Gold Coast

23 03 2010

I only have 10 minutes left on my internet time so here are the highlights from Gold Coast

Surfing at Kirra Beach in Surfer’s Paradise
Surfing at Burleigh Heads under the rainbows and in the rain
Sun tanning at the caravan park in Surfer’s Paradise
Shopping for goodies in Surfer’s
Riding thrill rides and water slides at Dreamworld and White water World
Explored the Australia Zoo .. home of Steve Irwin the Croc hunter…saw some cool animals and the crocs
Went to see an AFL Aussie Rules Football game
Checked out Alice in Wonderland in 3D on a rainy day

More details to come….hopefully

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Life in Byron Bay

9 03 2010

After a quick stop at the Dorrigo Rainforest for a 6 km hike through the coastal rainforest we decided to head inland due to the never-ending rain. We ended up in Nimbin which is a “hippie” town full of dreadlocks, weird locals, a very strange museum and other interesting people watching opportunities. Once we started to miss the ocean (approx 36 hours) we made our way to Byron Bay which would become our home for the next 18 days.

Byron Bay is like every travellers dream town, and if there was work here they would never leave. It’s the kind of place where young people, travellers from all over the world, Bohemians, surfers and partiers all get together and run a town which has no parents, lots of dining and drinking options, tons of great surf and thousands of bikini clad and super tanned folk hang out on the beach day and night. There is always something going on, whether it’s fire jugglers at night near the beach, an ice cream at midnight or just plain sitting around in the park and watching life go by.

Our first week in Byron we stayed at the First Sun Holiday Park which was right on Belongil Beach and a short stroll to town. We were fortunate enough to have a TV at our park so we could watch the Olympic Hockey games. The first few days we were here Jeff’s friend Mo was in town so we hung out at his hostel watching the game and rotting on Belongil Beach for a few days. The following few days were not so great as I was injured in my ear while surfing (the board caught a wave and I didn’t see it so it hammered me right in the left side of my head)and was told by the doctor that I needed to take 5 days of antibiotics for my ear infection I supposedly had from the dirty ocean water in the ear rotting away at my injured ear drum. The net 5 days would be pretty boring as the rain was back and well it stayed for almost a week. In the meantime we hung out with some Canadians we met and checked out some of the town’s nightlife offerings. On Feb 28th there was a tsunami warning due to the earthquake in Chile and we were told to stay away from the beach, nothing really happened at all just some ugly-looking waves and a high tide.  Finally on Mach 4th it stopped raining and it was….Laundry Day.

We moved to another park called Clarkes Beach for the second half of our stay, which is right near a “famous” surf break called THE PASS where you can supposedly get a pretty long ride and it’s popular with long boarders. It was quite a walk to town and not really the best facilities but it was nice to be on a different beach for a while. We also made a couple long walks back to Belongil to surf at “the wreck” but as I had an injury I mostly suntanned. I got more meds on March 5th but the doctor said I can go in the water with earplugs, so off we went to the water. We also took a really nice walk along the Cape Byron to the lighthouse and the most eastern point of Australia. On the hike we saw a beach called Watego’s which we made a point to go hang out at the next day, and that’s exactly what we did.  Life in Byron is …well…..pretty relaxed. We had our first Aussie Meat pies and even went to the local backpackers bar for Mexican Night, but now it is time to move on.

GOLD COAST HERE WE COME!!!

Eva





Sydney, Surfing and Sucky Weather

16 02 2010


We arrived Sydney after an extremely enjoyable surf at 7 Mile Beach in Gerringong. We then hit the road to Sydney in the afternoon where we were to meet Jeff’s friend Mo at Bondi Beach and then check out our temporary digs in Hornsby with Trina and Les, they live quite a way from the city but in a really neat community which is pretty much in the rainforest, spiders and all. The next morning was Sydney exploring day where we headed to the city centre (by train since we already learned the beauty of the city parking game) and wandered the streets in search of some Sydney sights. We scoped out the Sydney Opera House which is much smaller in real life, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Rocks, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, China Town and Hyde Park. Most notable was the HUGE bats flying over Hyde Park and the creepy looking Dracula building nearby it. The day we set out for this was VERY humid and it was difficult to walk in the heat after 5 hours of exploring, we got back on the train and headed to Hornsby. The following day we relaxed and did laundry, internet stuff and watched TV (it’s a wonder we still know how to use one after so much time in the car) and played Wii with the kids.  We were hoping for better weather as it had rained all day and night the day before and we went to Bondi to check out some surf shops and the beach, of course it started pouring rain and we had to find shelter in none other than a Sushi Boat place…sweeet. That evening we met back up with our Danish friends Claus and Alexandra for some coastal adventures with the surf boards but little did we know what was in store for us….

