And so the update frenzy begins...
We have been very busy since leaving Sydney and are having an absolute ball sunning ourselves and seeing the sights of East Coast Oz.
The first place on our journey was Port Macquarie, a very small, quiet place where we could get back into the more laid back lifestyle of travelling. It was very different from Sydney - apart from the rain! We didn't let that dampen our spirits however, instead we went to visit the only koala hospital in the world.
It was a really good experience, the people were knowledgable and we got to see koalas being fed and saw how they are nursed back to health after bush fires and car accidents. They are really sweet looking (needless to say we didn't bring the camera!), but their claws are so long and sharp - definitely not a good idea to anger one. Later we went on a nature walk, where we managed to see a koala in the wild - and it was actually awake - yay!
Now assimilated back into the travelling lifestyle, we travelled onto Byron Bay, the most Eastern part of Australia and a surfing mecca. It is a beautiful place, though pretty touristy and very expensive. We went for a walk on the beach at sunset and from the pictures you can see how beautiful it was, especially with all the surfers in the background. With Byron Bay being renowned for it's surfing, what better place to give the famous past time a try? We were told it was a perfect place to learn, we went along with just 4 others, all wet suited up and looking cool and gave it a go... Oh my life, it is hard work!
We had a little practise on the beach, but most of our time was spent in the sea, trying our hardest not only to stand up but also to fight the really strong current to get back for another try. We got bashed by our 7 foot surfboards quite a bit, wiping out all over the place, looking like fools. However, finally, towards the end of the lesson, everything started coming together for both of us (well sort of) and we stood up on our boards and surfed. Not well or for very long, but we did it. Hurrah! We'll be pros in no time - well maybe not considering we could hardly move for 3 days afterwards!
We both really liked Byron Bay, and had a good time with new found friends, Amy and Clare, including a daytrip to nearby Nimbin. Nimbin is a little hippy town, which was founded by Sydney University students in the 70s. It's a small place with a liberal attitide towards all things hemp. The town even holds an annual march about the legalisation of cannabis. The town's Hemp Bar was run by interesting and chilled out hippies, there was a museum and people were giving away free freshly cooked pancakes. It was everything you would imagine it to be.Â
Having reluctantly said goodbye to Byron Bay and our new friends, we travelled to Surfers Paradise (yes that it's actual name). It's a huge resort city and was a bit of a shock from the backpacker trail. It's not a particularly inspiring place, but we were lucky enough to stumble upon an aerial surf competition with all the best surfers competing! It was real fun and got to meet quite a few, though don't really know who they are.
A quick hop skip and jump and we were in Brisbane, or BrisVegas as everyone seems to call it. Considering we had been in such beautiful places, it wasn't until Brisbane that we both felt totally relaxed. This may be because although Brisbane is a pretty city, after all the surf lessons etc (such a hard life), we could simply escape to the free lagoon (that's fake beach to you and me) that overlooked the city. Ahhh, that's the life :0)
Fully relaxed and raring to go, we were ready for the most intensive bit of the East Coast, driving a 4x4 in Fraser Island and sailing the Whitsundays. See how we got on in our next update, coming very soon. ..