These past 14 days I’ve been here, there and everywhere! Unpacking my backpack and re-packing my backpack, pitching a tent up and down in the rain, hitch hiking, surfing couches in Byron Bay and Sydney, sleeping in a car on the highway – the list goes on. It’s been a hectic two weeks since I left Torquay just over a fortnight ago, but it’s been full of spontaneity and adventure and isn’t that what backpacking is all about? :-D
Two weeks ago I left Torquay, the place where I’d spent a solid two months dedicating my time to surfing and making a home out of a van with Anne. In the three months we’d spent travelling together, we experienced and learnt so much that it was obviously going to be emotional and sad to say goodbye to each other – I lie, we didn’t say goodbye it was just a See Ya Later! Knowing that we were both going to see each other again on our travels.
So the two week stint from Torquay to Brisbane began with a visit to Melbourne, 2 hours north of Torquay. I obtained a new travel companion – Lasse, who was also staying with us in Torquay and he managed to contact some friends he knew from home who happened to be staying in Melbourne and arranged for us to crash at theirs which was a real treat for me because after spending 2+ months sleeping in a van, I finally got to sleep in the comfort of a bed again! We spent the next few days just chilling out, becoming reacquainted with Melbourne and making travel plans for the next couple of weeks.
One of the last things we managed to do in Torquay was go to a local AFL (Australian Football League) game – a sport sort of mixed between American Football & Rugby but with some added Australian comedy value. It became quite addictive to watch and seeing as the start of the season was the following week, we put it on our bucket list to go and see an AFL League game in Melbourne. We managed to get tickets to see Adelaide play against Collingwood – a Melbourne based team that we decided to support based on us being in the City but managed to fail miserably playing against Adelaide! – it was still fun all the same!
After spending almost 5 days in Melbourne, it was time for us to start making our way up to Sydney. Our cheapest option, believe it or not, was actually to rent a car and drive the 9 hours ourselves as apposed to jumping on the train or on a Greyhound – sounds rather luxurious right for a couple of backpackers? It was until we decided we’d left it too late in the day to drive the journey in one go so we stopped off not far from Canberra in a rest stop off the highway and lay our heads to rests until the morning. We managed to finish the drive off pretty easily in the morning and arrived in Sydney later that morning with absolutely no where to stay. I’d emailed a couple of people on Couch Surfing and had no response for a few days apart from a rather sketchy looking guy who was under the impression Lasse was a female friend of mine. We decided to check into a hostel in Kings Cross, Chilli Blue Backpackers – which is a shit hole by the way – for the night and then wandered off into the City for the evening. All day Lasse had been going on about how the first 4 episodes of Game Of Thrones Season 5 had been leaked and that he just had to have wifi to watch them, I’ve never watched Game Of Thrones but I know people go absolutely nuts for it and Lasse was one of them! We bought some picnic food for dinner and sat on the steps of the famous Sydney Opera house watching lots of dressed up people wander into the building to watch what ever was playing that evening. After a while a woman approached us asking if we were Game Of Thrones fans and if we wanted some free tickets to go and watch the Season 5 premiere as some people hadn’t turned up to collect theirs, she even threw in some free drinks vouchers to use at the bar! Lasse, as you can imagine, leapt to his feet in excitement and ditched the picnic to run inside the Opera House. We had 3 minutes until it started so we had to run down the red carpet, check in my Coles shopping bag full of our picnic dinner into the cloakroom, grab our free drinks at the bar and push our way past the poshly dressed people to our seats that were directly in the middle of the row. BINGO!
After all the excitement of what had just happened to us, we went back to sitting outside eating our backpacker picnic and reflecting on how lucky we had been that evening. Back to normality! The following day we continued to make more travel plans and I received a message from a friend I was at surf camp with saying she was in Sydney for a few hours before she flew back to Western Australia so we decided to go and catch up with her and another guy who was also on camp and happened to be working in the City and spent the afternoon drinking beer and reminiscing.
After explaining our Couch Surfing drama, Matt kindly offered us his sofa to crash on for the next couple of nights which became another luxurious jackpot for us when we arrived at his shared apartment on the 33rd floor in an apartment building in the middle of Sydney! The second night we spent there turned into a rather messy night out at Side Bar giving us horrendous hangovers to jump on a 9 hour train journey to Coffs Harbour with. This didn’t work well for me when a screaming child was sat in front of us for 7 of these hours and I was dealing with one of the worst hangovers I’d had in a while, however the train journey was the first I’d taken since being in Australia and we went through some really beautiful spots that you would never see taking a bus or flight through the country so I guess that was my silver lining. We arrived at midnight and had decided to camp out for a few days in a campsite not far from Coffs Harbour’s town centre, pitching the tent was an interesting task in the middle of the night but we managed it somehow, bickering like a married couple. Coffs Harbour doesn’t have a great deal of things to do so we wandered around, forgetting how spread out everything is here and ended up walking an unintentional 10 km until we wandered back to the campsite where we drank and got merry on red wine, mingling with a mixed group of European backpackers.
The next few days decided to rain non stop, which doesn’t work well when you have to pack up backpacks and take down your tent. We managed of course and then managed to hitch a ride up to Byron Bay with Johnny, an Australian student from Sydney who was taking a few days out to surf in Byron Bay. We spent our first evening Couch Surfing with another host that I think was surprised that Lasse was a male and spent our second evening camping out at the Arts Factory – in the rain yet again. I’d stayed at the Arts Factory a few time previously but never knew they had a camping ground at the back, it was just like a festival atmosphere full of friendly hippies celebrating 4:20! We got back into contact with Johnny and he invited us to his hostel to have some drinks with his room mates – this turned into hours of drinking games and resulted into me carrying Lasse back to the tent, something I’ve become a professional at!
It was sad to only have a short few days in Byron Bay because I love it there so much but it was time for us to head up to Brisbane because my Mum and Step Dad were due to arrive in the next few days! We were lucky enough to Couch Surf with the same people that hosted Pernille and I back in January which was a real treat because this was where I’d had my best Couch Surfing experience.
It’s been an hectic but epic fortnight filled with laughter, but now I’m off to travel the East Coast with my Mum and Step Dad for the next couple of weeks so you can expect heaps of photos and updates!