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Archive for the ‘New South Wales’ Category

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.

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After delaying it for several days we decided to finally leave Yamba.  We were due to head north to the Gold Coast but it was a bank holiday weekend and all the camp sites were either full or a rip off.  Instead we decided to head about 45 minutes south to Minnie Water on the recommendation of the Henwoods.

Minnie Water is a lovely little spot with the emphasis on little.  It has a beach, a headland, one shop (which sells a bizarre mix of things) and a hall that can be hired out.  That’s it!  The Henwoods used to go there on their family holidays, when the boys were young, to get away from it all.

Camp fire at Minnie Water

Camp fire at Minnie Water

Camping was great and the weekend gave us a chance to try out all our new camping gear.  The camp site was really relaxed and as it wasn’t that busy we had no one near us.  In the evenings we built a camp fire from drift wood and toasted some marsh mellows while looking up at the stars.  As there weren’t any bright lights around, they were really something.

On our first morning at the campsite, whilst having breakfast, we spotted something strange coming up the road.  As it rounded the corner we realised what it was an emu!  We were stoked at this as were just discussing how we really wanted to see one as this was one of the only coastal areas in NSW that they are found.  Added to that, they are (legally edible) emblem of Australia.  Our second wildlife surprise came when we just got back to the campsite one day to find some ‘roos up on the hill above our tent.  Seemingly oblivious to us they played on the hill for a while before hopping down right next to us whilst we sat in the car.

One day we went to Wooli, a slightly bigger village just down the road. Here we had a lovely walk on the beach and the river banks.  This was where we saw a huge group of small blue crabs all moving together.  Quite a sight.  Also we watched the pelicans waiting by the slipway eager for some scraps from the fishermen gutting their newly caught fish.

Pelicans at Wooli

Pelicans at Wooli

The funny story from the day came from lunch when Ruth and I were sitting on a picnic bench eating our fish and chips.  We both sat on the same side to take in the view of the river.  unfortunately we both leaned back to take a look at something and before we knew it the bench tipped up and knocked us flying.  Luckily I’d eaten my lunch and most of Ruth’s landed on her so not much got wasted and we were both OK.  After checking that no one saw us and getting over the fit of giggles, I quickly put the bench back upright and we continued our lunch, albeit feeling a little embarrassed.

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Being back in Yamba has been great. It has felt like we are truly back in Australia. We have stuck it out through the floods and cyclone and have been able to see beautiful Yamba in the sunshine again. During our time back here we have enjoyed walking around the pools, going to Angourie back beach, spending time on the various beaches (Whiting, Pippi, Convent and  Turners). We went for a delayed Christmas lunch out at the Tavern which was really scrummy. We have been able to enjoy many ‘Pizza and Movie’ nights, BBQ nights and happy hours at the hostel. Jo has also been out surfing with the boys on their morning surfs and is loving being back in the water.

We have watched dolphins off of Pippi beach and looked for sharks with out any luck at Turners wall. It has been great. I have really loved being back in Yamba, seeing everyone and chilling out. Most of all I think I have enjoyed seeing Charlie the hostel dog, he is so lovely and really makes this hostel as he is as good natured as the owners.

Charlie, Yamba's favourite dog.

Charlie, Yamba's favourite dog.

Yamba is a hard place to leave whatever the circumstances but we are at last preparing to leave after an extra unplanned two weeks. It will be exciting being on the road and seeing the rest of Australia but I think Yamba will always have a special place in our hearts. The only thing we have to do before we leave is to have another Pie!

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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.

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Once a year there is a huge rugby league competition between the states of New South Wales and Queensland. New South Wales (the Cockroaches) wear blue and Queensland (the Cane Toads) were maroon. There is a big rivalry between the two states. Queensland had one for the past three years and had an experienced team this year. New South Wales were not winning their local games and had an inexperienced team to field however they were all young and had a lot a pace to them. There was a lot of anticipation around. The contest is played in three parts consisting of three 80 min games. This was the first of three.

We were staying at the Yamba hostel in NSW which made the atmosphere even better. Justin and Chook are NSW fan as they was born and breed in NSW however his Shane and Chris support Queensland for no known reason other than to annoy the others. The hostel was decked out in blue and drinks on the bar were $2 until half time. It was a good atmosphere and everyone was very excited before the game.

Unfortunalty experience won over youth with some rookie mistakes making trys disallowed. The atmosphere dropped about half way through the first quater when NSW started to lose all hope of winning. Everyone is hopeful for the next game of the three.

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When we returned to Yamba we were very pleased to see the one of our friends from the last time we were here was still here. Jan had been away for a bit and then come back just like us. His girlfriend Anke had gone back to Germany and he was not leaving soon but we got to spend a couple of weeks chilling with him first. In the week before he left quite a few people were leaving and so we had a couple of big nights.

Jan’s favourite saying was “lets get drunk lets get party” so the guys put balloons up with this written on. We played silly games such as beer pong (table tennis with beer), Roxanne and the chicken game. We also went dancing up the pub to a random band. Everyone was very drunk on both occasions, they were great nights out. In the morning a Long Board sandwich (Jan’s favourite) was required to help everyone recover.

Jans Leaving Do

Jan's Leaving Do

Jan was really sad when he had to go as he was not just leaving his beloved Yamba but was also leaving Australia after being here for two years. It was sad to see him go but we wish him well back at home in Germany with Anke.

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On a sunny day We went fishing off the beach as apparently the storm was bringing in lots of fish. At the beach we found Chook one of the hostel owners who loves to fish. He gave us an expert class in what to do and we all managed to catch a Brim. Jo and a girl from the hostel managed to catch ones big enough to be legal but the rest had to go back.

A master class with Chook

A master class with Chook

We then took our rods and tried it on our own using prawns for bate. Again we all managed to catch one on our own but they were all too small but one of the locals caught a huge one which they reckoned was a kilo! It was great fun to feel for the fish taking the bait and pulling it in. Chook cooked the ones he caught (about 20) and we all had it for dinner, it was delicious.

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