This part takes us from the 18th-24th may. Quick recap: I’m road tripping with a girl called Meg from Melbourne who I met at the start of the month. Meg was a champ and waited for me while I was at Surf camp, camping nearby for a few nights. Fresh out of the surreal abandoned land of Surf camp, we headed 1.5hrs North to a place called Yamba for a night.
We stayed in the YHA there which was one of the best hostels I have stayed at so far. There was nothing special about the dorms or facilities, but the man who ran the hostel, Shane, was excellent. He was super friendly, funny, helpful and easy to chat to. His wife and children were around too which created a great atmosphere. As I mentioned in my last post, I did a 2 hour Surf lesson here for $15. I wasn’t expecting much as this is very cheap – board and wetsuit hire is usually approx $20. Surprisingly, the boards were the same as mojo surf, the instructor to learners ratio was roughly the same and the quality of teaching wasn’t far off that of mojo. The wetsuits were a little worse for wear – not that it mattered.
Before we headed off I was sitting in the hostel bar downstairs making use of the free wifi. An old man came in, struggling across the room before ordering food and sitting down. I was sitting there on my own, looking at him sitting there on his own, and it dawned upon me his food would arrive and he would have to sit and eat on his own. How awful. So I got up, walked over and asked if I could sit there. He looked at me, confused, ‘sorry?’ The poor old man was deaf as when my mum asks my dad to do something. I proceeded to sit down and chat with him, although I think half the bar could hear what I was saying. Picking away at his food, he asked if I wanted half of his burger as he would never manage it all. So we shared a burger, he got us both a coffee and we chatted. Always lived in Aus, he used to be a science teacher and his wife died young of cancer. He told me about his children a few times, bless. Touched my heart! I hope I made his day because he sure made mine.
To Byron Bay! After hearing great things about a hippy town called Nimbin about an hour away, we headed there first. You can do a tour ranging from $40-60 but we opted to drive to save money. Firstly, it took nearer 2 hours because the road surfaces are terrible. Secondly, we were actually both a little disappointed. Sure, it’s quite quirky in terms of shops, but it’s just another town in the middle of nowhere. I found the town to be dirty, presenting numerous questionable characters which made me feel a little unsafe. The town is known for cannabis, however it’s still completely illegal there so it sort of defeats the point. Why go all that way to get weed from some hippy town when I know of people who have bought it all over the place.
Saturday night in Byron Bay, we got boozy and headed out with some of my friends from mojo Surf camp. I had heard fab things about the nightlife in Byron, and unlike Nimbin, I was not disappointed. Just beware: I’ve heard a few stories about drinks being spiked there. Watch your drink.
Thankfully I escaped hangover free! I wandered round the shops in Byron – of which I thought it was a lovely area. Lots of shops, a decent size and still walkable in 20 minutes or so. I sat down the beach with the 2 Swedish girls and got to know them more which was lovely.
Monday morning we were up and out and headed to the Gold Coast where we would stay with Megan’s uncle for 2 nights. On the way up the coast we stopped at several beaches which were all incredible.
The Gold Coast is where Ant and Dec film the famous ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!’. The national park is fairly inland, however the Palazzo Versace Hotel where all the celebrities and families stay at is right on the Gold Coast.. so we went! After being in love with Ant and Dec for nearly 9 years and seeing it on TV for so many years, the excitement was unreal. Eyes watering, I opened the car door without realising we were still moving! The security were lovely, letting us go in and have a look around! He did however crush my dreams of hanging around and going to the set in November, explaining it is filmed on private land and the security is next level. Heartbreak.
Early Wednesday morning set off on the road to Noosa, stopping at Brisbane on the way for a good 4-5 hours. Meg went and saw her brother, meanwhile I hired a bike under their ‘citycycle’ scheme for $2. Bargain! I explored the southbank, where there’s lovely plants and trees amongst eateries, an outdoor theatre and an outdoor children and adults pool right next to the river!
After a quick swim, I jumped back on the bike and cycled over to the botanical gardens which were beautiful. I wasn’t in Brisbane long enough to provide any real overview of the city, but I enjoyed the time I had there and didn’t feel like I missed out on much from what I have heard.