The Wicked Van Trip!! (English version)

26 Sep

Joking around on a Friday (BBQ night) at the Asylum backpacker, I tell to my new German friend Sonja
that I am planning on goign to Sydney soon. she says she has to go to. Next thing you know, we decide
to rent a van and go on a trip there together!!!

One week later, we are driving down the roads of the East coast in an 19 year old “wicked” van,
with no precise idea where we to go, which route to take or how to drive a van!!!! The first
Kms were just hilaaaaariouuuuus! Each slope was a challenge and each manoeuvre a new source of
laughter and each overtaking source of anxiety! Our trip lasted 11 days and 10 nights,
here is the tail:


Departure due at 11am…fail…! Actual departure: 5 pm…>< We sign the papers for the van,
throw our luggage inside, say goodbye to our friends in Asylum ( alittle tear in our eye)
and we’re -finally- off. 500 m after having left the van depot, we head towards the petrol
station….except that uh…. which petrol do we need to put in?!! Wr kinda forgot to ask…><
yeah we had to call’em back to ask…But that wasn’t our least surprise…!
After 2 hours drive, sick of listening to James Brown (the only CD we had with us), we
decide to get Sonja’s speakers out to plug my Ipod. When suddenly….we realize that…. we
left them in a bag at the backpackers…F*** that crab shiiit!!!! We look at eachother,
hesitate, and then start cracking up!!!!

We check, and yes, it is indeed not in the van, we call Asylum who confirms it’s still there..
so after 2 hours of intense thinking (“Shall we go back?”, “Or shall we not go back?”,  “We’re gonna lose time.”, “we’re gonna pay petro for nothing”, “we gotta go back my MAC is in there”,
“we can’t go back they’re all gonna laugh at us!”, “if we go back we can party one more night!”)
and after 1000 calls here and there, we decide to continue driving and anne comes up with THE idea:
“I’m going down to Sydney too, I’ll give it to you there!” Deal.

We get to Mission Beach around 11 PM… Having never been there, not knowing where to spend the night,
we find a “info point” where we pick up a map and decide to get close to the beach.
In order to sleep in the van, it’s a commando operation. As you may have noticed I am not a 100%
backpacker given the 30 tons suitcase that I carry around with me…And Sonja’s the same..
we are therefore what you would call “flashpackers” or “fake packers”. Anyways, in a van where
the compartments are located under 2 heavy wooden planks, not easy to fit in 2 fat suitcases..
So during the day, we just have them at the back onto the 2 planks, but at night, the process  is a little more complex: it consists in taking the suitcases out, installing them onto the -elevated- front seats (and just a reminder: they weigh 3 tons…), then we take the
pillows and “bedding stuff”, unwind what we use as matresses and the 3
sleeping bags that we use as blankets located under the 2 wooden planks (which just a reminder weigh 45 tons…) and finally follows the undressing process in a 3 square mm space… A process
we repeated every night.
So let me just say that if, for some reason, we had to move the van, …. f*** that crab sh*t !!

Just to make things clear, I’m not complaining ok?! I’m  just describing the situation ^^
It was more fun than anything really! a bit like camping but without a tent.


We wake up and surprise: we had parked right on the beach where the skydivers land!
Beautiful beach with palm trees and coconuts on the sand… Then we wana have breakfast.
We have Coles cereals but no milk…So we are off on a milk mission at mission beach…
(get it?! mission at mission beach ha – ha…ok not that funny) Anyways, we end up finding one in a
mini market place at 2.50$ for a 500 mL bottle….. no comment. We just really wanted milk with those cereals! Then , as we’re eating our breakfast we bump into a guy from
the backpacker in Cairns….he could have brought sonja’s bag that was carrying her Macbook and
all her important documents, including her flight tickets…anyways, we are not down,
on the contrary, we are full of energy and excitement, and we’re back on the roads! Being the official co-pilote, I decide that our next stop will be Townsville.
At our lunch break, we meet these two guys that advise us to spend the night at “Blue waters”
where it is free. After 4 hours of driving, we decide that’s where we will spend the night.
And by the way, the night comes down really quickly here, around 5-5.30! And have you ever tried cooking pasta on a camping hotplate that you’ve never used before in the dark?!!….faaawiiiiiil!

