Zak and Mel's Excellent Adventure
First stop in New South Wales was Byron Bay. Surprisingly enough Captain Cook has been here as well! We both loved Byron, it's got some really cool influences from art, music, yoga, surfing, etc, etc. It's pretty hippyish and the locals all seem very chilled but still have strong values (for example, they would not let McD's open a franchise here). First day was spent on the beach surfing and in the town window shopping. The second day Mel cleaned the van while Zak went for a surf (that sounds about right ay!!), but karma was in play. Whilst Mel was cleaning the van listening to the radio she heard a report that said Surfers Paradise beach had been closed due to the sighting of 100+ hammer head sharks. This is only about 100k north of where she thought she should alert Zak in the sea! Whilst walking down the beach she saw Zak coming towards her looking quite disgruntled (this is fairly normal so no concern was shown). However, upon closer inspection Zak actually had been stung very badly by a Portugese Man of War (or blue bottle) jelly fish. Panic ensued and Mel had to take Zak to the hospital. Although they say you should be ok, we weren't taking any chances. Zak was stuggling with breathing and feeling sick. All turned out to be fine just some ice and painkillers required. Hopefully he'll have some scars to show you all! Our final day in Byron was spent up in the hills around the famed Nimbin. This area is heavily populated with hippies and we were keen to check it out. It's a very beautiful drive towards Nimbin through some idyllic countryside which reminded us both of the Surrey Hills but then quickly turned to dense rainforest. Nimbin was a bit of a disappointment. Just seemed to be a lot of druggies hanging out on park benches looking wrecked! Its famed for holding a festival in the 70's and then no-one left!! We then headed towards Lennox Head back on the coast. We stayed the night here and had Valentines breakfast which Zak prepared (strawberry jam shaped hearts on toast - v. sweet!). Then we went for a surf and Mel hired a body board. We both had a great morning and Mel decided that body boarding was definitely her cup of tea. After the morning in the waves we drove to Yamba and Zak bought mel her valentines pressie, a body board and fins. That afternoon the weather had taken a bit of a turn for the worse, but being keen to test Mel's new equipment we both headed into stormy seas (up to 8 foot). At least we both survived the battering we were dealt, but a lesson was learned, when you see local surfers leaving the water, you should not be heading in!!! Then after a shower (not that either of us felt like we needed any more water) we headed out for dinner. We went for a romantic meal in a little seafood restaurant called Gormans, where we shared the local speciality, a seafood platter ( Claire you would be very jealous). When it came out we thought it must have been for everyone there, it was gigantic!!! (roughly the size of the moon!) The following morning we headed on down the coast to south west rocks. This is where all the retired folk of Oz hang out, and you can see why when you get there, nice beaches surrounded by beautiful national parkland. We were going to surf here, but we spotted loads of blue bottles on the beach, so decided against it. Today we went to Crescent Head a famous surfing spot, and when we got in, our inexperience was quite apparent. Zak got a bit of a pasting off a rather large wave, but we both loved it. We are now in Port Macquarie wasting valuable surfing time sitting in an internet cafe, so I hope you all appreciate it!!! Anyway love to you all, us xoxoxo.