Wonder, explore, play in the grass

It took us a little bit to get going in the morning due to the previous night’s dance off. Neither of us were feeling too hot so Holly suggested me have the most delicious Lindt chocolate milk shake to make us feel better

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After, we took a walk to the Royal Botanical Gardens and passed the remnants left from White Night;

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It was so beautiful out we decided to just hangout and roll around in the grass.

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&& then hols fell asleep

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Melbourne, White Night welcoming party.

Today was my last day with Erika 😦 As you can see below, our moods are less than elated;
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My flight from Sydney to Melbourne was super quick, a little over an hour. When I arrived, I to took the bus to Southern Cross Station and was reunited with my favorite English turned Aussie ex-roommate. Our reunion would have been worthy of a Hallmark card.
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One disappointing thing about Melbourne (Melbin, frigging aussies are to lazy to pronounce letters correctly) is that the weather isn’t constantly 35 degrees (80 degrees fahrenheit) The people of Melbourne say you can have 4 seasons in 1 day, which is inconvenient because you always have to have a jacket on you. &&& my stupid ass didn’t pack a single long sleeve item or a pair or pants because I assumed it was hot and sunny every day in this country. So holly had to drag me to a cheap clothing store equivalent to Forever 21 called Cotton On to get some suitable clothing. After, I got to take my first proper shower in 2 weeks. Yes, I know it’s gross, but tis is the backpackers lifestyle.    20140227-192150.jpgI guess the people of Melbourne know I was coming because they threw this huge event called White Night, which over 300,000 people attended. It’s an artist festival where they shut down the streets and have artistic displays of music, lights, dance and large scale installations on display for the city to enjoy. The building light displays were so beautiful, they projected images on the buildings which were constantly moving and changing images, && the details were so amazing.

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We stopped into this bar off the street for some drinks and saw an opportunity; an empty dance fool & an eccentric DJ. We stormed the dance floor & were dancing like the loons that we are for 10 minutes before the this crazy asian man wanted a dance off. With the dance floor still to ourselves + the crazy asian, everyone in the bar was watching, half in awe, half hysterically laughing at our dance battle, after a couple minutes everyone wanted in & before we knew it the floor was packed.20140227-193432.jpg

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20140227-193526.jpgIf you were wondering, he kindof kicked our asses.

The Whitsunday’s & Sydney in 48 hours with 4 hours of sleep.

So as I said in my last post, the place we parked up and slept at wasn’t the most glamorous. It was filled with bugs and cockatiels who were murdering each other at 7:00am so we had no chance of sleeping past that.

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We packed up the van one last time & drove to the center of town to figure out where/when our tours left from. La tres amigos were going on a 3 day 2 night party boat called the Clipper that I wish we could have gone on & Erika and I were doing a day boat called the Fury. We go to the center of town and tried to figure out what we needed to do, and as we were talking to some bitchy receptionist girl at info center, me and Erika missed our bus. We started panicking because no one was being helpful and we were going to miss our tour that we had just driven 11+ hours for. We finally got to talk to someone who knew what the hell they were talking about and we drove down to the marina and started running around like crazy people trying to figure out where to go. && just to make things that much more interesting it started to down pour. Luckily we made it just in time and boarded our boat.

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We arrived back at the marina at 16:30 & headed into town to walk around a bit. We bought some souvenirs, ran into our favorite Irish/English friends, Damien & Pierce, then headed back on the road. We left around 19:00 and had to drive 8 hours to Cairns, drop off the van & make it to the airport for our 6:45 flight. We hit a couple of bumps in the road on the way there, which I cannot elaborate on, and made it to Cairns at 4:30. First stop was to go wake up Colin and say our goodbyes/ thanks for saving our lives several times. Then we returned the van and cabbed it to the airport. 3 hours & a cat nap later, we said GOODBYE to the tropical wet weather of Cairns and said hello to the metropolitan of Sydney! Checked ourselves into YHA central backpackers and headed off to explore.

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Mine & Erika’s favorite spot in Sydney was Bondi Beach. Reminded me a lot of Venice Beach in LA, just with way better views.

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&&& then this happened. Sorry mom.

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On a funnier note; it’s been interesting being here during the Winter Olympics. To native Australians, it’s kind of a big joke. All the news and commentary is very comical as they just make fun of how shitty they’re Olympians place.

