Hello blog followers (Mom and Mrs. Lieppman)! Sean and I have now wrapped up the second successful leg of our journey. The last ten days, we have been road trippin’ up and down the East coast of Australia and having a blast. I feel like I have been here for a month as so much has happened. I don’t want to fill up the blog with too many words, but there are a few stories that we want to share while they are still fresh in our memories:
Arrival– We arrived in Brisbane around 7pm and quickly made our way to Port MacQuarie to meet up with Travis Corken, our Australian friend we met in Fiji. We hopped in our rental car–a baby blue Hyundai hatchback– and started the seven hour trek down the coast. After stopping to sleep at a rest stop that night, we made it to Port by 9am the next day. We went to go find waves near the house, and ended up exploring all up and down the area. We also took the oppurtunity to eat some of the area’s best food, including the “most addictive” meat pies in Australia… I love meat pies. Anyways, we drove miles and miles down a wide open beach in Travis’ badass truck and eventually decided to surf Crescent Head. It’s a long right point with a really fun wave that occasionally lined up with really long rides. After surfing, the Corken’s cooked up a delicious Australian barbeque and we ate to our heart’s content. Their hospitality was unreal and we are so stoked we got to spend time with such a great family!
Massive beach burnouts
Our wonderful hosts, the Corken’s
Baby Blue in all her glory
Australian Chainsaw Massacre– We wanted to stay in Port MacQuarie longer, but, being drifters, we had to be on our way. We were exhausted from the night before, but set out anyway and booked it straight for Coff’s Harbour, a beach town a few hours north. I quickly dozed off as Sean drove us up the coast. Unfortunately, we weren’t going up the coast…
We had missed the on-ramp to the freeway and had instead drove inland for about 200 kilometers. It was starting to get dark when we realized where we were, and we decided that a night in the Australian bush wouldn’t be so bad. We passed a sign for a campsite and decided to make our way to the camp. We took a dirt road a few kilometers off the highway, but didn’t see the site, just some creepy abandoned buildings. When the road dead-ended we thought that maybe the creepy abandoned buildings were the campsite. We slowly approached the buildings as a light drizzle began to fall. It was almost completely dark now, and we realized that the buildings were not abandoned. One of the buildings had a light on and we saws a figure standing near the window. Sean, being friendly and naive, rolled down the window and waved to it… no response. We watched each other for about ten seconds. I was driving at this point and I have seen too many horror movies where innocent, young adults get chased around the wilderness and murdered by deranged psychopaths. I put Baby Blue (the name we gave to our car) in top gear and gunned it out of there. We made it back to the coast and eventually found a nice, safe parking lot to sleep in. I had nightmares.
Brisbane– On our way up the coast, we had a bunch of Adventures. We surfed the Superbank in Coolangatta and got some great waves, we met up with friends on the Sunshine Coast, and we sampled meat pies from all over. We eventually made it back to Brisbane to spend the night with Sean’s homestay family, the Adam’s, whom he lived with last time he was in Australia. The amazing hospitality of Australians continued as the Adam’s took us in like we were their own.
Sending the adorable Adam’s children off to school
A highlight from Brisbane was going to the Koala sanctuary in town. We watched koalas sleeping, a platypus swimming, a bunch of crazy-looking birds, and best of all, we got to cuddle with kangaroos!
Spooning with Roos
Koalas are like tiny, grandpa bears
Splendour– That brought us up to our final weekend in Australia. Months ago, when planning the trip, Sean realized that our stay in Australia coincided with a massive music festival called Spendour in the Grass. After unsuccessfully trying to buy tickets online (it sold out in 20 minutes), we decided to wing it and show up to the festival unannounced and see what happened. We drove from Brisbane down to Byron Bay; a cool, hippie town on the beach where Splendour was being held. We parked our car a mile or two from the festival and walked over to try and figure something out. After unsuccessfully trying to find a way in, we saw a lot of volunteers that worked at the festival and were given tickets for their services. We asked the head of the group if we could work and explained we came all the way from California to come to Splendour. She told us that our best chance was to come for the early shift the following morning and fill in if someone missed their shift. We agreed, half-excited, half disappointed that we were gonna miss the first day completely, and only have a glimmer of hope to see anything at all. We got back to our car and drank a beer at a bar nearby. We noticed that the music from the festival was pretty loud and didn’t seem that far away. We decided to get a closer listen…
We walked down a lonely road in the direction of the music. It got a bit louder. We stepped over a gap in a barbwire fence on the side of the road. We trudged through this swampy field of tall grass towards these tall trees. All the while, the music was getting louder. It was just about dusk as we ventured into the trees and began trudging through ankle deep mud and water. We had to cross a small stream, then another, then another. At this point, we had gone too far to go back, and we could now hear the roars of the crowd up ahead. We saw the end of the tree line and next to it, a river, about 20 meters across. We quickly decided the only way to cross it was to strip down butt-naked and walk across it with our clothes (and phones and cameras) above our head. As stupid as that sounds, we did it and it worked perfectly! Once across, we threw our clothes back on and saw lights!! We sprinted toward the lights and got to the festival fence. We decided we had to hop it. The fence was about 8 feet high and there was security all over so we decided to find a more secluded spot. After hiking through more trees, fleeing from guards with flashlights who could definitely hear us cracking every branch in our vicinity, we arrived at a quiet spot with only one guard in sight.
We were crouched in the bushes, covered in mud, had cuts and scrapes all over our bodies, and had no chance of going back the way we came. It was do or die. A security car drove past and we waited a few seconds then bolted towards the music. It must have been the adrenaline, but I felt like I hurdled the 8 foot fence. I looked to my left and Sean was with me. We casually/quickly walked towards the tents on the inside, hopped through a crack and emerged in the mass of people; victorious. Sean and I were both reeling with excitement and the rest of the night we danced away to Spiderbait, The Shins, At the Drive In, Explosions in the Sky, and Jack White. It was truly epic.
The next morning, we showed up for the volunteer morning shift, we quickly got volunteer jobs cleaning the artist VIP section, we ate some of Jack White’s leftovers and then we were given two free tickets. The last 36 hours we had been surviving mostly off two minute noodles and Mother– the Australian equivalent to Red Bull (its kinda like if Red Bull drank a bunch of Red Bull). We went in after our shift and danced more than I thought humanly possible. The second day, Tame Impala and The Beautiful Girls stood out as performances. Mostly though, we just showed off our moves on the many dance floors…
We broke a lot of hearts.
The first thing we saw once we got in to Splendour
Splendour in the Mud 2012 Trademark
It was probably the most fun I have ever had, but after two wild nights of dancing and sleeping in our tiny car, Sean and I were both relieved to leave.
The hottest things to hit Australia since meat pies
Next stop: Bali!!!!! Keep the adventures coming!