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Oz in the year 2000 – Part 1, Deb’s Kombi, Byron and Death Boxes

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Date: 10/02/00

Estimated read time 2 minutes

Brat and Bignut, venture to the otherside of the world to rediscover what being 18 years old is all about and maybe come out the other end as men…

We leave our cold dull rainy days in England to arrive in Sydney in the middle of their beautiful Summer on 10th February the year 2000.  Eventually, find our way out of the city to arrive at Newport to stay with Bignut’s Mum’s friends Jenny and Jamie from back home who emigrated over here years ago.  They live on Scotland Island which is one of the islands within the Sydney area, there are just a few scattered houses on the island and you have to get a speed boat there every day.  So we settle into Oz life with bottle after bottle of VB, VB, VB and more VB please mate…

Awesome T-shirtsOnce we find our feet, and get climatised it’s time to jump into backpacking life and head to Colloroy Backpackers for a week.  Our first quest is to find a van, so we can start to travel… We meet an old dude called Jon who leads a mysterious life.  Meet a French surfer who said ‘he surf Mudacca 3 metre’… After looking around a bit, going to the car market at Kings Cross which is like a grave yard for backpackers vans and their owners we eventually notice a Kombi campervan for sale.  The girl who owns it is called Deb’s, a lovely lesbian girl who has properly looked after the gorgeous 1974 1.8 4 star automatic sky blue VW Kombi, she throws in a load of camping gear, some bikes and these epic cow skin seat covers, all for $5250.  We had no clue if it was a good deal, neither of us had the faintest idea about engines, the van just looked awesome and we were in love, with the van not Debs…

Surf Wategoes - Byron BaySo we leave the hectic city of Sydney in our trusty sky blue Kombi and head North.  We stop along the way at Port Maquarie which is about 350kms from Sydney and meet our first fellow travelling back packers called, Lee, Jess, Ben, Lisa and Toby.  All from England, Lee and Jess are from the Isle of Wight, Ben and Lisa from Yorkshire and Toby is from Plymouth.  They had all met while travelling and were travelling round Oz together in their vans.  We have a great night with these guys and discover the infamous ‘death box’ backpackers wine drinking option.

We say bye to the guys and head 400kms further north to Byron Bay, a super cool hippy surf town which you never want to leave… We bump into Toby and the guys by pure coincidence and they invite us to come and stay at the Byron Bay beach camp site, as they had this little trick to open the security barrier meaning we could stay for unlimited nights for free, or until we got thrown off.

The Wreck Surf Spot - Byron BayOne late afternoon there’s a good swell running and we head out to The Pass, a world famous super long right hand point break which wraps around Cape Byron.  Being 18 year old inland kooks we had never experienced a proper right hand point break and the intense hidden rip that pulls you down the point and towards the town.

Trying to ease ourselves in further down the point neither of us could even get even near the take off zones, having paddled for what seemed hours and hours we both lose each other as the sun is quickly setting. Bignut appears after dark an hour later at the camp almost crying saying he’s been dragged down the point right into town and had to walk about an hour back! Hahaha!

So we discover a much more kook friendly waves at the bays further round the cape and hang out at a super chilled longboard point break type wave called Wategoes and the main town beachie called Shipwrecks and get trained up to return to The Pass.  We settle in the Byron lifestyle, visiting the 24 bakery for Lamington pies, drinking lots of VB, more death boxes, hangin with Wild Ricky, going to terrible nightclubs and hitting on beautiful chicks.

One day we decide to take a trip inland through the lush rainforest surrounded town of Nimbin, which is basically the drug capital or ‘Amsterdam’ of Australia.  The drive takes around 2hrs through deep green tropical hills and roll on for miles and miles.  You catch faint wafts of marijuana that must be growing in the fields we pass.  Nimbin, ar Nimbin, what a spin out place… that is super dodgy… but a great place to stock up on cheap amazing herb and weed cookies!  We leave the tripped out town of Nimbin and head back to the camp in Byron.

We have about another week or so in Byron, living the life most 18 year olds only dream of but we have to head back South to Sydney as our friend Sally is coming over from England and will be travelling with us for a while.  Brat, hadn’t actually met Sally before, Bignut had met her whist raving on disco biscuits and discovered she was off to Oz on her own and wanted some guys to hook up with, she seemed like a super top gal so Bignut invited her to join us.  The journey South was awesome, we stopped at various spots such as Cresent Head, which is another classic right-hand point break, take a dirt track road which leads to numerous empty beach breaks, surf with dolphins, have campfires on the beach and free camping.  We pick up our first hitchhiker called Jon, a really nice English guy travelling solo, we take him to a beautiful little town called Mullaway where he’s meeting his girlfriend.

T-Shirts for charityWe surf various spots along the dirt track which is really designed for 4x4s, the Kombi see’s us through just about.  We hop on a car ferry to cross the river to Port Maqaurie.  South of here we stay at this super mysterious spot called Seal Rocks, it has a 1980s Goonies vibe about it.  There was a big swell running with a protected right point working where we score some good little waves.

The spot on the other side of the point is called Treachery, where it was huge and blown out, we vowed to return though as we had heard a monster lived in the woods and the waves at Treachery were awesome on it’s day.

We carry on South to Sydney when KABOOM!!! Disaster strikes!

Tune in next week for Part 2!

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