A Travellerspoint blog

The Great Barrier Reef Sailing trip

5th day

Today we are moving to the Marina at Yeppoon to refill on supplies and to fix a broken thing on the boat that was keeping the boat together. If we would have sailed with the screecher we might have lost half of the boat … The winds are bad for us at the moment, and rather unusual for this time of the year. In the marina we did a nice walk up to a rock and had a great view and sunset. There were also showers at the marina and a wedding going on, but it looked pretty lame. Tomorrow we will continue to Pearl Bay because winds are expected to pick up. The plans are changing quite a bit now, because of bad weather and the slower trimaran, so we might have to extend some days if we want to do the Whitsunday Islands

6th day

We swopped crew with the monohull, but are very unlucky with the wind. The weather is very nice and sunny, but the winds let us down so we need to motor as a support for the whole day to get any speed. Still took us 10h to do 50 miles. It was getting late and bad winds forced us to go to Port Clinton for a night instead of Pearl Bay. The skipper, who turned 70 today, got a bit nervous because he never went inside that bay. But we arrived before sunset and it was good for us. The trimaran got lost (again) and had some trouble finding us, but arrived. After that we celebrated his 70th birthday with a cake that Edda had baked and some rum and some cones. It was good ;).

7th day

We left late as it was just 10 miles to pearl Bay. It was a quick sail and we arrived in a nice protected bay. We walked on the beach, opened a coconut with an axe and swam for a bit. Then we made a fire on the beach in the evening where the birthday skipper had a second good celebration. He got a bit drunk and fell off the dinghy when we were going back to the boats (which was super funny :P) Tomorrow we leave early to do 60 miles to Percy Island.

SAM_4100

SAM_4100

SAM_4103

SAM_4103

large_SAM_4104.jpgSAM_4111

SAM_4111

SAM_4114

SAM_4114

large_SAM_4121.jpgSAM_4122

SAM_4122

large_SAM_4123.jpgSAM_4128

SAM_4128

large_SAM_4132.jpgSAM_4136

SAM_4136

SAM_4137

SAM_4137

large_SAM_4139.jpgSAM_4143

SAM_4143

SAM_4144

SAM_4144

SAM_4146

SAM_4146

SAM_4158

SAM_4158

large_SAM_4163.jpgSAM_4165

SAM_4165

SAM_4166

SAM_4166

SAM_4167

SAM_4167

SAM_4169

SAM_4169

SAM_4173

SAM_4173

SAM_4176

SAM_4176

SAM_4178

SAM_4178

SAM_4181

SAM_4181

SAM_4182

SAM_4182

Posted by cjfvdk 22:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Great Barrier Reef Sailing trip

After the surfing, we took our car to a safe place at someone’s yard and put our stuff onboard the catamaran Endorphing. We had a BBQ with the crew and some other people. So we will be 3 boats leaving; catamaran, trimaran and a yacht (called monohull here). We have 4 people on our boat; the captain, an aussie woman and us. It’s a catamaran so we sleep in the 2 hulls. There’s a toilet, kitchen, saloon, navigation area. The boat has a lot of high-tech on board for navigating and autopilot. The skipper designed it to be a real fast boat, and did some more adjustments to his taste. He’s quite experienced with cats. We slept in the boat, and gonna sail off tomorrow early morning at sunrise.

1st day

We woke up at 4am, but started sailing only at 6 at sunrise. First it was going pretty good and we went really fast, but the waves were from the side, so it was quite a shaky ride. Many people got seasick (Edda more than Christophe). In the the yacht the girl puked and in the trimaran the dog puked. On our catamaran luckily nobody puked, although it was close. We saw some dolphins jumping and swimming near the boat. No sharks, but apparently the people in the trimaran saw a shark.
We arrived at around 11am to the lagoon near Lady Musgrave island. We had breakfast only then, as nobody was feeling like eating during the voyage. After breakfast Christophe went immediately for a swim and a snorkel. Edda followed a bit later when she was warmer. We went to do a coral reef snorkel with the other couple from the yacht. Saw many fish and some corals, although it was pretty bleached. Apparently it’s more beautiful and colourful on the outskirts of the lagoon.
We also saw a turtle a bit later swimming just besides the other boat. We witnessed a magnificent sunset and ate pasta bolognaise.

