We did it! We left Bundaberg, cactus and skateboard in my hands, Santa hat on Rama’s head and skipped our way into the train station to get the hell out of this place!
Gandalf handed us our tickets, and showed us some hiding techniques so that we could keep our cactus on the train (apparently you aren’t allowed them on trains here). Of course we had an extremely fun trip on the train, watching a film and joking about, probably annoying everyone around us with our excitement, and the views through the forest were spectacular as well.
When we arrived in Brisbane, we sat in Hungry Jacks for a while deciphering life and which location we would begin our hippie camping trip in. We decided to go camping 40 minutes out of the city, which to any normal person would seem a simple trip. Of course it wasn’t to us, the two most dopey travellers you could ever meet.
Eventually, we got to the bus station after getting lost several times. We missed the first one because we were stood in the wrong queue, and when the second the bus arrived we realised that we had no poles for the tent we had bought in an op shop the other day. The bus passed us by once again whilst Rama and I stared at each other in realisation of our ultimate stupidity, and burst out laughing. With half an hour to go before the last bus, the supermarket sweep challenge was on. We flew around the shopping complex looking for a tent. Deciding that Big W was our only hope we ran across town, with no real hope they would stock a tent. Low and behold they did! So off we flew back to the bus stop and managed to blag our way on for free. We settled in our seats and put on the last bit of the film we had been watching. 40 minutes later and out of the corner of my eye I saw the camping spot pass by. I flew up and hit the stop button but of course the next stop was over another highway and up a hill. “Take the next 150 bus it’ll take you back to where you need to be” said the bus driver. The 150 came, we got on, paid $5 each and when we wanted to get off the bus, found out we had taken the wrong bus and we were in the wrong direction again. Laughing at our stupidity once again. We decided walking was the best option, so we crossed three highways, got beeped at a lot and I fell down a ditch in the grass and thought I broke my knee. What a picture: me laid on my bag covered in my rucksacks on the side of a highway, growling in pain at my knee fighting back the tears, and Rama sat over me patting my head. What a pair.
We eventually arrived at the camping, still in high spirits and put the tent up. Following the receptionist’s instructions, we walked to the shop… of course we walked the opposite direction and then spent 30 mins walking back to get to the right route.
By the time we got back to the camping, it started raining. We hadn’t put the roof cover over and our makeshift rain cover wasn’t the best, so rain started dripping into our tent. To visually explain this, the tent is probably a meter and a half wide, and maybe two meters long. With us and our backpacks, trying to make our sandwiches under the dripping roof was somewhat stressful. Rama got a stomach ache and I was getting claustrophobic, so we decided at the lull of the rain that we would put our bags in the restaurant with a note on it asking for no one to steal our stuff. We could only hope for the best. After this moment of impressive spacial organisation, we were able to sleep!
We woke up, thankfully, to sun! We decided to spend the day in the city and see some art. We walked about ten million thousand kilometres around Brisbane, collecting flowers for our hair on the way, of course. We saw some amazing art work, one of which was a pitch black room with fluorescent balls hanging down on clear string in front of mirrored walls. We stood on a platform, surrounded by water which reflected the balls even more. It was such a good use of the space and expressive of the way the stars look in a clear night’s sky.
After this enlightening experience, we went to a science museum. We then forgot that we went and then went again , leaving several minutes later after confirming that we had definitely seen this one before. We then walked another 10 million thousand km to go to Woolworths and some more to go to the bottle shop. We met up with Chloe from our farm and went down the road to another hostel. Rama and I decided it was a good idea to sing the Spice Girls at karaoke, which was most definitely the most hilarious thing we have ever done.
We awoke with a slight hangover from the party the night before and quickly (slow as hell) packed up our things and decided (deliberated very slowly) to go to the Gold Coast. We went to the market in Brisbane centre and bought a focaccia. Sat in the bus station and ate our focaccia and drank some vino as any artistic vagabond may do.
