Airlee Beach - Sydney

So after saying our goodbyes to Jim we set off on the road again, Sydney bound. We left Airlee beach in the rain and two words to sum up the majority of the next few weeks would be wet and cold. First port of call was Rockhapmton the beef capital of Australia, but due to a late start and a slow drive, due to the rain, we didn’t make it quite that far. Whilst studying the good old Lonely Planet found out that there was a camp site just north of Rockhampton at a place called the Capricorn Caves, which you could explore. So we pulled up got checked in and set up camp. Bar one other couple we were the only people there in a huge dark field. Chatted with the two who turned out to be a Swiss Ski instructor and her Israeli Boyfriend, who were here to work the winter months in the Snowy mountains. Spent a peaceful evening under a blanket of stars and minimal rain and woke up feeling refreshed. 

In the morning Al went for a run and came back to tell me that there was a mob (apparently the collective noun) of Kangaroos at reception waiting on breakfast. So I nipped down with the camera to get some shots of the little bouncing guys. They were so cute and one was absolutely massive with great big arm muscles. Watched as they bounced around and ate, then after I’d had enough laughing at these fantastic creatures, we packed up and headed off.

Rockhampton Roos8Rockhampton Roos10Farewell Rockhampton

Continued South about 300 km down the Capricorn coast, to a small village called 1770. Apparently when it was discovered in funnily enough 1770 they couldn’t think of a name and hence the strange title. The village was beautiful right next to the ocean overlooking a harbour.

Sunset1 at 17701770 bay2James Cook landing2

Set up camp for the night in another campsite, surrounded by bush turkeys, and sat out while cooking some dinner on the faithful stove. No rain so we sat and watched a DVD on Al’s laptop in the open air and consumed the best part of a box of red wine that the local’s refer to as “Goon”. We were certainly goons after drinking it! Fell into the tent and straight to sleep, but had to get up several times during the night for a pee which is not pleasant when it’s pissing it down and the loos are far away. Also in our pissed state had not put away the chairs etc so they were now all soaked. Fortunately we had put away the laptop.

So with sore heads we awoke to more rain and the reality that the tent was not water proof as the Sleeping bags were now wet. Had to try and pack everything away wet, including ourselves, oh the joys of camping. With grumpy heads we set off with the plan being to drive down the Fraser Coast to Hervey Bay. After a couple of hours driving hunger was gnawing us to the bone and when we arrived in Bundaberg (home of the rum) we stumbled upon the Golden arches and all seemed better for a while. Needless to day the monotony of driving and the fact that all energy was now being used to digest meat we soon became sleepy and pulled over at a road side stop for a quick doze. Several hours later we awoke with a fair journey still ahead. Set off again and managed to make Hervey Bay just before dark and set up in the few minutes when it wasn’t raining. Decided tonight to put a tarpaulin over the tent to ward off the rain.The site was lovely right on the beach front but full of old cronies who had headed north for the sun.

 Pelicans at Hervey BaySunset at Hervey Bay

A relaxed evening and early to bed after another camp fire feed. I managed to get told off in the loos by some old cow for leaving the water running in between brushing my teeth, as apparently it was a level 5 water shortage. I reminded her that it had been raining solidly now for weeks and wished I told her to mind her own business but sheepishly turned off the tap all embarrassed. Cow. The next day we woke drier but had had to adjust the taup several times over night so it didn’t blow away and it received the nickname “Russell” as that’s what it did all night. The campers next to us were less fortunate and appeared to have left but had actually just moved as they got flooded in the night. were supposed to be going over to Fraser Island, the world’s biggest sand island. However as it was raining again and you needed to hire a 4WD to go over we declined and continued south, Brisbane bound.

The rain did not relent for the whole trip down. We tried to stop off at Noosa, which is supposed to be gorgeous, but at this point the rain was coming down sideways and we could barely see the road in front let a lone any sights. 