2nd day

It was a lazy day. We ended up going to the Lady Musgrave island and walking around for about 2h. We saw a lot of dead coral on the beach, some live ones as well, some crabs and a lot of birds. We read about the island on the info panels. There should be some turtles nesting at the moment, but we didn’t see any. Also the camp hosts on the island (who had been there for 2 weeks) didn’t see any on their time there. We saw some turtles in the sea though. They’re quite big and look amazing!
In the evening the wind picked up. Brad (the guy from the trimaran) went fishing and we came along. Christophe was snorkelling near the boat, hanging on the boat as it floated with the current over the reef. Saw quite a big of fish! Edda was sitting in the boat watching fish jump for the lure. The waves were pretty big, so we got soaked just from the splashes.
For dinner we ate lamb roast; pretty good. Back to sleep again. Tomorrow we’ll try to leave quite early.

3rd day

We left at around 7am towards Keppel Island. There was quite a lot of wind and we had to do a distance of 91miles. It took about 13h from Lady Musgrave to Keppel. Christophe was a bit seasick in the beginning, but the waves were from the back, so it was all good in the end. We dodged a couple of storms, but had a bit of rain in the end near Keppel. The trimaran and the yacht arrived only at 3:30am. They had a tough time, because the trimaran didn’t have autopilot and apparently its plotter broke, so they didn’t know where they were (almost hit the rocks near the island etc.). Luckily they got through safely.
The girl on board of the trimaran said in the morning though, that she doesn’t want to go on any further. Just wants to go back to the shore, but she changed her mind later on.
Edda has a rash or hives or something on her face. It seems to be spreading rather that improving. We have no idea where she might have gotten it. Maybe from the sun. salty water, mould from the boat, silicon from the snorkeling mask, coral some food etc.. So far we tried aloe, some antiseptic creams, colloidal silver, antihistamine tablet, but nothing seems to work. ‘

4th day

We spend the day at Keppler inside the boat. The weather was bad, and we had pretty bad swells. We watched two movies, but the day was disappointing as ppl from the other boats went to visit the island and the other boats, had beers, went to the island and we did nothing. We weren’t too happy about that. Day went past, a bit of a waste.

SAM_4019

SAM_4019

large_SAM_4020.jpgSAM_4021

SAM_4021

large_SAM_4024.jpgSAM_4025

SAM_4025

SAM_4027

SAM_4027

SAM_4029

SAM_4029

large_SAM_4030.jpgSAM_4033

SAM_4033

SAM_4034

SAM_4034

SAM_4035

SAM_4035

SAM_4038

SAM_4038

large_SAM_4039.jpgSAM_4040

SAM_4040

large_SAM_4041.jpgSAM_4045

SAM_4045

SAM_4046

SAM_4046

SAM_4047

SAM_4047

SAM_4052

SAM_4052

SAM_4054

SAM_4054

large_SAM_4057.jpglarge_SAM_4058.jpglarge_SAM_4062.jpgSAM_4063

SAM_4063

SAM_4065

SAM_4065

SAM_4066

SAM_4066

SAM_4069

SAM_4069

SAM_4071

SAM_4071

large_SAM_4073.jpglarge_SAM_4074.jpgSAM_4078

SAM_4078

SAM_4079

SAM_4079

SAM_4080

SAM_4080

SAM_4082

SAM_4082

SAM_4083

SAM_4083

SAM_4084

SAM_4084

SAM_4093

SAM_4093

SAM_4097

SAM_4097

Posted by cjfvdk 22:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Agnes Water

Then it was a long drive to a small place which we found because they have cheap camping. They have a cheap camping but the camping area was very full. We arrived just in time to get one of the last spots. The day was almost done when we arrived, luckily we had time to go to the beach to witness a beautiful sunset. The next day was ANZAC day, so we woke up at 5am to be at the town center at 6am. They had an ANZAC day service after which 5$ breakfast at the local tavern which we joined. People were getting drunk already from the early morning. Before lunchtime there was a parade, another service and a hornet flying over the town.

