16th December 2017, Gold Coast, Queensland, 10:30pm
Whilst cleaning our rooms and the rest of the apartment, we had mixed feelings to leave the house, which was our home the last 3½ months. But we are not sad.
Getting ready meant to prepare for our biggest adventure. Our biggest adventure yet 😉
Another early morning flight
Another day another early morning flight – yes, we never learn. This time: up to Cairns!
The city of Cairns is located in the northern part of Australia, and was the starting point for our 13 days – roadtrip all the way down to Sydney.
We picked up our camper van on Monday, the 18th December 2017, and off we went!
We booked a three-seater with space for two people in the back and a one-person-tent on the roof.
Why we highly recommend to never book a van from Wicked Campers can be read here
We don’t know
what we are doing where we are going
As soon as we picked up our van we stuffed our luggage into the back and off we went! The goal was 3000 km south of us. Remo and myself have been up in Cairns a few weeks earlier, so we showed Andreas our favourite spot, Palm Cove, where we enjoyed breakfast.
Having banana bread while enjoying the view of the ocean was definately worth the drive! Not knowing where we are going we started to head down South. Thinking back, it would have been a good idea to book our accommodations in advance, but hey – adventure it is 😉
After 60 mins we came by the Wooroonooran National Park, where we wanted to see the waterfalls. Hiking for about 40 minutes got us to the top end where we jumped in the fresh water and had a cold, but fun and refreshing time.
The three of us couldn’t resist to celebrate our first evening with a nice Apéro on the roof of our van!
The first night
I can remember our first night as if it was yesterday. We didn’t know where to go, so we checked out the App of Wicked (that is quite good, surprisingly) and looked for a camping spot. We ended up in Rollingstone, QLD.
To our surprise, we slept quite good, and after a quick shower we continued our journey towards Townsville QLD. The one challenge we would face every day was to find a place to get our morning coffee (and tea 😉 ). We spent most of the day at the beach, enjoying the burning hot summer sun and the waves. Around 4:30pm we were off again – on our way to… good question. Our van burned about 20 liters / 100 km of which we had to fill it up. Every. Single. Day. 💸💸 💸
As we wanted to have the full experience, we stopped in Bowen to watch the incredible beautiful sky full of stars! This was an extraordinary experience, sitting on the roof of our van, eating dinner and enjoying the view.
As usual we didn’t know where to sleep for the night. We eventually ended up in a campervan park in the middle of a forest at Hideaway Bay.
Our next stop was a small town, where Remo and I have been to when we got on our sailing trip to the Whitsundays: Airlie Beach. As business students and bankers, we never forget about the markets – and the opportunities it provides. That’s why we made a quick stop, opened our mobile office and checked out the latest news, before heading off again.
This day we drove about 6 hours with a stop in Mackay where we again experienced a wonderful sunset-dinner-situation.
Eventually we got to a free campervan park near Flaggy Rock with almost no facilities. We made some new friends though:
Waking up to a beautiful day and being hungry as hell, we decided to go to the next town, Rockhampton, to stack up on food and drinks. Checking out Foursquare, we managed to find a well-designed coffee shop with delicious breakfast options.
Still fascinated by the ocean, even after living at the Gold Coast for 3½ months, we stopped at Cooee Bay to enjoy the beautiful view and the calm effect of the waves breaking along the coast.
We didn’t go any further that day and slept nearby in Yeppoon for the night. A sunny morning needs to used! That’s why we did a quick workout directly on the beach and had a bit of a rest afterwards 😉
The day the struggle started
On the 22nd of December, we decided to take a break from driving for a day, as we felt quite exhausted by it. Our place of rest was a coffee shop in West Gladstone, to get some food and charge our devices, while also sorting out the pictures we’ve taken so far. After about 5 hours I went back to the van and found a surprise:
At first we were rather pissed about the fact that we had to replace our right front tyre while nightfall was upon us. But we kinda loved the fact that we got the full experience of a roadtrip and its challenges. After fixing the tyre we felt a bit concerned, because the van was shaking while driving. After some time we got used to it and didn’t think that much about it anymore. Arriving in South Gladstone after an eventful evening, we went with the first camper van park in sight.
The next day we continued driving further down South and visited Seventeen Seventy, where James Cook and his crew of HM Bark Endeavour landed in Australia in May 1770.
Not long after leaving this stunning place, Remo mentioned that something’s wrong with the van. Almost immediately after his statement, we felt a strong vibration within the car and stopped – in the middle of nowhere. We had another surprise waiting for us:
Not even 24 hours after the first flat tyre, we got another one. Surprise! This time the one on the back left was broken. We were somewhere in the countryside and had no service. There was no chance for a car comes by, as the road we’ve been on was not that busy – and the night was settling in again. We lifted up the car to replace the tyre, and quickly found out that it was not high enough. So we had to put the flat one back on the van, move it a bit, and improvise to lift it up higher. The new tyre was finally on!
After two hours of hard work, we finally made it and checked in into our stay for the night – a campervan park in Bundaberg. It’s the 24th December already – Christmas Time! After driving for the main part of the day, we stopped at Sunrise Beach, climbed up on our roof and cheered with passing-by cars to celebrate Christmas in a totally different way!
Christmas Day is a big thing in Australia, and while we celebrate Christmas Eve, the Australians honor the 25th the most! This is why it was pretty hard for us to find a breakfast spot (we gave up cooking after most of our food got bad sitting in a too warm environment for too long) and we desperately needed to do our laundry. For the first time in our lives we went to a laundrette to wash our stuff. Being on the road means that you don’t have a clothesline to dry your shirts. We improvised 😉
Our campervan functioned as a point in a complex setup of tension belts and frameworks on a private hospitals parking space. The sun burning down in Australia dried our stuff in an hour!
Remo and Andreas cooked delicious lunch for us while I was monitoring the drying process (which basically meant to keep the clothes on the lines :-D)
Our next stop was in Woodford, where we got pasta as dinner and slept next to a highway. It was also the night where we experienced our first heavy storm while sleeping in a van (and a tent on top of it). Remo was the lucky one to sleep in the fragile tent on top, while heavy rain was pouring down on us. He survived though, stronger than ever 😉
The next day was a chilled-out one as well. Most shops were closed for Christmas, so we got to enjoy some quiet time in Brisbane and it’s surroundings after a night full of thunderstorms and wet clothes.
We left the place we just came to 10 days earlier, but wouldn’t be here for long. It was good to be back, enjoying the clean facilities at Bond Sports Center (thanks for the shower, guys!) and the delicious food and coffee at the best coffee shop on the Gold Coast, Blackboard Coffee.
If you have been following us on our journey so far you probably know that we love ❤ Byron Bay. Our feelings haven’t changed,, and we enjoyed this lovely town for another day.
Close to Byron is a small town call Nimbin. People also call it “Naughty Nimbin” due to the high consumption of drugs in this town. We also got quite the attention due to our van 😉
We stayed there for the night, before continuing our journey. It’s already the second last day of our trip, and we still had about 600 kms to go till Sydney, which meant a lot of driving for the last 1½ days.
We made it!
After passing Port Macquire and Newcast, we made it to Sydney! A trip with two flat tyres, 3000 kms of driving, 12 nights in a (way) too small campervan and lots of fuel burnt, we finally arrived in the city with the world-famous opera house.