pretty low.
I’ve been here for 4 days now and I’m very, very happy to report that Byron is bloody brilliant! It’s a seriously cool place, very much set up for travellers and people who are passing through. The main street is packed with great shops, bars, cafes and quirky galleries, and amble off any of the side streets and a similar scene unfolds. In fact it’s a bit of a rabbit warren with lots to discover if you just wonder about and take a few wrong turns. At the end of the main road you’re greeted with the famous bay and its white sandy beach which stretches for miles and miles.
On my first night I decided to join one of the organised pub crawls with my new Frienger and fellow roomie, Brita. One thing I will just get out is that so far pretty much all of the travellers I’ve met have been either English or German, with a handful of Americans. But mostly English or German – in fact there are so many of us I’m pretty sure the population of both countries is significantly lower than usual?!! Anyway Brita, allowed me to tag along with her and her friend Amadeus (yes really) and her cousin Max (who I’m pretty sure was mute because I never actually heard him speak once, not in English or German).
The reason I mention the pub crawl is to clarify something….It may seem that a lot of this blog is about drinking but when you’re travelling on your own one of the easiest ways to meet people and not be a massive loner eating instant noodles by yourself is to share a beer. So I have fully embraced this and it works.
The other reason I’m mentioning the bar crawl is because it is where I met Rachael. And Rachael Rocks!!! Rachael is English and within the space of about 10mins we realised we were destined to be proper real friends and subsequently spent the next 4 days tied to each other and having the most amazing, hilarious and brilliant time. One of the most memorable nights (St Patrick’s day to be precise) involved Rachael’s encounter with an Auzzie rules player who, very seriously, described himself as “Kind of a big deal” followed up with (and again I’m deadly serious, he said these exact words) “People know me”…….Yeap we’d met the Ron Burgundy of Auzzie rules……Needless to say he genuinely thought he was gods gift and it was very amusing to watch Rachael bat him away, repeatedly I must say, with lines like “I don’t give a toss who you are, you could be the David Beckham of rugby for all I care, now bugger off!’. He was putty in her hands!
Sadly Rachel has now left for Sydney but I’ll know I’ll see her when I head back that way…..after all “She’s kind of a big deal” ;0)
During the day there are loads to do in Byron, it’s a wonderful place to just potter, explore and pass the time without a care in the world. And the beaches as I’ve already said are stunning. I went for a run along the coastal path yesterday and the views were breathtaking. Lots of little hidden beaches come into view with each bend in the track, each more more stunning than the last. Pure white sand, crystal clear waters, dotted with the occasional surfer, expertly weaving their way through the waves. It really is paradise, or as close as I’ve come to it.
The surfing culture over here is pretty intense. And at some point I knew I had to get out there and give it a try. So tomorrow I will attempt to surf. For the very first time..ever. Terrified…me….oh hell yeah! I mean I have boogie-boarded down in Cornwall before which was just brilliant fun, but I know that’s nothing like actual proper surfing. But I have booked a proper surf lesson so there’s no going back. I set off at 11am and fully intend to get bashed about by the waves, drink a gallon of sea water, possibly get attacked by a shark and then collapse in a heap on the sand swearing I’ll never do it again……. I will of course share a full report with you (pictures and all), should I survive the experience.
In the next few days I’ll head up the coast to Surfers Paradise – well, I should by this time be a world-class surfer so I’m thinking I’ll fit right in…Dude.
After Surfers I’ll be city bound and spend a few nights in Brisbane before travelling on to Noosa, Hervey Beach, Rainbow Bay, Fraser Island, up to the Whit Sundays and a whole host of places in between, before finally reaching Cairns and travelling back to Sydney. Phew!!
So there you go, that’s how the travels look and I’m loving every single moment of it.