14th Sep 2011 - 20th Sep 2011 So it was time to pack our bags and vacate the flat, we didn't have anywhere to go though as the place we were hoping to move into fell through, we contacted Tony, a guys house we viewed last week and said we would take it, but it was half an hour out of the city, and would make it difficult for me to get to work. Also Shannon had two interviews lined up for delivery driver and a removals company but they were both messing him about taking ages to get back to him.
So we had a very quick brainstorm and decided to leave Brisbane the next day!... Yip- leave Brisbane!
We both just felt we had seen and done Brisbane, it's a great city but we have nothing more to gain from being here and we are excited to see more of Australia. We stayed one night at banana benders hostel and thought things through, we would hire a camper and travel down to Sydney, stopping off at many destinations along the way, deciding where and for how long as we pleased.
So we booked the camper, picked it up and loaded our bags. I went to work to say i was leaving and sorry I didn't give any notice, the cow in the office wasn't happy but the restaurant staff were understanding and wished me well, it felt weird knowing i wouldn't be back but I was very happy to walk out the door. (Gambaros had just won the best seafood restaurant in Brisbane too) And then as quickly as everything else had been decided we were off on our road trip....
Our first stop was only half an hour away at the view point over looking Brisbane, called Mount Coot-tha. The views were spectacular, we could see a lot of Queensland and pointed out the bridges and wheel, as well as the the match stick sized buildings. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to Brisbane.
Shan then drove us to the Gold Coast and we put on our swimmers and headed for the sea and surf of Surfers Paradise. We jumped the waves and caught some sun before getting changed and heading for dinner at an Irish pub, then we had a stroll and took in the busy night life of Surfers Paradise Boulevard. We watched a street performer and went for a pint at the Clock Hotel, watching all the tutu wearing girls and guys go past. Headed back and watched more Entourage before going to sleep with the sound of the waves outside.
Woke up very early next morning and went a drive, ended up at the marina, where we had a German sausage at a Market for breakfast, then we spotted the Palazzo Versace, the 6 star hotel used in 'Im A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'. So after we sunbathed on the beach for a few hours and played in the waves we found a beach shower and got dressed up to go to the Palazzo Versace, it was very posh inside and out, we shared a Versace Signature Cake, Shan had a beer and I tried a fancy fruit tea. We took all necessary photos before jumping back into our tacky wicked camper and heading to find a spot to park our little van for the night.
We headed to the Q1 tower after, and got great views from the 77th floor of the skytower just as the sun was setting, then amazing views as the sky darkened and the twinkling lights came on. We stayed for drinks whilst watching the view from the highest residential building in the southern hemisphere. We then stayed on and had dinner too.
The 3rd day started early too after a good nights sleep (the weathers warm now so the van is a good temperature). We left Surfers Paradise and headed 7km south to Burleigh Heads. We stopped to take photos on the beach before travelling another 6km to Currumbin. We drove through and seen the beach and Elephant rock. Both Burleigh Heads and Currumbin were developed around the same time as Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast came to life during the 50s, 60s and 70s, when people flocked from the cities to the beach for the sun and surfing.
We then headed into the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. And wowee did we see and do it all!! We seen big crocodiles, dingoes, snakes, echidnas, wombats and Tasmanian devils. We also done the best thing ever and held a koala!! It was soo cute and cuddly. We also got to touch and feed kangaroos! It was amazing!
After the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary we drove 30km inland and drove up to the Springbrook National Park. We had amazing panoramic views of the forest. We then continued in the national park to Natural Bridge. It was cool, there was swimming holes, waterfalls and an abundance of forest. The natural bridge is where a collapsed cave ceiling has created a waterfall and blue plunge pool beneath. Springbrook is where 'Im. A Celebrity' is filmed!
We then drove just a few minutes before reaching the New South Wales border. So we got out the van and took photos of Shannon in NSW and me in Queensland and ran across the border a few times!
We then past some lovely land along the way, it felt like the UK with rolling green hills along the landscape. We also passed a bush fire but we think it was under control.
We drove all the way to Byron Bay just in time for the sunset. And first impressions- yes Byron Bay definitely still has it's bare-foot hippy lifestyle. We watched a put together show of some women banging wooden drums whilst people swayed about, then a man joined in with a flute. It was very odd but totally summed up the place. But we also had read that Byron Bay is trying to move away from the grass smoking hippies and make way for stylish bars, restaurants and boutiques- and we definitely seen that side too in the form of how expensive all the restaurants were. So we settled on chain restaurant Hogs Breath Cafe and had a lovely reasonable priced meal and indulged in a humongous ice cream and brownie sundae. We slept very well that night in our little camper in the middle of the main street.
Day 4 and we hit the beach for a while topping up our tans before heading to the lighthouse on the rocky promontory of Cape Byron. The cape is the Eastern most point of the Australian mainland. We were lucky enough to see whales off the coast which pass by on their route to/from Antarctic on migration. Whale season is June to November, so we were lucky to spot them. We had a look around the lighthouse and it's museum and then walked to the most eastern point.
Afterwards we continued driving down the Pacific Highway a few hours to Coffs Harbour. We went to Harbour Drive where we had read was the best place. We got buy one get one free on dinner at the Plantation Hotel, and then treated ourselves to dessert again, Shan had cookies and cream cheesecake and I had sticky date pudding. We had a little drive about before drive around before finding a lovely carpark facing the sea for our bed for the night.
After yesterday's excitement of getting a glipse of whales we decided to go on a whale watching trip. We booked for the afternoon, and went for breakfast, then the beach (but it's a bit windy here so sand storms hitting us), then beach cafe for lunch and we had oysters, my first time trying them.
Then it was time for the whales. And boy did we see whales! The humpback whales were spotted soon after we left shore. It was mum and calf and two males trying to mate with her. We were told the calf was only a few days old and the males trying to mate with it's mum was distressing it. So lucky for us the mum used the boat as security so they got up pretty close to us. It was amazing to watch them swim around and you could hear their blow holes with the water. The trip was fantastic! On the way back to the shore we were even lucky enough to spot bottle-nosed dolphins which came to the bow of the boat!
Back on land, we climbed to the top of Muttonbird nature reserve to see Coffs Harbour in all it's glory. We left 'Coffs' and planned to drive a few hours before finding somewhere to rest for the night but once on the road we decided to keep driving the remaining 560km to SYDNEY!!......