Wednesday, 14 May 2014

East Coast Road Trip

When Lylo suggested we go on a road trip over the Easter period we instantly locked it in and started throwing ideas around. We decided we would hire a camper van in Brisbane and then travel down to Sydney, taking five days to do so. 

The places to see between Brisbane and Sydney are endless. I felt a little overwhelmed and therefore became useless in the planning. Lylo would troll google maps and I would get excited watching adventure videos on youtube. We had two wishes - to see waterfalls and beaches.

We picked out a couple of points we would aim to sleep at but nothing was certain. It was a chance to take a holiday in whichever direction felt most comfortable at that point in time.  It fits well with my love for photography, not knowing where you are going and being able to document the whole journey. 

So we set off from Brisbane (via the airport to collect our two companions, Tom and Sam, from the west) and made our way down to the Big Smoke.

Our stops included the beautiful Byron Bay (no surprises there), a lunch at the awesome Pacific Hotel in Yamba (thanks Phoebe), night and early morning trek at Dorrigo National Park, beachside at Dunbogan, a long trip through Forster and an interesting final night in Wattagan National Park which ended in a flat battery.

Dunbogan was my personal favourite and I got a similar vibe from the others. We arrived in the afternoon and found a quiet section of beach where we set up a corona/cider/dorrito picnic and danced, wrestled, and laughed until the mosquitos invaded. We went back to the van and cooked some amazing pasta out of the boot's little kitchenette and watched the stars. In our attempt to hide the car, Tom parked it in the bush on a slope, resulting in Lylo rolling over to my side of the fold out bed for majority of the night - that was fine with me! We set our alarms for sunrise and while Sam and Tom went for a jog and a swim along the beach, Lylo and I took a blanket and attempted to watch the sun rise. We couldn’t really see the sun rise from where we were so we climbed the edge of a cliff in our bare feet and trackpants, past the eager fisherman and found a comfortable grassy spot on the edge. We were joined by a cold and wet Sam and Tom and we sat and watched the waves crash against the cliff rocks while the sky turned all the beautiful pastel shades of a new day. And then if it couldn’t get any more cliched we saw a massive pod of dolphins out for a morning feed and play in the surf. This was Easter Sunday.

So, I guess you can get the gist of our trip. We ate easter eggs for breakfast and hot cross buns with every meal. We held candles in our freezing hands when the nights reached 12 degrees and we went to the toilet amongst bush turkey nests. We stopped at the local pub for a beer and had fish and chips at the marina. We got competitive over games of pictionary and scategories and we played countless games of 20 questions.  The girls received back scratches when sitting in the back and played dj in the front. The boys took it in turns to drive the big purple and green beast over 1000km down the east coast of Australia.

Driving into Sydney brought about a certain sadness and not just because it marked the end of our trip, but it meant that we were back into the rush and bustle of the big city. It was an incredible experience and better than we could have ever planned.  The places we saw, the memories we made, and I now have two new, beautiful friends. We are so lucky to be able to safely and comfortably explore our amazing Australia. I will be doing this again but next time I hope to go for a couple of weeks not just days.

OH! And how could I forget. When we arrived in Sydney, Tom and Sam had plans to stay with friends but Lylo and I hadn't made any plans. We went onto, and booked one of those "mystery" hotels for $130/night because, you know, yolo. Turned out it was The Hilton. We went from sleeping and sliding in the back of the van to getting lost in a king sized bed. What a finale.

Camera gear: 5dmarkiii, 40mm pancake lens (this lens is super cheap and it was the only lens I took with me because it's so tiny and light, perfect for travel) and a cheap disposable camera.