At last, we’ve made it. The final blog in the Australia East Coast Road Trip series. It’s only taken 3 months since finishing the road trip to complete but I’ve finally got there. I’ve combined the last few weeks of the trip together as in all honesty towards the end of the road trip we were all getting a little arsey with one another and were very much ready to settle down in Sydney and return to normal life for a little while. Hence on some days we really didn’t get up to a lot and for the final few days of the trip pretty much just drove straight to Sydney. Anyway, I’ll get into it from where I left off last time when we had just arrived in Brisbane for the night.
Day 26 – 5th Oct: We still had Zoe and Jade in tow with us at this point so today Zoe and I headed off to do some exploring of Brisbane together. In the morning we explored around the Southbank area of Brisbane which was lovely, and the weather was beautiful, so spent a few hours just strolling around taking in the sights and the city skyline. At one point a plane flew overhead and wrote someone’s name in the sky right above all the skyscrapers which was pretty cool. I wonder if Linda professed her love back to the sender of the message? and what was the point of it all, but for everyone who the message wasn’t aimed at, it was a unique sight above the city.
While out walking we had noticed all these electric scooters around which if you downloaded an App could pay and use (much like the Boris bikes in London). Therefore, after walking around for the morning we chose to wiz back to the hostel on the electric scooters. It took a bit of time to get them to work but I must admit it was a fun way to travel, although we did crash into each other at one point and I’m fairly certain we went across the pedestrian bridge where they weren’t allowed. But I mean there are worse crimes to commit. That afternoon/evening we then went to a bar called Holey Moley’s, which is a crazy golf style bar. So, we basically got drunk while I comfortably beat Zoe at crazy golf, although she did win the board game of Guess Who which we played after. We then headed to a little rooftop bar before grabbing a Nando’s for dinner. The Nando’s was alright but the English version wipes the floor over the Australian one.
Day 27 – 6th Oct: Today we had all organised to go to a bottomless brunch, which for those who don’t know what this is (I mean have you been living under a rock the last few years) is just a code word for a big piss up at 11 o’clock in the morning, but people don’t look at you like you should be in rehab. You get a nice bit of brunch along with 2 hours of unlimited buck fizz – or mimosas if you want to be fancy. Obviously wanting to get our moneys worth we necked as many mimosas as possible within the two-hour time window before heading onto another bar. Luckily it was also a bank holiday the following day, so everyone else in the city was also up for getting drunk, meaning we didn’t look so bad rocking into the bar at 13:30 pissed. We had a few pints in the one bar before moving onto this other rooftop bar which was rammed. We stayed here for several hours, to be honest by this point I think we had all lost track of time and were pretty far gone when I then got kicked out for throwing a lime at Ollie. By this point, Jade and Zoe had also disappeared off to Nando’s without anyone knowing and I headed back to the hostel only to wake up at midnight starving and went in search of a Kebab.
Day 28 – 7th Oct: After waking up pretty gingerly in the morning (I should point out we stayed in a hostel in Brisbane, leaving the van in the car park) We returned to our cramped little camper and left Brisbane after a good (but expensive and boozy few days in the city). We also said goodbye to Zoe and Jade here as they were heading off to meet up with some of Zoe’s Family, so we were back to a 4 again. We drove on down to the Gold Coast, which is basically a city just hugging a massive stretch of beach, which makes for an impressive backdrop. We wandered around the city a little bit and explored Surfer’s Paradise before paying for a campsite for the night as there weren’t any free ones around.
Day 29 – 8th Oct: I must admit today we were really struggling with ideas of things to do, seeing as the Gold Coast is just beach, to be honest. I mean don’t get me wrong probably an unreal place to live and work. But while travelling in a camper van, not a great deal going on, so we decided to go have a game of mini-golf which was quite a laugh and came down to a decider between Ollie and Lisa for who would be the loser and had to get the round in. Unfortunately for Lisa, she couldn’t quite bring her A-game when it mattered most so she came away last, with Fred taking the W, myself in second place followed by Ollie then Lisa. After our game of golf, we went to Burleigh Heads lookout which offered nice views back at the city skyline and bumped into some famous Instagram model doing a photoshoot.
That night not wanting to pay the extortionate price for the campsite again we elected to sleep on the side of the road pretty much right outside the campsite haha. Not our finest moment but it did mean a free night and then we simply slipped into the showers and bathrooms when we needed them as we were parked outside, living the true life of a gypsy. After making camp on the side of the road and glamming ourselves up by sneaking into the campsite toilets when headed into the city for a few drinks and ended up playing trivial pursuit in the bar, even though none of us could remember the rules.
Day 30 – 9th Oct: Today once again struggling for ideas and with the prospect of settling down in Sydney getting ever closer. We had an admin day, going to the local library and sorting out CV’s looking at jobs and all that boring stuff which we left England to get away from. But I guess at some point it was inevitable that we would be returning to the real world for a little while. After sorting our lives out somewhat Lisa Fred and I decided to go up the Sky Point observation deck, which is a big skyscraper on the Gold Coast which offers some fantastic views. We went up there just before sunset and had a few drinks admiring the view. We were even able to make out the campervan down below which Ollie was napping in.
