Since my last update I have seen and done a lot. From the beautiful beaches of Sydney harbour to the rain forests of Doringo National Park, I had a blast.
On Sunday, we took a ferry over to Manly Beach (about 15 minutes by jet boat). Manly is just a name, but I have to say that is probably an antonym for the description of the place; there were women everywhere! Not only were there women, but there were women in skimpy bikinis playing volleyball and surfing. The men were wearing, to my disgust, equally revealing swimwear, even ones that really should not be. My other complaint is that the commercials that advertise trips to Australia as beaches full of HOT men and women are false. Sure there are a few hotties, here and there, but the vast majority are just plain looking people.
Manly beach is also a deceiving name; it is actually a conglomeration of sever different beaches. We went to two: Shelly Beach and actual Manly beach. Shelly beach was nice. It was quite sheltered so there was very little wave action but the water was very, VERY cold; I get hard nipples just thinking about it. We went swimming, for about 2 seconds before we had to get out. All I have to say is “severe shrivelidge”! The sand was quite course, but still nice to relax on. Luckily I remembered to put sunscreen on because I managed to fall asleep on the beach for a good hour. The warm, but not hot, air is quite relaxing. The second beach, Manly, was very nice as well. The sand on this beach was VERY fine. It was so soft that it was like walking on a baby’s bottom :P. This beach was not sheltered at all. There were fairly large wave, at about 2-3 feet tall. Meghan and I managed to stay in the water for about 5minutes this time, though we were a little more distracted by the waves. I am not sure if my memory serves me wrong, but I don’t remember the ocean being this salty before. It was insanely salty, that or I just drank someone’s pee. At this beach we also saw our first surfers. At one point I think I counted over 100 surfers in the water at once. It looks like a lot of fun, and I want to try it, but I think I am going to hurt myself on those waves. I mean, I cannot even stand straight on land, let alone standing on a slippery board on top of raging water. For lunch that day we had shark and chip. Mind you they call it fish and chips, but here they actually serve shark as the “common” fish. It tasted good, a lot like halibut. On our way back, we went into some true-Australian apparel stores: Billabong and Quicksilver. Didn’t buy anything, but it was interesting comparing what they had there to what we get at home.
The next day we left Sydney headed towards Coffs Harbour. Driving in Australia is very weird. First off they drive on the left hand side. You may think that switching sides is easy, but I can tell you that it is not. After driving on the right for more than 5 years, you become accustomed to driving and you build up some form of an instinct for driving. Coming here you have to break all of those instincts. Now making left hand turns is much easier than making rights. Now if you are going slower on the highway, you stick to the far left lane. Now, not only do they have tones of roundabouts, but they go the wrong way!
All in all it has been an adventure of many “close encounters” (not really) with oncoming traffic. The biggest difficulty I am having is that the driver sits on the right hand side of the car now. Not only that but the gear shifter is on the left and the turning indicators are on the right. Now every time I go to switch lanes, I turn on the windshield wipers instead of the turning signals. Needless to say, people think I am weird for using my wipers on a sunny afternoon. We arrived in Coffs Harbour pretty late in the afternoon and enjoyed a nice and spicy Indian dinner at a local Indian restaurant. We hit the sack early that night.
The next day we hit the road for Doringo park, a world heritage site and home of a beautiful rain forest. Doringo park resides on the top of a mountain about 60 km west of Coffs Harbuor. The first thing to note is that Australian like to drive fast, all the time. The road to Doringo park is extremely windy, and climbing the side of a mountain. Most people would think that a road like this would have a speed limit of around 60kmph, but not in Australia! No, in Australia the speed limit is 100 km/h and the locals maintain that; screeching wheels, next to a cliff that drops 100m straight down. I do have to admit one thing though, the road was A LOT of fun. Sure we only drove at 80 km/h, not that the car could go any faster, but the road offered a lot of fun along the way. With sharp corners and racey straight aways, it was a pleasure to drive. Once we arrived at the park, we were greeted with a sign that pointed to the skywalk. The skywalk is a wooden boardwalk that extends off the edge of a cliff and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. I am definitely glad I am not scared of heights, NOT! It was pretty scary, knowing that if you fell there was no chance of survival, but I still managed to drag my ass out to the end. Once we left the sky walk we headed towards one of the trails. Not reading the signs until after we departed, we embarked on a “Moderate Trail”. The trail started downhill and it offered beautiful landscapes, amazing waterfalls, and remarkable views at least until we had to start climbing back up. The climb back up was intense with about 3 km (horizontal distance) of steep inclines and rocky trails. Despite the climb it was amazing. We didn’t get to see any parrots or pythons but there were thousands of other things to look at, from birds to trees. All in all I was very impressed by the rainforest.
That afternoon we moved on to here, Byron’s Bay. Byron’s Bay is supposed to be the surfer’s haven, so I can’t wait till daytime tomorrow to see what it is like. We are staying here for two nights before moving on to Brisbane. More on this later.
Anyway, it is way past my bedtime (10PM) and I am exhausted.
More in time,