We arrived in Coffs Harbour about midnight after a 3 hour drive in the dark and the rain and spent the next half hour searching for Robs desired hostel. After he finally checked in, we used the kitchen facilities but soon Dan and I were shouted at and thrown out for not being guests! So we sulked and ate our half cooked noodles in the van before finding a place to park up and sleep. We awoke in the morning to yet more rain and after spending the morning doing some washing up in the public toilets next to the tramps, we took a quick drive around the town, realised there was nothing to do unless it was sunny and continued our drive south towards Sydney. We didn't really have any plans for this section of our travels as there's not a hell of a lot to see along the coast except for lots and lots of small seaside towns. We had a 6 hour drive to the next big town of Newcastle so we broke up the drive with a stop for lunch in the town of Port Macquarie. Again, if it's raining there's w*** all to do so we sat in a cafe for a while and dried off and warmed up before heading on south. We finally arrived in Newcastle late in the afternoon and got Rob checked into another hostel. At first glance, Newcastle seemed to be pretty classy, but at a second glance, we realised that all the classy cafes were boarded up and there was no one around! We spent the evening chilling in the hostel common area before Dan and I took a drive out of town to find a quiet spot to park.
We picked Rob up in the morning and headed out to a nature reserve to see more Kangaroos and Koalas and a general wander around before heading back into town to explore the highlights. It was a saturday afternoon so we assumed everyone we be out and about but the highstreet was dead and all the shops were closing by 3pm! There was no one left on the streets but tramps and skater kids so after a quick wander, we reluctantly went back to Robs hostel to chill. The man at the reception seemed to be pretty friendly at first but then he suddenly turned against us and wouldnt let us watch TV or do anything! So we sat and twiddled our thumbs for a few hours until we thought of something to do. Unfortunately after a few hours we realised we had no ideas and so used the internet for a while! I sneakily tried to use the showers which were conviniently by the computer room (you get pretty grimy after living in a van!) but was caught much to my embarrasment half naked by the owner. So I got Dan and I chucked off premises and the owner stood there giving us evil glares as we drove away! So Dan and I retired to a bar to watch the rugby between Australia and NZ which Australia won and it seemed that the whole population of Newcastle was crammed into one pub!
The next day we were glad to be leaving Newcastle and headed on to our last stop before Sydney which was the mountain town of Katoomba and the famous Blue Mountains. We decided to take the scenic drive via the Hunter Wine Regions but it was out of season so wasn't that impressive and we felt so out of place pulling into a winery in our graffitied van amongst mercedes and BMW's and lots of posh couples supping wine. We decided to stick to our box of goon and continued on. The roads through the mountains took a long time but we were rewarded with awesome views and I had a great time drive the twisting roads through the countryside. We followed numerous motorbikes making the same journey and got into the Blue Mountains national park just as the sun was going down. We got our first glimpse of the amazing views and canyons in the last of the light before arriving in the querky town after yet another full day of driving which none of us expected to have! It was freezing up in the mountains so we decided to negotiate a deal with a hostel and Dan and I were now actually allowed to have a shower and chill in the heated TV room for the evening.
Luckily the weather was crisp and fresh in the morning which was perfect for the view over the blue mountains which was absolutely unbelievable! We turned a corner and it seemed as though the whole of the town was perched on a cliff face that over looked mountains and valleys for as far as the eye can see! Theyre called the blue mountains because of the blue haze that the eucalyptus trees give off and we sheltered from the wind while admiring the amazing view. We decided to take a scenic walk stopping numerous times for photos and to admire the view before we accidently took the wrong path and ended up heading off on a 3 hour walk down through the valleys to get back to where we started. It turned out to be a good wander, although was extremely tiring climbing the 1000 steps back to the top again! By the time we arrived back about 2pm, the mist had decended and you couldn't see a thing! We went back to the van to dry off from the walk and as our hands were frozen, we decided to break the budget and treat ourselves to an $8 hot chocolate! Well worth it though and we regained our energy for the rest of the day. Not having a whole lot more to do as the weather was getting worse, we decided to head into Sydney for the evening as we had to give the van back the next day, and I was due to meet my friend Charlotte from home who had flown out to meet me.
Was definitely and exciting last stop, especially driving along the awesome roads in the van and glad we could do it on our own rather than as part of a tour. Really glad we got a good view of the mountains in the morning as well as it would've been pointless otherwise! One more night left in the van, blog about Sydney to come next. Still can't upload photos on this computer, I'm sure the suspence is killing you all.