In the afternoon not much was happening. We went to the beach to watch the surf schoolers learn to surf (we are going to do it tomorrow). Christophe found an ad on the community notice board for a 10 day sailing trip in the great barrier reef. We called the guys and went to 1770 township to meet them. It was not the cheapest trip (+ we have to come back from Airlie beach to Agnes Water to pick up our car), but we decided to do it. Leaving on Monday.

Tonight we stayed at the parking lot of a nice hostel, so hot shower, internet, comfortable couches and light!
The next morning we packed our stuff for the sailing trip and did the surf lesson. The waves were not so good as yesterday, so we didn’t manage so good. However, we managed to stand up for a bit, especially in the shallow water. Our knees, arms and hips are pretty bruised though. But sure to try again!

OOps, not many pics from here

SAM_4012

SAM_4012

Posted by cjfvdk 22:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Bundaberg - Mon Repos

We arrived early in the morning when everything was still closed, so we found a nice spot to have breakfast. After visiting the infocenter, we visited the botanical gardens, did some walking in the town, ended up in the library and tried to upload the blog posts and pics. It took forever, because Mozilla wasn’t cooperating, Mac was crashing and internet wasn’t that fast. So we wasted about 3h of the beautiful day just sitting in the library. Finally we managed though.

We had a late BBQ lunch and headed to the free camping spot out of town. The next morning, after breakfast, we visited the zoo and started driving towards Mon Repos. The turtle season was over, but we visited the beach where the turtles lay their eggs. We also walked all the way to the turtle infocenter to learn more about the lockerhead turtles. For lunch we drove back to Bundaberg and ate some indian.

SAM_4002

SAM_4002

SAM_4004

SAM_4004

SAM_3999

SAM_3999

SAM_4001

SAM_4001

SAM_4006

SAM_4006

SAM_4009

SAM_4009

SAM_4010

SAM_4010

Posted by cjfvdk 22:27 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Maryborough

Next destination after quite a big drive is the small town of Maryborough. It used to be a place where migrants arrived, the 2nd biggest after (not sure if I remember well) Sydney. Now it’s just a small town. We learned that the writer of Mary Poppins books was born in Maryborough. They have a statue of her and some shops dedicated to her. We did a nice heritage walk around the town and had a very big buffet lunch (all you can eat for 10$!) with ice cream included.

We even managed to find cassette tapes in Maryborough! All the OP Shops there had some. We bought over 30 cassettes :D and some veggies from the VeggiMart and off we were again. We spent the night on a free camping spot near the road (Apple tree creek).

SAM_3980

SAM_3980

SAM_3981

SAM_3981

SAM_3986

SAM_3986

SAM_3988

SAM_3988

SAM_3994

SAM_3994

SAM_3996

SAM_3996

Posted by cjfvdk 22:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Gympie, Rainbow beach and Inskip peninsula

We had breakfast in Gympie and walked around the town. Nothing special there, so we continued towards the Rainbow beach. We visited the infocenter, after which we walked to Carlo’s Sandblow, which is a large ‘pile’ of sand between the beach and the forest. The sand is being blown continuously over the sand blow and is growing while the vegetation behind the sand blow is overtaken by the sand. We had a BBQ lunch and decided to stay in the area. At the end of the peninsula they had some national park camping spots, so we drove there and set up our tent. Christophe went for a swim and we saw a beautiful sunset.

Edda forgot an apple on a chair and when she came back from the beach, it was gone. There are dingos in the area, but the apple thief was probably one of the wild turkeys… It’s allowed to take your 4WD on the beach here so the beachside was pretty full of caravans and 4WDs, but we had a nice evening and night. We even woke up at 5 to see the sunset from the beach. Christophe did some nice bodysurfing in the waves in the morning.