Bluewaters was in fact a free spot and we did ended up surrounded by travellers…..aged 80 plus!!!
We really wondered if there were any backpackers our age traveling down the East coast…


Next stop: Townsville and then…we’ll see where the wind takes us! In Townsville,
we found a MAcdonalds hoping we’d find free wifi and plugs to recharge the batteries of our cameras and phones. So they did have free wifi but no plugs… and my 3 year old computer’s batterie cannot hold 10 minutes…so no charging or internet.. But we got our revenge:
we stole all the salt, peper and jam we could find!! hahahahhaha Sonja & Abi the Macas gangstas!!!

There was a plug in the toilets, but the oppressing blue neons didn’t even make you wana pee!
We drive through Ayre where we do a bit fo grocery shopping in Woolworths, but there again we have not been real backpacker who usually just live off noodles…we bought what we like but without overspending. Then we asked a young couple if they knew where we could spend the night
and they directed us to this place called “Home hill’ where they claimed we could have access
to free showers, free plugs and free kitchen area!

So we drive a few hours until we get there and in fact, all was free!! We originally wanted to go on driving after having taken showers and recharged everything, but it turns out we met some
people who were working there and got on well with them, we played cards, talked about our different trips, met a possum, tried to burn a CD because we got fed up with hearing only James Brown…!
And at night, we followed their van into the spot where they were spending their nights, spoke
till like 2 AM, then went to “bed” and spent a pretty … cold night… and cold morning when we woke up…


We wake up early, have breakfast (in the van cuz it’s waaaay too cold outside) and i suddenly feel
like driving! I sit on the driver’s seat and here we goooo!!!hahhaha loooved it!! Then we say
goodbye to our newly made friends and we’re off to Airly beach. We were told to be there at 11.30.
11.37….11.45….we’re still on the roads….11.50, we’re trying to go as fast as possible… hoping that the boat wouldn’t leave without us…. 11.55 oh noooo it cost us 200$..!! I call
the agency, tell them we’re sorry and doing our best to be there on time, We rush, find a parking place, run to the agency, tell the lady we’re sorry and make up a stupid story about hitting an eagle… And then she says: “Ok, the boat leaves at 2, you still have time
to get to the meeting point…”…………….>< faaaaaaaiiillll !

We therefore had heaps of time to make ourselves sandwiches, to park the van correctly, pee and
buy some anti-sea sickness pills. We meet up with the crew and board “Habibi boat”, off for 3 exceptional
days and 2 nights!!!

On the first day, we just navigated, admired the beautiful landscape, discovered the boat, the 26
people on board and our the tiny winy space that woudl be our room! The next day, we visited “Whitehaven beach”, considered one of the most beautiful beaches of the world!!! 7 kms long,
it is free from any human presence and is only accessible by boat. The sand is so pure and white,
(98% silica) it has been used to build the Hubble telescope! The water is calm and incredibly translucid.
During the “stinger” season (small but poisonous gellyfish), it is highly recommended to bathe with
a suit… please admire!!

Thousands of colorful fish, breathtaking views, a reef rich with colors and shapes, dolphins, eagle,
wale and manta ray….and also nice encounters on the ship, composed of 3 sailors, 2 Aussies and
1 Kiwi guy. We have fun with them day and night (intense bull riding sessions!!) which got us a few
advantages on board: lying on the ship’s roof, normally out of access to customers, eating chocolates,
making up games, drinking goon and having showers in the “staff only” bathroom (’cause yeah i forgot
to mention there were no showers on board and we hadn’t had a shower in 3 days…baaaaaaaaaaaaaah
grooooosse!!!) and cherry on top, we also got to eat burgers at Wozza’s place, one of the sailors who
lives in a beautiful chalet with view on the ocean…

All in all, 3 unforgettable days!!!!!

After this treat, we are back on the roads and in the evening we get to MAckay, where we find another
Macdonalds! No more hope to find a plug, but who knows….we walk around, ask the cashier who replies
“we provide Wifi conexion but no plugs”…Pfff..we still wander around to have a look and there we find 2 guys with their computers…plugged in!!! Super happy, here we are transfering photos and videos,
laughing out loud at some of them, charging all our batteries and started chatting with those 2 Swedish guys
who turned out to be travelling down the East coast as well! They guide us towards their spot for the night
and that’s when we almost died freezing…


Waking up is hard, we are absolutley frozen and sonja has a very small blader..she has to climb over me at
night in order to reach the door of the van..brrrrr!
So the next day, all 4 of us drive for 7 hours! they know a ncie place where we can charge stuff for free
and sonja goes looking for a charger for her phone (because it was in her bag left in Cairns…), but
for 50$ (price of the phone itself) she decided to wait to get to Sydney…

Driving is even more fun when there is more people!! We text eachother (“There are 5 trucks behind you!hahaha!!”, “Open your eyes, there are kangoroos on the left!!”, “come and sleep over, we’re freezing
and think we might lose a toe or something!”…), we have fun chasing and overtaking eachother (while remaining very careful, i swear!) and we write notes to eachother at the windows like…”YOU SUCK!!!”

Stunning lansdcapes spread out before our bewildered eyes with kangoroos accompanying us along the way…
it’s magical… We arrive at Rockhampton at night and try looking for a place for our 2 campervans. We
go round in circles for quite a bit and then end up parking in another “information point”, we roll out the
“beds” and spend a warmer night with our “Swedish heaters” :p


10 AM, we’re driving again towards Krombit farm where Sonja had won a trip for 2 through a contest (whose nature
I will not specify… :p) We did everything we could to convince our new travel mates to come with us,
but Fraser island was their next stop, so we separated and went off more inland, to Biloela! We were told it should take us 2 hours to get there..but 3h45 later, we finally reach the farm, absolutley starving..
one of the owners cooks a delicious steak for us, accompanied with a beautiful fresh Greek salad…almost
a five star French dish! anyways, after cooking stuff on a hotplate for a week, I think almost anything
would have made us melt with delight…

And off we go for a wide range of rural activities!:
shooting, whiping lessons (woooodeerrrrshhhhhh), horse riding, chasing and milking lambs and goats,
20 kms of quad riding, bull riding, cooking marshmallows at a bonefire…. a unique pastoral experience!!!
On the last night, altough it is already dark and even if our hosts offered us to stay one more night for free,
we decide to hit the Australian raods again. We drive all the way down to a place called Monto and that’s where
I regreted not having stayed at the warm farm….


We wake up, looking like ice cubes, after having experienced bloked doors, climbing over bodies and
suitcases to pee at 4 AM….we’re so bummed, we decide to drive without any breakfast or any type of
washing….buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu disgustiiing!!! Progressively, the sun come sout and brings its delightful
warmth…We drive through Gaynda and Bundaberg, the place where most fruitpicking backpackers head at.
We have our lunch break at Goomerie where we have a small photo shoot with the van and we’re off again,
this time heading towards Toowoomba where I know a warm bed and welcome awaits us…
The colors of the sky at dawn are absolutely stunning… the sunsets on one wide into an orangy tint fading into a yellow and red background and the white moon is rising on the other side in a purply light pink sky…

Tina welcomes us with her arms wide open, as she always does, and had prepared a exquisite dinner!!!
We share the latest news, meet her son Jamie, catch up with some friends I had met with anne a few months before
and we fall asleep like babies..


Our aim: Brisbane! After only 2 hours driving, we find ourselves thrown into the middle of the city, disorientated
like at the beginning of the adventure, having only driven on infinitly deserted roads for 1700kms! the traffic is
intense, we have a hard time finding the right roads, but we finally find the depot where we have to give up our
dear wicked van..
Then we find the Macguire family where I had spent a month as an au-pair. The kids didn’t know I was coming…
They offer us to stay the night and the next morning, the clocks were set for 5 AM…


5 AM? ….. FAIL!!!!!! We both went straight back to sleep…>< so when I wake up, we have to call a cab, finish
packing in a hurry, get ready, call a 2nd cab ’cause w emissed the first one,  throw our multiple suitcases and
bags in, get to the airport, find our IDs, print our tickets, run towards the gates…but get there right on time!!
Thank goodness….
Once in the plane, my sleeping bag unwinds…I don’t notice it, I wander to find our seats followed by something
that must have looked like a bride’s wedding traine….>< Until I hear sonja crack up.
After one hour flight, the plane lands, sonja stands up, opens the hand luggage compartment and her own sleeping
bag bursts out! hahahaha!! one of th emost hilarious flight ever! (The best one being when Meg ran and fell down
and then farted in the plane!! hahahha)

Finally in Sydney, we find Anne and Danni at the “Maze backapcker” and off we go for more crazy adventures!!!

One Response to “The Wicked Van Trip!! (English version)”

  1. k September 27, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    its good in English too…..just afew mistakes here and there….like “tail”, this should be TALE. Loved the photos too…..i am eagerly awaiting more.

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