Brisbane back to Sydney
10.6.14 - 10.13.14 75 °F
Allen and I left Brisbane on October 5th for the long journey back to Kiera and Andrew's house in Sydney. We focused mostly on camping on the beach on the way up and decided to try to find some campsites in the forest on the way back. After we stopped at the Macadamia Castle we made it to the small town of Yamba, where after some searching at another McDonald's free wifi hotspot, we found a campsite in Yuraygir National Park. Its right on the water, so it didn't fit our forest plan, but it was along the way to the national parks.
We walked a little on the beach the next day, but our main goal was to get to our first national park by that evening - New England National Park. On the way though, we wanted to stop at a place we had noticed on the way up and read about later:
Similar to the Macadamia Castle, it's a bunch of tourist attractions based around a farm, in this case a banana farm, obviously. There was a restaurant, playground, even an indoor sledding hill. We were there just for a banana split though, and it was completely worth it.
We made it to New England National Park later that even just before sunset and managed to get there just in time for some pretty fantastic pictures.
Our plan for the next day was to do a roughly 12 km loop through that section of the park on various trails. This was our first really big hiking day and I was excited to see some of the Australian rain forest that wasn't quite as developed as the hike we went on a few days earlier. I was not disappointed. We woke up early to try to catch the sunrise, but we weren't sure when exactly that was. We missed it by about 30 minutes but I still managed to get some good pictures throughout the day.
The whole hike took 9 hours and 50 minutes (I guessed 10 hours) and we were back before the sun set.
We woke up earlier the next morning to actually see the sunrise before we moved on and this time we made it on time.
There just happened to be an inversion cloud (I think that's what they're called) that had formed that morning. So it wasn't as clear as the previous morning but it wasn't a problem. Later in the morning the cloud rose out of the park and in a few seconds, we went from being in a bright, sunny day to the middle of a thick fog.
Our next stop was Barrington Tops National Park for another night in the woods. This place wasn't as photogenic as New England National Park, but it still had some pretty decent hiking.
At the same time we were doing all this traveling, someone had managed to hack into my bank account through eBay and PayPal and attempt to steal $2000. PayPal transferred the money without notifying me, even though I have never withdrawn that much with PayPal in all the years I've used it. Fortunately, my bank called my house to let me know that my credit card payment was rejected because I had overdrawn my account. They thought this was unusual because I had never overdrawn in the 10+ years I had an account with them. The unknown person could still be taking money from me without me noticing if this local business hadn't noticed something a big company had ignored. Unable to reach PayPal from Australia by phone or email, my mom managed to call and disconnect my account. To make a long story slightly shorter, I have been refunded $1500 so far.
My bad luck wasn't done yet though. About 10 km outside of Sydney, I noticed our rental car making a weird noise at the same time people started honking at me. I quickly glanced in the mirror and saw smoke from the rear driver's side tire. It was completely shredded.
Allen and I decided to change the tire ourselves. We were quite close to the road, so a police officer pulled up a few minutes later and called a traffic van to partially block the lane so we wouldn't get hit.
About an hour after feeling the first vibrations of the tire coming apart we were on our way to Kiera's house.
The next day was spent mostly planning for New Zealand. The weekend, Saturday and today were all spent in Sydney doing some tourist things. We went to the Opera House, the Botanic Gardens, and walked across the Harbor Bridge, among other things.
Kiera and Andrew bought us some excellent pizza on our last night here which was very nice of them. We have a flight tomorrow morning to Auckland, New Zealand, where I will be until November 8th (Allen leaves the day before). That will be the final country of this amazing journey.