The adventure is back. In my last post (Travel Diary World Trip 2015/16 – Part 1), I’ve mentioned that I wanted to integrate my very first blog (which was in German) into this one, as it was one of my best times and the reason all this started in the first place.
Last time we started that trip and I took you with me to Australia. In six chapters, you were able to experience my first few weeks in Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay.
Now it’s time to move further. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, Cosi, Molly and I went on a Roadtrip down the coast in my second month abroad.
Here’s my diary.
Chapter 1: Road Trip Part 1: From Byron Bay to Sydney.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I’ve started a road trip with Cosi and Molly. Although their car is quite old and needs to be fixed here and there, we’ve packed our bags and went on the road.
Our destination is Melbourne. But first we’re driving towards Sydney, again.
Our first stop was Yamba Beach, a beautiful place 1,5 hours down south from Byron Bay. Unfortunately, there weren’t much waves either. So we took the opportunity to get a bit of a tan and enjoyed the sun.
As we’re from now living like real backpackers, a free camping site is a must. We found one of those between Yamba and Coffs Harbour. It had no showers or toilets, but all in all it was comfortable, a lot of space and we could set up a tent and park the car. The most amazing thing though was the wild kangaroos which were running all over the camp site. You could nearly touch them.
The next day we drove to Coffs Harbour and again we went to the beach, cause Cosi and I we really want to catch some good waves!
Not lucky though…
After that we’ve visited Crescent Head, where we saw the most stunning sunset and took a lot of beautiful pictures. It was like out of a book.
It’s again been such an amazing day in such an amazing country!
The closer we came towards Sydney, the more complicated it became to find free camping sites and we had to park right next to the street a few times. Also, our meals were quite ordinary. We had tuna and bread all day long. And I, in addition, ate about a kilo of carrots a day. I couldn’t help myself, I was hungry all the time.
On Friday, it was finally time to get out there and catch some waves. At 40 degree Celsius Cosi and I went in the cooling and refreshing ocean and surfed some small but beautiful breaking waves at Anna Bay next to Nelson Bay. After two hours though, we had to flee from the beach because it was right in the middle of the desert and the heat was just too overwhelming. In addition, there was a sand storm coming and nearly blew us away.
The only place we could go to, here in the middle of nowhere, was a tiny supermarket. It was the only cool place around. We spent hours deciding what to have for dinner, just to stay in this nice, cold place.
As we couldn’t find any place to stay for that night either, we had to take the offer of one of the lifeguards we met earlier, to stay at his place. It was fun and so nice of him to let us stay although he had to prepare for exams.
The next morning, we explored Newcastle and drove a lot because of the rainy weather. In addition, we’ve visited Palm Beach and spent the night in the car by three, because we couldn’t find a place to set up a tent, again. It was quite uncomfortable but still funny and kind of cool to sleep right at the beach for once.
On Sunday, we finally went to Sydney. We stayed in the same hostel as I’ve been every time when I’m in Sydney. The people where a bit surprised to see me and made some jokes about me not wanting to leave this place. Nevertheless, all were happy to see me again and after another night in the car by three we were more than happy to have a proper bed and finally, a hot shower.
The next days I showed Cosi and Molly around, after all it feels like Sydney would be my home by now.
On Thursday, it was time to continue our road trip. Cosi and I drove further and made our way down south towards Melbourne, where we’ll meet Molly again.
Hopefully we get some good surf along the way.
Chapter 2: Road Trip Part 2: From Sydney to Melbourne.
Cosi and I are back on the road.
On Thursday 26th of November, Cosi and I continued our trip towards Melbourne. Boards on the roof, backpacks in the car and music turned on, we were ready to start the real surfing part of our road trip. (Molly decided to go the direct way to Melbourne as she wanted to find a job quite soon and we are going to meet her back there.)
After a one and a half hours’ drive, we stopped at our first free-camping site just past Wollongong and before Gerringong. We set up our tent, then it was time to finally eat dinner, we were starving. On the plate was vegetable salad, prepared on the cars’ hood, with tuna and carrots for dessert. Dinner was held in the romantic area of our car.
The next day we got up early, to drive to Gerringong to get our first surf during this trip. Gerringong is a cute little town where everyone knows everyone. A real surfer town!
Here’s nobody who hasn’t at least tried surfing. These two days in Gerringong have been like being part in a real surfer movie and all clichés have been served. From cool surfer-dudes, who gave homeless surfer-girls a place to stay, a hot shower and some food. Over crazy friends, who show up at your doorstep at 12 noon, totally drunk wearing a captain’s hat. To the guy from next door, who is not only the best friend but also delivers pizza. All that stuff has happened during those 48 hours.