The bus to the Gold Coast was of course fun as always, and we went to our friends from the farm, Moku and Luis’ apartment. We made sushi with them and chatted all the evening with them and their flat mates. We slept on their sofa which was actually surprisingly comfortable!
We decided to go to Nimbin and try to avoid the rain. As soon as we arrived we saw a huge white fluffy dog and of course stopped to chat to the owners. These people were super spiritual and talked to us about their energies. We saw a double rainbow which was particularly uplifting. Passing by a cool little cafe that I hadn’t noticed before we stopped for some food. As we sat down, a man who looked again like Gandalf started chatting with us about the first bath in two months he had just had. This place was the perfect representation of Nimbin. Absolutely authentic hippies, high, chatting shit and slow jazz playing in the back ground with an eerie female singer singing the wrong words to a Spanish song. Gandalf two was teaching me chess whilst we consumed some of Nimbin’s fine erbs. Of course I understood nothing, not withstanding that this guy’s moustache was so over grown that I couldn’t even try to lip read. We tried to nod and laugh in the right places as endless facts streamed out of his mouth. Eventually there was no more hope. We escaped and carried on up the street in search of someone to lend us a blanket. Half way up the street a man appeared behind us and made some bird noises. Rama thought he was talking to him in bird language and started making bird noises back. When the guy stopped stark and stared at us like an insane person we realised it was time to quickly walk away. Off we went on our blanket mission. We had decided we would sleep in the hire car for the night because we arrived late and it was raining. We stood outside a few houses and called hello, without knocking we figured no one was around and got distracted by pizza. Three slices later we tried the hotel who said no, after attempting the jazz cafe again and getting spooked by the amount of creepy looking people we went back to the hotel, bought a beer and watched an amazing country musician for a few hours. We danced and chatted about life and art and eventually went to the car to attempt to sleep.
We awoke after a not too terrible sleep and rocked around Nimbin for brekkie before deciding it was time to leave. We came back to Coolangatta, thankfully Rama had not crashed the car, however as soon as we gave back the car it started raining. After our previous experience of camping in the rain we decided it was wise to check into my old hostel. We grabbed some bikes and rode into town for a little while. We caught up with my pal Chef for the evening and caught up with some sleep!
The sun was out so we bicycled around town and nearly missed the bus to the doctor. We ate ice cream and walked all the way back along the coast which was very beautiful until we got soaked by the rain! We attended the weekly BBQ at the hostel which was very nostalgic of my times there. Of course I danced around with Chef to our favourite musics and had a great laugh.
Our days in Byron
Before even stepping on the bus to Byron we managed to get the bus time wrong so we couldn’t go surfing in the morning. However we did find a trolley to carry our bags for us; for those of you that don’t know, trolley rides are our favourite form of transportation and in our opinion the best. Unfortunately this particular trolley was ravenous,y hungry and had a niche taste for feet, so he decided to take a bite out of the back of Rama’s foot. Much to Rama’s demise that his shoes that he never wears anyway bear even less purpose in his rucksack because he now can’t wear them even if he wanted to! We decided to swap this trolley for a more tame one and waited for our bus. Upon our arrival we bumped into a guy driving a mini bus for one of the hostels who gave us a lift to the area of the hostel so we could find a camping spot on the beach. Camping outside of camping grounds is illegal in Australia but in Byron no one cares. Everyone knows people do it and the police never come around. Our good friends Matt and Gal from the farm were here too so we met up with them after setting up our amazing secret spot in the trees on the side of the beach. We made a few friends down by the beach and were interrupted by an aboriginal man and his sister that also was his cousin. He made us play an apparently authentic aboriginal game called Sassaaaa. Here’s the routine and I think you will agree that he was taking the piss!
Slap hands on legs like a heart beat
Man: “what’s the magic word?”
3x slaps on legs arms right
3x slaps on legs arms left
3x slaps on legs arms in the middle
3x slaps on legs arms in the sky and look in the sky
Aaaannnddd selfie pose!
After a few goes we got bored of this silly man and walked off!
