East Coast Odyssey

by Bngrtw April. 25, 2013 2247 views

The destruction of B's passport meant we had to stay longer in Oz than we had originally planned, so we decided to do like many backpackers: get a hop-on hop-off bus ticket all the way up to Cairns through the East Coast, booking a couple of tours along the way.

Our first stop was a calm seaside town called Coffs Harbour. The town had a beautiful long deserted beach. A creek coming from somewhere inland turned into a mangrove near the beach, and over there we took today's first picture.

From there, we went to Byron Bay, a world famous surfers-hippies paradise where, as you can see in the second picture, there is a lot of good karma. In fact, life is calm and relaxed over there, to the point that we stayed for 10 days and G got introduced to the world of yoga (at the same time, B had received a big project which kept him busy most of the time during the day). We were staying in a guesthouse-cum-hippie-commune with several types of accommodation, including tipis. Our first two nights we slept in a dorm, but then we borrowed a tent and moved to the campsite. We also met the campsite's very own Spanish-Italian community, great people with whom we spent many good times, and even cooked some paella!

Byron Bay being in a tropical location, the weather was warm and the nights were full of mozzies. It also started to rain ever more often as days passed by. During our last night there, we learned about a big cyclone that was making its way towards the east coast of Australia. Luckily for us, we would be gone by the time the worst of the rain would hit Byron Bay (therefore not sleeping in a tent), but our friends were genuinely worried about their own tents!!!

For our next stop, we would be staying overnight in a small town called Rainbow Beach. This is the place from where people go to Fraser Island (this was actually one of the tours we had booked)…

… And when we arrived, the heavens opened! Just look at the third picture. Once again, we were encountering our good friend the typhoon.

This time it was bad for real. Forget about going to Fraser Island, as they had to close it… As they did with all the roads to and from Rainbow Beach, the centre of Brisbane… Everything around us was experiencing the worst floods in 20 years, with the worst hit town only 40 km away from where we now were officially stuck, and we would stay stuck for over five days.

Not only us, but the rest of the people who were going to Fraser Island at the same time as us, and the people who had just come back from there. Suddenly, there were 3 times as many backpackers in town as the town's infrastructure allowed. There was no space for all of us. Also, all networks were down, so we couldn't communicate with anyone outside: no telephone, no internet, nada!

The ATMs didn't work either, so people just ran out of money (spending it in beer, which is always plentiful in Australia), and noone could pay for their bed in the hostel anymore.

The result? We became official victims of the floods and the town authorities decided to provide us with free accommodation at the community centre (pictured, number 5).

In fact, it was more comfy than the dorms!

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