Tuesday, November 3, 2015
After arriving in Brisbane, Mikaela’s uncle picked us up from the airport and brought us back to his house. Her aunt made us a phenomenal feast and we chatted the night away.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Our first day in Brisbane, we took our little Wicked rental car around the city. We had lunch at a quaint rooftop bar and did some shopping (you have to do some shopping in the city, right??).
After our short jaunt in the city, we headed home to enjoy another incredible feast made by Mikaela’s aunt Janine. She also made a special dessert called pavlova for me to try, a meringue-based dessert filled with whipped cream and berries. Interestingly, there’s a huge debate between Australia and New Zealand on who created pavlova.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Right away in the morning, we visited a Koala Sanctuary down the road from where we were staying – there was only one cute little guy hanging out. The Sanctuary had lots of information on the endangered status of koalas. They even had a roster, where people called in to report if they had seen one and what it was doing (climbing, sleeping, injured, etc).
Georgia and I dropped Mikaela off to have lunch with her family, and we headed to South Bank on the Brisbane River. South Bank is a large park in the middle of the city with pools, lawns, gardens, a fake beach, playgrounds, restaurants and even a Ferris wheel. We walked, chatted, had an acai bowl and went back to pack up our things.
We drove about an hour south to Mikaela’s cousin’s house in the Gold Coast, where we had yet another incredible feast on the BBQ.
Friday, November 6, 2015
After going for a run in town, we drove to Surfer’s Paradise to wander and shop. That night we went to the Coolangatta Hotel to have a few drinks with friends Mikaela and Georgia worked with in Cairns. There was a band that played 80s rock n roll so you can bet we were on the dance floor all night long.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
The morning was a rough one, but we made it to Wicked Campers to exchange our car for the camper van just before they closed. Turns out…..THIS WAS THE VAN THEY GAVE US:
We made our way to Byron Bay and found a campground to park for the night. We pulled out the table, made a kickass salad and went out for some drinks. VERY FUN NIGHT.
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Unfortunately, it was pouring in Byron Bay the next morning, so we didn’t get to experience much. We planned to spend much of the day in Byron, learning how to surf but cancelled when we saw the weather. We took a quick peek at the lighthouse, but I wasn’t able to get any good pictures due to the rain. So we continued driving and made it to Coffs Harbour.
It started out as a normal day – we took a walk on the beach, had a lovely picnic looking out over the ocean – and then it became dark. We suddenly realised we were alone in the pitch black, had to pack up, and still needed to find a place to sleep for the night.
The series of events that happened next:
- We were kicked out of a grocery store by a police officer for using the bathroom without buying anything (we had the intention of buying a blanket – they just didn’t have one).
- All the campground offices were closed so we drove around trying to find a place to freedom camp.
- We decided to look in the bush because we read you could freedom camp there for free.
- Our van got stuck in a ditch in the pitch black (saw a kangaroo though so that’s cool). The vehicle was propped up on a cement block and our wheel was spinning in mid-air. We were able to push out quickly, though, whew!
- Once we decided on a spot, we did four tests of turning the lights off to see if we could do it (again, pitch black in the middle of nowhere). We finally decided to be brave and do it.
- I got out of the van to put bug spray on and immediately got stung or bit on the foot by some creature. I hopped into the van swearing like a sailor and we got the hell out of there.
- We drove around for another hour (in town this time) trying to decide on where to stay. Eventually, we parked outside of a sketchy petrol station and conked out.
It was a crazy night but if there’s one lesson I’ve learned, the things that go wrong are often the best memories.
Monday, November 9, 2015
After the crazy night before, it took us a while to get moving. We made our way to Port Macquarie – one of my favorite towns we stayed. Immediately after arriving, we booked a campsite – we didn’t want a repeat of last night. Once we were sorted, we made it to the beach for a beach day. I made the mistake of being too lazy to dig out the sunscreen and ended up with the worst sunburn of my life.
The girls decided I needed to have my first ‘fish and chips’ experience so that’s exactly what we did. There was a shop by the ocean so we sat on the dock and watched the sunset over fish and chips. AND I SAW A DOLPHIN WHAT!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Still burned, we took a scenic drive through quaint Newcastle on our way to Sydney. We took a look around the Newcastle Memorial Walk, which had incredible views of the ocean.
After a quick lunch, we were back on the road to Sydney. We dropped Mikaela off at her brother’s house near Bondi Beach and then headed toward where Georgia and I were staying. That night, Lisa (friend of Georgia and Mikaela’s from Nelson) showed us around Bondi Beach.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
The next morning was a scurry to get the van back to Wicked Campers – again, barely making it in time.
I got my nose re-pierced at the same place Zayn from One Direction has been before, so I’m pretty much famous now I think.
Georgia, Lisa and I met up with Mikaela and her friends she met backpacking in Asia, at a place called The Soda Factory – an All-American restaurant. You can’t even tell the restaurant is there – when you walk up to it, there’s a little hot dog stand. You have to open the refrigerator door to get inside. It had a speakeasy feel to it and the special of the night was $10 buckets of chicken wings.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Bondi Beach was calling our name. Georgia, Lisa and I wandered around Bondi for a bit, taking cool pics like this one. Apparently this is a very exclusive club only rich and famous people can go to.
On Thursdays, shopping in the city is open until 9 PM so we took the bus into the city and I, of course, fell in love. I was then introduced to Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar – and let me tell you, WOW. I ordered an ’80s milkshake’ AND chocolate dipped strawberries. Worst tummy ache of my life but I had to experience a chocolate bar, right??
Friday, November 13, 2015
TODAY I SAW THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE. I actually had tears of joy in my eyes because this has been something I’ve been dreaming about since I first saw Finding Nemo.
After I composed myself, we took the ferry out to Manly, in North Sydney. It started downpouring after we arrived so we didn’t get to see much.
Went went to a club in Bondi and stayed out until 3 AM. I needed to leave for the airport at 6 AM.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
I figured I’d sleep on the plane but, of course, I was in the back row next to the bathrooms with people bumping into me and crying children….. Anyway, I made it back to Nelson safe and sound – exhausted to say the least.
Everyone keeps telling me I need to see Melbourne, so who knows – it may be in the cards very soon!