Also, the fact that all houses are left unlocked the whole day and your friends can come and leave whenever they want, even if you’re not at home, shows how great and open-minded those Australian people are.
On our way to the beach we, how could it be any different, ran into two cool surfer-boys, who were checking the waves just in front of their doorstep. And how it is common here in Australia, we immediately were in a conversation about surfing, traveling and all other kind of stuff. After a quick breakfast, we then joined Ben and Tully in the water, who were already surfing some good waves.
Conditions today: windy
Height: approximately 1 meter
Water temperature: cold
Air temperature: freezing cold
Right after two minutes, I had the best wave of my surfing career so far, or at least it felt like that. Unfortunately, I was busy paddling out almost the rest of the time and as I finally got out there, I was freezing like hell, so that I had to go out of the water. Lucky me, Ben offered me to have a hot shower in his garage. Although I was a bit confused about the garage part, I thankfully took this opportunity, as I wasn’t able to feel my fingers anymore.
The afternoon we spent with our new friends and got a bit of a taste of the real Australian surfer lifestyle. I can just say, I love it! After a second surf in the afternoon, we had dinner and enjoyed a night in a warm house on a cosy sofa.
In the morning, we had the luck to get invited to watch the local surf contest, which more seemed to be a random, chaotic event than a planned contest. It was still fun watching and a great experience. After lunch, we then had to say goodbye to our new friends, who again did us one last favour with pumping up our car wheels and giving me an old wetsuit in case I get cold again. It was a man’s L so way to large but still a nice gesture.
Our next stop was Ulladulla.
Here I want to highlight how happy we were, that our wheels got pumped up. Because the next camping site was in the middle of a national park, which seemed to be a rainforest. Therefore, we had to drive over dirty roads with bumps deep like the ocean in our off-road car. When we arrived, we were happy that we made it safe until we realized we had neither food nor water for the night. Props to us Cosi! You know us better though and like we are, we’re taking the best out of everything and found some fun in this situation too.
The next day we went, like in stone age, on food and water hunts. After that, who’s thought it, we went to the next beach just to frustratingly realize the ocean is as flat as Bodensee at home. We couldn’t give up hope at first and checked beach after beach, until after a dozen we decided to drive to Tathra Bay and get a bit of a tan. After a while we got bored and went on a quick hick. We returned just in time before the heaviest storm in a millennium started.
Our free-camping site this time wasn’t as luxurious as the past few and we’re even now not quite sure if it is really a camping site or just the side corner of a street. It was right next to the highway in a parking slot. There was just enough space for our car. If it would have been a bit smaller, it wouldn’t have fit in. This was the first time during our entire trip that we have been completely by ourselves. Pretty cool though!
New day, new try. We went to Mirimbula and finally got some waves to surf… Amazing! Small but still powerful and with a nice shoulder. After two hours surf we held a quick nap and got some lunch. As it got windier and windier during the day we packed our bags and drove towards Lakes Entrance. By now we’ve made two thirds of our way to Melbourne. Unfortunately.
After what we’ve heard, we were not surprised to find the sea flat again. However, Cosi and I took the opportunity to drive further close to Melbourne and shower for the first time since Gerringong. Man, that felt great. Although it was a bit creepy to walk into Burger King just with a towel and some soap.
Nevertheless, we’re prepared for civilisation now and ready to conquer the city. And to be honest, the feeling of not tasting like saltwater all over is very nice.
Now we’ve arrived in Melbourne on a very sunny and warm day, happy about what happened the past week and ready to take on some more adventure.
See you soon.
Chapter 3: Road Trip Part 3: Melbourne and Great Ocean Road.
After we’ve arrived in Melbourne, Cosi and I first had a look for the apartment of Cosis friends, where we’d stay the next days. A few minutes later, we parked in front of a very old and ran down, small house. We were sure, no one is living there. As we weren’t sure, if we’re right, we wanted to wait for someone to come home. We had to wait until they finish work though. We took the opportunity to walk through Melbourne and I had to realize, it was not as bad as I thought. The sun is shining here too.
Later the day we “moved in“ and got to see the house from the inside. It had 3 bedrooms, 1 living room, 1 bathroom and a kitchen. And all that for 12 people. Quite small, but cosy. The people are very nice too, all British, Scottish or from Ireland. We immediately got along very well.
The next day started with shopping as Cosi had a lack of, as we like to call it, city cloths, and I needed a board sock. For lunch, we caught up with Molly and went to Botanical Gardens, where we spent the afternoon. For dinner, we then went to Queen Victoria Night Market, the cold though down here is something I first have to get used to. In addition, today was the day, where I’ve walked the most so far. 15-20 Km per day is my average, today I hit the 27 Km mark.
