A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: RedSquirrel

East coast Road Trip


sunny 27 °C

So after recruiting Bex and Arlo to join me and Cat on our road trip up to Cairns I got the ball rolling ….. Rented a Camper van, good start! Hired a Wicked van over the phone, with a hippie discount ;) 10% baby! .. Knew it would pay off one day! All in all the van cost us just under a grand between 4 for 2 weeks…not too shabby!
Catrin arrived on the Wednesday and we had nothing planned, standard. We had however, bought an east coast guide and a map of Australia, along with trustee lonely planet we could play the rest by ear…ish.
Me and Bex had to spend a DAY packing up our Sydney life back into backpacks, took way longer than expected.
After an emotional goodbye breakfast at our favourite haunt, satellite. We jumped into a taxi to take us to the Wicked depot…in we trotted with beaming smiles, handed over lots of cash and got shown to our van and what I can only describe to you as a tin can, sorry, a well decorated tin can. But tin can or no tin can this was going to be our home for 2 weeks, I knew we were going to love it….eventually.
After a small briefing and Arlo asking which gear is reverse we nervously drove back ‘home’ to pack our lives into it.

Our Wicked Van

Our Wicked Van

It was a struggle to say the least, but we were in! Said some more emotional goodbyes (got our $20 deposit back from hostel…oh yeah) and headed off. Which direction?... Everyone looks at each other…bex pulls out her iphone, which we learn later in the trip, is more use than any other book or map you could buy to my great discontent!! After a stressful drive out of Sydney we were on our way. Note to self always check beginning of route before setting sail!
So we were about to embark not only on a road trip but an experiment … can 4 backpackers with no plan make the 3000k trip from Sydney to Cairns in 2 weeks? … lets see.
Day1: Sydney to Balmount (just outside of Newcastle) Not massively far but a good start considering we didn’t leave until after 1.

Day 2: Balmount to Hats Head National park. A beautiful campground surrounded by kangaroos and other native beasties.

Day 3: Hats head National Park to a camp ground just outside Ballina.

Day 4: A camp ground just outside Ballina to Byron Bay. Byron Bay is a must! Wish we had stayed longer than 1 night. We saw the full moon rise in the company of a drum circle. One of the best experiences of my life!

Day 5: Byron Bay to Sunshine Beach (sunshine coast). In sunshine beach we stayed on the side of the road over looking the beach. Spent the evening drinking goon on the beach and watching shooting stars 

Day 6: CATRIN’S BIRTHDAY. Sunshine Beach to Hervey Bay. Hervey Bay is a beautiful beach but not a great night life! Need to make up to Cat for her birthday night!

Day 7: Hervey Bay to Yeppoon. Yeppoon is a little drive from Rockhampton, on the coast. Cute little beach village but again not much of a night life we had a few in the pub and played some card games before sleeping in a car park next to the beach.

Day 8 and 9: Yeppoon to Airlie Beach. Airlie beach…we thought we had hit the jackpot when we arrived. We parked up in Nomads hostel’s backgarden to camp…drank a few $4 jugs of beer then got excited about a bit of night life….good first night! Lie by the lagoon for some sunshine during the day.

Day 10 and 11: Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island. From Townsville we got the ferry across to Maggie island. Stayed at base hostel and chilled out on the tropical island for 2 nights..good fun! Well worth going!

Day 12: Magnetic Island to Mission Beach. After being reunited with our van we drove to mission beach. We stayed in a lovely little hostel set in the rain forrest called treetops hostel. So nice, serene…until you meet a Canadian and play drinking games…less relaxing environment!

Day 13: Mission Beach to CAIRNS…. Oh yeah.. all you non believers we made it in less than 2 weeks. We arrived at dreamtime hostel in Cairns with a day to spare! Good job after 2 weeks the van was a tip and in need of a clean!

So after small amount of planning, Lots of petrol, wildlife spotting, backseat games, front seat sound system, crisp and peanut butter sandwiches (made whilst moving), insect bites, sleeping like puppies, snoring and midnight farting, sharpie fun, rummy, birthdays, heat hotter than the sun, ice coffee, washing in sinks, 2 breakdowns, sunsets and sunrises we made it to cairns in…..
13 days booya.

And I would do it all again in a flash…. Bloody brilliant!

Posted by RedSquirrel 00:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

3 months in Sydney


sunny 20 °C

I found myself living in Sydney’s downtown area of Newtown for just over 3 months. I literally loved every second of it. I found a job in a café in 2 weeks. Finding a job in the hospitality industry is easy but only if you have experience and a NSW RSA (responsible serving of alcohol) certificate. The wages in the city centre pay very well, the wages in Newtown were not as amazing but if you not money driven (which I am not) then it is a lovely place to work….a very small percentage of bad customers!
I found my job through a friend of mine at the hostel I was staying at…its not what you know in some cases!
The hostel was lovely …I (and many other people) called it home, I still use it as my “home address” in Australia. A very warm and friendly environment with amazing staff! Very cheap internet…which is something I didn’t appreciate until I started travelling the rest of Australia! I made some life long friends at this hostel and not once did I think I wanted to move out and get a flat for my time in Syders. If you are comfortable sharing close living quarters and 5 other people in a room, when you meet the right people and create your ‘family’ it turns into a little haven.
For 3 months I worked … saved and went out (a lot). Sydney is a lovely place to settle in for a first experience of Australia. Beaches, beautiful city, downtown retreat :P, parks, sunshine and a lot of new faces!
After a month or so I started planning a road trip up to Cairns, Catrin, my best mate from home was coming to visit me. Instead of fly up north, thought it might be more fun to drive… 2 other people from the hostel were interested in doing the same thing…Im going to use the term planning loosely, we didn’t plan! We tried! I booked a Wicked van and the rest fell into place (on the day we were leaving Sydney)
After 3 months in such a lovely place I was sad to leave, mainly the people I had met… but we have all promised to meet back up for Christmas and New Year!!

