We have been having way too much fun to be writing lately, but as this part of our journey comes to an end, this moment provides the perfect opportunity to communicate our highlights of the past 6 weeks.
So, after we escaped the soaring heat in The Northern Territory we scooted to the Barossa Valley wine region in South Australia. Contrasting the extreme heat we were now applying multiple layers to keep warm at 0 degrees Celsius! I take back my comment from What Not To Do On The Road, as I was very thankful I did pack my down jacket.
In the Barossa Valley we hopped on our bikes, with the pooches in the basket and peddled our way to various wineries for some tastings. Unaccustomed to drinking alcohol we were very tipsy just after a few wineries.
Over the following week we headed east, with the ocean vivid in our minds. We made various overnight stops in state parks and beside tranquil rivers. Our pace was slowing again, no longer rushed to escape the heat. We welcomed the rain, even dancing in it like children.
Along our route, we found a free campsite with toilets and showers amongst rolling hills and bright green grass on a beautiful lake at Carcoar Dam. In such a beautiful place we spent a week here doing… nothing really. Actually, we were reading our books in the sunshine, riding our bikes up big hills and flying down them, and relaxing. It was perfect.
We also had a chuckle at the South Australia signage.
En-route, we stopped in Bathurst to take the car and caravan for a spin on Bathurst Racetrack at Mount Paronoma. We were going slowly, but going around a blind corner heading down hill was exciting. We can only imagine what it would be like going around the track at exhilarating speeds.
With the fires in the Blue Mountains we made lots of enquires to find the safest (and most direct) route to Sydney. After discussing with locals and authorities we went straight through the middle of the Blue Mountains. All was safe, but huge clouds of smoke filled the air.
We stayed in the outskirts of Sydney for a few days to attend the 4WD & Camping Show, and for Matt to do a photoshoot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We also had a quick stop at Bondi Beach, which left us feeling overwhelmed with people everywhere, but nothing an icecream couldn’t fix.
Now heading north along the east coast we stop at nearly every town checking out the surf and surrounds.
Matt has a high school friend living in Seal Rocks, so we stayed there for a week. Hugh & Carlie showed us local surf spots and hidden treasures of the area. Matt & Hugh were up at dawn most days surfing or fishing. After their return we would hang out at the beach or lakes, burning around on their jet ski, surfing, or padding on their stand up paddle board. We were so lucky to stay with them, as they are the coolest, most fun and laid back people creating special memories.
Another of our favourite places was Crescent Head, a surfing town from the 70’s. With coloured timber houses, surf board art in front yards, and boards visible from everywhere we felt at home. Although it is now largely a tourist town, we enjoyed the quite surrounds in Goolawah Reserve right on the beach, 4km from town, staying here for a week or so. We explored multiple headlands and fitted in surf sessions. It was here that Jill rode her longest wave yet, at 80metres and done her first cutback! It was all very exciting, and tiring from the long paddle back to the lineup.
Our next big stop for another week was Yamba, a town of about 5000 people set between the coast and river. We spent our days recuperating from the driving and exploring all the small towns along the way. We also had to recover from a 3am wake up from a cleaner when we were illegally camping in Arrawarra. As it rained a lot while we were in Yamba it gave us the perfect opportunity to work on our wedding plans.
Travelling north again, we settle again for 9 days in Byron Bay, the most eastern point of Australia. It’s a funny mix of hippies, surfers and tourists. We scored a cheap spot to park our van in a local’s backyard in a prime location. On the first night here a HUGE, unexpected hailstorm came, covering the ground like snow. The hail was not necessarily the biggest we have seen, but the volume of it was amazing. Benson flipped out, and I was a bit scared too. Like excited children, we drove around town after the storm looking at the damage. Fortunately, our caravan is a write-off which we have to give up in the next week. It all worked our perfectly as we were planning to sell it soon anyway.
So here we are, near the end of this adventure and excited for a new one to start. Sometimes we feel apprehensive about what the future will hold, but right now we are excited for the unknown. We have absolutely no idea what the next 4 months will hold for us in the Sunshine Coast, but we are thrilled to be spending it with Matt’s family and a week with Jill’s parents when they arrive.
To the next adventure!
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