We were looking at Fraser Island, but decided not to go there. Maybe next time :)

SAM_3899

SAM_3899

SAM_3902

SAM_3902

SAM_3904

SAM_3904

SAM_3905

SAM_3905

SAM_3909

SAM_3909

SAM_3912

SAM_3912

SAM_3913

SAM_3913

SAM_3917

SAM_3917

SAM_3919

SAM_3919

SAM_3922

SAM_3922

large_SAM_3940.jpglarge_SAM_3942.jpgSAM_3945

SAM_3945

large_SAM_3946.jpgSAM_3948

SAM_3948

SAM_3950

SAM_3950

SAM_3959

SAM_3959

SAM_3965

SAM_3965

SAM_3968

SAM_3968

Posted by cjfvdk 22:23 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sunshine coast

Next morning we had brekkie in Eumundi and met Belgians Ruben and Charlotte who cycled in New Zealand and also from Melbourne to Brisbane (sponsored by Etixxx?) They were heading north to Frasier and Whitsundays and also nearing the end of their trip. We drove further to Coolum Beach and Mt Coolum which we climbed with rewarding views, and a dip afterwards in the sea. Then lunch in Noosa and a short walk, and at 4h30 it’s time to look for a camp spot because it’s dark at 6. So we are now at the puma rest area writing this story, and tomorrow we need to take a picture with the big Kangaroo Matilda! We are now able to say that we are get a hang of travelling in Australia!

SAM_3883

SAM_3883

SAM_3884

SAM_3884

SAM_3886

SAM_3886

SAM_3889

SAM_3889

SAM_3893

SAM_3893

SAM_3896

SAM_3896

SAM_3898

SAM_3898

SAM_3899

SAM_3899

Posted by cjfvdk 21:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Glasshouse Mountains

We continued our journey North, towards the Glasshouse Mountains. We stopped by a nice lookout and after visiting the infocenter climbed one of the mountains (NguNgu mountain). These are mountains which resisted the erosion of the surrounding volcanic soil because they were from solidified magma in cracks which is harder then solidified lava. The lava eroded away, but mountains are still there. Lieutenant! Cook named them glasshouse mountains because they looked like the glass furnaces in his hometown. We were waiting to see a nice sunset rom up there, but it was too cloudy :/ We stayed at a rest area and in the morning we drove to Maleny by some very strange roads which Edda navigated. The views were amazing and our car managed well going up 20 kph on supersteep hills! We passed beautiful lookouts over the glasshouse mountains and then found a waterfall (Gardners Falls)where you could swim with waterswings. One was 15 m high and incredibly scary! C did it twice, but then it was enough! We drove on to the Mapleton falls and ended up having Lunch in Kenilworth and stayed overnight in a close-by rest area.

Our Lunches are improving in quality as we learn to use the electric barbies provided in every park around Australia. Sausages, potato chips, veggies, they all get better and better now. Also the cleaning goes a lot faster then in the beginning!
SAM_3834

SAM_3834

SAM_3835

SAM_3835

SAM_3839

SAM_3839

SAM_3840

SAM_3840

SAM_3843

SAM_3843

SAM_3844

SAM_3844

large_SAM_3845.jpgSAM_3847

SAM_3847

large_SAM_3853.jpgSAM_3864

SAM_3864

SAM_3865

SAM_3865

SAM_3867

SAM_3867

SAM_3872

SAM_3872

SAM_3876

SAM_3876

SAM_3879

SAM_3879

Posted by cjfvdk 21:04 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Ipswich - Brisbane

Before entering Brisbane, we had a stop in Ipswich where it was cheaper to stay. We walked around in the evening and went to a local micro brewery to taste some local beers. Christophe thought it was way too bitter British ale, Edda thought it was alright.
The next day we made an attempt to drive to Brisbane and avoid all the road tolls. The guy at the camping said that we should take the Brisbane Road, not the highway, so we followed his advice. The road passed some smaller towns, one of them was Moggil Ferry, or so we thought. We drove there, and there was a ferry standing and waiting to load cars to cross the river (50m wide). We were already too close to turn back, so we ended taking the Moggil Ferry and paying 2$ :P We managed to avoid other tolls though (hopefully).

