13th - 21st November (Chilling out in Oz)
Most of our evenings in Port Macquarie are spent drinking and chatting. In the day, we generally sit around the Ozzie Pozzie yard, drink tea and discuss what we are going to do with the day until around midday when we usually go to the beach, swim, attempt to bodyboard, attempt keepie ups with the haki sack, read, chat and laze around. On the way back to Ozzie Pozzie we might pick up some food and a couple of cheeky beers.
I did manage to get away for a bike ride one day, the free bike was hard work and I attempted to do a fairly large curcuit only to find that the free river ferry crossing only ran in the morning and evening so I had to come back without seeing the winery and Koala petting zoo. I did see my first kangaroos in a field though.
A new member of the group is Kevin, a 30 year old from Bolton who has an 18 year old girlfriend that he has been with for 3 years, this is a source of constant amusement to the rest of us.
After 'a quick pint' at the macca on the way back from the beach turned into a quick skinful, we picked up a slab and went back for food. When the beer ran out we drank some left over goon (red wine) from a goon bag. Rhys mentioned the war once or twice in front of a few germans and then passed out on a sofa so that I could play human buckaroo by balancing a load of books on his head.
There isn't loads to see or do in Port Macquarie, but what there is (for example, the rainforest centre) I would have liked to see but was too busy enjoying myself.
I took the greyhound to Coffs Harbour as I had already bought the pass while Rhys and Rich made their own way there. We met up at Aussitel backpackers which is bigger and livlier than Ozzie Pozzie with about 80 mostly younger backpackers. Preparing food in the kitchen is hard work. We signed up for the punch night and drank our fill of vitamin c without getting even a little squiffy. Punch night included entrance to a club later where they had a wet t-shirt competition (which I only stumbled upon whilst looking for Rhys) and a foam filled dance floor.
The next day was the tea marathon, the weather had changed from super hot to icy cold winds so we sat at the hostel, drank tea, chatted and played cards. I did manage a short trip to the botanic gardens with a french and german girl that we befriendeed. Ended up staying up chatting with Rhys until 02.00 about everything from family feuds to abortion (without any alcohol!!!)
Rhys picked up his bacpack and thumbed his way out of Coffs Harbour. The weather is good again so Rich and I stayed another day, we walke to Muttonbird island which juts out from the mainland and gave us some excellent views, it was incredibly windy and the waves crashed against the rocks with amazing force. At one point Rich got quite close to the edge and just after he moved away a massive wave came up and crashed down where he had been stood. After a nice lunch we hired bikes, along with Thomas (ze very tall german who claims that germans don't have mullets!) to see the famous big banana. Not exactly a highlight of the trip!
Rich and I booked a dorm in Belongil beachouse, Byron Bay which is described in the lonely planet as 'aimed at a slightly more mature crowd', despite being quite immature we felt a bit old for the Aussitel kids. As with Port Macquarie, I felt like I hadn't really seen much of Coffs Harbour and I didn't manage to contact some people there who I met in North Vietnam and had offered to put me up which was quite bad.
I arrived at the beachouse after Rich and was surprised to see Rhys who had phoned Rich to find out where we were staying. We are a 15 minute walk from the centre of Byron Bay in a place that is apparently quieter and cheaper than the places in town that are full of 'schoolies'. More of the same daytime activities at the beachouse and on the nice close beach. The free shuttle bus took us into town where we were planning to buy food from the supermarket, but a quick beer turned into 9 and that was the end of that idea!
Rhys had planned to move on the next day but had missed more than half of his back with sun cream and was in agony, Rich despite being dark already was also a bit burned and the pair of them stayed out of the sun for a day while i went for a walk along the beach towards town. The town end of the beach is busy with schoolies and the pleasant town is quite full of them as well. Later met Rich and Rhys for a couple of beers but this time managed to go to the supermarket after. Back at the pad I made a nice chicken and veg stir-fry and discovered that blackbean sauce and goon mix very well. There was plenty of food and I got merry on the goon.
The next morning we made a fantastic full english breakfast. I took the shuttle bus to town and walked around the coastal trail and light house which took most of the day and had some amazing views, at one point i could see the ocean through 270 degrees. In the evening we drank and went to a club that I can hardly remember but I do remember how full of stars the sky was when we walked along the beach back to the hostel.