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After a really long day, we went back to the hostel & attempted to get ready to go out. With no shampoo conditioner or body wash, it proved to be slightly difficult but we gave ourselves a Mexican shower and attempted to go out. We tried to have a nice dinner but we were too broke for anything nice. Which ended up with my face in a pizza, literally as I fell asleep on my date at the table. So we just went back and crashed. Tomorrow Erika leaves :(((((((( & I head to Melbourne (Melbin)

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Seventeen Seventy rock climbing/cliff jumping

So this place was best place we’ve gotten to crash at thus far. This was our view from out back of the van in the AM:

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Group consensus was to chill there for the day. We went off exploring & found some pretty serious rocks to climb & jump off of. See below our location on the peninsula;

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After we climbed we decided to jump. I almost chickened out 😦

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Trees here are pretty weird. They kinda look upside down because the smaller limbs are on the bottom and thicker on top:::20140224-092952.jpg

Before we left for Airlie Beach & the Whitsunday’s, we stopped in a park and made lunch.20140224-093013.jpg

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20140224-093241.jpg5 Hours & 1 cop encounter later we arrived in Airlie Beach a little after midnight. I made some taco’s for my mexican friends & then we drove around for about an hour on an almost empty tank of gas looking for a place to park. We found one & it wasn’t the most beautiful but it did its job. Tomorrow we go on our day trip on the Whitsunday’s and then have to immediately drive 8 hours to Cairns so we can drop the van off, and make our 6:45am flight.

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Fraser’s pt3; last day :(

6:00am, no joke, we were awoken by Brett blaring this song in his truck:

Thanks buddy. We had to get up so we’d be able to make it to Lake Wabby before the tides came in. Me & team E packed up camp, since we’d never be returning and headed out one last time.

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Lake Wabby is a 3.5 mile hike through the forest & is located directly adjacent to a sand blow. Clearly it was a struggle for me & Erika.

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Jenny, Erika & I forgot our sleds so we instead rolled down into the lake.

After our entrance Erika and I made another sandman and then climbed on top of tres Mexicans.

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We trucked it back through the jungle and then headed toward the ferry to take us away from Frasers 😦

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20140223-130751.jpgWas not a fun trip back; beacuse A. we were leaving fraser’s and all our new friends we met & B. I almost fell off the ferry.

When got back to Rainbow beach, we were planning on heading on down to Sydney & stopping at Surfers Paradise. Butttt since every single person we talked to said we had to go see the Whitsunday’s we reconsidered. Since the tres amigos were going up there as well the following day, we decided to join forces && drive up together. So basically we are doing a huge circle and back tracking but whats ever, thats the luxury of not making reservations in advance.

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Alejandro got worn out from doing his Mexican duties. 20140223-132422.jpg

20140223-132504.jpgThe Whitsunday’s are a 12 hour drive from Rainbow Beach so we stopped half way in the town of Seventeen Seventy which was a 4 hour drive. We found this awesome little parking lot at the top of the peninsula, parked and passed out.

Oh, I forgot to mention that as I was backing out of the parking lot to leave rainbow, I backed into a fence, denting the side of the car & breaking the taillight. I’ve lost count of the Caitlin – Aussie standings, but I’ll call this one a draw since we have full insurance and won’t have to pay for it !! Oh and then as we were driving up to 1770, Erika hit a bird smashing the front headlight. Go us!!!!!

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Fraser’s Island pt2: warning lots of pictures

Day two on the remote island of Fraser’s, we had bfast at 8:00am then jumped in the car and played with some dingos.

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First stop was small river that had the purest drinking water on the island. The rain water filters through the sand dunes then into the river. It’s so pure because the sand is so fine, so everyone filled up there water containers and had a drank.

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&& then we made a human damn:

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Next stop, the maheno shipwreck;

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Then the champaign pools;

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Which was followed by a hike up the mountain to see some views;

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Final stop of the day was Indian head, which has the best views on the island. But first we played in the sand and snuck a dip in the ocean, regardless of the sharks.

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I caught crabs.

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When we got back to camp, Jenny made us BBQ steak. I was told it was kangaroo meat but I am not sure. I made the mash potatoes which obvi was the best part of the meal. Then we hung out, had a dance party on the beach. Headed to bed early (2:00am) because Brett, our tour guide was waking us up at 6:00am to leave camp. Until tomorrow..

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Fraser’s Island pt1.

8:00am we packed our 4×4 with our team.

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Once the car was loaded we were off towards Fraser’s.

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Had to take the ferry over to the island since there are no paved roads or bridges, and got our first chance to spin the tires on the sand.

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You cannot swim in the ocean due the infestation of sharks so instead we headed to a natural crater lake in the middle of the island, swam && had lunch.

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Erika snapped this fantastic shot of me mid wipeout, after she tripped me.

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Once we were done playing in the water we went back to set up camp.

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Upon arrival at camp, we received our rationed food portions for the remainder of the trip from the back of the trailer. We were given some pretty dirty pots (mom you would have starved before using them) && we used them to cook us a delicious meal. && When I say we, I mean my two new Irish/British friends cooked for us.