We stayed 2 nights at a camping near Brisbane, where we could access the CBD by public transport. The first day we spent chilling at the campground, playing tennis and talking to some Belgian girls (Marieke en Verena), who were at the end of their trip, and gave us a guidebook :). The second day we spent in Brisbane CBD. It was a nice sunny day, so we spent some time on the river. We rode the City Cat ferry until our public transport ticket expired. Then we started our Brisbane walking tour. We managed to walk a couple of kilometres and ended at the infocenter that just started their free walking tour, so we joined that. It took 2,5h, but it went to the same places we were going to visit and the tour gave us a lot more info on all the buildings and the history of Brisbane. Geoff the guide made it quite interesting! We visited the town hall, the casino, the station, the bank of NSW, the arcade. The city is very inspired by Queen Victoria, who also gave Queensland it’s name. The state also has some interesting history e.g. it almost did not join Australia, but the yes voters just got a majority in the referendum. In a couple of years, as we understood, Brisbane will be a bit like Hong Kong. The tour finished at the university, where we had lunch.

Then we continued to the South banks, which is a very chill area with an artificial beach and pools and a nice riverside. We strolled around for quite a while and popped into a movie theatre. The tickets were quite cheap (6.5$/pp), so we ended up watching Fast and the Furious 7 :D. Christophe thought that the story could be a bit better :P. We then thought that we had seen enough of Brisbane so did our laundry the next morning and took off, North again!

SAM_3775

SAM_3775

SAM_3780

SAM_3780

SAM_3783

SAM_3783

SAM_3786

SAM_3786

SAM_3789

SAM_3789

SAM_3793

SAM_3793

SAM_3800

SAM_3800

SAM_3802

SAM_3802

SAM_3804

SAM_3804

SAM_3813

SAM_3813

SAM_3814

SAM_3814

SAM_3820

SAM_3820

SAM_3832

SAM_3832

Posted by cjfvdk 21:03 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Gold Coast - Mt Tambourine

After Coffs harbor we decided to drive hard in the direction North to get to Queensland. We passed Grafton, drove past the coast to Ballina (big shrimp) and drove through Byron Bay, around the lighthouse (too many ppl). Then we looked for a camping spot in the direction of Springbrook Nat Park. But it was too far, so we passed Murwillumbah and stayed a night at the beautiful Tumbulgum before driving to the Gold Coast. The weather was beautiful and so was the beach. We didn’t enjoy it too much though, because it was pretty packed and expensive. To find a cheaper place to stay, we drove inland to Mt Tambourine.
The road was pretty hilly and windy, but the place was beautiful. We stayed 2 nights, did a lot of walks and more importantly did some planning for the rest of our trip. We sat down at the info centre, took all our maps out and asked advice from the infocenter as well as from the people visiting the info centre. It worked out pretty good and after 2h we had a route until Alice Springs drawn out. We also got our first music cassette for our cassette player in the car.

But it’s not the most interesting music :). We keep on looking! And now, on to Brisbane!
SAM_3712

SAM_3712

SAM_3714

SAM_3714

SAM_3716

SAM_3716

SAM_3718

SAM_3718

SAM_3722

SAM_3722

SAM_3728

SAM_3728

SAM_3737

SAM_3737

SAM_3741

SAM_3741

SAM_3742

SAM_3742

SAM_3746

SAM_3746

SAM_3748

SAM_3748

SAM_3751

SAM_3751

SAM_3752

SAM_3752

SAM_3753

SAM_3753

SAM_3754

SAM_3754

SAM_3755

SAM_3755

SAM_3759

SAM_3759

SAM_3762

SAM_3762

SAM_3768

SAM_3768

SAM_3769

SAM_3769

Posted by cjfvdk 21:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Coffs Harbour

Before Coffs we stopped in Bellingen, where we met an unfriendly local who was complaining about our correctly parked car. Otherwise it was a nice town with a lot of organic and healthy food shops and cafes.

We continued to Uranga where we bought sausages from the local butchery and bread from the bakery = Yummy BBQ lunch by the riverside :) After lunch we did the boardwalk that reaches from the river to the sea. There were all sorts of lagoon animals (crabs, fish, birds, etc.). In the beach they had squeeking/farting sand. So when you stepped on it, it made a funny squeeking sound. We asked the locals, but they thought that it’s totally normal.

