Greetings from the Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine State where yesterday it rained. I’m currently sat on Maroochydore beach writing this and of course wishing you were all here. In other news, we visited Sydney two weeks.
Due to vanning restrictions and the potential for expensive parking in Sydney, we opted for a caravan park a forty-minute double decker train ride from the city centre. On arrival, we hotfooted it onto a train for the evening to celebrate our four years together. Our first sighting of Sydney, as the train pulled into Circular Quay station, was of the amazing harbour complete with bridge and Opera House. As my resident photographer and I were unprepared we do not have a photo of the exact moment.
After seeing it at night time, we looked forward to seeing the harbour in all its glory the next day, Anzac Day to be precise. However, the weather let us down and it was extremely overcast plus it rained intermittently. I must admit it really did affect my opinion of Sydney and I can’t wait to go back to see it in the sunshine.
Thankfully, we had a brief bit of sun as it was setting, which illuminated the harbour as a cruise ship was boarding. Not a bad place to start a cruise.
Our journey up the east coast took us through Swansea to the city of Newcastle. Where are we again? Anyway, I’ve got some distance family in Newcastle who’ve I’ve never met and upon leaving Newcastle that fact remains intact. Regardless of this, Newcastle was a great place. A coastal city is always a winner. In our brief time in the city, we explored on foot and climbed 180 steps up an observation tower because well, why not!
On our way through to Port Macquarie, Morris the Madza battled bravely up a mountain. All 487 metres turned out to be well worth it. Had worse mornings…
In Port Macquarie, we visited the Koala Hospital that looks after many Koalas, who have been injured by vehicles and dogs or who are ill. Anyway, these marsupials, not bears, are they only specie besides humans that have individual fingerprints.
Our personal favourite was the wonderfully named, Barrington Xavier, who is sadly almost completely blind. He is one of the permanent residents at the hospital and he was finding it all a bit much when we visited and didn’t even fancy climbing the tree so snoozed at the base of the tree instead.
Next up on what is now called “Adam & Francesca’s whistle stop east coast tour as we look frantically for a job” was Byron Bay via a quick stop in Coffs Harbour. On our travels so far, we’ve seen the odd backpackers here and there but our suspicion that they were all in Byron Bay was confirmed on arrival.
We stayed at the Arts Factory Lodge which is essentially a backpacker hostel with a car park for campervans to camp for the night. As we hadn’t had a proper night out in Oz yet, we headed out to all the Byron hotspots. We ended the night with some deep house and techno in Sticky Wicket and for some reason all my friends turned up, which was weird! Particularly, Lewis’ twin who we saw again soberly at the hostel and my god the similarity was frightening. Photos are on a broken iPhone unfortunately.
On the Sunday, we relaxed on the beach and had the pleasure of sighting dolphins in the sea, which was incredible. So elegant and graceful.
The Sunshine State, or Queensland as you may know it, was now calling and we stopped off on the Gold Coast for a day at Surfers Paradise before briefly failing to relocate the van and heading to River Garden Caravan Park but of course there is another caravan park with the same name in Victoria and of course this is one I had booked! So, after a few calls were made we found another caravan park complete with a heated spa no less. As decadent backpackers, we took the plunge on arrival and again at 8am the next day complete with 10 minutes’ worth of bubbles.
The luxurious mood the spa had created led us to having a look at how the other half live around 10km north of Surfers’ Paradise at Runaway Bay. Some amazing houses and massive yachts.
Onwards to Brisbane, a city that felt like Melbourne plus the sun was shining so we liked it. Botanic gardens, interesting churches and architecture as well as the usual shopping areas.
Since Brisbane, we’ve been staying in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast making full use of the beach but more so the library and its free computers/WIFI as we look for jobs. On the job agenda is basically everything from fruit picking through to office temping. As such, we’ve decided to halt our journey north as we apply for jobs so we’re likely to end up in Sydney, Brisbane or in a field somewhere so the Australian people can enjoy the fruits of our labour. Been sitting on that one for a while!