After the last supper in Sydney, my alarm rang at 5am the next day. Franz kindly drove me to the train station at this early hour, where I dutifully bought a ticket at the machine before I realized that the gates were open! I could have saved these 5$…
Although the train got delayed 10min, I arrived at the coach terminal in time and found my red Greyhound bus. I felt like for the first time since my arrival here in Australia, I was doing mainstream travel. Before, I could stay at places when I liked them or leave earlier than we thought we would. Now, I’d just have to go to where the ticket takes me and stay as many nights at the hostel as I pre-booked.
It started to rain but while on the bus, that wasn’t much of a problem. And we would be driving north for 10hours, so I hoped the weather would be different up at Coffs Harbour.
I really would have liked to get off the bus in Forster. Why isn’t this place mentioned in any of the guides or must see places? It looked so pretty and that’s only what I saw out of a bus window! That’s how I imagined Lakes Entrance to look like! But so, I just drove past it to more stops (the drive on the Pacific Hyw was quite nice actually) until we finally reached Coffs Harbour.
A guy with a pamphlet from the YHA hostel was already waiting for me. We walked to his van and all the other people who got off the bus walked to the van from the Aussitel hostel. Why did Peterpans pick the YHA? If I hadn’t seen all these people getting of the bus, I would have thought that this town was really off season right now. The YHA was very quiet. There were some people here but everybody was just telling me how quiet it has been. Plus, it still rained, which didn’t exactly cheer up the atmosphere. No free wifi, nothing for breakfast but the rooms are spacious and feel clean.
The next morning, I wanted to walk along the beach to the Big Banana and me and a girl from London set off. At the dolphin center, the woman then told my friend that she could only swim with the dolphins today because they would be cleaning the pools for the next two days and therefore, Maxime decided to stay there. I would have liked to pet a dolphin too but it was still 360$ and I thought that enough fun things were waiting for me over the next few weeks. So, I walked on alone (after waiting another half an hour hoping that it would stop poring). Once I went back to the hostel to get my umbrella, it stopped. I carried the umbrella around in my bag all day and it only rained when I was somewhere inside. My grandmothers trick still works 🙂
The walk along the beach is beautiful! If it were warmer, I’d definitely have stopped for a swim but like that, I just strolled along the sand and watched the surfers. At some point, I had to walk a path up a steep hill. There were a lot of birds whistling new amazing melodies I haven’t heard before.
From Diggers Beach, I could walk straight to the Big Banana. This is an oversized banana in front of a banana plantation. Seeing all these bananas almost made me buy a banana split. Luckily I read the ingredients and they didn’t put any chocolate sauce on top. What’s the point?
Then, I walked over to the lolly store and observed how they made candy for a while. It was magical!! They shoved around slacks of sugar on a hot plate. At first, they just put the red and white one together and then they wrapped another white one around it to make a thick sausage. Then, they put another layer of three colored sugar mass around it. I thought that would end up a one of this big, flat, round twisted lollies but then they started pulling on the sausage until it was only about half an inch round and then they cut it into small candies. And guess what? Happy Birthday was written inside it in red letters. How did that get there? That’s how they get the melons, smileys and raspberries in there too. Amazing! It really was all about folding the first layer of white and red in 3d letters. I really don’t know how they recognize where to put what though. And that the letters are so clear after pulling the candy from really thick to long and thin.
And we received a free sample of that too 😉
My way back was quicker past the Park Beach Plaza (mall) and then the hostel. I thought I might be able to go swimming now for a short time but then it started raining again.
In the evening, the hostel manager made a delicious pumpkin soup, which I had as an appetizer. The kitchen was kind of the mingling place where I could meet people to talk and eat with. In the lounge, everybody was on the laptop or phone or reading a book. Having some quiet time might be good once in a while but I heard the East Coast is the party place…I’ll see how it will be in the next towns. I’ve only heard good things about Byron Bay 🙂
The next day, the weather was a lot better. I took a walk to the marina and realized that also in this direction would be a really nice path, which ends on a steep island hill. I then went back into the other direction to walk to the lifeguard flags. Finally, for the first time after Esperance, I jumped into the ocean again. Only for a short time though, because the water was quite choppy and once the couple that had been in the water went back to the beach, I decided to do the same and not play shark bait on my own…
In the afternoon, I followed the path along the creek behind the dolphin center. Suddenly, it turned into a wooden bridge that led over wetlands. This in the middle of bushes and trees. It was beautiful!
Then, I packed the last things and waited for the hostel bus to take me to the Greyhound Bus stop. Where I waited an hour, because the bus was 45 minutes late and we were there early. How quickly you can forget how big a part of travelling waiting is, when you have travelled with a car for a while. There it was always taking off, when we were ready. I guess that’s one advantage of travelling by car.
When the bus finally arrived, it was a pleasant surprise that it had wifi and usb chargers. However, 40min later it was already time for me to get off, as we reached the Mojo Surfcamp at Spot X.
As we were late, we just quickly threw our bags in our cabins and then went straight to dinner. Steak, fries, beans and a salad bar. How nice it was to just receive big plates of food.
Then it was a quiet evening. There was a movie room but I chose to sit around the camp fire because it was pretty cold. When I walked back to the cabin, I was pretty sure there was one of these white owls sitting on the tree in front of my cabin but I didn’t have a bright enough flashlight to proof it. Anyways, it was gone in the morning so it must have been an animal.
There was cereal and toast and fruit in the morning and all day long there’s always coffee, tea, water and some kind of power lemonade.
My first surf lesson was at 10am, with a real surf dude with long blond hair 🙂 He explained some rules to us. Here, sticking a fist up into the air means that you need help. In diving, you have to wave when you are in trouble but he said if we wave here, the surfers would just wave back because they were friendly people. Most important rule was to always smile and look cool and have friends with you who can witness the cool stuff you are doing 🙂
Then, we got into our wetsuits and put some free sunscreen on. Down at the beach, we practiced how to get on the board and stand up. Was really good to practice that again (hands, back foot to the knee, front foot and then stand up). Bali lies over half a year back and I couldn’t really remember how to do it properly, so this was a good refresher.
Then, we headed into the water. Just white water waves today but it was a lot of fun!! Here and with this big board, I was quick enough to actually get carried by the waves and stand up on my own. Was good to have some success again. My highlight was, when I was surfing close to another girl and we were both standing and could share a high five while riding on the wave 🙂
Lunch was a huge buffet again with wraps or sandwiches, salad and pasta. Nobody had to go hungry here 🙂
In the afternoon, you could surf again if it was in your package or there were all kinds of other activities too. So, the fun is here the only thing that went hiding again is the sun.
In the evening, there was music and some Norwegian girls really rocked the dance floor!
The life at the camp could have continued like that forever but unfortunately, I only booked two surf days. At least on the second day, we had beautiful weather. This time, we went out to the green waves. I attended the surf lesson in the afternoon too and sometimes was glad when we had to wait for the next waves to come, so that I could just relax on the surfboard. All that paddling was exhausting.
I wished I could have stayed longer but since my bus arrived right on time at 5.30pm, I left Spot X to go to Byron Bay. Probably smarter anyways, since I felt that I was getting a cold.