 Big pineapple2

Ironically we boarded the Sunshine Highway down to Brisbane in the pissing rain and motored on. Passed by the Steve Irwin Zoo, but you guessed it, as it was still raining thought it pointless going in. Deciding to ditch the camping for the night we phoned a hostel and decided to stay there. Managed to arrive in Brisbane in the rush hour and took forever to get to the Southside and with our crap maps were finding it hard to navigate about the town. Suddenly I realised that Rachel had given us s book on Brisbane, complete with map, which helped significantly. We still drove round the one way system a plethora of times trying to find the hostel. Eventually arrived and checked in to a stinky little room with sticky carpet, but at least it was dry. Fought with several hundred other noodle eating, pasta making grungy travellers to cook our dinner and then fought to find a seat to eat it on. Sat chatting with some French dude while eating and finished our Goon. An early night was tainted y the revelling of the other guests but hey ho – we must be getting old.

Woke up and fought over breakfast facilities then headed off to hug Koalas. Went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary just South of the town where I cooed and gooed at Koalas all morning. Even one koala was named after me!!

Sarah the koala Lone Pine Koalas3Lone Pine Koalas6Lone Pine Koalas8

My Koala was called Tanzy and smelt of marijuana and was so docile I think he was stoned.

 Sarah koala hug2

We couldn’t afford for the two of us to hug bears so Al got a different one!!

 Al koala hug

After my hug we went off and fed kangaroos and milled around.

 Roo feeding at Lone Pine2Roo feeding at Lone Pine6

Then we watched a sheep dog show, met a wombat

Lone Pine Wombat1 

and left just after lunch. Al was a little confused as to which way to head! 

Which way next

But as it wasn’t raining we decided to check into a camp site just north of town but unfortunately it was full so had to go 14 k north to another. Got set up – taup in situ and relaxed in the inside camp kitchen, complete with TV. Al cooked up dinner while I did some washing. Phoned Steve (from Palm Cove) who was in Brisbane for the week and agreed to meet him tomorrow. Also phoned Leon & Silke, who we’d met on the Trans Siberian all the months ago- who said we should meet tomorrow for dinner. I then phoned my cousin, Stephen who suggested we come and stay with him, so it looked like it was all going to be happening the next day. A few glasses of vino, cards and another night in the rain and it was off to bed.

The next day we met Steve in Redcliffe, one of Brisbane’s northern beaches and had a stroll in the sun (whoppee)!

Steve and Al at Redcliffe 

Sat and had a beer with him and some chips then headed back to Brisbane to Cousin Stephens. Found Stephen’s house no bother and were welcomed in to him cooking a BBQ. Got to meet his son Ollie (age 3), who was in the bath and his wife Jane, who unfortunately was loaded with a cold.

 Mum Dad and Evil2

Were also intorudced to the dogs, Frank and Tessie.

 Frankie PeelTessie Peel

Sat and caught up and ate sausages and Ollie appeared in a superman outfit shouting “Scaredy cat” at us which apparently was today’s new word. We were shown down to our room and to our delight introduced to the “Cloud” a Kingsize bed, complete with feather pillow and duvet (heaven).

 The Cloud

After a couple of beers, we headed off into town to meet Leon & Silke. It was Leon’s birthday so Silke had not told him we were coming so it was a surprise. Sat and drank with them and did a pub crawl of Brisbane’s finest watering holes. Unfortunately it soon became rounds of shots and the evening went became messy. Arrived back at Stephen and Jane’s in the wee small hours and collapsed into the cloud. Bliss. Not so much bliss when we were awoken at about 7 with a small boy playing a variety of musical instruments at the foot of our bed. We had the party blowers, a guitar and then the recorder and just when we thought it was over he came in with a watering can informing us that he had just watered the dogs!!!! He then explained that he had let the dogs out into the street and they had disappeared, at which point I told him to go and tell his dad and he disappeared. After a few hours more sleep, we got up and Stephen explained how he had too drive around the neighbourhood this morning looking for wet dogs, at which point I felt a smidgen of guilt that we hadn’t got up. We spent the day relaxing and went to the cinema to watch Shrek III which was great and made all the more funny by Ollie doing rollie pollies all the way out the cinema and a pant wetting incident by one of his friends.
We retuned home to a curry and some wine and good old chat.