….RAIN…so much rain… we left Sydney and headed to a North shore beach suburb called Narabeen and booked in for 4 nights as it was close to Mona Vale and Manly beaches as well as Palm Beach among others which was supposed to be the surfing getaway for all the Sydney city dwellers. Too bad it poured rain that entire day from 10 am until the next morning we was had no choice but to sit under the awning on their camper van and play Uno. The following day was not much better though we were able to make a quick trip to Kmart to pick up some coloring books and crayons to pass the time (the boys were happy without coloring books). When the rain finally stopped in the evening the waves were quite big so the boys went by themselves to the beach and then to the skate park for some skateboarding. Day 3…ok the girls got into the water at Manly beach it was pretty rough out there and we couldn’t really avoid choppy waves, we drove to all of the beaches between Narabeen and Manly and they were all the same, shoppy and messy waves. So we settled for some shopping in the “Corso” which is a street by the beach where there are tons of shops and restaurants. Day 4…another unsuccessful surfing attempt as we headed north all the wat to Palm Beach and found no good waves, so we headed back to Manly for some more retail therapy. This time I got myself my first pair of Havi’s (Haviana’s for the non Aussies) and a new top. We finally left the area as it seemed the rain would never end.

We arrived at “the Entrance” and stayed in a cramped tiny camp spot and still rain rain rain….Norah Head was our next stop, we weren’t too optimistic about it but we gave it a chance. What we found was the perfect beach, Pelican Beach where the boys could practice their surfing skills and us girls had small and safe enough waves to learn on, we surfed all day long and then packed it in early since we were bruised and beaten. We decided to stay another night at Norah Head, so we chilled by the pool all day until the rain started again and we were once again confined to our camp, however I did manage to make some curtains for Coco before the rain started.

We continue our quest north in search of surfing in Stockton, NSW. We booked in for 2 nights and surfed at the local beach all day, the waves were even nicer and calmer than the last few days and us girls didn’t want to get out. But eventually the weather turned again and we all had to go to bed at 9. The second day in Stockton there was NO waves at all so we all took the ferry over to New Castle and wandered around and went for lunch. We wandered around the pier where there was a cool shipwreck and then packed in before the rain….yet again.

The next day we decided to something different so we made our way over to Stockton Beach Sand Dunes and grabbed a sandboarding 4X4 trip up to the dunes for some sand instead of sea. We had a great time plummeting down the sand on tiny boards and the walk back up was deadly as you can imagine. It was nice to do something other than surf, however the weather sometimes dictates that as opposed to us choosing our own fate. Now we continue our journey to Byron Bay where we hope to check in for a few weeks and enjoy the chaos of “tourist land”

We are missing the Olympics which is rather sad but otherwise we are doing quite well, we are happy here enjoying the adventure, the towns sometimes all sort of start looking the same and the city is stressful but I guess the point of travelling is to put yourself into a different environed and figure out how to adapt. We have some friends now tagging along and we have met tons of really interesting people along the way, from hardcore Aussies to backpackers like ourselves from all over the world. We are learning the ropes and getting the hang of being away from home. We miss you all very much and hope to keep in touch more often.

 Love Eva and Jeff





Goin’ Coastal

3 02 2010

We left Adelaide what seems like ages ago and have been cruisin’ along the coast between South Australia to Victoria and finally to New South Wales.  Our first stop outside of Adelaide was Mount Gambier which is a very cute town with lots of charm, little cute homes, huge sink holes in the middle of town and lots of filligri. We spent a day exploring the blue lake and other volcano type phenomenon including the Umpherston Sink hole and Mount Schank volcanic crater.  We did some research and thought we wanted a little change of scenery so we headed a little way to Nelson, Vic to do some canoe camping. We paddled out 3 hours to get to our first camp called George’s Rest, then canoed another 5 hours the next day to Laslett’s camp. The third day we had to paddle in the rain to get back to Nelson. The Glenelg river was very wide and slow so we had lots of time to search for Koala’s in the forest. Though we didn’t see any during the day, the forest came alive at night and we could hear the koala’s boar like grunting which freaked us out a little. We also managed to cross the border and then cross back again while canoeing so that was kind of cool.  Once we were tired of canoeing we made our way to Portland, Vic for a nice sleep in a caravan park and a shower.

