A Travellerspoint blog

Port Macquarie

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

all seasons in one day 25 °C

We arrived in Port Macquarie on the 7th December, after an amazing few days in Coffs Harbour. When we arrived at the hostel, we instantly fell in love with the place. The hostel building is a converted house, with its own living room, and open plan kitchen area. Its only a small place, but it felt like a home away from home immediately, and we got on well with the manager Heather, and night manager Martin. The town is only small, but very quaint, and a stone's throw away from an amazing beach.

On day 2, we loved the place so much we asked if there were any jobs available at the hostel for free accomodation or a wage. There was nothing immediately available for us, but Heather said she'd see what she could do for us. On the next day, we decided to take the hostel's 'Moke' out for a spin (small buggy/go-cart thing) and took a drive south of Port along an ocean road and saw some of the area's other spectacular beaches. We met some lovely people at the hostel, and we spent a lot of time together, sitting around playing cards, or going out for meals and playing drinking games in the evening. We also went on a sunset cruise around the Port, and saw wild dolphins swimming a few metres away from our boat!! There is also a Koala hospital just up the road from our hostel, so we went there for a visit, and did lts of walks and sight seeing.

A few days later, Heather and Martin told us that they had figured out a way to get us work at the hostel. The current cleaner of the hostel was looking to move on, and there was another lady working at the hostel on reception that wasnt doing too well and was thinking of leaving for another job, so things were looking promising. Our major decision now was whether to stay in Port Macquarie and work for a few months, which would mean not being in Sydney for Xmas and Nye. We mulled it over for a few days and decided that the only reason we wanted to be in Sydney for that time was to see the Sydney Harbour Fireworks. The deciding factor was that we could either spend xmas and NY in Sydney, or spend it here in Port Macquarie with our friends, and earn money, so we decided to cancel Sydney. It would mean us both cleaning in the morning for free accomodation, and me working an evening shift 4 days a week on reception for a wage. It would also mean moving into a seperate unit of the hostel and having our own flat, so it was a pretty good deal.

We have met so many amazing people since working here, some that only stayed a couple of days, and others who were long termers, who have become good friends. Matt, a French guy who was here for over a month, became a close friend to us during his stay, and we spent many a night playing cards or Xbox, him teaching us various swear words in French. There was a great group of people in the hostel around on Xmas day, and we all had a massive BBQ and spent the day drinking wine and playing games in the sunshine, which was fantastic. On Ryan's birthday, Heather cooked us all a meal in the unit, and we played a few card games in the evening. Its been so amazing meeting so many cool people, although its always sad saying goodbye to them as they continue on their travels. We'll definitely stay in touch though, and we've already been thinking about who we want to go and visit when we get back to the UK :)

For New Year Eve, a few of us from the hostel took a walk to the port and watched the firework display that was on at 10pm, then we took a slow wander back and a group of us sat in our little flat in time for the Sydney fireworks to be shown on tv live. The Sydney fireworks looked spectacular on tv and apparently Australia spends something like 5 million $AU on the display each year. Unfortunately, they only lasted 10 minutes, so we think we made the right choice by staying here and making a bit of money instead. Its been a lovely Christmas and New Year in Port Macquarie, not quite as flash as Sydney, but spending the holidays with friends has made it a memorable experience.

Posted by Lisieloo04 18:23 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Coffs Harbour

sunny 32 °C

We arrived in Coffs Harbour on 30th November, after 4 hours of being cramped inside a very full Greyhound Coach. As soon as we arrived here, we instantly fell in love with the place. The weather was beautiful and the town was very pretty with lots of botanical gardens and nice houses. The hostel was equally as nice, very modern and friendly, and just a stones throw from the harbour itself. I decided as soon as we arrived that this was the place i wanted to be for my birthday. On the first day, we took a wander around the town, looked around the shops and took a walk to the harbour. From the harbour you could see or miles out to sea, and looking inland towards Coffs Harbour, you could see mountains and hills surrounding the town. On our second day, we decided to hit the beach, for a day of sun and surf (less of the 'surf' though). In the evening we just relaxed at the hostel and watched tv and films with the other backpackers. On the third day, we decided to go to the Pet Porpoise Pools, a small sealife park for dolphins, sealions, sharks, pelicans and a green turtle (ironically no porpoises, as apparently the dolphins are not classed as 'porpoises' anymore). The place was very small, but the facilities were great, and the animals had a lot of space. We watched the dolphin show, and both of us had a 'kiss from a seal' We also got to feed the sharks, and i stroked a huge green turtle, which was amazing. After the shows and feeding were finished, all the masses piled into the park restaurants to fill their stomaches, but me and Ryan decided to hang around the dolphin pool and watch the 2 male dolphins 'Zippy' and 'Bucky' swimming around for a while. The park keepers threw in a couple of balls and the dolphins grabbed them in their mouthes and swam up to us wanting to play ball, so we played catch with the dolphins for maybe an hour or so. It was a lovely experience for both of us, as we spent some time alone with them without masses of screaming toddlers and tourists with flashing cameras. At one point, one of the dolphins swam right up to us and rolled over letting us scratch his belly for a couple of minutes, which was an awesome experience. In the afternoon, we watched the second dolphin show, as well as the sealion show and spent a bit more time with the dolphins, once the majority of tourists had gone home. In the evening we sat in the hostel playing cards, and met a few Australian girls, and a german girl called Ines, who were all a good laugh. The next day (low and behold) it was my birthday, so we decided to hit the beach for another day of sunbathing with Ines. It was very strange spending my birthday in the blistering heat on the beach next to the sea, when usually it snows or rains and is rarely above 10 degrees!! In the evening, we sat in the hostel with a couple of staff members who worked at the YHA, and had a few drinks with them (everyone sang happy birthday to me, which was really sweet). After, we decided to hit the town, went to a couple of bars with an Irish guy we'd made friends with called Brendan, and a couple of other Brits staying at the hostel. On the very last couple of day at Coffs Harbour, we chilled in the hostel, or had a wander around town, before our departure to PORT MAQUARIE on the monday. It was the perfect end to a perfect few days.

