In Sydney, most of the backpacker’s hostels are full. It’s a 3 days off week end, so it’s very busy. It will be difficult to find a bed for the night. But we’re lucky, and we manage to find 2 beds in Glebe Point. We’re happy with that, we didn’t visit it the last time we came in Sydney. We expected a district with nothing special, but we are very surprised to find out a very charming part of the city, full of old houses and luxurious gardens. The main street is full of restaurants and bar with every kind of people enjoying life ! We’re charmed.
We spend another day in Sydney to go in Bondi Beach, the very famous and fashion beach of Sydney, where we must meet Mark who represent our partner Ozify. The meeting time is fixed at 10:00. After a lot of troubles to find the right bus, we learn that time saving change was this night : we must add 1 hour at our clocks ! And then we realise that we’re still in South Australia time. Damn it ! We’re now very late ! But when we arrive in Bondi, Mark is waiting for us. He realised that we weren’t aware of time saving. We spend the rest of the day looking at the shops, market, beach and rocks.
In the bus back to the hostel, we meet Steve. He invites us to enjoy a drink on his terrace with a view all over Glebe Point bay. We appreciate the begining of sunset, and meet his « little friends », a group of parrots that come on his balcony to drink some liquid honey !
It’s time to leave. We take the train again to reach Hexam 3 hours north of Sydney, where the motorway end, we cannot hitchhike on it. In the train, we pass through some wonderfull landscapes with bays and mangroves. Then suddently we’re on the side of the highway A1 again. The place is not really pretty : on one side the highway, on the other the railway. But it’s where we must start our hitchhiking adventure on the east coast. People in the cars are looking at us strangely, as if we were comming form an different world. A lot of cars are passing in front of us. Noobody gives us a single smile or wave at us.
Finaly David, giant and son of a pastor, stops. He explains us that his dad did a lot of hitchhiking when he was young and so he wants to help us. He’s going to Port Macquarie 300km north of here. He’s a very smily, easy going guy. He sells some insurances for a living, and love food ! We really enjoyed the chat. He even invites us to have a coffee and meet his family.
But another problem is coming. We’re in the middle of a city, a little bit out of the way of the A1 and the night is falling. We cannot camp in a city. A man walking in the street start talking with us because he finds our « Hitchhiking Australian T:-)ur » sign very funny. We take our chance and keep chatting with him. We think of our 2 friends Adrien and Emilie who did a Europe tour camping in people’s backyards. We ask him frankly if we can set up the tent in his place tonight, and he accepts ! A very good friend of him is living in Quimper, so he cannot refuse hospitality to a couple of brittany travellers. So here we are, installed in the really beautifull garden of Kevin and his wife Ladda from Thailand. Kevin retired very early and travelled a lot in Europe and lived a few years in Thailand on the shores of the Mekong River. He’s very proud to show us his « Gwen a du » (the brittany flag), hanging on his wall. Incredible ! We spend the night with him, exchanging some travels memories.
In the morning, Kevin offers us a breakfast with local cheese and yogourt. Delicious ! Then he proposes to drive us back on the A1. That’s where we quit him. Thank you Kevin !
A few minutes after John pick us up. He’s a huge guy, wearing a uniform. He’s an old police officer, now managing a team of 60 people in a correctional center. He drops us around 50km from Port Macquarie, where the highway is detoured and the cars slow down.
That’s where Wendy in her small red 4WD stops and takes us away. She heard about all those creepy hitchhikers stories and prefers to know us with her than with a « fucking maniac ». She drives us 500km north of here. The road became soon annoying. There is a lot a road works and the landscapes looks all the same : eucalyptus forests and then sugar cane fields. Wendy drops us at Gold Coast, main obstacle on our trip.
Indeed, the highway changes for a motorway to go through a long city zone along the ocean. The city is a few hundred of kilometers long, from Surfer Paradise, to Gold Coast, Brisbane and then Sunshine Coast. The beaches are wonderfull, but instead of palm trees and rainforest next to it, there is only concrete on which grows a lot of tall buildings and fashions bars where people come to show off their money and their bodies. The area is reputed « cool », paradise of surfers, hippies and easy going guys. But not at all ! The life here is bloody expensive, and you must be rich to live here. For us it’s just another big city, where humans, like each time they stay together blindfold themselves and think individualy. And like in every big city, people are afraid of backpackers and hitchhikers. Gold Coast is so a kind of hell for the hichhikers who cannot cross it in one step. Ho shit ! Thats sounds like us…
Tintin & Riette