The next morning we set off to do the “Great Ocean Road”, we saw the 12 Apostles among other tourist stops along the rugged coast line despite the dreary weather and flies aplenty, stopped for a picnic in Otway National Park and settled down at Johanna Beach for the night in a free campground. The following few days were about to get really exciting as we neared the surfing mecca of Torquay and area. On the way in Apollo Bay we saw a koala in the wild in broad daylight and had to pull over to take a couple photos, since it’s rare to see them awake and on the road at daytime. We found a caravan park in Jan Juc which is 5 minutes from Torquay. We spent some time wandering the surf town of Torquay where they have the headquarters of big surf companies like Billabong and Quicksilver as well as a huge plaza of surfing brand outlets and factory stores. We also checked out the Surf World museum to get our imaginations going about surfing.  The first day in Torquay we were all set to get some surf boards and go out to hit some waves but it was raining in the morning so we took a day trip to Geelong which is a town just before Melbourne. We wandered the streets, had some sushi (finally) and stumbled upon a large-scale sailing competition the was just ending. The following day had much better weather so we took a quick drive to Anglesea to find Jeff a surf board. The new addition to our Jeeva family “Hugh” was purchased and we hit the beach for some waves, I got my first sunburn and Jeff tried his hand at some surf. 

We arrived Melbourne after a short drive and checked into our hostel, Hotel Discovery. What we discovered was a HUGE place with tons of people, only one kitchen and lots of drunk loud people.After a long exhausting treck through the city trying to find the damn place we were tired and crashed on our top bunks of the 6 bed dorm. The next day was Jan 26th, Australia Day. As we wandered the streets of downtown Melbourne we visited the usual spots, Federation Square where the Aus Open tennis semi final was going on, China Town, Flinder’s Station, Graffiti Street Art and we watched to Australia Day people’s march. We stopped in Chinatown for some Vietnamese food then hopped on the tram to St. Kilda beach where the festivities were in full swing for the holiday. We made a stop at Luna Park and rode the oldest rollercoaster on earth. Then we piled on the tram just in time to make it back to Federation Square for the fire works.  Melbourne was to summarize our experience, hectic, tons of people everywhere, traffic, restaurants and bars everywhere. We figured we had seen enough so we decided to keep following the coast, but not before we got a parking ticket oops.

We arrived Philip Island to a town called Cowes and Jeff went surfing. The next day, same thing, surfing in Cowes at Smith’s beach. We were planning to go see the “world-famous” penguin parade but opted out of the 22$ per person entry to see tiny penguins emerge from the sea, apparently we didn’t miss much.  Our journey continued to Lakes Entrance and pretty interesting looking town with TONS of fishing boats. While we were camping there we met a couple from Denmark who we would spend the next few days traveling with looking for places to surf. We travelled together to Tathra nothing too exciting to report. Next day in Huskisson, again nothing to report. Finally on the third day we stumbled upon Gerroa, a little town on a hill with an amazing surf beach right next door so we hit the waves and had a great afternoon on 7 Mile Beach at this point we are across the next border in NSW. That evening after trying to surf all day with Jeff’s board, I decided I wanted a board of my own so we stopped in a surf shop and picked up the next member of our little family, who does not yet have a name but I’m taking suggestions. We surfed all day the next day then split from our new friends and headed to Sydney.

