Our post still wasn't at the Post Restante office, but we've got a tight schedule to keep to and needed to get going to manage to fit everything in. We decided to try and get it forwarded to John's and we'd pick it up in 3 months time.
From Sydney we were heading north up past Newcastle and towards Taree, where we'd spend the night and keep on trucking the following day. We made a final call to the Post Office to check if our post was there and it was! Sods law,eh?
We were 200Km's past Sydney, so we stopped straight away and turned round to head back to Sydney. Stayed the night in Newcastle and left for Sydney first thing the next morning. Another drive into Sydney city centre! (John's going to think we're crazy.)
We've been over the Sydney Harbour Bridge 9 times in 1 week!
With the post collected, we could again start our roadtrip. We headed north back up to Newcastle and decided to drive inland on the New England Highway, as it's less busy and a lot more interesting.
Loads of little country towns and cattle stations. We were heading for Nundle, where we going to stay at The Dag Inn, a fully working sheep station. When we finally got there after 5 hours driving, it wasn't as 'fully working' as we'd liked as it was closed and not a sheep to be seen.
We were both looking forward to staying there with the sheep, Lee especially!
Undeterred, we motored to the next town, Tamworth, which was 45Km away. After bagging a large family room with 5 beds (we only needed 1!) at the friendly Tamworth YHA, we went straight out to the pub for a 'schooner' of beer and some grub.
Tamworth is Australia's country music capital and the pub was full of cowboys/bushmen all tapping their feet to the Country Music Channel on the TV. After the days mammoth drive of 550Km's, plenty of sleep was needed to recharge the batteries.
Wed. 20th October 2004
Feeling suitably refreshed the following morning, we were making our way over to the coast to Coffs Harbour.
We were stopped in our tracks just past Dorrigo, as the constant rain for the past 4 days had created landslides and the road was under 12 foot of water! This was the only road east to Coffs Harbour and it would mean driving the 240Km's back to Tamworth and the only other road north was blocked due to fallen trees.
The SES (State Emergency Services) advised us that we'd be better off going back into Dorrigo, grabbing a bottle of Chardonnay and spend the night there, which we did!
We thought we'd better get a room at the Dorrigo Hotel straightaway, as more people later on would be given the same advice. Dorrigo's a charming little place with a laidback feel - we hope we can manage to leave the place!
Thurs. 21st October 2004
The SES informed us that the northern route was now clear, so we decided to leave Coffs Harbour and its Big Banana for another time. We're now heading for Byron Bay.
Driving into Byron Bay, we passed loads of cool VW Kombi vans and we both decided we're gonna like this place.
Byron Bay is what you imagine everywhere in Australia to be like - golden beaches, surfer dudes, big waves and glorious sunshine. After spending the day on the beach, we had a great Aussie BBQ at the YHA that evening and had a few too many.
Lee got chatting to a lad who used to live just around the corner from us, in Whitworth Square. Small world, eh?
Fri. 22nd October 2004
The morning after the night before, we decided just to have an easy day and wander around town. Byron is full of surf shops and after a while they're all pretty much the same.
Joo was after a new bikini and we had to look in every one of the bikini/surf shops to find the 'one' - which we didn't. By 3 o'clock I was all surf shopped out and had to find a bar to rest my weary feet.
In the evening, we spoke to Lee and Julie (the other ones!) and arranged to spend the weekend with them up in Brisbane.
Lee had got in touch with me about 18 months ago after seeing our 'Lee and Julie' website and ever since we'd promised to pop in on them when in OZ.
They moved from the UK to Brisbane 2 years ago and although we'd seen a couple of pictures, it would be nice to put a face to the emails.