11.08.2011 - 24.08.2011 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.
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!