Hiya! We thought it was about time for a little reminder of our travels - it has been a while since we last blogged!
So, we last left you as we were about to escape to Sydney from the Cyclone in Cairns. We have just realised that this now leaves us the rest of our East coast journey to tell you about - so we will attempt to break it up into bite size pieces for you.Arriving in Sydney we had our usual high hopes for sun, surfing and partying. Looking out of the aircraft window we were surrounded by blue sky. Yet on landing, we seemed to have brought the weather with us! In our despair, we somehow managed to wangle a free transfer to our hostel and a mini tour of Sydney (!) visiting the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Bonus! He did however, drop us off at the wrong hostel. But hey, we weren't complaining. Our hostel was only just around the corner! Having had no sleep, we dumped our bags and started our tour by foot of Sydney. We walked through Hyde Park to the Botanical Gardens which led us to the infamous Opera House. Having travelled this far, we simply had to experience the delights that the Opera House had to offer - however, being backpackers and not liking Opera, we visited the toilets instead. My how grand! Even picture worthy we felt. As a reward for our long walk we decided sit on the steps up to the Opera House with an ice cream, discovering Caramel Truffle Heaven - YUM! Zoe realised she had previously experienced the caramel coating in her childhood and recalled as Caramac (anyone else heard of it?). It was now Ange's mission to find this choc bar back at home. This gave us the energy to continue and attempt to walk the Harbour bridge. (Its long! We felt even more tired watching everyone run passed us with weights in their back packs). Passing through Circular Quay, we got lunch/dinner by "The Rocks" where we chose to test out a theory that we had recently heard concerning seagulls. Apparently if you feed one, it will automatically invite all its family and friends join in on the feast. Sure enough we were surrounded and under siege! Our last stop was Darling Harbour to relax after our long walk. Watching a 3D film in the Imax theatre seemed the best idea. This has one of the largest screens in the world. However, we spent most of our time ducking and diving out of the way of scary objects and monsters flying from the screen towards us - we had chosen to watch "Haunted House"! The next day we ventured to Kings Cross Station to check out the much raved about Bondi Beach. On arrival it was raining, but sure enough, there were still plenty of surfers catching the waves. We trekked in the bitterly cold wind and rain along the coast to Coogee beach, where we treated ourselves to a chish and fips (aka fish and chips) meal out. Yum! We got an early night to make the most of our last day in Sydney, where we checked out the bats in the Botanical gardens. Once you spotted one bat, you saw hundreds! We were also bombarded by white and yellow cockatoos that were way too inquisitive for our liking. Then we caught the overnight bus to Byron Bay - 13 hours. Ouch! After very nearly arriving with no bed to call our own, we spent the majority of the time hostel hopping. And we could see why everything was fully booked - no-one ever wanted to leave Byron as it is such a great place! There was a very laid back, hippie undertone to this place. People walked around in beach wear along the main strip, which trailed inland from the beautiful beach. Our days ended up following a similar pattern of tribal travel for Internet, then beach for sunning ourselves plus a bit of body boarding, followed by a free meal in Cheeky Monkeys then out clubbing at Cocomongas or Cheeky Monkeys or La la land. But we don't want to bore you with those details now do we :p We devoted a day to visiting Nimbin - an even more alternative village, lying inland from Byron, which opened our eyes to a very different way of life. The local newspaper strongly promoted the recreational use of cannabis and even claimed it posed less of a risk than alcohol. So we brought some beers for the bus ride over there. What do they know ay :) Stepping off the bus we saw a cloud of smoke above the town and there was a distinct aroma of weed and incense! People walked around in barefoot, everyone had dreadlocks and wore brightly clashing colours. That night we decided to treat ourselves to a kebab on the beach with hippie bongo and drums as soothing background music. On the way back, Ange heard a loud cricket type noise amongst some leaves just off the path. We stopped to investigate. Whilst searching, we were confronted by some Belgian lads who were intrigued at what we found so fascinating. They invited us to join them to share their Goon (aka big silver bag of wine that tastes fowl!) by their camper van. We accepted but after an increasing feeling of discomfort we made our excuses and left giving them false details about our choice of club for the evening. Unfortunately, our choice of club was closed and as Byron Bay is such a small place, we ended up bumping into them. We saw them in the club and did a 180 turn but it was too late. Zoe felt a had grabbing her shoulder from behind as she struggled to escape through the crowd. Bummer! We had to acknowledge them (they had been generous with their goon after all...). Mid dancing, one leaned over to Zoe and whispered that they had spotted us in Tribal travel that morning (cringe!) and recalled our discussions with each other and the travel agent. Ewwww! Stalkersville :( Suddenly Byron Bay had got way too small!!! So we hid in the toilets and planned our second attempt of escaping. RUN! We were caught. Damn. We returned to the toilets to decide plan C but then heard the music stop. We gave it five minutes, everyone had left. So we headed out of the club dodging them by taking an alternative route home. Safe! So we thought... whilst dropping off to sleep in our dorm room, there was a knock at the door. The boys we were sharing with answered. It was the Belgian lads asking for us :( !!!! Luckily they were told that we were asleep. Phew. We have now ceased ever trying to track down the culprit of strange noises! Off the coast of Byron Bay lay Julian Rocks, a nature conservation area. One day, we decided to jump on a boat and go snorkeling. Whilst at the rocks we had the most amazing encounters with turtles. Zoe spotted one eating a jelly fish below and called Ange over. Meanwhile, it had brought the jelly fish up to the surface to join us for dinner. It stopped and stared at Zoe for ages. Neither moved. Then it swam a bit closer, almost trying to offer Zoe some food! Later Ange spotted an Octopus scrambling along the ocean floor and then a sting ray gliding and darting below us. We also managed to see many beautiful fish and leopard sharks. Its amazing to think of what is lying beneath the waters surface which you can be completely oblivious to. Sadly our time in Byron had to come to an end. We caught the bus up to Surfers paradise. Not much to write home about here. Big city, tall skyscrapers which formed the backdrop to the beach and clubs that didn't nearly compare to Byron Bay. We still have loads more to write about, but we will leave that for another day!