Saturday, 1 November 2014

First Time Surfing in Yamba

I was glad that I did not succumb to all the tour packages in Sydney and hence I would have found the perfect spot to learn how to surf. Yamba. Yamba YHA Hostel I stayed for two night and they had surfing events in the mornings every Tuesday and Thursday. For first time surfers like me it was perfect for they not only teach you how to surf, they also provided the boards and also the wetsuits all for just AUD 10.

Tanner Beach in Yamba
The best part about surfing in Yamba is that it’s not as crowded as the other places such as surfers paradise or Byron bay and yet it had plenty of beaches to choose from and oh the waves oh the waves. The waves were beautiful uniform and nice and plenty on all sizes. While we beginners were trying out in waist deep waters with 2 feet waves the pros were duking it out further out where it was nearly 4 feet high and having over break at tipping point too.
Surfing wasn’t easy but the basics were quite simple. Lie on the board …. Paddle paddle paddle , position leg standby for standing … catch a wave and somehow ….. just somehow … find that strength to push yourself up and swing that leg into full standing position. I manage to stand on the first try too …. Must be a lucky one that was since I could not repeat what I so easily done the first time for the next 20 or so times.
Still standing and just riding that waves … It was an amazing 5 seconds of my life ….
“Now which foot is your dominance foot ?” asked the teacher …
I knew the answer to this and said left foot although I kick a ball with the right foot. Must be like snowboarding rite …. Goofy. Apparently it’s the same concept whatever it is so maybe that’s why I could stand up on the first try, still it was a tiring sport and not really for the happy go lucky me who just wanna try it out.
It’s amazing seeing how easy they do it and how fun it looks with all the waves moving about but most of the time the concentration that it took us beginers to just focus, paddle paddle paddle, catch that wave, try to stand up and repeat all over again and the freaking cold of the waters despite the wetsuit just makes it more appreciative of the guys who makes it look easy. 
Dun even get me started on the falls and bruises I got from surfing ….

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Stumbling Across Macleen

Journey from Sydney to Yamba seams easy enough. Hop onto the Greyhound bus in Sydney and it drops right in front of the YHA Yamba hostel. The YHA hostel is quite good, I guess they have a standard to maintain unlike all those self-set up hostel. Still YHA hostel are not cheap and can get quite pricy.

Teddy Bear tied to a Tree .... Almost look like a Koala
So with any new place starts with walking exploring. Yamba is a really really small town. I was trying to walk to the outskirts area of Yamba …. really really far … almost 8miles I think when I gave up. On the way back I saw a public bus … WTF … did not see any bus for the last one hour and now I saw a bus.
Talking to the nice bus driver lady she told me that the bus goes all the way to Grafton through Macleen. I asked her which was the bigger town and she said Grafton. I was about to buy the ticket when she told me the price for a return ticket was AUD 23. Way too far away that was but the ticket to Macleen was AUD 12. Why not …. The blind bus explorer journey.
Macleen had a few nice knicks to it such as the teddy bears hanging on a tree from the folks that are trying to conserve part of what’s left of Macleen town. You would be lucky if you see one person that is not from Australia in Macleen. A traditional Australian fishing village is what Macleen is and a very cosy one as well. Some big shop are there such as Harvey Norman and a huge supermarket but other than that is pretty quiet.  

My luck of the day was going into the fish shop and got myself a nice fish and chips for AUD 9. The fish was a very delicious red snapper thick and fresh and a bunch of chips to go with it.

Visiting Sydney

Sydney was an a ok experience for me but it had the potential to be a good stop. Thing is, it was my first stop on my year long journey so I was naturally a little bit eager to move on and hit the road.

Hostel and Work
The hostel I stayed was at the summer house backpackers which was filled with Germans doing a work and travel holiday. Not much traveling but a lot of working from what I could tell. Common area conversation was almost asking about each other jobs and how much they get paid an hour. One guy was so proud that he got paid AUD 22 an hour and was basking in glory in it. The situation at the backpackers was changed in a sense since most travellers on a working visa was camping in Sydney since that’s where the better pay was in Australia and normally make a home out of the hostel. This sort of ruin the come and go traveller
Drugs seemed to be plentiful in Sydney although I did not see it personally. Every night some other bloke would be high on drugs (the pill kind) and would go on to the wee hours partying. The other indicator was that there would be syringe disposal bins in the weirdest places you could imagine. One even told me that at another hostel they have it in the toilets. Somehow Australia did not feel so safe anymore but I am still hoping the dun bother and they won’t disturb you would be workable.
Sights and Touring ….
Lots of tours are available in Sydney that it could bog you down a little. Makes a person vary if he is getting ripped off. I surely did. Now if you want to go whale watching and would be traveling the east coast I recommend postponing that item on your list. I took the whale watching and Taronga Zoo ticket that cost AUD 99. I later found out when in surfers paradise you could get whale watching for AUD 20. Fuck the zoo and go to the kangaroo park or koala sanctuary as well if you go up north along the east coast …. Oh well still it was a nice experience … worth going if you are only going to be in Sydney.
Day trips to Blue Mountain and Hunters Valley and a bunch more which I did not feel like venturing. Sydney was too efficient for a traveller that it feels like somehow you are being ripped off even if all the tour agency that you been to spill out the same prices or close to it.
The free walking tour however is worth a go. I think I posted on it previously … LINK. Markets and boat rides and of course venturing and hopefully surving King Cross Red Light district. King Cross gets crazy at night for that’s is also where all the pubs are and lots of people goes to party. Funny thing is that if you go when the sun goes down you would think that King Cross is like any other party pub street and not a red light district for there are more party goes then the bongo bongo goers. Of course the bongo bongo is more discreet …. I’ll never know …. Too chicken to try it out I guess ...
Walk and Get Lost
Walking would be my favourite past time in Sydney. I could walk for hours and still see something new around each corner. Parks are abundance and lovely as well and each district has its own charm. Budget savvy this was the bulk of my visiting in Sydney. Tuck in one of the parks is also the Sydney art Gallery which house not much but still has an awesome collection of paintings.