Road tripping in Bob - Part 4 - The Final Leg - Byron Bay - Sydney
Byron Bay, New South Wales
After leaving Coolangatta, we were heading south into New South Wales and back towards Sydney. We drove straight down to Byron Bay, after a bit of a drive around, we eventually settled on a caravan park about 5k south of Byron, in a place called Suffolk Park. The van site was lovely, with direct access to Tallows Beach and the best part was that they had a deal on for backpackers so we got 4 nights for the price of 2! We spent the next few days enjoying the chilled out vibe of Byron, sitting on the beach, walking into town (about an hour away) and just soaking up the atmosphere. Byron Bay is known as a "hippy" town, lots of arts and crafts shops, people walking around in tie die, LOTS of incense to be smelt everywhere and just a chilled out little beach town. The weather was a bit hit and miss but we managed to get a bit of sun time on the beach! We were going to swim, up until we saw the remnants of blue bottle stingers on the beach, which put us off!! The caravan site was in a forest area with a really nice mix of people, from other backpackers, to families who have relocated to Byron and are living temporarily at the site until they find their perfect house. Everyone was really friendly and chatted about their experiences and exchanged stories. We even got chatted up by a 21 year old local boy who invited us out for his birthday, using the phrase "don't be old, come out" (we didn't go out). Next stop after Byron was Coffs Harbour. We arrived in glorious sunshine and found a nice van park before heading off for a walk and a paddle along the beach. Good job that we made the most of the sun because the following day was TORRENTIAL rain. It started off as a fairly nice and we went for a lovely walk around Coffs Creek, however when we decided to walk the half an hour to the local supermarket, the heavens OPENED. We literally looked like drowned rats and even the pacamacs leaked. As we'd spent a couple of extra nights in Byron, we didn't have much time to explore the space between Coffs Harbour and Sydney. We drove down to Lake Macquarie and spent the night in a van park overlooking the lake before continuing our journey south towards Sydney. The van site was lovely, on its own peninsular surrounded by water. We'd decided to spend our last couple of days in close proximity to Sydney, mostly to make it easier for taking Bob back. There aren't too many caravan sites around Sydney city but we found one just north of the city in a place called Lane Cove National Park. When looking at their website, it reminded us that the caravan site is where they film the scenes for the fictitious Summer Bay Caravan Park in Home and Away but they only film a handful of times a year. It's not actually anywhere near the beach, they just use clever camera trickery!!! That afternoon, we went for a lovely walk around the river which runs alongside the caravan park, through Lane Cover National Park. We encoutered lots of friendly lizards and birds and a few not so friendly looking spiders!! Later in the evening, we were cooking dinner in the camp kitchen on our first evening and noticed a removals truck and remarked about how much stuff people had left lying around their vans and tents and how trusting they were. Thinking nothing more of it, we headed to bed in Bob. Next morning, we woke up and bleary eyed walked to the shower block. Again noticing some removal trucks but not really thinking about what they were. When I left the showers (Hannah), I glanced at the back of the truck and saw a container pallet saying "HOME AND AWAY". Full of excitement I relayed this information to Lou and we thought how cool it was that they would be filming but didn't really think we'd see anything. We casually made our way to the camp kitchen to make our breakfast and when we got there, there were people everywhere- turns out they were extras and the camp kitchen was being used as the refreshment area for cast and crew. Not only that, they were filming right opposite the camp kitchen!!! In glamorous fashion, we were doing our washing up and saw Marilyn and Heath (two main characters of the show, Marilyn being a stalwart having been in it for years - some people may also know her as Louise in Emmerdale - and Heath being a dishy young man!! So instead of heading out to actually do anything that day, we decided to loiter in the camp kitchen. Turned out it was the best decision to make. We got chatting to the National Park lady who told us that Brax (the hottest character on Home and Away) was coming to film later on. We then made friends with a lovely older guy on the crew, who not only confirmed this but told us all of the inside gossip, both about future storylines and the real lives of the actors! All whilst watching the scenes being filmed in front of us. Brax showed up and we stared at him whilst he walked around the set and filmed his scenes. Our new friend then asked if we wanted a photo with Brax (we'd already had one with Marilyn when she came in for a cuppa!) - we were beside ourselves with excitement at this prospect and swiftly got the camera from Bob. He took us up to the area where they cast and crew were eating their lunch, we didn't want to interrupt their lunchtime, so we patiently waited on a bench, next to Stephen Peacocke's (Brax) car (stalker alert) and our new friend brought him over. We became giggling school girls and had our photos taken with him- he's even hotter in real life and very friendly!! We are in love! haha. This story may have been boring for those of you who aren't familiar with Home and Away but we are sure that those of you who also watch Home and Away will understand our excitement. For two avid Home and Away watchers and enthusiasts, it was the perfect ending to our 5 weeks with Bob!!Oh, we also found some of the prop beer that they use in Home and Away in the fridge of the camp kitchen, they'd forgotten to take it. SO we swiped a couple. They have a fake brand label they stick onto cans called "Red Ant" and on peeling back the lable, it revealed it actually is beer and not soft drink!! The following morning, we cleaned and packed up Bob, ready to take him back to the city :( We delivered him to the hire company and hopped on the train back to Karrie's place in Surry Hills where we flopped exhausted onto the sofa and pretty much stayed there all night. Next day we sorted our belongings- something we haven't been able to do in all of time travelling. We then repacked and on Sunday headed over to another suburb of Sydney called Stanmore, where we are staying with some lovely girls for the next month. We had an absolute ball in Bob, best decision we made to hire him rather than catch buses/ trains down the east coast. We're not sure how we will be able to adjust to being able to sit upright whilst watching TV and not sleeping right next each other! Also not being able to use the kitchen whilst in bed might be difficult to come to terms with haha. So, this brings us to the end of our "travels" for now. Real life begins in earnest, searching for jobs and somewhere to live. Australia is an amazing country and we've had a brilliant 3 months. Yes, it's expensive but it in our opinion it's worth every penny. We've seen some wondrous things, visited some amazing places, and met some great people, a complete experience of a lifetime. We can't wait to visit more places during the rest of our time in here, especially the red centre and Uluru. We will update the blog and photos as and when we do anything noteworthy, we don't think you all really want to know about our daily routines of work and commuting! Hope you've all enjoyed reading the blog and we haven't bored you to tears!