On the fifth day we were in Sydney, we packed up our stuff and headed for the rental car office to pick up our car for our road trip up the East coast of Australia. To be honest we were a little nervous to be driving on the opposite side of what we're used to. Also, when we booked our car, we requested a manual car since it was much cheaper than an automatic. So shifting with the left hand would be an added complication. When we got there to pick up our car, we lucked out. The rental car company happened to be out of manual cars, so we ended up getting an automatic for the lower rate. We also declined the insurance since it costed an additional twenty-some dollars a day. Those of you who know Scott would know that this is taking a huge risk, but we promised each other we would be extremely careful.
So we got in our miniature Hyundai hatchback, got buckled in, took a deep breath and put it in drive. As we pulled out of the parking garage, Scott decided to pull over to the side of the road to make sure he was situated to drive. And have it be our luck…sssssccccrrrraaaape! That was the sound of the front passenger rim scraping and scratching up against the curb! We looked at each other and started laughing hysterically! We got out to look at the damage and sure enough the hub cap was bent to hell. Oh well. We would just have to hope that they didn't notice it when we returned the car, but at least we hopefully got the only damage over within the first two minutes of the road trip.
We put our first destination into our Google maps and hit the road. We drove across the Harbour Bridge headed towards Port Macquarie, which would be our first stop of the trip. On the way we saw signs for kangaroo crossings and even saw a koala hanging out on the side of the road. When we got to Port Macquarie we checked in to the Ozzie Pozzie hostel, which turned out to be a fun little hostel. We walked down to the water and checked out the painted rocks on the trail and then joined some other hostelers for some pizza for dinner.
The next day we drove up to Byron Bay, stopping in Coffs Harbour for a dleicious lunch at a little sidewalk cafe. When we arrived in Byron Bay we were told almost all of the accommodations in the town were booked up for “Schoolies,” which is the equivalent of Spring Break in the U.S. Luckily we were able to get into a hostel, but it was a ten bed mixed dorm. After we checked in we went for a walk on the beach, had some hamburgers for dinner, and explored the town. Later that evening we spent some time talking with a Kiwi who happened to work at the hostel. He was able to give us some great advice for our New Zealand trip. When it was finally time to hit the hay, we headed to our dorm room. Well come to find out, I was the only component that made it a “mixed” dorm, being the only girl in the entire room. Luckily one side of the room was filled with some shy, pre-pubescent looking German boys, so that's the side I slept on, while Scott shared his side of the room with some drunk, rowdy Aussies, including the weird, random, old dude. Add the smell of 9 guys and no air conditioner in one room in the Tropics, and it made for one bad night's sleep.
We left Byron Bay and headed further North. We made a stop in Coolangatta around lunchtime. We luckily came across a bunch of elaborate kites that were being flown on the beach. We spent some time walking along the beach looking at all of the colorful kites. We also grabbed some delicious pastries at a little bakery across the street from the beach.
After having a pretty bad night of sleep the night before we were very relieved when we got to our next destination, Brisbane. We booked a private room at The Kookaburra Inn for the next three nights. The inn was nice and quiet and not too far from all the fun areas in Brisbane.
Scott had done some research and found that Australia has a pro baseball league. Our first night in Brisbane, the Brisbane Bandits happened to be playing the Sydney Blue Sox. The game was fairly close to our hostel and the tickets were very inexpensive online, so we decided to go check it out. We put the address to the stadium in our google maps and headed out. When our Google Maps said we were less than one minute away and we were in a residential area we started to wonder if we were being misled by Google again. There was not a stadium in sight. We just getting ready to turn around and head back to the main road when we saw a parking sign for the Brisbane Bandits game. So we followed the signs and to our surprise we arrived at what looked like a little league game. We turned out to be at the right place, it just turns out that the pro team plays on a field that was smaller than a high school stadium in the U.S. We decided to stay and watch for a while, but were not thoroughly impressed and end up leaving the game early.
We spent the next couple of days in Brisbane checking out the city. We browsed the shops, came across a suitcase rummage sale, and checked out a fun little market near the river.
On our last day in Brisbane, we headed to the Australia Zoo that was made known for the infamous croc hunter Steve Irwin. It was a little expensive to get in, but was worth the fun.
The next morning we continued up the coast stopping along the way at lots of little beach towns, stopping and staying the night here and there including the little towns of Hervey Bay, Yeppoon, Airlie Beach, and Townsville.
Finally after eleven days on the road, we reached our destination of Cairns, where we spent the next three days. In cairns we took a day trip to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef followed by an authentic Aussie barbecue back at our hostel.
At the end of three days in Cairns, we hopped on a flight to Melbourne.