The next morning had a lie in with no Ollie (the novelty of us staying had obviously worn off!!). Al set up the tent in the garden for Ollie to play in which he loved. Stephen very kindly offered to show us around Brissy, so headed off on the City Cat to see the sights. Walked along side the river to the markets, through the botanical gardens, along the mangrove boardwalks and into town beside the lagoon. The sun was shining which was bliss and Stephen was a great guide! 

Brisbane citycat1Brisbane by CityCat1Storey bridgeSarah and Stephen2Al Sarah and Stephen1

Stumbled across a maritime museum so went in and played with the guns.

 Stephen and his big gun1Pair of twats and guns

Headed back in the sunset

Brisbane sunset

and met the biggest dog in the world, he was only 9 months old!!!

Superman and his dog

That night it was a beautiful roast, prepared by Jane and James Bond on DVD.

The next day we said our farewells and headed off after Al had fought with Ollie and a fake sword..

Errol Flynn and Al2

Next stop was Byron Bay and the weather (fortunatley) was reasonable, but when we stopped in at Surfers Paradise it was a little chilly and Al had picked up the Peel family cold so refused to get out the car. I nipped out for a few snaps though!!!

Surfers Paradise1Surfers Paradise6 Surfers Paradise3 Surfers Paradise5

Headed on down to Byron Bay where we met up with Jamie, who we had met in Vietnam, and his housemate Timmy.

Al n Jamie 

Several beers and a BBQ later we crashed on the floor in Jamie’s house on the blow up mattress. Unfortunately we woke up on the floor, as it appears Ollie’s bouncing on the mattress had been detrimental. Managed to find a puncture repair kit and fix it though the next day. Spent the day touring round Byron and took a trip to the lighthouse and chilled on the beach. We cooked dinner that night and had a quiet one.

Byron Bay5Byron Bay woofer Byron Bay7 Cape Byron Lighthouse2

The next day, we set off again and managed to make it as far as Crescent head the home of Long Board Surfing, just before dark. The camp site was right next to the beach and very open and the weather although dry was a few degrees of freezing. Not succumbing to my suggestions of dinner in the pub. We struggled in the wind and cold to make dinner on the stove and ate as fast as we could. Needless to say a little wine was drunk to numb the pain. Well that night was quite possibly the coldest night ever and we both shivered away. When we woke up we swore never to camp again but after bacon sarnies were a little happier. Took a stroll on the beach and watched all the old dudes surfing in the freezing water and set off, Sydney bound.

Skippy @ Crescent Head Crescent Head2 Crescent Head5

En route we stopped off in Newcastle,where a massive bulk tanker had got stranded on the beach after bad weather - had to get a picture. 

Pasha Bulker1 Pasha Bulker3

Arrived in Sydney at night and checked in to another camp site as all hostels were really expensive. Again it was raining and we’d had enough. Decided tonight we would sleep in the car to keep warm, but it still meant setting up camp for all the shit from the car to go in. Made some dinner in the camp kitchen and then went up to the TV room. It was still raining. Met a nice couple called Jan and Ritchie and sat and had some goon with them. Returned to our site, with the rain still coming down , set up the tent and through everything in. Slept in the car in the belting down rain.

Awoke to similar conditions and were less than impressed, however it had been warmer and drier in the car than the tent. Compensated by cooking ourselves a huge fry up of bacon and eggs and chatted to Jan & Ritchie who suggested we all go into Sydney together. After a short bus and train journey we were at Central Quay station right next to the harbour bridge and the opera house.

 Sydney Opera House2Sydney Opera House5Sydney Opera House3

The rain persisted. As we had our bridge climb to do we headed straight to the office on Cumberland street pausing briefly to get photos in front of the armadillo. Jan & Ritchie decided to come with and do the same, but had to go at a different time.

