Sunday, 14 November 2010

Road Trip Part 2: Myall Lakes National Park to Byron Bay

Hi guys, you'll notice from the title that this is 'Part 2', so if you haven't already, be sure to read Ania's post below first! As the good woman says below, we're on our month-long road trip now, so we'll be updating when we can.

So on Day 4 of our road trip we left the ‘primitive’ camping ground in the Myall Lakes and started driving towards Port Macquarie. We'd only been on the road for a few minutes when Ania spotted a sign for 'Dark Point', an Aboriginal place of importance which is home to more sand dunes! These things are really spectacular and it's so odd to see what looks like the Sahara Desert next to the sea.

Fun on the dunes:

After a short ferry ride (we're talking 60 seconds or less here) at Bombah Point, we sped along to Port Macquarie. Just outside the town we visited the Billabong Koala and Wildlife Park. The koalas were cool, as were the spider monkeys, but our real favourites here were the kangaroos, by miles! On the way in we both bought a plastic cup of roo-food (dried corn, mainly). You then walk into their huge enclosure and feed them from your hand!

Adorable roos:

After leaving Billabong we got to our camp site at Port Macquarie: the Sundown Breakwall Tourist Park. It was right on the water and it was windy! It's probably worth writing a few lines on camping in our Jucy van at this point. The van's a Toyota Tarago, about the size of a Ford Galaxy, a people-carrier type thing. All the back seats have been taken out, leaving you with a 'cab' for two to sit in when you drive; and a back bit that's got seats in the day, converting to your bed at night. We also have a fridge (two settings: off and deep freeze), a butane stove (allow 50 minutes to boil water for a cup of tea) and a DVD player! I grumble in jest though, because it's a lot of fun! We're having a great time cooking our own meals again, after six weeks of restaurants in India! It's great driving along in our little van and waving at the other Jucy campers we've seen on the road.

Our home for the next month:

So back to camp sites. In our first week we've mainly stayed in unpowered sites, where you pay for a spot without electricity. You get a camp kitchen, bathrooms and showers too, and there are always other campers around. Only two nights out of seven have been different. One was the night of staying in the 'primitive' camp site mentioned in Ania's post below, the other I'll mention below.

We spent two nights in Port Macquarie, with one full day sandwiched in between. I have to say the town underwhelmed us both a bit. Our full day there was a Sunday and it seems most things close from 3pm onwards, so we did boring but necessary jobs like shopping and laundry.

That brings us to yesterday! We got up early and were on the road by 7:30am. We drove to Coffs Harbour and visited the information centre, before backtracking south to go to the town's Butterfly House. This was Ania's call and I admit I was sceptical as we went there, but I was wrong: it was great! There were some beautiful and huge butterflies in there. They like bright colours, so landed on Ania, who was wearing a rose-patterned skirt and red top. They also like salt, so I spent a good five minutes treading carefully while two rode my sandals, which have been in the sea a bit!

Then we went to Arrawarra for a surfing lesson with the guys at Spot X. No pictures unfortunately as we were busy concentrating on falling off our boards, but it was great fun. Our instructor looked like a smaller version of the American wrestler Hulk Hogan and was also a walking surfing stereotype. He did the cool surfer finger thing that skateboarders and skydivers also do (there must be a name for that: answers in the comments section below please people!) and said 'sweeeeet' every few seconds. This is a good thing. He was also a good teacher and a really fun guy! I managed to stand up on my surf board maybe three or four times in two hours, for about a second or two. By the end I felt I was getting my head around all the theory, but my body was aching and I could barely lift myself! We'll have to try again! Ania was excellent and stood up several times for much longer than I could. She's surfed before in Cornwall and said some of it came back to her!

From Arrawarra we pushed on and made for the Broadwater National Park. Last night we 'free camped'. This involves pulling up in a quiet spot and hoping that a Park Ranger doesn't knock on your door and move you on, or charge you a small fee for staying in a National Park. I'm happy to report that we got away with it! Mwohahahaha!

Now we’re in Byron Bay. We arrived this morning and have come straight to this cafĂ© to use the internet, so we better go explore. We’ll report back soon!


  1. This is a disciplinary message from the Broadwater National Park Ranger service. We note from your blog that you free camped in the national park on Sunday. We hereby serve you with notice of a fine. Please report to the nearest Park Ranger office immediately, and request your Park Ranger disciplinary package.

  2. If you guys don't stop enjoying not being in Brighton i'm going to cry, and then be sick. Then i'll probably need a bit of a nap, but then i'll be back to crying.

    Dont. Make. Me. Nap. I get grumpy.