Posted by RedSquirrel 00:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

a week so far.....

sunny 17 °C

I have now been in the land of Oz for a week now...and survived to tell the tale :)

The flight over here was long, tiring and daunting. 25 hours of "wow im going to Australia, what the hell!" and rubbish films and not great food. I arrived in all the stop overs but all i wanted to do was get to Sydney and have a coffee in the sun, then access what i had done! getting up and just booking a flight to Australia seems like a huge thing to do but its really not. the world is such a small place and there are so many places to see and visit.... if you don't take that first big step then you will never know.

I arrived in my hostel put my huge bag in storage and went for a coffee with joel. we had a coffee then took a walk. I dont know if it was the jet lag or the lack of sleep but i didn't feel like i was in Australia, it all seemed too easy and relaxed. Once my room was ready i left joel and took a much needed shower. once i was clean happy....i went out and inspected the hostel. Its lovely, small and warm. i plonked myself down at the table in my jet lag daze and people came and sat around me. hostels are amazing if you are the kind of person who likes to sit yourself down next to anyone and hear people stories and just talk rubbish.
I highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of going traveling alone but is a little nervous.....just do it!

I am living in newtown a quirky little suburb of Sydney. at Billabong Gardens. The hostel is amazing! chilled out but still a good night life if you want it to be.

I have been out every night mingling with the locals (and the germans.) so much fun. one night we took the ferry to manly for a reggae party, reggae parties are slightly different here than they are at home. your feet don't stick to the floor.

Been to Bondi beach....full of beautiful beautiful people! wow, apparently Sam from home and away works as a life guard there....he was a childhood crush...must go back.

Seen the opera house and the harbor bridge.

I have got my RSA qualification so i can officially work on a bar ... i have a bank account and a phone. all the technical things are out the way i can now party in peace.

So far i have a little plan, work for a few months while it is cold and then travel when i have loads of money and when it is warm! its a small plan it may change!!

any way this is a little rushed and vague but i will get better at this as time goes on im sure

mhairi xxxxxx

Posted by RedSquirrel 18:51 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Heathrow Airport

11 °C

Ok so I have made it as far as heathrow airport….so far so good! The travelling down to London was the bit I was most worried about but it was fine and so fast! Time goes really quick when you’re panicking!
In the end I left my hair dryer and hair straighners at home, they just weren’t worth the extra strain on my poor weary back. Im sure Australia has these items so Im not too worried….may have to let the mane go wild for a day or 2 until I return to normal. I thought I had hit the jackpot and found free wifi at the airport, turns out you have to pay….boo, so I am updating offline soon to be transferred.
So the nerves have definetly arrived, these feelings are probably the feelings that stop people from going on such a massive adventure…you cant let them take over. I am so glad I didn’t let them over power me. Right this moment I am thinking, “what the hell are you doing mhairi??”. But I know it will be well worth it once I land in oz! plus there is no going back now, Quantas have my bag.
Looking around the airport there are so many people with different stories to tell, families going on long haul, mum looking anxious, dad looking for the child that has gone missing. Business men looking serious and important. Men waiting for their wives to come back from duty free. Couples ready to embark on an adventure of a life time together or just a holiday in the sun. Then the lone travellers trying to look cool and collected but really they are bricking it (that would be me). You don’t get much more diversity than at heathrow airport. All these different lives yet all with the same objective….to fly high!!
Im trying to picture my life once I land in oz and I cant, I have no clue of life on the other end. What is my hostel going to be like, whats the weather going to be like, will I be able to find a job, will I want to find a job. And who are the unsuspecting people I will target and steal as my new aussie buddies 
Ok, I have 5 mins til my gate opens…I think a last minute trip to boots is in order…spend my last few pounds.
Next time I update I will be in the land down under. Here we bloody go……………….x

Posted by RedSquirrel 03:16 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Sat in the sun planning my adventure

sunny 21 °C

ok 2 weeks and 4 days until i fly from heathrow to sydney!
I am on the internet looking at other blogs for ideas on things to pack etc etc. It's getting really daunting now.... I am however, so excited about the adventure. I have no clue what to expect when i get there, which is why my plan is quite vague. I have some slightly more organised friends and family who are asking "what is your plan?" ..."how are you going to get a job?" I am 100% sure that all that will become clear when i arrive (or maybe a day or 2 after)
Looking at other blogs is so helpful so for my duration in Aus i will try my hardest to keep this one going.... ot only to tell about the amazing things i will see but to give other people thinking of doing the WHV some 1st hand advice.
Sat in my garden listening to Nas on my headphones....the sun is shinning. Picturing my new life in sydney :) its going to be freeking sweet!
The nerves have undoubtedly kicked in though, but i would be worried if I didnt have that funny feeling in my belly.
ok so....
Flight booked
Visa approved
Hostel chosen...not yet booked (job for today)
list beginning to be made.
Everything is falling into place nicely

peace for now
mhairi xx

Posted by RedSquirrel 06:52 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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