So I never really finished blogging about my mini-East Coast adventure. It's pretty hard to blog without a laptop, but thankfully my amazing bestie Helen is now here and has a brand spanking new netbook.
LET THE BLOGGING COMMENCE.
Just to recap, we had a sunny Christmas and rainy Boxing Day in Byron Bay. Doing what all Brits do in the rain we went to the beach and then a walk around the lighthouse. When the precipitation threatening to drown us we headed back to our campervan and promptly got drunk, made friends with a large group of Aussies next to us, and then got more drunk.
We awoke on the 27th December with slightly less enthusiasm than normal, partially (completely) due to nearly draining our booze supplies the night before. This was especially true of me because - I think unfairly - I was drinking goon while everyone else had 3.5% XXXX Gold. Eventually we got our sorry arses together and set off, waving a sad goodbye to Byron, to our next stop of Port Maquarie.
Now, I'd spent the last few months telling backpackers to miss the place out but decided to ignore my own adivce. Turns out everything Wicked Travel had told me was true - there isn't a whole lot to recommend the place. We found a little beach and went for a nice bracing splash, but then found it impossible to get anywhere to camp for the night. Our only choice was to head out of town to a rest stop - warily eyeing the van's petrol gauge - to pitch up for our penultimate night.
The next day on the news we sat that a man was bitten by a shark on the beach we'd been at and all the beaches in the area got closed.
We got up nice and early, shaking sand out of our hair in lieu of a shower, and set course for the Blue Mountains. It's a beautiful region a couple of hours west of Sydney, so called because....well...in true Australian fashion ("Mate, this beach is 75 miles long, what should we call it?" "75 mile beach mate") the forests covering the mountains look a blue-ish colour.
As it was our last drive in the van we callously abandoned Bridget and crammed ourselves inside Kat Slater - don't we look comfy?
Lets be honest with ourselves, we had a pretty cool van.
Despite our differences, we came to love Kat Slater. On that first night in Mission Beach I couldn't imagine sleeping in the van, with three people, for 14 nights. But by the end we'd become accustomed to it and loved getting comfy and snuggly giggling of an evening. Somehow I ended up in the middle every night and Tash and Chris developed a fun game called "CHESKIE SANDWICH". I'll leave you to guess what that entailed, but it's safe to say that when you've got ear plugs in and an eye mask it can really scare the shit out of you as you're gently drifting off to sleep.
We rocked up to Katoomba without a plan or any phone battery; thankfully a really nice hostel let us come in and leave our phones to charge (they didn't have space for us) and recommended a free campsite in the mountains. The first one we found was less than appealing, due to the only spot left being next to the nice compostable toilet. Thankfully the next site along (and the original one we looked for) was much nicer.
"Ooo lets swim in the river!" we thought...until we saw the sign warning us that the water had been found to contain some harmful bacteria. We decided to stay stinky.
That night we played cards (now that I'd finally worked out the rules for 'go fish!', namely that you're not allowed to bluff. NO ONE TOLD ME.) and drank the little booze we had left. It was chilly being so high above sea level, but our last night was happy and cosy. We would miss Kat Slater!
On the final day of our road trip we packed and cleaned Kat Slater, hampered only slightly by me throwing up twice, and went to see some mountains!
It's a bit of alright.
Wanting to see the most famous spot - the three sisters - we were not anticipating the amount of other people who had the same idea. It was MENTAL. We had to queue for ages to get this photo, and elbow a few asian families out of the way too.
But we had to get a picture of the Three Sisters (Chris is now an honorary sibling) next to the Three Sisters!
Fighting our way through the crowds was hungry work, so we found a quiet spot to cook our last supper. Not a bad place for a sausage sizzle! And imagine our glee when an ice cream van turned up selling soft serve and melty chocolate cones.
Unable to behave like adults for more than a few minutes, and finding that the ice cream/nut/chocolate combo was rather sickly we resorted to that old favourite 'shove-ice-cream-in-face' game. Thanks Tash.
I've had worse views for lunch.
And so we left for our final destination - the bright lights of Sydney. God speed Kat Slater, and God bless all those who subsequently hire you. It can only be divine intervention that prevented us from ending up in a burning wreck. Or perhaps simply proof that accurate speedos are overrated?