Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Surfing’ Category

After staying with Vicky and Allan we headed back down the Gold Coast to Burleigh Heads, another great surf spot that was also supposed to be the quiet part of the coast.  It didn’t disappoint.  Burleigh was like a tiny, sunny Cornish village with  a lovely headland and nice beach.  I did lots of looking around for surfboards but couldn’t quite find one that was right for me, however, we did watch some of the surfers catch a few small waves from the headland rocks and enjoyed several days chilling out in the sun.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh will always have a special place in my heart, not only for being lovely but also for being the town in which we discovered the Aussie pizza chains do cheap Tuesdays making pizza affordable!  This is not only a result because pizza is one my favourite foods but also because none of the hostels or camp sites have ovens and so any oven food is a luxury!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Like Bournemouth runs into Poole, Coolangatta (or Cooly as it’s known) seamlessly links into Tweed Heads.  The odd thing about this is that Cooly is in Queensland and Tweed Heads in is New South Wales.  Cooly is a little beach town with some world class surf breaks which are home to Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson.  Unfortunately the most famous break is Kirra which, due to the sand pumping programme from the nearby river, has had its reef covered and is mostly ruined.  There is a big campaign here to ‘Bring Back Kirra’ though and sort the problem out.  As it is on the Goldie (Gold Coast), Cooly is a bit more built up with high risers than the other small towns we’ve been too but it isn’t as bad as Surfer’s Paradise which you can see across the water.

Tweeds is a little more industrious and didn’t have the laid back feel of Cooly for us.  It also has class surf at Duranbah which was very busy whilst we were there.  This was great to see as surfing on the Goldie is legendary for being hectic in the water.  I counted over 50 surfers and this was on a quiet day!

Watching the surf at Duranbah beach on the Tweeds Head / Coolangatta border

Watching the surf at Duranbah beach on the Tweeds Head / Coolangatta border

It is possible here to be stood in both NSW and QLD at the same time! There are several monuments around the town which show the border between the two states. This picture is of us under the Captain Cook lighthouse shows Ruth in NSW whilst I’m in QLD.  When walking around, we also found a street where one side of the street is in NSW and the other is in QLD, crazy!

We had a great stay here but got hit by a freakish cold snap that got most of the East coast – it was freezing.  UK in winter freezing!  Luckily we have great sleeping bags and the campsite had an indoor room we could sit in to warm up a bit.

We loved Cooly and were sad to leave but there is so much more to see we thought we’d better move on.

Read Full Post »

So guess where we went after camping in Minnie Water?!  Yamba of course!  In our rush to leave for Minnie Water, we left our trusty Lonely Planet book behind and so had to call into Yamba to pick it up.  Unfortunately Dori (the car) wanted to stay longer and decided to spring a radiator leak on us.  As it was a public holiday (thanks to our lovely Queen having a birthday) our Yamba mechanic was closed and so we had to stay another night in Yamba to see him the next day.

So with another sunny day to kill in Yamba whilst waiting for the mechanic to open we did the usual.  We took Charlie for a walk, got a pie and then we went to the beach and Jo took a surfboard.  We had a small pod of dolphins come close to us when we were swimming at Pippi beach and then we watched them ride the surf which was amazing.It was an awesome experience to watch them playing in the swell, magnificent.

The next day we took the car to the mechanic but he said it needed to send it to his radiator guy about 45 mins down the road.  Rather than wait we just decided to drive it to him.  We made a very hasty exit from Yamba (our speediest yet) and got on the road sharpish down to Grafton.  It turns out the radiator was on its last legs and although would be OK to drive with it would only end up getting worse.  So with a new radiator and with our wallets a bit lighter we hit the road up to the Gold Coast.

Read Full Post »

As my surfing days on the east coast of Oz are limited (apparently something called the Great Barrier Reef gets in the way as you go north) I decided to take a surfing lesson to improve a little quicker.  The guy who took me out is a relative of the Henwoods and is an ex-pro as well as a top guy.  We headed out to Pippi beach and paddled out to start the lesson.  We met up with Shane and Justin Henwood out the back.  As the surf was pumping they decided to switch shifts at the hostel and come surfing for the day.  The lesson was really useful and I managed to steal the wave of the day, which Justin was especially narked at.

After I got back to shore, I turned back to look for the boys and spotted a guy who was in a different class to the rest.  After watching him for a minute we figured out it was Andy Irons!  Apparently he was staying at Angourie for a few weeks getting a few bits of footage for Billabong.

Andy Irons surfing at Pippi Beach

Andy Irons surfing at Pippi Beach

When I got back to the hostel I told Ruth and some of our friends.  We decided to head down there to watch and take Charlie for a walk whilst we were there.  We watched him for about an hour (with poor Charlie not getting much attention).  It was easy to spot Andy from the other surfers as his paddling and riding was just effortless.  Justin and Shane went back out there with him and the rest of the locals but Andy stayed out of  the way and caught the waves people left.  Lots of the locals were a bit miffed at him as he kept showing them up!

Other pro surfers have also been known to surf around Yamba recently with Joel Parkinson showing up a few days late and legend Tom Curren riding Angourie.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to see them but it goes to show how good the surf is around here.

