First we had to acquire the camper van. Being idiots we forgot to book one before we left on our three week holiday and none of us had much wifi for the majority of the trip and equally didn’t have it on the mind anyhow. So when we called up to rent a camper van of course there were none left in Cooly. So we had to get it from Brisbane… which meant renting a car from Cooly to then drive to Brisbane, to then split off and drive back. Not the most clever idea but the cheapest option we had. So we picked Abbie’s sister Chloe up at a wildlife sanctuary where she had been in the interim of us pratting about. By pratting about, and to fill you in on the 12 hours prior to this, I mean we were hung over from the night before, I hadn’t slept all night and tried to get Abbie up to walk a dog at 6.30am before concluding I should probably just go to bed for a few hours. We had then dragged ourselves out of the hostel at 10am, brought an unsuspecting traveller with us in the car who needed to also pick a van up in Brisbane and stopped off in McDonalds for a much needed break and brekky 10 minutes into the journey… Eventually we picked the van up and I drove the car back to Cooly whilst the girls got Abbie’s sister from the wildlife sanctuary. To clarify further the car pretty much crawled at 2kmph for four hours along the motorway because obviously we had chosen a Friday afternoon to drive through Brisbane, the busiest route at the best of times. The girls got lost with no phone battery so had to go buy an in-car charger and get directions, so they didn’t arrive until past 6.30. We then faffed about some more getting sorted with our things in the van and eventually set off by around 8. After saying goodbye to my dreamy co-hostel party man Chef, I eventually stopped giving him ‘just one more hug’ and got my ass into the car. After a heated discussion of whether my surfboard was worthy enough of a place in the van I looked over my shoulder with a wry smile to see it sat in the middle seats. We arrived in Byron by around 9pm and stayed in a rest area a few kilometres out. We were all pretty knackered and it was drizzling so we called it a night and fought with the beds to get them set out.
Byron… in the rain
An early start for us all to take Abbie skydiving (a birthday gift from her friends), it was overcast and we weren’t sure it would go ahead but still, we sat and waited for the verdict. After sitting in a cold warehouse for three hours, they finally decided by 10am that the cloud wasn’t going to clear and it was cancelled to be rearranged for another date. This was a blessing in disguise for me actually because I can do it with her up North now which will be totally rad. So off we went into Byron, the weather was as miserable as England, slicked with grey drizzle, the streets didn’t quite offer the same vibe as a blazing afternoon sun. We spent the afternoon up to not much and everyone’s spirits were dwindling. We got some expert info from Travelbugs on our plans up north and some top tips about things to do which was really useful, I would advise going to them for booking Fraser Island and Whitsundays trips because they are the only things apart from scuba diving that you can’t organise yourself you kind of have to go on a tour.
Anyway, we met our friend, a fellow Byronite, and went to a little gig which was a pretty low key but cool vibe. Got to see some local talent… both musical and guys. We headed over to the Arts Factory to park up for the night and go for a bev. This is where the story really starts. We decided to pretend there was only one person in the van, thinking that $18 is pretty expensive per person. It was actually $7.50 with the jucy van so we should have just all paid… but like I said this is an idiot trip. So I signed in and got all the things I needed and we went out for a drink in the hostel bar and watched some bands.
We woke up the next morning happy as Larry thinking everything was fine and dandy. We went in the hostel for a coffee and discussed our plans for the day. On the way out Jayde and I stopped to say we would stay another night… forgetting we pretended it was only me. We bluffed to say we thought it was per van and paid the extra and then went on to sit outside the van and make sausage and egg sandwiches. NB. NEVER stay around a campsite when you haven’t paid and could still get caught. A ute pulls around the car park and stops by us… “can I just check you’ve all paid to be here girls?” said the owner of the site (of course we didn’t click at first). In a panic we bullshitted some story about Abbie and Chloe coming for breakfast, whilst shoving sandwich in our mouths and looking guilty as hell. “So I can check the cameras and see you walking in here at 9am then can I?”, “I can call the campsite and they’ll say you’re staying there?”. Finally I cracked, I couldn’t take it anymore and I told the truth. In the end we had to all pay and he did actually allow us to stay again but for $18 each so we said a swift sorry and adios and got the hell out of there!
We took that as time to leave Byron so after a quick ponder round the shops we headed up to Brisbane, with a quick stop in Cooly (obviously, we can never get out of the place), to see our friend Ryan. Finally an evening actually went well, we were welcomed by him and his friend, who had cooked us a lovely meal, and we sat and hung out for the night and caught up with each other as we hadn’t seen each other in three weeks!