Our trip through Australia has been a whirlwind! With the campervan issues and staying several nights with new friends, we had a tight schedule to make it down to Melbourne. After leaving our friends in the Brisbane area we headed to Byron Bay, a town we may have loved had it not been full of schoolies. From what we gathered schoolies is similar to Spring Break in the states where hoards of young kids (17/18 year olds) go on holiday without adults, looking for fun. Byron Bay was full of them and although we were warned before, we weren’t expecting the loud music down at the beach until the wee hours of the morning…geez we are getting old! The town itself appeared to be a great, laid back surf town with some great restaurants and bars. We just stayed the one sleepless night before heading south to our next destination of Nambucca Heads. We located a great camp spot near the water and headed out to explore the beach. The big attraction here is a sea wall that has become a place for anyone and everyone to paint a rock. It is encouraged and has turned up some great talent. It was fun to walk around and read the messages and look at the art. No schoolies here, so we had a great night sleep and headed off in the morning.
We stopped off at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. This rehabilitation center is free to visit and you can walk around and see the Koala in their open-air habitats. Many are being cared for and then will be released. Some had been there for many years, after loosing eyes and/or limbs in fires or accidents. We didn’t hit it for the guided tour, but it was still a nice short stop.
That night we stopped at Hawks Nest where we had heard we could spot Koalas in the wild. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any. But it did have some great beaches!
The next day we made our way around Sydney because we would be heading back there for Christmas. We made it to Wollongong and then headed just north on the coast to a great and cheap camp spot in Colesdale. This camp reserve is right on the beach and is run by the surf lifesavers. It made for a relaxing night listening to the waves and the rain. The next morning we headed to Pebbly Beach in search of some wildlife and we were rewarded with our first glimpse of live animals in the wild! After nearly 3 weeks of seeing only roadkill and animals in zoos we spotted a HUGE (3.5-4 feet) Lace Monitor Lizard, a wallaby and lots of Kangaroos!
That night we stopped in Batemans Bay, another spot close to the water. Our last stop was Eden, an uneventful, but pretty spot located on a lake and across the street from the ocean. We did a LOT of driving and not much sightseeing through New South Wales! We wanted to be sure to get to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria…our next destination.