I had to go reasonably quickly from Sydney to Brisbane, as I had a standing date for some house/dog sitting for one of my besties’ parents on the Gold Coast. Thus – I did not meet my only stated Sydney-goal of checking out my parents’ old haunts on the Northern Beaches.
I didn’t have the same experience of being familiar with all of the place names as I headed north out of Sydney, the way that I had been familiar with so many places heading East out of South Australia. Apparently we did an awful lot of bush-ballads at my primary school and not so much work on beach-culture. It wasn’t until I got up towards Ballina/Byron Bay area that I actually had any pop-cultural knowledge to inform the names I drove by.
Regardless, I continued to be amazed by how green and dense the forest is on the stretch north of Sydney. And by how humid and revolting it was getting. First stop was Swansea, where I actually went and bought some hippy/beach clothes – by which I mean clothes that let any breeze and all water through and have enough floaty material that they touch you almost nowhere. So I took the opportunity to wear a floaty dress and did my very best tampon-ad beach frolicking and it was even more awkward and ridiculous than you are probably imagining right now. Floaty dresses have enough material to very thoroughly entangle the unwary. And innocent passers-by.
A long drive later saw me coming into Port MacQuarie via the tourist drive through Laurieton along the coast. Rainforest on one side and the beach on the other and an endless parade of laden camper-trailers and caravans struggling around little picturesque bends and stopping abruptly in the middle of the road as they miss their turn-offs.
By the time I made it to Port MacQuarie, I rather fancied some hostel-style company and wandered over to the Beachside Backpackers – unfortunately they were full to the gills and also skewed substantially younger and drinkier than me. So I went to the beachside caravan park and paid through the nose for a spot. Though, according to my mother, showers are worth $39 and that’s completely reasonable.
Port MacQuarie itself looks pretty cool. I went for a decent wander in the morning and thoroughly enjoyed the koala trail and the painted rocks along the sea-wall. And I had a good coffee as well. Then it was straight down the Pacific Highway to the Gold Coast and the familiar surrounds of Mermaid Waters.
I made my traditional stop at Burleigh to dip my feet in the water and people-watch, then drove around the corner to B&Rs. Dax had been dognapped by the grand-kids, so in the end I had the house to myself for a couple of days. After that though, B&R hit a kangaroo on their way back from Lightning Ridge and the next day the house flooded (about two hours after I praised houses for so efficiently keeping water outside and the dry inside). I think they might be glad to see the back of me!
Apart from the wonders of baseball, I spent the rest of my time on the Gold Coast being miserably hot, walking way too far along the perfectly manicured beaches and applying for jobs in Sydney. Wish me all good luck!