They even thought most of the sand in beaches is like that. We stayed for that night in a rest area between the highway bridge and the railway bridge.
The next day, we drove on to Coffs Harbor. We had a friend (Rex) whom we met some weeks ago in Sydney, who lives in Coffs Harbour. He showed us around, and we did most of the things you can do in Coffs. We walked in the Muttonbird Island, witnessed a man catch a long tailed yellow tuna fish, drove to the Big Banana and the Sealy lookout, visited the novotel resort where he works, played basketball (Edda kicked ass) and much more. He even gave us a surf lesson the next morning on the beach. The waves were very rough we found, and we didn’t manage to stand up. We stayed 2 nights with Rex and Jared, saw them paint their music studio, had a great pizza, and the next day it was time to move on, and for Rex to get to work again.

SAM_3699

SAM_3699

SAM_3699

SAM_3699

SAM_3699

SAM_3699

SAM_3700

SAM_3700

SAM_3703

SAM_3703

SAM_3704

SAM_3704

SAM_3706

SAM_3706

SAM_3707

SAM_3707

SAM_3708

SAM_3708

Posted by cjfvdk 20:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Waterfall way

Next stop was Wollomombi falls and gorge. This time there was a bit more water in the waterfall. We spent quite a lot of time walking around there, saw a lyrebird, rock wallabies and many birds. It was already getting late (after 4 o’clock), but we still decided to drive on and camp in the Thungutti campgroung. That was probably a mistake, because the place was pretty full when we arrived and the campground was not that nice. The evening looked nice (no rain), but suddenly we woke up in the middle of the night; it was pouring. It lasted for an hour or so. We needed earplugs to sleep, Christophe couldn’t sleep even with the earplugs. Luckily the rain stopped and we could fall asleep again.

In the morning we went to Point Lookout and did the eagle’s nest track. We wanted to walk more, but the ground was so muddy, slippery and steep, that we didn’t dare. Instead we went to Wrights lookout, which had a wider and easier track. We had lunch in the trout hatchery’s picknick place. We bought some of their super expensive smoked trout (was good, but very expensive).

Then we headed to Ebor falls. Best falls so far, really beautiful and with lots of water, it has a tough of fairy tail to it. We took the teddy bear, Pat, to see the falls too. We camped at the nearby rest area. Not the most awesome campsite, but close to the falls and free. We had breakfast at the Ebor Falls viewing plaform early in the morning, before any tourists arrived.

From Ebor we drove to Dorrigo, where we had some pre-lunch (apple and chocolate pies from the local bakery). We then drove to Dangar falls and to the rainforest center to see even more waterfalls. We walked trough the rainforsest (almost 2h), saw 2 waterfalls, 2 lizards (only Edda saw), luckily no snakes. Then we headed back to town to have some local overpriced lunch. Finally we arrived to the library to write the blog and post some pictures.
SAM_3576

SAM_3576

SAM_3579

SAM_3579

SAM_3581

SAM_3581

SAM_3582

SAM_3582

SAM_3583

SAM_3583

SAM_3588

SAM_3588

SAM_3592

SAM_3592

SAM_3598

SAM_3598

SAM_3600

SAM_3600

SAM_3604

SAM_3604

SAM_3605

SAM_3605

SAM_3609

SAM_3609

SAM_3615

SAM_3615

SAM_3617

SAM_3617

SAM_3620

SAM_3620

SAM_3623

SAM_3623

SAM_3624

SAM_3624

SAM_3626

SAM_3626

SAM_3628

SAM_3628

SAM_3632

SAM_3632

SAM_3635

SAM_3635

SAM_3640

SAM_3640

SAM_3641

SAM_3641

SAM_3647

SAM_3647

SAM_3648

SAM_3648

SAM_3652

SAM_3652

SAM_3660

SAM_3660

SAM_3661

SAM_3661

SAM_3664

SAM_3664

SAM_3669

SAM_3669

SAM_3670

SAM_3670

SAM_3671

SAM_3671

SAM_3675

SAM_3675

large_SAM_3679.jpgSAM_3683

SAM_3683

SAM_3690

SAM_3690

SAM_3692

SAM_3692

SAM_3694

SAM_3694

Posted by cjfvdk 22:38 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Oxley highway