Thursday morning Cosi and I started our three-day trip to Great Ocean Road to get some more surf. Melbourne has no surf beaches, so we had to drive further.
Our first stop was Torquay, a sweet little surfer town just like out of the book. We also found a beach with decent waves (name: Surf Beach) and jumped into the water. Waves were about a meter, almost no wind, water temperature: too cold to surf. We went anyway. Although I was a bit of an attraction with my spring suit between all those 4/3s, booties and hats.
You can probably guess, I wasn’t in there for long…
We then, absolutely freezing, drove further towards Lorne. Looking for more beaches to surf and enjoyed the stunning landscape that changed every five minutes from hills over veld to beautiful beaches, everything was covered.
In Lorne, we drove to our camping site. This time we had to walk into the national park, as cars weren’t allowed there. We set up our tent right next to kangaroos and boars and enjoyed the company of a high school fieldtrip group. Unfortunately, we haven’t learned from our previous mistakes and didn’t bring enough water (in a city that wouldn’t be a problem at all, there are water fountains everywhere!). I therefore had no other choice than to drink rainwater… Didn’t taste that bad and obviously, I’m still alive, couldn’t have been too bad then…
The next day was full of driving, as we had the luck to have no waves again. Nevertheless, the view and drive down Great Ocean Road was amazing and I have no words to describe how beautiful and refreshing all that landscape, nature and ocean is. Because of all the heat and driving, we accidently dismissed a few rules while driving and finally arrived at a camping site at Lake Colac. This time we had the pleasure to sleep with goats and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
There could be no better way to end such an amazing road trip, than with a peaceful, stunning sunset in the middle of mother nature.
Saturday was the first day during my whole time in OZ where I didn’t get up before 7AM. It was just too cold! Not a hundred men would have gotten me out of that car.
Around 8:30 it got a bit warmer so we could make our way back to Melbourne. Along the way, we made another stop in Torquay to go for a cold-water surf.
Then, you can guess, what we’ve did before driving into the city…
Yes, we went showering in a fast-food restaurant.
Back in Melbourne, everyone was happy to see us and I joined the boys at a gym session in their garage. At night, we went out for some drinks, because tomorrow, you know, is my big day…
That’s it, our Roadtrip is over. I had an unbelievable, fabulous time, a lot of fun, good waves and met amazing people along the way. I’ve also enjoyed it to not see any other backpacker for three weeks (except of those in Sydney and Melbourne) and spent more time with locals.
In addition, it was nice to live the real surfer life of chasing waves and enjoying the sun every day.
I wouldn’t want to miss that part if my trip and I’m very excited for everything that’s going to happen from now on.
Stay tuned and see you soon!
Chapter 4: Oh, happy day.
I know this post might be the most boring of all. But as it is about my most important day of the year, I wanted you to be part of It too.
After Cosi and I went out with a few guys from the flat we were staying at and checked out Melbourne at night, we got up at six in the morning to drive to Phillip Island. After a two-hour drive, I finally got my first birthday surf ever, for which I was longing such a long time. (Basically, since I started surfing)
Weather and waves were fantastic, like I’ve always hoped it to be on my birthday. My very first birthday in SUMMER! Can you believe that?! We had sunshine and it was quite warm for Melbourne at that time. About 30° Celsius. The waves were about 4 to 6 feet and had a lot of power. Wind was almost none and that bit was also off-shore, couldn’t be better, could it? The only flaw was the water temperature of approximately 10 degree. Therefore, we couldn’t stay longer than an hour until we were freezing to death. Also, I smashed my board, broke out a fin with plug. But it was all worth it!
After that, Cosi took me out for Lunch in an organic food restaurant and I had a healthy birthday cake. Later that day we did a picnic on the riverside with the guys from our flat. Also, Molly and the twins joined us and we had a lot of fun. Birthday in summer is just great!
The highlight: Ed Sheeran played a concert right across the river and we could hear some of his songs.
Finally, all my birthday wishes have come true. I spent that day with the loveliest people and had a lot of fun. Went on a birthday surf and ate good food.
So, thanks to everyone who made that day so special. It was by far the best birthday I had so far.
I can just say: I am STOKED!
Cheers and thanks for all the birthday wishes.
That’s it with part two of my “throwback to a wonderful time” series. I hope you liked it and stay tuned for more. Also here is part one in case you’ve missed it and also you an overview about the whole trip.
P.S.: Did you know that last Wednesday was my birthday, so this happend literlly two years ago from now. Isn’t that crazy 😀