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They made us a delicious Asian stir fry. Which was followed by some dranks at the aboriginal “night club” called winkies. We did the limbo, played some cards, & I made a large fire, again by me I mean my new Mexican friend helped me get it going.

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Off to play with some dingos.

Woke up to a banging on the car door. It was the police inquiring as to why we were camping in a restricted lot. Being young American girls has it’s perks because everyone else in the world assumes we’re idiots so I played it to my advantage, which helped us avoided a 500$ fine.
Caitlin 6 – Aussie 6
After out escape, had a very nice relaxing day at the Noosa doggie beach. The weather was more than ideal, and we just hung in the back lagoon and played with the doggies all day.

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Yes, most of the men here wear speedos, regardless of their weight.

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We had to pack up and shower earlier, because we had to be in Rainbow Beach for our Fraser Island briefing by 4:30 which was an hour north of Noosa. We showered && grabbed some food. For the first time since we’ve gotten here we ate food we actually enjoyed. FYI: the food in this country suckkkks. Had some delicious pizZzzza here tho.

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Followed by THE BEST ICE CREAM I’VE EVER EATEN IN MY WHOLE LIFE. Not to sound cocky or anything, but I’m kind of an ice cream connoisseur. I know it’s pretty impressive. And this my friends, is the best ice cream on earth. It’s made with liquid nitrogen so it’s the freshest ice cream you can eat. They mix the ingredients in the mixer (eggs, cream && some other ingredients depending on the flavor you picked) and pour liquid nitrogen into the mixer so it immediately turns to ice cream!!! It’s seriously so smooth in your mouth it feels like butter. Don’t be too jealous guys, I plan on opening up a franchise when I get back to the states so you can all try it 🙂

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I got the salty carmely popcorn:

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&& Erika got Honeycomb cream Alaska

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After that life changing experience, we headed to Rainbow beach for our briefing. Ya so we signed up for this trip, didn’t really know what we we’re doing, but everyone we talked to told us we had to check it out so now we’re here. Apparently we are going to the worlds largest sand island for 3 days that has no electricity, wild dingos that can eat you, && we’re sleeping on the beach. We get to take these 4×4 trucks and drive on the beach around the island during the day, and at night apparently it’s just a huge party with 150 other backpackers and we all sleep on the beach. When we got to Rainbow, they talked to is about all the things that could kill you, then immediately after insisted on us drinking. We’ll be on this remote island for 3 days, without being able to contact anyone so I’ll see you guys in 3 days, possibly 🙂 Byeeeeeeeee

An electric Valentines Day in Noosa.

I electrocuted myself this morning with the blow dryer. I wish I was kidding. I only have myself to blame. I was using my blow dryer from home and it clearly says you cannot use it on a lower voltage. But I’ve been using it this whole time fine, but not today.
Caitlin 5 – Aussie 6
We left Byron Bay (south of Brisbane) & headed back up the coast. We kinda are doubling back from Brisbane, but the only day we could get booked for our Fraser Island (north of Brisbane) tour was for the 16-18th so we had to head down to Byron’s, to get that out of the way so that we’d have enough time to make it to Sydney before Erika goes home on the 22nd.

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First we stopped and stocked up the van with some goodies at Coles (supermarket). FYI : they don’t have escalators here with stairs, instead they’re flat, which makes it very hard to stand on if you have any type of luggage. Except it’s pretty cool when you have a shopping cart on it because it locks it from moving until you’re ready to get off. What’s not so cool is how expensive shit is here: see below for a good laugh.

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Ummm no I don’t think that’s correct:

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This is also the largest box of Oreos you can buy. Incase you were also wondering, they don’t carry sugary cereal here, so no lucky charms.

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After that adventure we made or way to Noosa Heads. We made a quick detour to Ninbin, which everyone is claiming to be the Amsterdam of Australia. They are all dumb. It’s nothing like Amsterdam. You cannot buy weed “legally” in the stores and it’s one street with about 5 shops with a buncha aborigines trying to sell you pot in the alleyways. It was cool to see I guess, but I don’t think it was worth stopping for, since it put us 2 hours out of the way. Anywho here’s some shots we snapped from around the town:

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Next stop Noosa. Mom you would have loved this place. The town was so pretty, every tree they had light up at night and they had killer shopping. Expensive, but honestly it wasn’t that much more than Byron Bay & it was 10x nicer.

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Not to mention they had the most killer sunset;

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truly living up to the name of the Sunshine Coast

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Me & Erika scored an amazing parking spot which is where we slept, here is a view from out our back window:
Caitlin 6 – Aussie 6

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Since it was Valentines day, we got all dressed up and decided to go out for a nice dinner.

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butttt of course we didn’t have a reservation so we ended up just getting sushi. Again we attempted to go out but instead fell asleep because we are beach bums. Tomorrow we get another day in Noosa and then head to Fraser Island.

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I’m pretty sure this is what Woodstock was like.

We did it. We slept in the Arts Factory lot without getting any fines 🙂
Caitlin 5 – Aussie 4
After celebrating our victory, we went and explored the Arts Factory. When we were walking around the only thing I could compare it to would be Woodstock. Obviously I didn’t experience that, but the way the hostel was set up that’s what if felt like. Instead of rooms, you slept in teepees and huts, every inch of every building was painted with colorful graffiti, and all of the people there were wearing the most hippyish attire.

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They’re was a ton of campers parked in the lot and luckily we were able to secure a “legal” spot for the night, which gave you access to their facilities & bar.

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Unfortunately for me, my ear started hurting again. Out of drops that Colin gave me, I gave in and went to the hospital. Everyone we asked said if I went to the ER it would cost me a lot, so when I went in I lied and said that I already saw a doctor and that I spilt the drops he prescribed me. They believed me and sent me over to a local physician so he could just rewrite me the script. They had an immediate opening and I was seen in 10 minutes by the most attractive doctor in all of Australia. He gave me a quick check and told me that my ear was more infected and I needed a more intense drop than “the other physician” prescribed me. He said it was going to be a very expensive script, but I didn’t have any options so I just took it. The visit cost me 60$ which wasn’t too bad for not having insurance here and after, we headed to the chemist (pharmacy) and happily found out that their expensive script only cost 30$!! Go Australia for having affordable health care.

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Next we finally made it to the beach at Byron Bay !!!!!!!$&@!!$@@!!

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Where I proceeded to get sunburnt (note the legs) because I was too cheap to spend 25$ on the cheapest sunblock they had. Which ended up costing me more because then I had to buy aloe.
Caitlin 5 – Aussie 5

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We went back to the arts factory, showered and got dressed to go out. We stopped and chatted with a travel agent for a bit who tried to convince us to return our camper early and book a flight after our trip to Frasers island to Sydney instead of driving. She was so intent on telling us that the drive would be to much for us. If I’ve learned one important thing about traveling it’s this : Talk to everyone you can, listen to what they say, but no one knows what’s best for you, no matter how much they try and convince you other wise. So she gave us a good laugh and told us to check out the Light House which ended up being absolutely beautiful. So she wasn’t completely useless.

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After, we cooked ourselves a nice steak dinner with our box of free stuff and attempted to go out but instead ended up talking to some French and Italian dudes, with obviously funny accents, in the parking lot for a bit and then went to bed. Tomorrow we leave Byron Bay and head to Noosa Heads.

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It’s not a mini van, it’s a camper..

Last day in Cairns, didn’t really do much. Went back and met with the rental car company to see if we could work something out with the key. No dice; they wanted 550$ for the key unfortunately. After that disappointment, we just chilled at the lagoon until our 16:30 flight. We met up with our Cairns BFF Colin. He hooked me up with some antibiotic drops for my ear, unfortunately he only had literally 2 drops left. I used them last night and now my ear feels so much better. He also hooked us up big time with a car and a trip to Fraser Island, lots of discounts included.
Caitlin 3 – Australia 4

I have also transitioned into a professional backpacker by transforming my duffle bag into a backpack:

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We arrived in Brisbane (Brisbin) & headed to a hostel. Brisbane City Backpackers, it was pretty sweet. This reminded me of living on campus in college, except way better. They had a pool, a cool roof top deck with a view of the city, an awesome kitchen that you could cook and keep your food, and of course a bar. For 26$ a night, we shared a 6 person room, with AC.

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The next day we walked around the city in route to pick up our new whip.

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I have my own University here; CQ University.

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&&& here is our new ride. The Jucy Sleeper, equip with bed, sink, cooler, & a mini cook top. I know, it’s really awesome. For about 70$ a day, your completely covered if anything happens to the van, even if you hit a kangaroo with it.

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While waiting to load up our camper, some guys gave us a box of stuff including a buncha free beer. Caitlin 4 – Australia 4

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We got our stuff and were on our way to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Seriously best zoo in Aussie. Pretty cheap and you can actually interact/ have contact with the animals. I got to frolic in a field of docile kangaroos, what could be better than that?

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& here is a million pictures of me with the kangaroos.

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After our wonderful day with the Roos we got back in the camper and drove down the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. We were suggested to stay at this place called the Arts Factory, but by the time we got to all the hostels all the camper spots were taken. Soooo we had to drive around until 2:00am looking for a spot, couldn’t find one so we just made up a spot for ourselves in the Arts Factory. We were told by the staff that if we were caught, we’d get fined but we didn’t have any options sooo fingers crossed 🙂

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