The next few days were filled with meeting people, spending time in the beach and experiencing new things. There is usually guys with bongo drums who play at sunset by the beach and this time lots of people were dancing around expressing themselves through the movement of their bodies to the music. So we joined in and it felt amazing!
We drank some magic tea with some hippies we met on the beach and made friends with all the homeless people and hung out with them playing music down the Main Street.
My time in Byron, as always, homes me back into my self. Meeting people who are like minded and thrive on youthful creativity further inspires me to stay out of the expected norm of society. Particularly on this occasion, my opinions on putting money into a place to stay have been reinforced. We lived free of charge by the beach, in a place way more beautiful than something you would pay for, and were happier doing this than staying in a hostel of 30-40$ per night. When even a camping ground charges this amount for a patch of grass, the insanity of people expecting you to pay this or even submitting to paying it yourself becomes exponentially heightened. It seems so inhuman to exploit people in such a way. Most importantly, for travellers to be cornered into feeling like they need to pay this much for a hostel is ludicrous. So if there is any advice I can give to a traveller who isn’t afraid to live out in the sticks, it’s get a tent and camp illegally!
we decided to go Yamba. We have one thing to say: don’t go: boring as hell, even for us.
Off we popped to Coffs Harbour , where we stayed in a camp ground just off the main road, peppered with little rabbits. We walked to the beach which was surprisingly three km away from town. There, we were gladly presented with some market stalls selling tantalisingly delicious foods and a man playing the guitar in the park just beside the beach. As always when we go anywhere we manage to meet some spiritual person and this is exactly what we did! To make our evening even more spectacular we found a grasshopper that could communicate with us and we found out that it was someone who loved me in another life. The grasshopper was able to move and stop moving when we asked it to in order to answer questions and it also ran to my face at any chance it could. Definitely all signs of a previous life.
We couldn’t come to Coffs Harbour and not go to Belingen, so we hired a car for the day and went to Dorrigo and Ebor waterfalls and then came back to Belingen for the night. We ate a humongous pizza that even I was surprised we smashed the whole thing, and went to see a band in a pub. They combined jazz, electric rock, aboriginal, reggae and bongos with a singing voice I hadn’t heard before. It was a mix of funk-like spoken word and singing. We slept in the car and forgot to switch it completely off so of course we woke up to a flat battery! It wasn’t a bother though, after a two minute walk we found a man willing to help us and started the car back up again. On our second walk to find coffee we bumped into two hitch hikers in the street and offered them a lift with us. We grabbed some coffee in an amazing cafe which was also a shop for clothes and home wear. Soft jazz was playing in the background, the noise was minimal and the colours were calm neutral tones. The place had such an organic, fresh and creative vibe I felt it would be a great place to coke to write, and drink a lot of coffee! Our hitch hikers were two young artists travelling a little for a break from their home town of Newcastle- our next destination!
After giving back the rental car and doing some admin with several coffees and a cake, we boarded the bus once again for a long 7 hour ride to Newcastle. Unfortunately I can’t be as pumped for this mega journey as I was for the short ones, especially since Netflix has decided to fail on us at this crucial moment, but soon enough we will arrive in Newcastle!
Newcastle is a cool student town with a lot of hills around the city. We decided to stay in hostels for the two nights we were there. Nelsons bay is definitely a place to visit. It is located around an hour and a half outside of the city and has a lovely little mountain giving views of the bays. There is a sand trail that leads to Shark Island when the tide is low, but it proves impossible to get to the island when the tide is high; so watch out you don’t get stuck!
Our last night in Newcastle was particularly entertaining; we stayed in a backpackers close to the YHA that has a slightly bazaar manager! He directly expressed his disparu at backpackers although he owned a backpacker hostel, and had very certain rules we must abide by. It’s fair to say we were highly amused by his contradictions, and even more amused when we found a wet wee smelling patch in the bed, and subsequently got our money back!
Our final destination: Sydney for two weeks before my Asian adventure begins!
Stay tuned for more silly stories!