Monday 11/23 – I leave Camden Haven and head to Port Macquarie for camping supplies…basically a tent, sleeping bag and a hammer to nail tent pegs into the ground and to ward off an attach of a koala or kangaroo incase I get an angry fist fight with either (which I don’t plan on doing, but you never know with Mother Nature, she could just be pissed off). Afterwards, I head towards Wollomombi via Armidale-Kempsey Road. If you wonder if you can get motion sickness while driving, the answer is yes. Up a windy mountain side road, down a windy mountain side road. Hairpin turns, etc, and etc and you find your stomach in your throat and the suggested speed limit was 100 km. No thank you suggestion, I like living and breathing so I’ll keep it in the 40-60 km range. The route Google Maps suggested should have come with a warning: you’re going to be in the middle of fucking nowhere and your cell reception will drop so just keep going even if maps doesn’t work. For the most part, the road was paved, but about 80 km away from my destination (it was a 3 hour trip by the way), paved roads turned into dirt roads and gravel roads and on occasion single lane roads with the warning sign “look out for logging trucks”. There were only 8 people who saw that lovely part of the mountainside and it was the handful of cars that I passed and two awesome locals who kindly let me pass and not push me to my death down the side of the mountain. (I wasn’t going to die, but 2 vehicles … my car, their truck … and you second guess your fate and your skills as a driver when you can’t see the left side of the mountain rode you’re hugging.) I finally hit paved road again. THANK GOD. I was really tired of the dust and on a road trip, I’m a windows-down-breeze-rolling-in-girl, so I was covered in dust and so was Hailey the Hyundai (inside and out). I visit the actually town/village/neighborhood of Wollomombi and it reminded me of the town/village/neighborhood in Iceland. NO ONE IS THERE. Maybe they were all hiding from the heat or maybe they just knew that the idiot in the Elantra was a tourist and really had no clue what the fuck she was doing. I drive up to Oxley National Park to see the Wollomombi Gorge and couldn’t get close enough to the waterfall to take a photo. After 2 encounters with under construction look outs, I honestly gave up getting anywhere close to the waterfall. It’s hot. I’m hungry and to be honest, I just wanted a siesta. I also might have over done the hiking up a mountain because my heart was jumping in my throat and I was pretty sure I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion. While traipsing through the mountainside, I was inspired to write a short story (in the works) after running into a ranger. He was a nice chap, but the writer in me of course made him out to be a serial killer. I leave Oxley and head toward Coffs Harbour. Again with motion sickness …zig, zag, zig, zag, I’m gonna vomit on myself, when do I get a straightaway, zig, zag, straight road hurrah!! I had plans to stay in Coffs for the next two nights, but skipped them and drove right on through and landed in Corindi at a place called Darlington Beach and at their Darlington Caravan Park. How apropos for the SC girl in me. The only thing that felt like Darlington, SC was that it was near a beach. I set up a tent by myself. It was the first time I’ve ever done that even though I have been camping a zillion and one times. Easier than expected so it was a relief. The neat thing about the caravan park is that there are wild kangaroo hanging around along with every kind of bird imaginable. I was able to witness kangaroos lounging, eating, fighting, and doing kangaroo things. As I fell asleep, it was serenaded by Mother Nature (aka the noise of crickets, frogs, birds, and whatever else was outside of my tent).
Tuesday, 11/24 – I stayed in Darlington. I had planned on doing a whole lot of nothing and eating a cheeseburger and that’s exactly what I did. After 2 days of driving, I didn’t want to see the inside of the car. Also, for those of you that are curious, yes, I am applying for jobs daily. I have cast many a line before I left the States and while I’ve been here. No bites yet. 😦
Wednesday, 11/25 – I leave Darlington and head towards the town of Nimbin. It’s described as hippie heaven. I’m a tree hugging-save the earth-recycle-be kind person so why wouldn’t I like Nimbin? Even the website for the town has me in love with the town (www.visitnimbin.com.au). I arrive in Nimbin via Lismore and am crushed. The Nimbin Rocks are great to look at but the viewing point sucks major donkey balls. The town itself smells of patchouli and incense and body odor. There has to be more so I force myself to walk down onside of the street and then other. It is hippie heaven as I am positive anyone still alive from the Woodstock era that were teenagers have made this their mecca or their Florida to come and retire too. The charm that was described online and in tour guides/books/magazine are al lies. Here’s the truth about Nimbin: one main street about a city block or two. Enough hippie clothing and head shops for everyone hanging in the street to own, cafes offer more hemp related food than needed, and if the world ever runs out of incense, I know where to get some. It’s also anti-government, anti-the man, anti-everything (these are from the homemade signs I read) that one gets the feeling that if you weren’t born and raised in the area you’re not very welcomed to Nimbin. It was the first time I didn’t feel the Australia smiles and hellos that I have felt and seen. As I said on Twitter, “I’m all about Mother Earth, saving the environment and so on, but I also believe in bathing.” Nimbin was a disappointment and maybe if I was a 21 year old pot smoking kid, I’d think differently, but I can say that Asheville, NC wishes it was this hippie of a town, but I’d like to thank Asheville for not being that hippie of a town. You’ve got class Asheville, stay that way. Nimbin, you’ve not left the 60’s and that’s all I can say about that. I bail on lunch in Nimbin and head to the Bexhill Open Air Cathedral. It’s beautiful. Wooden pews on a mountainside staring over lush greenery. I may not be very religious but it was peaceful sitting on a pew and staring out onto Mother Nature. However you believe the Earth was created you kind of get a sense of there’s something greater out there instead of human power. Whatever your belief system is, this place makes fate, faith, belief become energized. After Bexhill, I drive through Bangalow towards Bryon Bay. It was my intention to stay in Bryon Bay. When I was there in 2010, I fell in love with the town. Surfer-hippie heaven. There was a charm about the town that was almost as if was left in the 60’s and 70’s of Hollywood surfing movies. As I returned, I felt as if the Redneck Riveria (Myrtle Beach, SC) was trying to crush the nostalgia feel out of it. Every block was under construction for what seemed like some high priced condo or over budget hotel. Goodbye to the nostalgia I felt in Byron Bay. Hello modernization. My gut said drive on through and I did. I drive through Tweeds Head and hit the Gold Coast Highway and head towards Surfer Paradise. I land in Main Beach and set up camp for the night and for Thursday.
Thursday, 11/26 – Happy Thanksgiving … it’s not really celebrated here so I could have easily left Main Beach but I didn’t want to risk not having a place to stay like we almost did for Xmas 2010. My Thanksgiving meal was a peanut butter sandwich and an apple and listening to 4 foreign girls recount their night of drunken shenanigans. They’re opting for the shade vs the sun as their hangovers are strong. I sit and eaves drop, thankful that I do not have a hangover to nurse in this heat. I also eaves drop on a group of guys who can’t decide if they want to go hard or take it easy. They’re on the fence as the day heat sinks into their skin, but they’re staying a tent row over from me, and they ended up going hard .I know they’re going to go hard. It’s in their young blood to take over the nightlife while it’s in my blood to get up and head to Brisbane for three days and to sleep in a real bed vs a tent. (All went hard, they’re cars were missing when I woke up on Friday morning at 5 am.)
Miles walked in from 11/23-11/26: 14 miles in 4 days (22.5 km in 4 days)
Drove: …info coming…(Left the notes in the car, too lazy to walk and get them)
Dead critter seen on the side of the road: 1 red fox
Alive critter crossing: 2 cows