On one of my last days in Sydney I went to Bondi Beach, because you can’t go to Sydney and completely miss the most famous beach in the entire city. I understand why it’s so popular, the sand was bright white and the water was perfect both for swimming and surfing.
After a while I decided to make the most of my transport pass that day, and take a ferry to manly beach too. I vaguely remember someone telling me that there’s a Swedish restaurant there, and I felt like having a cinnamon roll so it was an easy decision, especially on such a beautiful day.
So much goodies! It was nice being able to walk in and speak Swedish, even if it was just for ordering coffee. I’m confident in my english, but sometimes I stutter, or forget words or pronounce them wrong so being able to speak my native language every once in a while is nice.
I got a typical Swedish fika, a coffee and kanelbulle. Wikipedia defines fika as this: “Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden; it means having a break, most often a coffee break, with one’s colleagues, friends, date or family. The word fika can be used as both verb and a noun. You can fika at work by taking a “coffee break”, fika with someone like a “coffee date”, or just drink a cup of coffee, tea or other non-alcoholic beverage. As such, the word has quite ambiguous connotations, but almost always includes something to eat, such as biscuits, cakes and even sweets, accompanied with the drink. This practice of taking a break, often with a cinnamon roll or some biscuits, cookies, or a fruit on the side, is central to Swedish life.”
While in Sydney I also celebrated 6 months of travel! The bicycle is made out of wood and I found it in a store a while ago, I thought it was pretty so it will come with me back to Sweden.
Since Sydney I’ve been slowly making my way up to Brisbane, and I’ve found one of the absolute best camp spots of this entire trip. Just take a look yourself. It was supposed to cost $17 a night, but no one ever came to collect our money in the two days I was there so yay. But first: hunter valley, one of Australia’s most famous wine regions.
I know very little of wine, apart from that I enjoy drinking it. But apparently the semillon in the middle bottle is what hunter valley is known for, and I was recommended the chambourcin on the right so I gave that a chance. One man told me I looked like I enjoy fruity and light white wines. I scowled at him and told him that I enjoy very dark and flavorful reds. Light and fruity, as if. Also fun fact: from America where I was asked for ID every single time I bought alcohol, I’ve been asked zero times since coming to Australia. I finally look like I’m legal again apparently.
But the camp spot! After hunter I drove to one that I had picked on the map, but it was so crowded and the toilets were really far away. I decided to keep on driving but the next stop was even worse, as it was completely empty and pretty spooky. I went back to my app and found the third spot, and decided to give it a chance. And just like that I found the best camp site in Australia. I spent two days there, just swimming, reading and existing. It was amazing.
This is a goanna I’ve been told. It was huge and there was two of them patrolling the area. Well, who doesn’t enjoy a little wild life every once in a while.
Coffee or wine? Who knows! (It was coffee. It was 8:30 in the morning and I had just been for my morning swim.)
I’ve also been to billabong zoo which I was mildly impressed with. Especially after learning that it’s illegal to hold koalas in the state of New South Wales. So disappointing. But I still got to see them and pat one of them while its handler held him so still worth it.
Look at it holding my hand! I died.
But yesterday when I got to the free campsite I had chosen, I had one of the very few encounters that made me seriously uncomfortable during this adventure. I asked a man camped next to me where I could access the river so I could wash off the day, and then he wouldn’t leave me alone. He came over when I was putting on the tent part and tried to help put the sheets on the bed (just NO), he opened the door to the car without asking permission, he touched my hip when I was standing in nothing more than a bikini and towel by the car which made me take a huge step back and reconsider staying there. Had it not been for the fact that at least 7-8 other people were camping there too I would have left. After a while I had to excuse myself and say that I had promised to skype my parents just to be able to get him to leave me alone. And he still came over as soon as I had hung up! I was so annoyed, but I told him that I wanted to be alone and he luckily backed off then. The guy was around 50-60 maybe, old enough to be my dad. This morning I left without even having had breakfast, I just wanted to get away. Seriously creepy.
Anyway. I drove to Dorrigo National Park, which my friend Mimmi had recommended. It was so pretty! I took a 2,5 hour hike through the rainforest, and saw waterfalls and bridges, a lot of birds but best of all a snake!
Can you see me?
I came around a bend in a path and all of a sudden the snake was right there, just a few meters in front of me. I actually gasped out loud, before I quickly took some pictures and filmed it. I was cautious but not as scared as I had expected me to be. I’m not that scared of snakes, I am much more terrified by spiders. An hour later a spider came on the outside of my windscreen and I freaked out. I was so scared I almost got nauseous, and it was on the outside! Wow. Anyway, I showed a lady working there the picture of the snake and she told me it’s a red-bellied black snake. They’re venomous but usually not deadly. I’m actually glad I got to see one up close before I left, now I’ve seen most Australian animals except for sharks, but that I can do without.
Tomorrow I’m heading to Byron Bay, and then I’m crossing the border back into Queensland and the Gold Coast. I’ll spend a few more days with Reese and his parents before i leave, so I have time to do laundry and wash the car. It’s so filthy, oh god. That’s what 2,5 months of driving through outback and rainforest and everything in between will do to a car. On Friday I get on the plane to Auckland, New Zealand and on Saturday the three week adventure tour begins. It will be so weird traveling with other people, but I’m looking forward to it so much.
Life is so good!