Eva





Life in Adelaide

16 01 2010

In our quest to find our favorite city we spent all of a week in Adelaide. Despite being very well-organized and easily navigable, the city itself is not home, at least not for the long haul. Adelaide is by far more active and exciting than Perth and seems to have a bigger focus on sports and festivals/theater. We went to out first Aussie cricket  20/20 game which was quite confusing but once we figured it out it was very fun. There is also the Tour Down under with Lance Armstrong racing through the city all this week and next week. We spent some time in the surprisingly bustling city center looking in shops, watching street performers, checking hostel notice boards for work and getting some admin things accomplished. One night we ventured out to the Brighton Jetty for some squid fishing and I caught 2 pretty big ones, we had a feast that night. We spent another day at Glenelg Beach which is a busy and teenager infested beach with lots of litter and people. Yesterday we took off to the Adelaide Hills to the town of Handorf which is a small German themed settlement, where we bought some German sausages for dinner and walked around the coo-coo clock maker, Birkenstocks and German Stein shops. We even found a can of Dr. Pepper, a little piece of home. We took a drive to the Warrawong Animal Sanctuary, because it has free admission and wondered around looking for the koala. I spotted it first up high in the tree taking  nap, but Jeff had trouble seeing it because he needs glasses I think. We also petted a white kangaroo and saw a bandicoot, but no platypus. Other than spending our first night in a motel after a rough week in the unforgiving heat, we found a place to stay 5 minutes from the city with this guy named David who rents out rooms in his home to tourists on a short-term basis, sort of like a small-scale hostel. We’ve enjoyed the luxuries of a house, but it’s time to continue our quest. Wer cannot find any farm work in this area and don’t want to stay in the city so tomorrow morning we head towards Mount Gambier and then eventually to Melbourne with some stops in the Grampians and Great Ocean Road.

EVA





Since we last used a computer

11 01 2010

I believe it’s been a while since we last posted something.  We left Exmouth on Boxing Day and drove all day long, almost to Perth but stopped short and slept in a rest stop on the highway. The next day we finished the journey and headed south of Perth to the Margaret River region for the week before New Years. We spent one night in Bunbury, where we did some laundry and maintainance before heading to Yallingup. We stayed in Yallingup for 4 nights and did some beaching, Jeff did some surfing, I went on a wine tour in the Margaret River region. We also went to see the Nigilgi cave and Canal rocks which were pretty cool. Our campsite was shitty and expensive but it is the busiest week of the year. We sayed for New Years Eve but did not even stay up until midnight, after a chinese food dinner (Jeff loved the BYO alcohol, you can bring in your own beer. The next day was none other than my 25th Birthday and I wanted to climb a tree. So we drove to Pemberton and climbed the 61 meter Gloucester Tree which was scary and fun. We spent the night in Beedelup National Park which was really nice and forested a nice. We had our first campfire and had a little birthday celebration.

2010 – We continue our journey to Walpole where we drove through the Valley of the Giants which has some massive tall trees and did some walking, saw the “art” display at Swarbrick walk path, spent the night in West Cape Howe N.P where it was very windy, dusty and cold. The following day we drove to Esperance, which to our surprise was quite a lovely place. We booked into a caravan park, grabber some bait and headed to the Jetty for some fishing. Jeff caught a HUGE stingray and reeled it in, with the entire town onloooking, for almost an hour then cut the line. I caught a barracuda which died when i threw it back and at the end of the night we caught a squid, meaning, calamari for dinner. We asked some people on the jetty how to clean a squid and we met Merle and Norm Hanks, who offered us a place to stay for the next night. So we did, the next day we stayed with them and had a nice home cooked dinner (or “tea”) and a clean bed to sleep in.

Cape le Grande N.P – After we left the Hank’s we spent 2 nights in Lucky Bay at the NP near Esperance. The first day we went for a 1.5 km hike up Frenchman’s Peak which is a granite mountain type thing and a couple of other hikes. The Day after we had 47 degree weather, so it was in and out of the water and shade ALL DAY. Never been so hot in our lives.

The Nullarbor – After leaving Esperance we had a long and boring 3 day drive to Adelaide. 1900 of nothingness. We stayed in a rest stop one night, in Ceduna another night and in Port Lincoln.It was pretty much 45 degrees the entire time, day and night until we finally made it to Adelaide on Jan 10th and checked into a motel.





Flipped a coin…heads we go North

29 12 2009

Dec 16 – Perth to Denham – 826 Kms
Left Perth early after saying our goodbyes and packing up Coco. The drive was hot and terribly boring and we arrived at Seaside Caravan Park in what looked like a cyclone. The wind was stong and the sky was grey, so we put our mattresses in the back of the car and went to bed.

Dec 17  – Denham, World Heritage Drive, Monkey Mia
We were told that it would only be nice weather for half the day so we opted to do the World Heritage Drive. We saw the Stromatolites in the Hamelin pool, which are basically living rocks that are 3 billion years old, though not the most exciting attraction. Next we stopped at Shell Beach which is made up of a zillion tiny coquel shells, we ate our breakfast on the beach and took photos of the shovel nose rays in the shallow water. Eagle Bluff was the next stop with a cool cliff lookout and you could see sharks swimming down below. Little Lagoon is where we stopped for a swim as it turned out to be quite a hot day and finally settled into our caravan park in Monkey Mia. The beach there was beautiful and we hung out at the camp with the local Emu.