Posted by Lisieloo04 19:58 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Yamba

all seasons in one day 28 °C

So we arrived in Yamba after a lovely few days in Ballina. Yamba was a very small town, about the size of a village actually, with a surfing and relaxing atmosphere. The hostel we stayed at was owned by a large family, who all decided to sell their houses to by the land and build the hostel from scratch. The hostel was extremely modern, clean, and friendly, and the family who owned the hostel regularly wandered through the kitchen and living area basically lived there too (in the flat above the hostel). There was a family dog too! On the first day we explored the area (we do that a lot) took a few pictures, and got our bearings. On the first evening, there were a few games and activities being held in the common area by the staff (as there isnt much in Yamba at all, everyone had to entertain themselves staying at the hostel), so we decided to join in. We met a few nice young 'schoolies' who seemed a lot more mature than the ones you see getting drunk on the news, and watched tv. The second day, we headed to the beach for a bit of sunbathing and wave jumping (the waves were huge!!) and in the eveing we just chilled out in the hostel and watched tv, and chatted to a few of the guys. The next day, we chilled out and watched tv yet again (like i said, not much to do in Yamba!) And in the evening, we stayed up (pulled almost an all-nighter) so that we could watch the Arsenal Chelsea game on Foxsports - the less said about that game, the better! And the next day, we were off to our next destination - Coffs Harbour!!! Yamba was a nice place, but not much to do.

Posted by Ryan2040 04:40 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Ballina

sunny 29 °C

Off to the more quiet place of Ballina, home of the 'Big Prawn'. No seriously it's hillariously huge on top of a restaurant place (check the photos). Ballina is a small coastal fishing town which has retained it's 'aussiness' as not alot of people stop here. Our hostel was part motel and was run by a really nice couple who have done alot of travelling themselves and it was really well run. The hostel itself was pretty dead, although we did meet a french guy, an old german man with a moustache and two american flght attendants which were awesome (we find we make more friends in the smaller places as its more intimate). On our first day we explored the town and get our bearings. It's pretty much just one long high street with all the shops and take aways on a bit like Stevenage old town but not as scummy. We weren't up for much that day so we popped into the cinema and watched 2012 which was okay, although the KFC was actually....amazing. Day two we walked along the River to the beach for a spot of dolphin watching. Spotted some near enough straight away and we sat in the sun watching the pod do their thing. After they dissapeared we walked back to a few shops and headed back to the hostel for some goon and cards (we do that alot). Third day was alot of fun as we had a 'pool day' and had the pool to ourselves for some extreme ball playing action! (lol). And once more in the evening we had a few to drink and played some poker with the guys we met (yes i won again!). As we did all there was to do in such a small town we decided to move on to our next destination the next day: Yamba!

Posted by Ryan2040 19:50 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Byron Bay

sunny 28 °C

After Murwillumbah we headed a short distance south to Byron Bay. We were both looking forward to byron as it is "the place to go" and we'd heard so much about it. When we arrived the weather was good as always! and the vibe was pretty cool, hippy but full of the tourists (yes i know we are tourists too). The hostel was big, clean and tidy and full of germans (as is 95% of Australia) but we didn't really stay in the hostel for long. First day we took to the beach for some sand sea and surf! Although the sea was a bit rough and i (Ryan) failed miserably but will no doubt try my luck at it again down the east coast. In the evening, we explored the local area, and sat and chilled in a field watching an accoustic singer and a lady dancing with a fire stick. On the second day we went for a long walk around Byron and up to the lighthouse over looking the cape. The views were awesome but there was too much 'up'! In the evening we decided to explore the nightlife and found a Hotel bar called Beach Hotel. The vibe was really cool and chilled out, and there was a reggae band playing, who were really good. On the last day we relaxed in the hostel and that evening we played some cards and drank goon. There was also a Pool competition on the last night, and Lisa persuaded me to go in for it! The prize was a free Kayaking tour, which, due to my awesomeness, i won! Unfortunately we were leaving the next day, so I graceously gave it away to the mere runner up :oP. And that concludes our Byron Bay experience. Overall we liked Byron, but it was a bit over hyped and full of tourists, which was a shame. We've heard from other travellers that 10 years ago, Byron was amazing because it wasn't so commercial, but i guess it happens everywhere. Still, it was a beautiful place to see.

Posted by Ryan2040 19:31 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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