australia, travel

Living the van-life: my East-Coast Australia road trip experience

Hey guys!

In my last post “reasons I love SYDNEY” I told you about how Australia and especially Sydney blew my mind! Spending three months in Sydney and the surrounded area made me come back to Australia only six months after I came back to Europe. This was again such a short-term decision and I booked my flight five days before departure! Not even lying haha!!!

After I handed in my master’s thesis I decided to jump on the plane with no plans and no clue what to expect! I felt like it was Christmas and my birthday at the same time :P. Luckily, as I already spend some time down under, I was too excited to see all my friends I made there again. It was so lovely how they managed to make this time unforgettable for me again and I am so happy and so thankful that I met those beautiful souls <3.

Luckily, Nashy had some holidays during my five weeks stay in Australia so that we managed to do a three weeks East-Coast trip together! Without any specific plans, we decided to rent a wicked camper van for this trip. BEST DECISION EVER!!!

It was the first time in my life living the van-life and I was too excited! We had everything we needed with this van: transportation, accommodation, a tiny kitchen and a lot of sick memories coming along! We named our true fellow “Arnie” and fell in love with him the first moment we saw him :D.

Having all the good vibes in our baggage, we started our road trip in the morning of a sunny day in Sydney! Although it was winter time, we were really lucky with the weather. Heading north, we knew that the weather gets better so we were really optimistic with all the unplanned conditions and we were not disappointed! Moreover during winter time an east-coast is much more affordable: we spent only 25 dollars a day for the wicked van, which is soooooo much more expensive during summer time! Moreover, the hot spots are less touristy and the chances to do free camping are much higher! That’s why I totally recommend to do such a trip in winter times as well :).

Our first stop and a total recommendation is the SEAL ROCKS BEACH:

We camped at the end of a road tight up from the beach and had a little camping fire as we arrived because it was night time already. We always tried to find free camping spots, as we really wanted to experience the free spirit hippie van-life :P.

Sitting right next to the camping fire, we recognised a little red light down the beach. As we though we were the only persons at this spot, I was scared as hell so that Nashy had to head down the beach to check if it was not a serial killer :D! It turned out that the supposed killer was a super friendly photographer taking night-time shots of the beautiful sky! We had such a lovely conversation and she gave us a crash course in photography as well which helped a lot during our whole trip! It was such a lovely beginning of our trip and I couldn’t be thankful enough to meet the right persons at the right time. We managed to take this unbelievable shot of our camper van under the stars with the camping fire in front of it:

The next morning, we watched the sunrise at the beautiful seal-rocks beach and decided to head further up north to our next destination: DIAMOND HEAD BEACH:

It turned out that diamond head is an absolutely epic spot! As our mission was to find free camping spots, we drove out onto the beach which worked well for the first night. But be careful! The next day we drove down the beach for about 1k and got stuck where the sand started to get soft. Luckily we found someone who could pull us out but this story could have ended so badly :D!

The best about Diamond Head in my opinion: the beach is full of friendly wild Kangaroos! OMG! I just couldn’t get enough of those fluffy babes!

The next spot we visited on our way was HAT HEAD BEACH and COFFS HARBOUR:

We discovered the area a bit and were not disappointed by all the hidden beaches and landscapes. We found a beach full of pelicans and managed to see the most epic sundowner at another beach.

After all this beach hunting, we decided to head for our next destination we booked a few days before we started our rad trip:

The SPOT X SURF CAMP:

As we were both surf beginners, we wanted to get more experience so that we couldn’t miss this epic and hyped surf camp! With two lessons a day and some other activities we were by far not disappointed by those epic vibes all around the camp!

We had such a blast with all the other surfers, the friendly staff and the night-time parties so that we really did not want to leave! But Australia has so much more to offer so that we decided to go ahead and found the next epic spot:

YAMBA BEACH:

OMG how cool is Yamba?! We found the most epic camping spot just next to the beach. Yamba is awesome to surf and has such a lovely city centre.

After spending a day at the beach and surrounded area there, we made our way to EVANS HEAD and LENNOX HEAD before making our way to BYRON BAY:

Byron Bay is not for nothing hyped in so many ways: the hippie town has such a good energy and the most epic bars, cafés and restaurants. I ate the most amazing plant based burger at a vegan place and was the happiest kid on earth! Our next destination turned out to be funny as hell:

NIMBIN:

Flower power and 70ie vibes all over! Welcome to Nimbin! For sure a spot that shouldn’t be missed out on the trip. Lots and lots of super cute second hand shops and healthy stores, hippies and the smell of weed :D! Nimbin seems like being another world and its definitely a must-see on the way!

TWEED HEADS and the GOLD COAST:

As we were almost pro surfers after our stay in the surf camp (okay maybe not really), we decided to get a second surf board to keep on surfing during our road trip. Thanks to Gumtree, we found the prefect board for me and I was too excited to get my first very own surfboard!  Right before we reached the Gold Coast with its amazing surfer sports, we were well prepared to continue our surfer career :D.

SURFERS PARADISE:

Reaching Surfers Paradise, we decided to book a hotel for the first time during our trip. Living the van-life is indeed an experience of a lifetime and shouldn’t be missed out in my opinion! It’s such a free lifestyle and it really brings you down to earth because you have to be satisfied with the lowest standards, with cold showers and public toilets. It really shows that you really don’t need much in life to be happy and to collect awesome experiences. It really uncouples you from all the materialism.

BUT for now and then it’s really nice to have a hot shower and a proper bed :D. So we were more than happy to stay at a Hotel, even though it was just for a night. Surfers Paradise is such a nice place but very touristy. Nevertheless it shouldn’t be missed out for sure. As all the Australian theme parks are just around the corner, we couldn’t resist and decided to visit DREAMWORLD the next day:

We really had a blast at the theme park and felt like being kids again :D. Our highlight was the free-fall tower. Even Nashy as someone who jumps out of plains regularly really enjoyed the ride. On our way back down to Sydney, we even visited the theme park again just to take the free-fall right, which turned out to be a nightmare! We got stuck 120m above the ground for about 20 minutes because of a technical break down. I really thought I will die haha. That’s it for me, no theme parks and no roller coasters EVER again hahah!

BRISBANE:

I was too excited to visit the next big city! As a city girl, I was completely amazed my the skyline and all the city lights that welcomed us as we reached Brisbane in the late afternoon. As Nashy is an abseiling instructor, we found an epic spot to do an abseiling.

I’ve done some abseiling beforehand in the Blue Mountains and at the Belmore Falls during my first stay in Australia. Nevertheless, as my fear of heights is sooo damn high I couldn’t do it this time because there was nobody beneath me that could have safeguarded me this time so that I was a little bi**h and too afraid of doing it completely on my own! Nevertheless we had an epic time discovering the area of Brisbane right before our last stop:

SUNSHINE COAST and NOOSA HEADS:

We spend our last day of our road trip at the sunshine coast were we have been blessed with the most amazing beach weather! We decided to head down to Sydney afterwards because we had to let go of our beloved Arnie, our cute camper van. The sunshine coast is for sure a spot that shouldn’t be missed out as well! We spend some time at the most amazing beaches and ended up hiking a breathing coast line.

This whole road trip and the van-life experience will indeed remain an experience of a life-time for me! I never want to miss this awesome time and I am so thankful from the deepest of my heart that I took this opportunity to discover the world a bit more. Step by step.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask, I’m happy to help <3.

Much love, Angi.

 

 

 

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