Read Full Post »

So we finally did something we’ve wanted to do since being kids – a Christmas (or Chrissy as they call it here) in Oz!  It was a scorcher for the big day and we started off by stumbling out of bed and going down to Pippie beach for a surf.  I was knackered as I was working up at the pub for Chrissy Eve (which is the biggest night out in Yamba) and the punters didn’t leave ’til 2am, but I was still keen to get in the water.  About 15 of us went down and the surf was pretty good and I managed to get a few good waves in but got rolled by some of the big ones.  It was great to have such a big group of us chilling out the back together and I was stoked to do my first surf on Christmas day.

When we got back to the hostel the owners started getting lunch ready whilst everyone got themselves sorted.  Ruth and I opened our cards and pressies (a big thanks to our families for all the stuff you sent) and then went and chilled out in the lounge.  It wasn’t long before the guys brought the beers and the prawns out.  I’ve never seen so many prawns in my life and tried my first one.  I’m not a big seafood fan so wasn’t blown away but it was quite nice.  Apparently Yamba prawns are amongst the best in Oz but I’ll have to take the guidebook’s (and the local’s) word for that.

Chrissy lunch- yum yum

Chrissy lunch- yum yum

Lunch was a HUGE buffet style spread that had everything from loads of different meats to roast potatoes, various bakes and salads/ veggies.  I had a bit of pretty much everything and was absolutlely stuffed.

They had a huge range of puddings too with trifle being the most popular with the Aussies.  I tucked into a rather large slice of homemade Mars bar cheesecake which was amazing.  We had crackers that had paper hats, crap toys and bad jokes – just like home.

Post-lunch Snooze

Post-lunch Snooze

As is my Christmas tradition I then enjoyed a post-lunch snooze.  Ruth kindly took a picture (which is on Facebook) and Justin, one of the hostel owners, woke me up by trying to put wine gums up my nose and yelling at me to join him for another beer.

After more drinking we all decided to go back down to the beach to play games.  We got all the games together as well as a giant esky (cool box) for all our drinks and off we went.  We taught everyone how to play quick cricket but Justin (one of the hostel owners) got knackered and started moaning so we played rounders instead.  After this everyone felt they deserved a few drinks!

Beach Cricket

Beach Cricket

Ruth and I went for a stroll by the water, it was nice to see loads of families out on the beach.  With one of our friends from the hostel Ruth and I decided to build a snowman – out of sand!

Pippie the Sandman and Us

Pippie the Sandman and Us

The snow/sand man nearly didn’t make it as Justin’s little girl nearly knocked him down, luckily we just about quick enough to stop her.

After more drinking on the beach we returned to the hostel where the merryment continued into the night.  Ruth and I went up to the roof of the hostel to enjoy a quiet drink under the stars before we video called our families over the Internet to wish them a Merry Christmas and see them open their pressies from us which we had bought before we left the UK and hidden.

After that we had a nightcap and passed out!

Read Full Post »

A few kilometres along the coast from Yamba is a place called Angourie point. It is world famous for its surf break as it reportidly has a gnarley barrel over rocks and has been the training ground for many famous surfers.

One day we managed to blag a lift up there with one of the hostel owners (Justin). He gave us a tour of the area and showed us some of the expensive houses (the guy who created Billabong has a house here), the pools and then the point. The point consists of two beaches, the point itself which is where the big barrels come in and has an impressive reef break, then round the point is Back beach.

Angourie Point

Angourie Point

We didn’t have surf board with us so we went to Back beach. This beach has been our favourite beach in Oz so far. It is a long sandy beach which curves around meeting a point at either end. At the back of the beach is a sandstone cliff which provided perfect shade during the mid day sun. The water is very clear and the surf is still very good but a lot safer. 

We stayed on the beach for a few hours, had lunch and went for a swim / body surf. The water was lovely and you could see the fish swimming past you as you surfed in. It was awesome and so beautiful.  We both want to go back and Jo wants to check out Angourie on a big day.

Angourie Back Beach

Angourie Back Beach

Read Full Post »

Lennox Head

Lennox Head

Lennox Head

 

We stayed in Lennox Head for one week. It is a small surf town with a few shops and not much else. There is one main beach called Seven Mile beach and was as the name suggests seven miles long. Next to the beach is Lake Ainsworth and the hostel was five minute walk from both.

We spent several days chillin’ on the beach and enjoying the swell, although not good enough for surfing was fine for body boarding or body surfing. The sand is the same as Byron Bay and squeeks when you walk on it. The beach also has lots of small crabs in it which come out and run along the beach.

Our hostel at Lennox head was very friendly. It was a smaller one, which we have discovered we prefer. The owner, Graham, clearly enjoyed having backpackers around and didn’t like giving rooms to Ozzies. When the weather was bad he would treat us to things like home made scones, cream and jam. Everyday he would bake a chocloate cake and sell the slices for $1.50 each. As we were staying for a whole week we struck a deal with him that meant we got a slice of cake each for free! It was yummy and a much needed treat as we were having withdrawl symptoms from the free ice cream at Murwillumbah.

Lake Ainsworth which was next to the hostel is a big tea tree lake. It looks like a normal lake from the distance but as you get closer you can see that the water is a dark brown colour due to the tea tree. One day Graham our hostel mamager took a group of us out on the lake to teach us wind surfing. There was only one wind surf board so while one was learning the rest of us were out in the kayaks paddling the lake.

It took us a while to get used to what to do but by the end of the session we had the basics of wind surfing down. We were able to get up on the board and catch the wind to travel in one direction, however we had not been taught how to stear and so we kept crashing into the bank. The water in the lake tasted tangy because of the tea tree. Apparently it also has healing qualities and is meant to be good for your skin.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »