Road Trip Day 3

Trip Start Jun 30, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, November 10, 2011

We awoke much refreshed after our second night on the road. Weather was great, and all was looking up. We quicky had our breakfast and departed from the site. Our next stop was to be the Gurdwara [Sikh Temple] at Woolgoolga (Australia's first Gurdwara). On our way out of Coff's we saw the 'Big Banana', and as we were just passing thought it would be rude not to snap a couple of pictures. Had a bit of a potential problem, when the camera gave up on us. It wouldn't focus on anything, and all images were coming out blurry. Repeated messages of system error on the camera screen, with prompts to restart didn't help matters. Eventually I (Parminder) with the aid of Google was able to fix it, but this was not until after our visit to the Gurdwara.

The drive to the Gurdwara was short, and we passed many of the famed banana plantations en route.The early Sikh migrants came here to pre-federation Australia as free settlers when there was no restrictive immigration policy. Initially they worked as labourers on the banana plantations, but later acquired leasehold and freehold banana plantations. Today over 95% of the Woolgoolga's banana industry and 10% of Coffs harbour is owned and operated by Australians of Sikh ancestry......pretty impressive!!!

The Gurdwara itself was reminiscent of the Gurdwaras in India. Outside there were two large statues of Hari Singh Nalwa and Mai Bhago on horses. As the Gurdwara was on the main road, there were a few tourists taking picture of the Gurdwara and statues. Obviously, we went inside and did matha tekh, and seeked blessings. As it was only 9am, it was deserted, and we were the only people in there. After having a little walk around the Gurdwara, we made out way back into the campervan, and made our way to our next scheduled stop Byron Bay.

Journey was fairly uneventful again. Arrived at Byron, which was like a bit of a 'hippie' area as we had been previously told. Many a backpacker ends up settling here for a few months. There seemed to be a strong independent scene for artists (both musicians and the real type of artists - you know, painters, sketchers etc.) First stop was Byron Beach, which was nice, but nothing really to distinguish it from the numerous beaches we had now seen. We had lunch there. One great thing about Oz is there is almost always a hot plate BBQ nearby, which is often provided for free. We had our bacon sarnie (or sangers as they are referred to as here) and continued by to Cape Byron.

It was quite a steep road taking us up to the Cape and I (Sharndeep) was a little anxious about our vehicle making it up but it soldiered on and I needn't have worried. A lighthouse, which is Australia's most powerful (not sure how they measure these things?!?), sits on top of Cape Byron, and is 22 metres high. Cape Byron is Australia's most easterly point, ans is just shy of being 100 metres above sea level.. It boasts rainforest, rugged cliff faces, stunning views of the hinterland and the Pacific Ocean. Again, there were also great vantage points for dolphin and whale watching, but again we didn't see any. There is a 5km walking trail which goes through many points, which we didn't really have time for. We walked around a kilometre and loved the outstanding views on offer.

After having an ice cream, which melted way too quickly, we set off for our resting spot for the night at The Gold Coast. Drive was a little more frustrating than previously, as there were many winding roads before we made out way back onto the Pacific Highway. The Gold Coast has to be the most commercial area we had seen on our trip. Parts were like Hollywood in Australia, and we even saw signs advertising it as such. Huge theme parks by Warner Brothers and Dreamworld, Wet N Wild and Movie world were all within a stones throw of each other. We passed on visiting them (Not that I'm (Sharndeep) scared or anything...) and found somewhere to stay the night. As we were only an hour away from Brisbane, we thought we would spend the following day exploring the beaches.

The following morning we walked from Main Beach to Surfers paradise. The latter of the two seems to be the most commercial of beaches, some feat after our visits to Bondi and Manly. We visited those Sydney beaches on the weekend, so it was not as busy as them. However, there were various surf schools and other aquatic activities on offer. If the theme parks were like Hollywood in Oz, the high rise buildings next to the beach were reminiscent of Dubai in Oz - just the South Pacific Ocean is much bigger than the Arabian Sea (or whatever sea Dubai has).

Although the Campervan did not have to be back until Friday morning, we had already arranged accommodation with the Charges in Brisbane for Thursday night onwards. It worked out quite well, and saved us lugging our bags (we've just brought suitcases, and not the more practical backpacks!) around the railways, as we have been doing for parts of the trip. We found the road trip really enjoyable, and glad we did it. No round the world trip is complete without at least one. There would be no way we could've seen as much as we did any other way. We could've probably done with a bit more time, and not been as rushed in some places, but we couldn't really complain overall.
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Carly on

wow, you two are so fortunate to be able to do this!! memories you will cherish for the rest of your lives. the pics are fabulous, do u mind me asking what make and model camera you have? i've been looking forever for a new camera that takes crisp, clear shots...much appreciated!

sharn_parm on

Hi Carly, sorry for the late reply we've just been busy with working e.t.c
We are both pharmacists in the UK, and hopefully Sharn will be able to work as a pharmacisy in Australia too (just completed australian pharmacy exams).

The camera has surprised us The pics have come out better than expected! It's a Lumix DMC-TZ7.

Thanks for your comments!

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