We started with a little inland tour: from Port Macquarie to Uralla to Armidale to Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour. There were a lot of national parks on that route, so we visited and camped in those. First visit was Tia Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. We walked around the gorge there, but despite the rain, the waterfall didn’t have so much water in it. The campground was nice though. Lots of Aussies with their big 4WDs, kids and huge caravan kind of things. They really seem to take camping seriously here…

We continued to Walcha and made a little stop there at the cafe just to avoid the rain and quickly check emails and news.
The next visit was to Apsley falls and campground. When we arrived, there were some kangaroos in the campground entrance. They hopped away as we approached, but we saw them many times during the day wandering around the campground. Also Apsley falls were a bit dried out, but the gorge was impressive. It was still raining, so we didn’t even trie to make a fire. It sucks though, that after 6 O’clock it gets dark and if you don’t have a fire, you can’t really do anything because it’s pitch dark and pretty cold as well.

The trip continued to Uralla, where we spent some time walking around. We stayed the night in Dangars falls (yes, yet another waterfall and a big gorge). Luckily the weather was a bit better and we managed to make our first bonfire (with a little help from a nearby camper, who provided us with some old newspapers). In this camping we saw a lot of possums when the darkness arrived. Scary animals…
We continued to Armidale where we also walked around and bought also some more food for the following days. There was a very talkative old man at the info center, so we got a lot of info and maps.
SAM_3532

SAM_3532

SAM_3533

SAM_3533

SAM_3532

SAM_3532

SAM_3534

SAM_3534

SAM_3535

SAM_3535

SAM_3536

SAM_3536

SAM_3537

SAM_3537

large_SAM_3539.jpgSAM_3540

SAM_3540

SAM_3548

SAM_3548

SAM_3550

SAM_3550

SAM_3551

SAM_3551

SAM_3552

SAM_3552

SAM_3554

SAM_3554

SAM_3557

SAM_3557

SAM_3558

SAM_3558

SAM_3562

SAM_3562

SAM_3564

SAM_3564

SAM_3565

SAM_3565

SAM_3566

SAM_3566

SAM_3567

SAM_3567

SAM_3568

SAM_3568

SAM_3575

SAM_3575

Posted by cjfvdk 22:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Newcastle - Port Macquarie

As we didn’t manage to find a van with an acceptable price tag, we headed North. First stop was Newcastle where we met a BESTie from Aalborg that Edda knew. We stayed a couple nights at his place and he showed us around Newcastle. We cooked together and went to the peninsula, beach and the cave beach. Newcastle is quite a small place, but it seems to be nice to live there.

We continued more North to Port Macquarie. Christophe had seen an ad in a website that a hostel is looking for staff driver, duty manager and a cleaner. You could work some hours per day and stay there for free; use the wifi, facilities, bikes and bodyboards. We sent a couple of mails with the owner and he said, Christophe can be the driver and Edda probably the duty manager. When we arrived, it was a bit disappointing that we had to pay for the first night (full price) and suddenly there was no duty manager position available, so Edda had to be the cleaner.

The work started the next day and for the cleaning it was 3-4h of busy cleaning and the rest of the day off. For the driving, it wasn’t so easy. It was a big van (or more a minibus) and it had to be parked at a very narrow driveway. It had to be driven exactly how the owner wanted and what’s worse, the van didn’t have a comprehensive insurance, so the owner was very directly repeating that ‘you pay for everything that happens to the van, every scratch, everything’. We heard that previous drivers had to give a 500 dollar bond to the owner, in case they scratch it… We didn’t really feel comfortable with this arrangement and after a couple of days expressed our concern. Then we got a reply: either you leave tomorrow or stay for 4 weeks.

So we we decided to leave tomorrow.