Once we had enjoyed the view for long enough, we made it back down and jumped in the van to meet an old friend from school, Charlie who had moved to Australia and was now living in the Gold Coast. We met up with Charlie and her boyfriend Dylan and had a BBQ at one of the local BBQ cookout spots (which are all over Australia) the spot looked right back towards the Gold Coast and once again offered stunning views of the city skyline while chowing down on some BBQ food and catching up with Charlie who we hadn’t seen for years. It was a lovely evening catching up with an old friend and making a new one in Dylan. To top it off we were even invited back to the house where Ollie and I got to sleep on the sofa bed which was luxury after weeks in the camper van and even just being in a house with a proper bathroom and sofas was incredible for all of us.
Day 31 – 10th Oct: After being spoilt by our supper hosts Charlie and Dylan (thanks so much guys) we continued to make our way south and for the first time while being in Australia I left the state of Queensland and made it into New South Wales. We were heading for Byron Bay, but on the way spent some time at Snapper Rock surf point, which Ollie informed us was a place famous for surfing and had international competitions. Unfortunately, there were no competitions while we sat there, but there were still plenty of surfer out enjoying the waves. We were even greeted by a few whales swimming just off the coast. After the quick stop off, we continued through to Byron Bay found ourselves a campsite and headed out into the town for a drink.
Day 32 – 11Th Oct: Byron Bay is famous for being like a really chilled out Hippie type place and it certainly had that vibe, with loads of quirky shops and restaurants along with loads of street performers and buskers playing on the side of the road. Sadly, the weather while in Byron wasn’t all that great. On our first full day here Fred Lisa and I explored Byron on foot while Ollie went for a surf. Like I said the weather wasn’t all that so the three of us ended up going to the cinema to watch a film. Once this had finished, we picked up Ollie from his surfing spot and headed back to the campsite to cook up some food and get ready for another night out in Byron. By this point, Zoe and Jade had also made their way to Byron Bay and we were all reunited in the local bar that evening enjoying the live music.
As you can probably sense from the tone of my writing and lack of actual things we got up to, by now the 4 of us in the van had really had enough of the camping lifestyle. It just felt like we didn’t really do much by this point other than drive and stop off for a few hours here and there and struggle to find the cheapest/free campsite. I think added to the fact we were also slowly running low on funds each passing day we kind of just wanted more and more to get to Sydney. Plus, as I mentioned the weather in Byron was pretty bad so you couldn’t even just relax on the beach.
Day 33 – 12th Oct: Today we made our way up to Byron lighthouse which had some great views back towards the town itself. Although this only took up an hour or so of the day. To be honest I’m not sure what we did for the remainder of the day other than potter about again before embarking on another night out in Byron where we ended up bumping into a girl that initially Jade and Zoe had met in Cambodia before we then also met her in Cambodia. Neither party knew the other was there and it’s another example I can add to my growing list of “you’ll never guess who I bumped into while here” small world after all.
Day 34 – 13th Oct: Our final day in Byron and the sun finally came out for a bit. We, therefore, chilled out on the beach, before meeting up with Dessi, a German girl that Fred and I had lived with while doing our farm work, who happened to be in Byron at the same time. We actually just bumped into one another. Literally, as we sat on some grass listening to a busker play music, I said I’m sure Dessi is here in Byron and literally as I said that I saw her stand up about 20 m away from us which was very odd. We then spent the afternoon in a bar just off the beach where a live band played music and loads of carefree hippie people, young and old let there hair down and pulled out some outrageous dance moves which kept us all entertained for a while.
To be honest, this kind of marks the end of the road trip as for the next few days we really didn’t do a lot other than drive to get to Sydney, but I’ll include the small details just for completeness, I guess.
Day 35 – 14th Oct: Monday we left Byron Bay late in the morning after staying in the car park of a campsite again as we arrived too late to pay for entry so just stayed in the car park all night until the staff turned up in the morning. Luckily, they just let us stay for free and let us use the facilities. Tonight’s resting point was a small town called Grafton, we stayed in the car park again of a pub/hotel which allowed travellers to use their facilities for a small fee. Most of the night we spent in the bar doing more life admin for Sydney, before heading to sleep with the chorus of a cattle farm 100 m or so away. This provided some entertainment for a while listens to the orchestra of Mooooo’s before we all nodded off to sleep.
Day 36 – 15th Oct: As we set off from Grafton the camper van was making some horrendous noises from its front left side by the wheel. Typical with 3 days to go on the lease and a 5k deposit on the van. After chief mechanic Ollie had a quick look, we concluded F**k it, it will be fine just drive. We turned the radio up to drown out the scraping noise and hoped it would go away. Which thankfully after a little while it did! During the long day of driving, we stopped for a little while in Port Macquarie which seemed a nice little place and I also got my haircut. Although I must point out Australians really can’t cut hair! We then carried on south before stopping for one final night in the Van, which fittingly was a free campsite outside a hotel/pub in some tiny town with disgusting toilets which we had done so many times previously on the trip.