Checked in to the climb, which was like a military operation being breathalysed and asked to fill in a health questionnaire. We were then fitted up with romper suits, waterproofs, hats, fleeces, radio, torches, safety harness and a lesson on how to climb stairs.

Bridge Climb clobber1 Bridge Climb clobber2  

All the equipment we had was clipped to us to prevent injuries and after an hour briefing we were off! Headed out into the rain and began the ascent. The views were instantly stunning and after a short climb through an old building we were up and away. I had been a little apprehensive prior to the climb, but there were only a few bits where the walkway was see through so I managed fine. When we got to the top the wind and rain were howling around but the view were breathtaking over the harbour and out to the sea. As it was dusk we also got to see the sunset which blanketed the sky in burnt amber and gold. It was truly amazing, so thanks girlies for the pressie. On the way down we got to see the bright lights of down town. Unfortunaltey not able to take camera up so not many photos. We did buy a few which we’ll need to scan in at a later date when we can find a scanner!!

When we got down and changed we went and met Jan & Ritchie in a local pub and began on the beer.

Rich Al Jan Sarah  

We then headed off to the opera house where we climbed up the stairs and sat in the bar looking out over the city.

 Sydney harbour by night1 Sydney harbour by night4 

By the time we got back to the camp site the beers had worn off and we were all knackered so went off to bed in the rain again. That night was horrendous with thunder and lightening and hail. The wind had also bought down a couple of branches and small trees, one of which had squashed a tent, fortunately no one in it. So we decided to leave. All we could think about was the warmth of Cairns and decided to head North again.

Next stop was Canberra the Nation’s capital, but that’s another blog as I ‘ve already whittled on too long with this one - Sorry!

21 Responses to “Airlee Beach - Sydney”

PnP said:

Camping in the freezing cold and pooring rain, doesn’t sound the most pleasant experience.

Guess what we’re doing this weekend? Camping in the freezing cold and pouring rain… off to T in the park.

Got a box of my very own goon juice chillin in the fridge. Also treated ourselves to an inflatable bed, don’t think there’s a repair kit handy. Ah well, should be good fun.

Have fun in Melbourne, catch up soon.

Posted on July 5th, 2007.

Pam and John said:

What a shame you are having such rotten weather in Auz - it really is a wonderful country when the weather’s good (ie most of the time). Hope you get a chance to see its sunnier side. We’ll be in Brizzie for the 2nd half of August but I expect you’ll be long gone by then. See you in the autumn. love P&J
P.S. We’re looking forward to Ollie’s orchestra !!

Posted on July 7th, 2007.

Jim said:

hey guys bloody beaut weather here now been 10 days of bliss sunshine ….just to rub it in havnt got me going yet thou ? still in a million bits? when u off to N.Z.? im headn off in sep to do the L.A. - venuzuala trip .then maybe back to france or spain so will c ya back home no doubt. hope its sunny in N.z.

Posted on July 9th, 2007.

Ally & Lorna said:

I am sorry not to have been in touch sooner than this, I just been looking through the website the two of you are looking good.

We are totally jealous back here of the fantastic time you guys are having, apart from the pissing raid as we have enough of that here, take care.

Posted on July 19th, 2007.

Seamus and Ania said:

Hey there you two, greetings from Poland.

sorry we havn’t been in touch in a long time but reality bit for us so headed home to put some kind of plan in action. can’t complain, had a great exhibition in Geneva and one back home also. at the moment we’re in Ania’s homeland working on pieces for forthcoming exhibitions (where its 34degrees (sorry)) and on top of that theres a gallery in Paris exhibiting my stuff so the art is paying off. (I’d give my left testicle to be still on the road at the same time).

Pitty its so bloody wet at the moment over there but make sure you savour every moment at the same time, but hey, looks like you’re having a ball.

If you’re in melbourne, check out the Crown cassino!!! they have a few bob belonging to me and you’re welcome to take it back off them if you can!!!

anyhow, long days and pleasent nights,

seamus and ania

Posted on July 20th, 2007.

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