Luckily we found a nice van, Toyota Spacia ’95. It has been kept in good condition and had a low mileage (260K) for AU standards (many cars here that age are getting close to 400K). It had 8 seats inside, but the folded nicely into a bed, so we decided to keep them at least for now. First days we had a bit of an ant problem: apparently some ants decided to build a nest somewhere in the car. There were many running around the exterior in the mornings and evenings. We tried to kill them using natural methods, hopefully it works and there is no need for poison.
We equipped the van with 2 foam/self-inflatable matresses, nice fluffy sleeping bags, 3-person tent, storage boxes, cooling box, food, water, national parks annual pass and of course a teddy bear, who we named Pat. And off we went.

SAM_3524

SAM_3524

SAM_3528

SAM_3528

SAM_3529

SAM_3529

Posted by cjfvdk 22:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney

Mixed feelings...

Our first impression: It’s very hot here, people are not as nice as they were in NZ (saw lots of people fighting in the first days), all the streets are so busy, noisy and more polluted. First thought… we want to go back to NZ! Anyway, we are stuck here now and we have a mission - we need to find a job or a work stay, buy a car and make a plan about what to do in the land of OZ.

And that brings quite some dilemmas: what should we go for first? Car or Job. Edda started looking for a job, but out rather fast that it's not as easy for such a short term. We wanted her to find something in her field (both for experience and for the money), so she applied for jobs in IT, as change manager, went down to helpdesk, and still nothing came out. Right now it seems there are too many thresholds to find a job. We'll need a different approach probably, getting in touch and getting lucky in some way.

Then the second dilemma is buying a car. First of all, it is much more complicated than in NZ. Much more papers, different rules in different states, much more costs. Edda is amazed that the cars also seem to consume about 30-50% more fuel than in NZ (will also depend on Christophe's driving style). Really, it’s crazy how much the cars here consume! We are still wondering if we should buy a 4WD or a 2WD, which brand and model. It's quite an important question because we're gonna live in the thing for a year. So it should be comfortable for sleeping, and allowing you to travel quite a bit without getting stuck when the road conditions get tough. On the other hand, having a 4WD and not knowing how to drive it could also seriously put our lives at risk. You need a lot of equipment and a lot of extra cost (also fuel), and if you only use it for 10% of you whole trip, is it worth it? All these unanswered questions… We already went to some car markets and did some online research, but haven’t found the one. And then we're not even talking about the apparent chances that you hit a 2m tall kangaroo on the way ...

What we did in Sydney so far:
We moved to an airbnb place in the suburbs and went to check out the Mardi Gras parade and wandered around the CBD. We also walked around Clemton Park and Campsie (the area where we are staying), discovered some cheap groceries shops and saw a big spider. Christophe got pulled into a street artist’s performance (which he really didn’t enjoy doing). Really.. not much is happening here because we don’t have a car and everything is so far and expensive. There are quite some things to do in the Centre we found on a free tour, but we would really like to start going around and leave the city behind us. Next weekend we'll spend in the centre centre.

In the meanwhile, Edda had an interview with HAYS (recruitment agency), but probably nothing will come out of that, as we are not going to stay in Sydney once we have a car. We still need to go to the Bondi beach.

We met some BESTies and visited the Royal National Park with them (there are some beautiful pics). We also managed to see Sydney CBD by night and take a ferry to Manly beach. We took a guided walking tour in the center, which was actually very very interesting. So it's not all that bad, if you would have the time to live in Sydney, it might be quite nice, since there is some nature close by and surfing, but still a lot busier than in New Zealand, and maybe too busy for us, countrypeople ;)

SAM_3519

SAM_3519

SAM_3515

SAM_3515

SAM_3513

SAM_3513

SAM_3508

SAM_3508

SAM_3507

SAM_3507

SAM_3506

SAM_3506

SAM_3500

SAM_3500

SAM_3499

SAM_3499

SAM_3495

SAM_3495

SAM_3494

SAM_3494

SAM_3493

SAM_3493

SAM_3486

SAM_3486

SAM_3483

SAM_3483

SAM_3475

SAM_3475

SAM_3472

SAM_3472

SAM_3466

SAM_3466

SAM_3454

SAM_3454

Posted by cjfvdk 03:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

(Entries 121 - 135 of 191) « Page .. 4 5 6 7 8 [9] 10 11 12 13 »