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Road Trip from the Gold Coast to New South Wales, Australia

While we were in Australia over New Year 2012, we enjoyed a week soaking up the sun with friends on the Gold Coast and then road tripping to Byron Bay and Nimbin in New South Wales.

We spent New Year in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast near Surfers Paradise, an extremely popular holiday destination for Australians. Visitors flock from all over the country and abroad to enjoy Gold Coast Holidays; miles upon miles of white beaches, surfing, the great night life, shopping and restaurants. The locals are generally very glamourous and extremely bronzed! 

 

Sunny day at Broadbeach beach on the Gold Coast, Australia with high apartment blocks by the ocean.

High apartment blocks lace the beaches which reminded us a lot of Durban in South Africa.

 

Pink Hibiscus tropical flower in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Balmy days, brightly coloured wild birds, squeaky clean beaches and hibiscus flowers in full bloom.

 

New Years eve feast in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast in Australia, fresh seafood oysters, prawns, crab and Moreton Bay bugs, a species of lobster.

On New Years eve we ordered a feast of fresh seafood from a local fishmonger - oysters, prawns, crab and Moreton Bay bugs (a species of lobster which tastes much better than it sounds).

 

Friends enjoying New Year freash seafood party in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Fresh seafood and friends - what could be better? ;)

 

Miriam eating a crab leg with a lobster necklace around her neck at our New Years eve party on Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Miriam's lobster necklace perfectly matched the occasion.

 

Andrew, Meg and Jono with sparklers on the beach celebrating the New Year on Broadbeach beach on the Gold Coast in Australia.

We saw in the bells with sparklers on the beach and the boys took an impromptu dip in the warm water.

 

Lucie, Meg and Miriam on the beach at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast in Australia after New Year at night.

Happy New Year!

 

Hamish posing on the Broadbeach beach on the Gold Coast in Australia in the sunshine by the sea in colourful clothes.

Hamish, Lachlan's brother, posing against a cloudless sky.

 

The Gold Coast is famous for its theme parks. One day we dragged ourselves away from the beach to check out Wet’n'Wild, Australia’s biggest and best water theme park. It was an absolute thrill forcing ourselves on to rides with sheer drops from dark tunnels, sometimes travelling backwards at great speeds and we were buzzing afterwards from the adrenalin. The rides here will scare the speedos off even the most extreme thrill seeker. Only Lachlan was brave enough to attempt their newest and most terrifying ride, the ‘AquaLoop’ which begins when a trap door is released and the rider plummets, accelerating into a massive vertical free fall drop and then up into a transparent looping slide! The slide is gut wrenching, heart-pounding and gravity-defying and takes riders to speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour!

 In the evening a movie was projected on to an enormous screen and you could watch either from the swimming pool or on a lounger nearby with a hot box of fish and chips.

 

Meg and Miriam bobbing along in rubber rings in a whirl poop at Wet'n'Wild water theme park on the Gold Coast in Australia with the sun shining.

Bobbing along before we braved the rides!

 

We hired a car and drove to Byron Bay which is only an hour away but totally different in that it has an incredibly bohemian vibe. Whereas Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise are more like slick, concrete shopping malls on the beach, Byron Bay is rustic and quaint; it’s sparkling beaches are unsullied by any development and its residents are colourful artists, muscicians, dreamers and drifters. It’s located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales, Australia.

Because of its charm, Byron Bay is the third most popular place to visit in Australia. We arrived having assumed we’d easily find accomodation only to discover that everywhere was ‘chokker’ as the Aussies like to say. We were so lucky to find a quirky caravan park just outside and managed to book their last cabin and the last room in the whole town! My advice, if you’re going, is book ahead to avoid a rough night on the dunes!

 

Our cabin door at the caravan park outside Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia, number 15. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Our cabin door in Byron Bay.

 

Lucie standing outside the cabin in the caravan park in Byron Bay in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Hamish and Lachlan at the caravan park in Byrons Bay in New South Wales in Australia in the sunshine by a retro caravan ready to go exploring.

Ready to explore Byron Bay.

 

Retro golf buggies at the caravan park in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia in the sunshine. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Retro golf buggies.

 

Retro cabins in the caravan park in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia in the sunshine.

 

Little shop at the caravan park in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia in the sunshine.

 

 

Street lights and palm trees in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Holiday boat on land ready to go to sea in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia.

 

Vagabond Van tan leather sandal on the beach in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

The beach at Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia in the sunshine with dunes. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Kite surfer on the beach at Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia looking out to sea. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Lucie walking along the beach at Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia wearing an Australian cricket baseball cap.

 

Lucie and Lachlan in the shade by the beach enjoying a picnic by the beach in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia.

We enjoyed a picnic in some shade before browsing a nearby arts and crafts market.

 

Byron Bay beach and market by the beach in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Miriam and I were in our element discovering beautiful one off pieces and chatting to the artists who had so skillfully handcrafted them.

 

Miriams foot with fish tattoo on the beach at Byron Bay looking out to the ocean in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam

Lapping up beach life in Byron!

 

Lachlan walking along the beach at Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by miriam McWilliam.