Dec 18 – Monkey Mia and Carnarvon
We got up early at 7:00 to see the dolphins feeding at the beach. I guess they come out from the wild everyday and get fed. There was a one week old baby dolphin so we weren’t allowed into the water but Jeff got chosen to feed the dolphin which wasn’t fair. After the dolphins we were to head to Carnarvon, but on the way back to the highway we blew a tire and had to stop in the fly infested side of the road and put on the spare tire.  Once we got to Carnarvon we got  ourselves a new tire, and I picked up a new snorkel mask on the way.

Dec 19 – Coral Bay
Today we were really excited to get to the Ningaloo Reef that we had a tiny breakfast and left. We booked into the park at Coral Bay for 2 nights and grabbed our snorkel gear. The camp site was crappy with no shade and pretty much a parking lot, but the snorkelling was amazing. There are tons of coral and colorful fish of all sizes. The beach was Paradise Beach, and it totally deserves to be called that. We went fishing in the evening off the rocks near the jetty, but no luck

Dec 20- Coral Bay
We pretty much swam, sunbathed and snorkelled all day. We bought an underwater camera and took some photos. We fished after lunch but still nothing. Our neighbours at the camp 2 young guys from Mauritius and a hippie family from Scotland offered to share the fish they had caught on the boat that day. We even tried “carpaccio” which is raw fish which sits in lemon juice and “cooks”. We hung out and listened to their fishing stories until the ranger told us “lights out”.

Dec 21 – Exmouth and Cape Range National Park (Lakeside Camp)
We decided to bypass Exmouth and stay in the “free” parking in the National Park. First we stocked up on the essentials in town, SPF 30, Zinc, water, ice, bait, fly nets, insect repellant and non perishable food and set off to some bush camping for a few days. There was only 7 campsites and an outhouse. The wind had picked up and there wasn’t much to do so we tried fishing again, still nothing and wandered the beach in search of something cool.

Dec 22 – Cape Range National Park (Lakeside Camp)
Snorkelled some more Ningaloo, saw a shark and suntanned. When it came time to go fishing we were pretty tired of failing. I was using a shitty 20$ fishing rod and I thought I was caught on the coral or something but then realized I had hooked onto a huge Spangled Emperor. Our first legal catch, at 46 cm, dinner. We asked our neighbour for a gutting lesson and had a feast for dinner. We also bathed in a bucket of soapy water before bed, oh life in the bush is so GLAM!

Dec 23 – Cape Range National Park (T-BONE camp)
We were planning to drive south to Yardie Creek but none of the campsites were shaded except the one right next to Lakeside, called T-Bone.  After dinner we went down to the Jurabi Turtle Centre to see the Loggerhead Turtles nesting, they come out with the stars and moonlight to dig nests and lay eggs in the sand. It was quite a sight and the turtles are HUGE.

Dec 24 – Cape Range National Park (T-BONE camp)
The first morning we woke up and there was NO wind, so we headed to Turquoise Bay for a drift snorkel and some more pictures, since the water was finally calm. I saw a HUGE reef shark while snorkelling and refused to get back in the water. Jeff convinced me to get back in and so we finished the drift, almost missed the spot where you are supposed to get out of the water and the current almost sucked us out to sea, but we swam for our lives and we made it fine.  We drove to Exmouth to have showers at the visitor center and get some stuff for Christmas.  Upon return we had a Kiwi couple ask if they could pitch a tent in our camp spot, we agreed, and hung out with them for the evening and decorated the Christmas tree.

Dec 25 – Christmas in the bush – Cape Range National Park (T-BONE camp)
Santa didn’t forget about us, there were a few gifts for us to open, some eggnog with breakfast and mac and cheese breakfast (what a treat).  Spent the entire day with our Kiwi friends trying to catch some Christmas dinner. They caught 2 descent sized ones, we contributed a smoke ham and potatoes and we had a huge feast.

Dec 26 – Exmouth to Perth (almost)
We called our folks to say Merry Christmas and then drove all day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm and were just short of Perth by 190 kms. Crashed in a roadside rest stop.

Posted By Eva – per journal