We arrived in Port Macquarie at around 5pm. We checked in at the hostel, an YHA called Ozzie Pozzie, it said on the flyer that it had free internet but that appeared to be a lie. We were shown to our room they were little houses with about 6-8 dorms sharing a living area and kitchen with no pots or pans, for some stupid reason you had to use the main kitchen if you wanted to cook a proper meal. There was also a small bird aviary in the middle of the hostel, something I didn't really care for after all the bird attacks I have had in my time in Australia, I also knew they would be little b******s in the morning when I wanted to sleep in. Anyway we made ourselves at home and then headed out to find a supermarket; we decided for once to not visit a local fast food restaurant but to cook. We found a Woolworths and brought the ingredients for a chicken curry. We made it, I say we Tom did the most work and made splendid work of a Chicken Madras. We had also brought some cheap German beers they weren't that nice but they were $28 for a crate of 24 which is a real bargain in Australia. So we spent the rest of the night chilling out with a few beers playing table football, ping pong and s***head before retiring to bed for the night and watching X-Men Origins Wolverine.
The next day we woke up and decided what to do with our day while enjoying a beer and a chicken and stuffing sandwich for breakfast. We decided to do the free things in town, this included going to the Roto House, a Koala Hospital and Exploring the city centre. We walked about 30 minutes and it was the Roto House that was up first. We didn't really know what to expect. I had no idea what a Roto house was, I was hoping maybe a pub. But it was just a house from back in the day named Roto, named maybe after a cattle ranch or a town on the West Coast. John Flynn built the house back in the 1800's, he had a great moustache and he and his family lived there. After examing the house we swiftly moved on next door to the Koala Hospital. This was pretty impressive, they took sick Koalas from around Australia looked after them until they were better and then rereleased them back into the wild. Only really severe cases the Koala would stay so they could get the care and attention they needed to prolong their lives. It was here I also found out that one of the major diseases a Koala could get was Chlamydia. If I knew that before I would have thought twice about holding one in Pot Douglas. The weather then suddenly changed and we a thunder storm struck out, so we took cover back in the Roto House, where an elderly volunteer Carolyn gave Me, Tom and to German girls a tour and speech about the house. Every time we thought Carolyn had finished and let us go on our way she started with another story, I think she was pretty lonely and liked to chat so we were happy to listen to her tales. When Carolyn finally let us go the weather had calmed down so we marched into town to explore. Tom got distracted by a KFC and had a meal; there wasn't too much in town just the usual so we headed back to the hostel. I went to McDonalds to make use of some free Wi-Fi the connection was pretty bad though so I didn't get done half the stuff I needed too. For Open Water Dive Course I need to complete the online theory which takes 4-5 hours but the internet was being very slow so would have took me more like 8-9 hours so I decided to place my faith in our next destination Newcastle for some decent internet access. I went back to the hostel where Tom was lay on his bed, he told me he was probably going to go on a walk around the lake to see fruit bats and flying foxes, but it appeared some terrible sounding game called Dungeon Keeper Two got him distracted. We spent the rest of the day chilling out with a few beers watching a couple films including The Dark Knight Rises and Rango.
The next day we were woke up by the Germans in our room leaving; we had to check out anyway so it wasn't a bad alarm. It was raining pretty heavy so we weren't really looking forward to hitch-hiking. But by the time we checked out the rain had cleared, the sun was shining and the streets looked like it hadn't rained in about a week! So we started our trek to the edge of town. I only have to see the faintest of opportunities of a layby and I like to stop and try it out, this is mainly because I hate walking with my bags. It took me two minutes to find somewhere this time. I was happy with the place. We waited 45 minutes there and got nothing, well there was many left indicators but they were all turning into the doctors before or the car wash next to us, it didn't help morale. We made the decision to walk further where we found a more secluded layby so we decided to try there. After half an hour we had nothing but strange pointing that Tom was getting really paranoid about. "Why do they keep pointing", "are we on the right road" he kept asking in frustration. Assured him to stick with me and he would be alright. I see these sort of situations of a test of mental strength, it's a numbers game someone is bound to stop for you sooner or later and after an hour and 15 minutes an elderly gentleman obliged. We didn't get his name but he looked like a cross between Santa Claus and Greengrass from heartbeat. He took us around 6km to the pacific highway. We were finally on the move. The old man dropped us off at a service station; we scouted the area and found somewhere to stand. I went to the garage to get a drink and told Tom by the time I'm back you better have us a lift. I got back and Tom was sat on the floor. I was puzzled why he wasn't trying some might even say I was showing a bit of anger. I questioned Tom and my feeling soon turned to delight when he informed me we had a lift; the driver was just going through the KFC drive through first. His name was Stuart and he was heading to a wedding in Kew it was only 38km down the road but it all counts. He dropped us off at his exit on the highway and we strolled back to a stopping bay we had seen on the drive. At this point the sun was baking hot, we had no shade, we were in the middle of nowhere and cars were flying by us doing 100km an hour. I thought we were going to be waiting ages again. "I think the only thing that will pick us up here is something slow like a truck" I declared to Tom, then as if by magic a truck pulled over 100 meters from where we were stood. Was it for us? He tooted his horn. Surely it was for us. Tom jogged down to see him. He gave the thumbs up we had a lift and he was going to the outskirts of Newcastle. What a result! We loaded in to his truck and introduced ourselves. We never got his name, when he said it, it just sounded like shaeuusfd. The only clear sound I heard was the sh at the start, so I'm going to assume his name is Shannon. Shannon was a truck driver obviously and loved to drop the C-bomb like most Australians. I was in his cab at the back, and ended up falling asleep, waking up at Shannon laughing profusely at Tom's bad jokes. He particularly loved the one about two muffins in an oven. When one muffin said to the other "it's hot in here" and the other said "Bloody hell a talking Muffin." Shannon was then pulled over firstly claiming he stayed on the right hand side for too long, which he didn't. Then they claimed he was texting, which he also wasn't doing and then finally they got him for not pulling into a weigh bridge. It appears when you get pulled over they don't stop until they can fine you for something. After 200+ km Shannon dropped us off on the outskirts of Newcastle. We were 9km away so too far to walk, so we carried on hitch hiking we weren't getting anything but the occasional horn honking though so we decided to change our location to further down the road and try and get people coming out of the BP garage to give us a lift. It was a slow and steady procedure, we didn't have many cars to work with and Tom was losing his head wanting to find a bus stop. I wanted to carry on the hitch hiking and see it through. It looked like we were going to split up, a fact made more difficult that Tom had no credit and no phone battery. Tom was contemplating his options would he stick with me or go solo. He didn't have to think long though because Shane pulled up and offered us a lift. He was going Skipton. It was in the opposite direction to Newcastle but he said we could get a ferry to Newcastle. So we hoped in. We had the usual chats about here we had seen in Oz and where we were from and all of a sudden we were at the ferry station. We boarded the ferry, and he ferry crossing took no longer than 7 minutes. We had finally made it 7 hours after setting off from Port Macquarie, we had made the 250+km ride to Newcastle using three cars, one truck and a ferry costing us a grand total of $2.40 each. Success.
It was now time to see what we could get up to in Newcastle but for that you will have to wait until the next blog. So until then Stay Safe and Take Care