It was fun to explore another unfamiliar shoreline with the sun's rays warm on our back.

 

Looking out to the ocean at Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia.

Gazing over the purling ocean.

 

Lovely gate in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia in the sunshine.

 

Cocktails and people watching in Byron Bay in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

The restaurants and bars were abuzz with creative bohemians. We so enjoyed people watching and as a special treat ordered champagne and cocktails!

 

A Byron Bay breakfast burger with the works, hash brown, avocado, cheese, bacon, egg, chutney, mayo, lettuce in New South Wales in Australia.

Brunch glorious brunch!

 

Hamish about to eat a Byron Bay breakfast burger with the works, hash brown, avocado, cheese, bacon, egg, chutney, mayo, lettuce in New South Wales in Australia.

A Byron Bay brekky burger with the works: hash brown, avocado, cheese, bacon, egg, chutney, mayo, lettuce…. delicious!!

 

We only spent one night in our cabin on the beach before heading to Nimbin. The hour and a half drive it took to get there was an absolute pleasure with views becoming lusher, greener and more picturesque it seemed with every corner. No wonder Nimbin and its surrounding areas are part of what is known as the ‘Rainbow Region’ which is of cultural importance to the Indigenous Aboriginal people. The name Nimbin, comes from the local Whiyabul (Widgibal) clan whose Dreamtime speaks of the Nimbinjee spirit people protecting the area.  

 

Roadside stop in a milk bar with checkered floor in New South Wales in Australia.

Roadside stop in a milk bar on the way to Nimbin.

 

Instrument outside a loo on a roadside stop in New South Wales in Australia.

In the loo, we spotted this strange instrument waiting for its owner.

 

Nimbin shack with sofa outside on porch in New South Wales in Australia.

Nimbin shack.

 

Life is sacred including yours painting in the street in Nimbin in New South Wales in Autralia.

Because of Nimbin's rich agricultural land and perfect climate, some intrepid hippies in the 70's decided to set up communes there, striving for the idealistic Utopian dream of the time.

 

 

Nimbin Hemp Embassy Drug Education Centre in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

The small hippy town is infamous for its tolerance to cannabis use and the land and climate happen to be ideal for growing the drug.

Nimbin Museum in New South Wales in Australia make love art work. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

The area has attracted many artists, writers, actors, musicians, small farmers, environmentalists, idealists, permaculture enthusiasts and mainstream society dropouts.

 

 

Balcaony loooking out of bunk room in hostel in Nimbin in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Writer Austin Pick described his initial impressions of the village this way: "It is as if a smoky avenue of Amsterdam has been placed in the middle of the mountains behind frontier-style building facades. ... Nimbin is a strange place indeed."

Chess and flowers and painting in Nimbin Museum in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

It was fascinating to look around the Nimbin museum which tells the story of its residents desires to shun normal society and live an alternative lifestyle. They talk of peace, revolution, and spirits.

 

Plant against painted wall in Nimbin Museum in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Nimbin plant and paint effects.

 

Nimbin Museum in New South Wales in Australia mural. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Many artists from the community have contributed to creating the wacky museum which features embellishment in one form or another on just about every surface.

 

Nimbin Museum in New South Wales in Australia stop the war lets dance art work. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Plant in a painted pot outside Nimbin Museum in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Frog toad green on our balcony in Nimbin, New South Wales in Australia.

We spent the night in a bunk room above a bar with a wide balcony and a resident green prince.

 

In our bunks above bar in Nimbin, New South Wales, Australia.

Morning campers!

 

View from balcony in hostel above bar in Nimbin in New South Wales in Australia. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

 

Looking over balcony to Nimbin Hemp Embassy Drug Education Centre in New South Wales in Australia.

The Hemp Embassy, Drug Education Centre, Nimbin.

 

Op shop on Gold Coast in Australia Lucie sitting on vintage chair in sunnies.

On the way back to Broadbeach we stopped in a few old-fashioned towns to rummage around their op shops (Australia's name for charity shops) and have been wearing our finds ever since.

 

Retro holiday apartment on the Gold Coast in Broadbeach which reads Hi Ho in Australia.

 

Hamish on Broadbeach beach in Gold Coast in Australia with a frisbee in the sunshine. Taken by Miriam McWilliam.

Back on Broadbeach - what Gold Coast holidays are made of.

 

Meg and Miriam with chop sticks at Japanese restaurant in Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast in Australia.

We joined friends in Surfers Paradise on our last evening for a delicious japanese meal.

 

Hamish and chef singing together at Japanese restaurant in Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast in Australia.

The chef was tickled pink that Hamish could converse with him in Japanese and this led to them warbling some old tunes from his homeland.

 

Singing karaoke in Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast in Australia.

This put us in the mood for some serious karaoke and in Surfers Paradise there are lots of places to choose from!

 

Singing karaoke in Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast in Australia.

Fun times!

 

Night stroll along the beach on Braodbeach on the Gold Coat in Australia with full moon.

Night stroll along the beach under a full moon. What a perfect way to see in 2012!

 All polaroid pictures by Miriam McWilliam.

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