Monday, March 26, 2007

Myall Lakes (again)

This past weekend, we decided to go back to Yagon Beach (at Myall Lakes) again for a camping trip since we had so much fun the first time. We bought some roof racks and brought our surfboards with us and got some good surf in. We had a group of 9 people, and we had a great time. I didn't take too many pictures, because I have all the ones from last time, but we had a ton of fun with my waterproof digital camera. Here are a few...

Kevin pic

I caught this wave and rode it in perfectly...I promise

We saw a couple more goannas this weekend too.

Pit stop to check the surfboards, this is pretty much the whole crew.

Sunset surfing, too good to be true

Sunset from the breakers

The guys...Mike, Josh, Kevin, Sterling, Dan, and me

Just a cool shot

This trip was absolutely great until Saturday night, when we ran into some crazy Aussie teenagers who were not too polite, and a big 'southerly' cold front came in and brougt cold weather, non-stop rain, and tried to blow away our tents. The trip was still well worth it, and I'm sure we'll all do it again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Some random pictures

These don't really fit in anywhere, but they are pretty good, so I thought I'd post 'em.

The first thing I saw when I arrived at Newcastle...Train station sign

Some awesome sunsets from nobby's pier

A picture of the lighthouse at Seal Rocks (for Teri)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Weekend in Sydney

Friday: 3hr train ride

After getting to Sydney around lunchtime, we headed to Chinatown for some cheap authentic Asian cuisine. Chinatown was pretty cool, and there are a TON of Asians in Sydney.

After leaving Chinatown we walked all the way down to the harbor to get our first glimpse of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. The harbor was pretty amazing, but the weather was kind of nasty so the pictures didn't turn out that great.
We had a beer at the Opera Bar, then headed to dinner at The Rocks Cafe, and some fun times at the Minus 5 Ice Bar.

Opera Bar

Me and Chris at minus 5
We woke up kinda early and caught the ferry to Manly beach, which was a small community outside Sydney, but it was pretty touristy and we weren't all that impressed. After getting back to the harbor, we caught a train to Bondi Beach. Sure enough, as soon as we get to one of the most famous beaches in the world, it starts pouring down rain! We made the best of it though and had some hungry jacks (burger king) overlooking the rainy beach.
View from the ferry
Manly Beach

Bondi Beach in the rain
We all took a nap at the hostel and then headed out for St. Patrick's day! We went to just about every Irish pub in the city and had a great time!

Bar #1

Bar #2

Bar #3
I think we quit thinking about pictures after this one.
We managed somehow to check out of the hostel on time Sunday morning at 10am, then we headed for the Sydney Fish Market. We had some great fresh seafood at the famous Doyle's restaurant, and then walked over to the nearby maritime museum (exactly what you would expect from a maritime museum, but we had a great time trying to save martin on the lifeguard video game).

Like I didn't know what a tuna was...hah
We caught a bus to The Gap Park, and hung out around Watson's Bay for the afternoon. I thought this was the coolest part of Sydney by far. Watson's Bay was a quaint little fishing town with a few pubs and restaurants, and the atmosphere was great and it reminded me of home.
Some great views at the gap park.

Watson's Bay
Cool tropical looking bird at Watson's Bay

Havin a beer at Watson's Bay
Before catching the train back to Newcastle, we took one last ferry ride through the harbor and stuck around for a few minutes to watch the 75th Anniversary celebration for the Harbor Bridge.
The harbor was full of sailboats on Sunday
Harbor Bridge lit up

Saturday, March 10, 2007

More Camping Pictures

Hiking up to the jump rock at Treachery beach

Treachery Beach

Pretty obvious...

Campsite at Yagon

Surfer at Yagon

Sunset at Yagon

I think this is a cuckoo bird...there were a bunch around the campsite

Swimming back from the jump rock

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Myall Lakes

This weekend's trip to Myall Lakes National Park was absolutely amazing.

It all started with a rather interesting trip to the rental car store, where the owner didn't have the car we reserved but he had this V6 car, but we weren't supposed to drive it cause we weren't 24, but he said 'I guess you fellas look alright' and finally let us have a car, all the while joking around with us and acting like we weren't gonna get a car. After putting up with the rental guy's jokes, the real challenge was trying to drive on the wrong side of the road. Chris had to be the driver since he was the only one that was 21. It was hilarious trying to get around Newcastle to get back to the apartment to pack up. Chris kept asking 'When we turn here, I go on that side of the road...right?' and I was trying my best to figure out how to get us back to the apartment.

Once we finally got on the road to Myall Lakes we stopped and got some McDonald's for lunch and bought some groceries for the weekend. We finally got there around 3ish and stopped at an information center to figure out where to go and what to see. They told us to go along the road we were on, and stop and see Dark Point dunes. The sand dunes at Dark Point are the biggest dunes I have ever seen, and they were right next to a great beach that was mostly deserted. We had some fun writing messages in the sand, and then headed on down the road.

A little ways down the road we had to cross this tiny cove on the lake by barge, which was pretty cool.

After we crossed the lake, and on our way to our first campsite, we passed a few farms and I saw my first kangaroo hopping across the road. Of course we all jumped out of the car and took a hundred pictures and went nuts. I hope there weren't any Australians watching, cause we probably looked like complete tourists.

After all this everyone was pretty excited and really glad we were camping and not at Gay Mardi Gras. It seemed like the day couldn't get any better. We finally got to Violet Hill about an hour before dark, and set up camp. As we were looking for a place to set up our tents, we stumbled upon a Goanna climbing a tree near the lake. Once again we were all shocked and took a hundred more pictures. Here's a shot of the little guy.

On the way into Violet Hill we noticed a sign for a lookout, so after we set up camp we looked for it. The trail up the hill/mountain was pretty rugged and we kept getting off the track, but we finally made it to the top. When we got there, we were a little disappointed because we couldn't see anything for all the bushes, but I looked around and found this gum tree that looked like it had been climbed a lot, and when we got to the top of it, the view was amazing.

We went back to camp to eat and chilled by the lake until we were ready to go to sleep.

Saturday morning we woke up, packed up camp and headed to Grandis, the tallest tree in New South Wales, then we headed to Seal Rocks, a part of the park that is along the ocean and has some great beaches. We hung out around the beaches, checked out the lighthouse, and found a campsite at Yagon beach. We went for a swim at Yagon, which we pretty much had to ourselves, and we were wishing we had our surfboards, because the waves looked incredible. Here are some pictures from Saturday.

The Grandis

Seal Rocks

The view walking to the lighthouse

At the lighthouse

Saturday night we met some Americans who were traveling the east coast in a camper. One of the guys had studied at Newcastle several years ago and knew a lot about the area. These guys were really nice and showed us around Treachery beach on Sunday morning. They had found a great jump rock on one of the cliffs that was only about 15 ft tall, but it was a lot of fun. My camera died on Saturday, so I don't have any pictures of Yagon or Treachery, but I'm gonna steal some of my roommates' pictures and put them on here. We left Myall Lakes about midday and drove to Nelson bay for some lunch and much needed beer break. Nelson bay reminded me a lot of Charleston, and had a big marina in the middle of town.

We were all really worn out when we got home, but since we had a car, we wanted to go out to eat at the Lone Star Grill and get some American food. The country music was pretty up to date, but they didn't have sweet tea, and the steaks weren't that great.