Arriving in what must be the world's most expensive city, we set off into Sydney to see the sights and update our sad wardrobe; a million dollars later we were kitted out with K-Mart’s finest. Sydney is a beautiful city with heaps to offer whether you have money or not; we fall into the 'not’ category so enjoyed a lot of bbq’s on the roof-top terrace of our hostel.
Shortly after picking up our rental car, we momentarily paused to think if driving from Sydney – Brisbane was actually a good idea – Daryn had not driven in 3 years and has never driven on the left side of the road sitting on the right side of a car whilst my map reading skills and general sense of direction are appalling, plus I pretty much always fall asleep in a moving vehicle. We quickly disregarded these facts, drove over the curb into a blast of beeping horns and set off, ignoring any traffic signs we didn’t understand. Out of all the ‘extreme’ adventures we have had in the past 7 months, driving in Aus has – without a doubt – been most the dangerous.
After conducting a budget monitoring pow-wow and reviewing the clothing and flight expenditures (3 internal flights in Aus); we decided a return to camping was necessary as we drove from Sydney to Brisbane over 12 days to avoid us running out of money and having to survive on tinned chicken and porridge for the next 5 months. Unfortunately, tinned chicken and porridge were some of our cheapest options for camping food… mapping out our route through Australia’s endless National Parks, we set off with more tinned chicken and porridge than anyone should ever consume. Thanks to Aussie’s love of BBQ-ing, there were free BBQ’s everywhere; unfortunately we couldn’t afford meat but crafty Jana figured out how to BBQ toast.
In our 12 days of driving, we managed to get through amazing 4 National Parks and a host of beautiful coastal towns seeing a mix of beaches, countryside and rainforest. We also managed to see rain – EVERY SINGLE DAY. I can confirm that the only thing worse setting up a wet tent in the rain is eating porridge and tinned chicken in a wet tent in the rain. You would think that all of the camping we’ve done in NZ and Aus would have cured me of my intense, irrational fear that someone is hiding in the bushes and going to kill me at night, but no – I haven’t slept in 12 terrifying nights.
One of the many highlights driving up the coast was visiting the Koala Hospital in Port Macquire where the worlds cutest but also stupidest Koala’s live. It was heart-warming to see the level of dedication these people – all volunteers – went to to save Koalas. Each patient had its life story presented for you to see how they ended up there, the most memorable was Miss Beautiful, who had been admitted no less than 8 times for an assortment of problems including being found in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant, about 5 million miles away from the closest Eucalyptus tree (FYI – eucalyptus leaves is all they eat) and also falling off a tree into a clothesline which resulted in her eyeballs falling out. She’s fine and happy (and blind) now.
I could list highlights for pages but I’ll only mention one more – our trip to Wet and Wild Waterpark on the Gold Coast. Seeing as how it was constantly raining, we figured where better place to spend the day than at a water park?! It was awesome; aside from camping, I have never been so scared in my life.
Next stop: Melbourne!
Sydney – Bondi Beach - Blue Mountains National Park – Jenolan Caves – Kangara National Park – Barrington Tops National Park - Bonny Hills – Port Macquire – Coffs Harbour – Yamba – Nightcap National Park, Byron Bay – Gold Coast – Brisbane