Surfin’ in the rain (Sydney – Rainbow Beach)

So, after 4 months in Sydney it was finally time to get back on the road. It’s now just over 2 weeks ago that I set off up the seldom travelled (?!?) east coast of Australia. First stop Byron Bay. I’d heard great things about this place and it certainly lived up to my expectations. A smallish town, but with a thriving backpacker community. I stayed about a 30 second walk from the beach, which always helps! As you may have guessed I went surfing!

Probably the highlight of my time here was an amazing walk around cape Byron, taking in numerous beautiful beaches, a lighthouse and the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. From the high vantage point we also spotted many a pod of dolphins and even a couple of turtles! All 3 of us forgot our sunscreen however and so I am now officially down to just 2 layers of skin on my face.

On my last night in Byron i went out for some bevys with a couple of folks. It was p*ssing down (yes, it rains here too!) so the pub was the obvious choice. Ended up getting pretty hamnmered and, at about 3am, this girl and I decided to walk for an hour or so up to the lighthouse for ‘sunrise’! The road up there is not lit and of course it was still raining, but these facts failed to deter us from our goal of, what we expected to be, the best sunrise of our lives! We got up there an hour before sunrise and so kipped for an hour in the doorway of the lighthouse before waking up to see the
sky turn a slightly lighter shade of grey. We were most likely 2 of the first people in Oz to see the suns rays/gloom that day seeing as we were at the most easterly point and also that everyone with half a brain was still in bed…

Anyways, i said goodbye to Byron and NSW and hopped on the bus to the Gold Coast and Surfer’s Paradise. Surfer’s Paradise my arse! In contrast to Byron i’d heard mostly bad things about this place. The comparison with Blackpool that most people draw didn’t fill me with confidence…! However I intended to go there and make up my own mind… Once again it was raining heavily so that may have tainted my impression of Surfer’s, but after the beauty of Byron it was hard to warm to this place. Of the people i spoke to, most were only staying one night. The highlight (and i’ve racked my brain hard to come up with this!) was the “Surfer’s Paradise” gateway onto the beach and the tributes to the surfing greats of Australia…

After spending the night in Surfer’s listening to an Essex gal having fun with a fat geezer in my dorm room, I decided it was time to bid Surfer’s farewell.

Next stop Brisbane. I’d already been here for the England – Wales rugby match in November and considered Brisbane quite average compared to Perth and Sydney, but this time I warmed to it much more. During the 2nd of my day’s here Australia were playing India in a one-day match as part of the triangular series with Zimbabwe. I wandered down to the ‘Gabba’ to see if i could catch a glimpse of the cricket and maybe even blag my way in. The best I managed was to watch a few overs through a walkway from outside the ground which, luckily, looked almost straight down the wicket! I saw Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie bowl a couple of overs a piece – Brett Lee can seriously bowl some! Although the guy’s going through a bit of a dodgy spell currently and is being criticised in the notoriously harsh Aussie press.

On route to Noosa (my next stop) was Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. This is the place that you may have see in the news the other day as he held his ‘lil nipper whilst feeding a crocodile. Obviously masses of the soppy general public, who are of course experts on crocodiles, blasted him for the stunt. Anyway, the zoo was very impressive. Not the sort of place you’d come looking for a detailed education of crocs etc. All signs are written in the language of the croc hunter… “CRIKEY!!! Check this out, mate!!! The most venomous snake in Queensland!! You ‘lil RIPPER!!!”. You can buy some quality stuff in the gift shop aswell – a Steve Irwin wig anyone? Or maybe a T-shirt with his daughter on saying “when I grow up i wanna be like my Daddy!”…

So i arrived in Noosa that evening. Only had the one full day there, so had to think long and hard about how to fill it… ah sod it i’ll just go surfing! Noosa is well know for it’s world class point breaks, but I decided not to go bouncing off the reefs out at the headland and instead opted for the relative safety of the beach breaks. The hostel offered free surf board hire, but unfortunately the only one left was a big pink one! Oh excellent, i thought. The whole point of surfing is to look damn cool and hopefully pick up a nice surfer chick. Ah well, it’s all part of travelling on a shoestring i guess. So after slapping on some lippy and mascara I picked up my lovely pink board and headed for the waves. Amazingly it was probably the best days’ surfing i’ve had so far! I guess when I stop posing on my board trying to get the attention of the gals walking past I can actually surf some! Wasn’t long before the obligitory rain began, but it cleared all the whinging poms out of the water so i was left out there with plenty of space to strut my stuff.

That brings me to Rainbow Beach, gateway to Fraser Island. Rainbow Beach itself is quite attractive, the sandstone cliffs on the beach form different colours, giving the place it’s name.

I have a brief in a couple of hours for the 2 night Fraser Island trip – basically a “Don’t drive through salt water, don’t do this, don’t do that” kinda talk. Should be great fun though.

All for now,


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