Typically it rained the whole of the first day on the road, which put a bit of a dampner on the mood, but meant that we actually covered far more distance on day one than we anticipated. We also got a better insight into the scale of the driving we were about to take on having driven all day and covered a pewny couple of cm's on our huge Oz map and probably the entire length of the UK!
We drove until wherever we happened to be at sunset, which found us in a small, sleepy town called Taree. we found Gaz and Ben a room in a hoel, as the camper only sleeps 3. The owner assured the rest of us that we'd be fine parked up outside on the street. It was so quiet we agreed. That was Sunday night - Monday morning as we peered out of our sleepy eyes and through the rather steamy windows we were greeted by posh cars and business men in suits, off to work at the finance office next door!
That day we reached Port Maquarie. The weather picked up a little, giving us a chance to visit some of the pristine white, silicone sand beaches that the East coast has to offer. In fact the entire coast is a beautiful beach, meaning that the majority of them are completely empty. Bizarely the sand squeaks under your feet. We visited a koala hospital. They were the first ones we'd seen close up. They don't do a lot but are very cute. As we were leaving town this annoying buzzer started sounding. That's when I saw the 'DON'T DRIVE WHEN THE BUZZER IS SOUNDING' sign on the dashboard. We pulled over. We'd broken down on day 2.
Help was soon on its way. Meanwhile we pulled out the chairs and set them up on a tiny patch of grass between the road and red rooster (KFC ish) and had a few drinks. We ahd to explain to a few passers by that this wasn't our scenic rest stop by chioce, but we had in fact broken down.
It was on this night that the seed of our decieptful way of camping was planted. With the van back on the road we found a campsite and a couple of us went to pay for a pitch. The receptionist assumed that there was just two of us.....and we found ourselves not correcting her. From then on there was just two of us, sometimes three if we were feeling a tad guilty. The others desguised themselves as blankets in the back.
So the trip went as follows. Travelling most of the day but stopping whenever and wherever we liked to take a run on the beach, visit a scenic spot or have a bite to eat. We made use of the fantastic free BBQ areas which are everywhere, and cooked most nights. And of course met some randon locals and truckies along the way. Thats one thing I love about the people here. Everyone will speak to anyone, they just love to have a good yarn. We were woken most mornings by screeching parrots in the trees and most nights we were visited by possums.
Definately my highlight between Sydney and Brisbane was Lake Ainsleigh. The lake is great for swimming as it naturally contains tea-tree oil, which is great for your skin. What we weren't told is that the water is bright orange. it was stunning. You could feel the oils. With the weather now back to Austrailian standards it was so refreshing to cool down and swimming in lakes is just the nicest thing - No waves, no salt, no sharks. We spent the whole afternoon in the lake messing about and building human towers etc. i loved it there.
At this point I was pleasantly suprised at how un-touristy the East coast had been so far. That was all about to change. With the exception of Byron bay which I quite liked and was a nice little bustling surfy town. From here on small isolated roads became busy motorways and the beautiful coastline overshadowed by multiplex's and skyscrapers, housing everyones favorite 'brits abroad.' We weren't even allowed into bars with our flip-flops on - I haven't met many travellers with anything other than flip-flops - well hiking boots! So as you can tell this area wasn't really my bag.
We did however have an awesome day at wet 'n' wild water park, with loads of huge water slides. Some to race each other on, some with massive rubber dinghys which all five of us could get in, and which the boys insisted on trying to flip us over in on the bends. One was a black hole, another a verticle drop into an oversized plughole.