Day 37 – 16th Oct: So today was the day, the final day in the van. By now, we were all buzzing to be rid of it. We drove a good 5-6 hours all the way down to Sydney. But by the time we arrived, it was too late to return the van as the rental place was shut. We did still have a few more days rental of the van though. We found ourselves a hostel for the night but spent ages driving around trying to find a parking spot in the city. Tensions got a little heated after 5 weeks of living on top of each other and Ollie and myself let off some steam at one another while we pulled up outside the hostel, at last, finding a spot to leave the van for a second. Once we had cleaned the van and moved all our belonging into the hostel Lisa and I then had to go off and find a more permanent parking spot for the van for the night. We spent another good hour or so driving round in Sydney rush hour trying to find a car parking spot. All the multi-story car parks didn’t have enough clearance for the van what with it being 3 bloody meters high. A one point I tried to parallel park into a tight spot, which in all fairness I probably could have made but done a rather bad job attempting it. So bad in fact that I scraped the side of the van on the car in front. No scratches the whole trip until the final bloody time parking it. After failing to get in the spot and holding up Sydney traffic I did what any respectable driver does and drove off to find another spot (don’t worry I checked the other car and there was barely a scratch). Finally, we came across another space which was far easier to fit into. I then go out to inspect the damage on the van (thinking brilliant there goes at least some of the 5k deposit). Thankfully I hadn’t really done any damage just added some red paint from the tail lights of the car I scraped up against. Also, on this side of the van was a pre-existing much larger scratch from a previous renter of the van which was noted down as being prior to us, which would hopefully save me if they said anything. I manded to clean up the scrape as best I could before making my way to the hostel on foot just around the corner. Later that evening while returning to the van to add some more money on the parking meter a big 4×4 BMW pulled up next to me and rolled the window down. The big gym rat of a guy sat driving the thing then proceeded to ask if I was from around here. Expecting that he was asking for directions I said no I’m a backpacker and have literally just arrived in Sydney a few hours ago. His reply to this was “ow brilliant you must be looking for some work then”. I thought result, just got to Sydney needing a job and here’s this man already offering me an opportunity. So naturally, I responded that yeah, I was very much looking for work. The words that then left his mouth I never expected to hear. “How would you feel about making porn?” the look on my face must have been priceless and I couldn’t help but laugh. I guess it must have been my dashing good looks that drew the guy over to ask. But instead of just walking off I thought when am I ever going to have a conversation like this again so decided to delve a little deeper. In fact, I probably had a good 5 – 10-minute conversation with the man through the window of his car. He described to me the ins and outs of the business (which as you can imagine there’s quite a few of those). He explained I could make 400 bucks for 45 minutes work. To which I replied I wouldn’t need 45 minutes about 3 would do. Easiest money I was ever going to make. Finally, after the interesting conversation I politely declined his offer saying maybe in a week’s time I might be more desperate but for now, I’m okay. I shook his hand although did question my decision here wondering where they might have been, so gave them a thorough wash when I return to the hostel. On my return, everyone had wondered what took me so long. I explained I had managed to get us all work already, everyone’s faces lit up until I explained it was making porn at which point everyone’s faces remained lit haha. No, obviously none of us ended up making a porn video but life in Sydney certainly was off to a start I very much wasn’t expecting. Ending the road trip with a bang (not literally mum don’t worry). The following day we finally returned the van to the rental company, the scratch wasn’t noticed, and we received our 5k deposit back in full.
We would now be spending the foreseeable future in Sydney. As for the road trip, it’s hard to sum up how I feel about it all even this far down the line. Don’t get me wrong it was great to explore the east coast a little and see some of Australia after working on the farm for so long. The highlights were certainly the Whitsunday Islands and Fraser Island but all in all I wasn’t blown away by the whole experience. It certainly had its highs, but whereas I would rush back to experience my time travelling Asia in a heartbeat, I wouldn’t return to travelling down the east coast of Australia again. I’m sure different people will say different things and its certainly worth doing. But I guess I’m thankful to be able to compare the experience to other amazing experiences I’ve had, and, in my opinion, I’ve had far better experiences elsewhere / doing other things. I don’t regret the trip and I’m glad we did it, but like I said the 4 of us were also all glad for it to be over, which I don’t think is the best sign. Anyhow that was 3 months ago now and a lot has happened since then so in the next blog I shall fill you in with all the good stuff that’s gone on down under in Sydney and let you know my plans for my last few months in Aus before new adventures await. That’s if I know what my plans are by then as, to be honest right now, I don’t really have a clue. Regardless I’ll figure it out and here’s to hopefully another year of Everitts Adventures.