Sydney to Maleny and back

Ross and I set off in the eco camper van

Ross and Callum set off in the eco van

We left Sydney heading north. Our first night we pulled off the road onto a track through a forest and camped for the night.

First night on the road trip

Second day we made it to Nambucca Heads and awoke to this view.

Second morning on the road trip

As my two travelling companions are both non-drivers, it was agreed that I would drive and they would cook. So, inspired by this view, Ross whipped up a storm on the stove on our second morning.

Ross whips up a storm on the stove

We offered Fio a cup of tea, and in return she gave us the low down on the local area, and took this snap of us enjoying our first cooked meal on the trip.

Second day breakfast

On Tuesday (third day) we made it to Pottsville to visit Sharyn and Dennis. Sharyn is a long-standing friend of my mum’s. It was great to finally meet her after having met her kids and heard so much about her. When we arrived there was a freshly baked chicken pie in the kitchen of which we made short work! 🙂 Here’s Sharyn on the phone in her kitchen.

Sharyn in her kitchen

After staying overnight at Sharyn’s (thanks again Sharyn) we drove to Brisbane to pick up our third hombre. On the way we met some tree girls. Good times.

Girls in trees

Then we collected Ahmed from the airport.

Ahmed joins the brotherhood

After picking up Ahmed we were heading north to meet Fergus and Trijntje in Maleny. We got pretty close and pulled off the road to find somewhere to camp for the night. Eventually we pulled off the road and stopped. We were awoken to the sound of something banging against the van…

Awoken by cows

Once our bedmates were chased away, we realised we’d chosen a splendid spot to camp.

Fourth morning

After a very late night and an equally late start, we made it to Maleny to stay with Fergus and Trijntje for a night. They live in a truly amazing house built from rammed earth. Here’s a shot from the gardens showing just how lush and tropical this part of the world is.

The house in Maleny

After two fantastic days with Fergus and Trijntje, we set off for a night out in Brisbane. We ran into one of our tree climbing friends again, and they invited us to stay at their place. In the morning we bore witness to the Australian man and his barbecue in action! Quite a feast it was. Thanks again Chris and Jasmine.

Aussie man and his bbq

Then we cruised a little further down to the travellers mecca of Byron Bay. We proceeded to get outrageously stoned on our first night. Here’s some small token of our adventures.

Stoned in Byron Bay

Naturally, severe munchies ensued, and the chocolate cake was rapidly devoured.

Munching of chocolate cake

After a couple of days of Byron Bay, we cruised on southwards in the direction of home. On the way we spotted a couple of signs for Fredo’s Pies. 50 varities of pies. We just couldn’t resist. Ahmed devoured the crocodile meat pie. He was fairly impressed. We had to snap a shot with Marilyn.

First round of Sydney photos

An assortment of photos from Sydney follows.

Surfers stroll through the streets of Sydney

It’s quite common to see surfers strolling through the streets of Sydney. In fairness, this was just across the road from the beach though! 🙂

Bondi Beach

The first picture was just across the road from this, Bondi Beach.

Ross, master of the ocean

Ross, master of the ocean. 🙂

White ladies of Primo Italiano

The white ladies. This was taken at the Primo Italiano Italian Festival.

Otis on Ricketty Street

While leaving Agata’s place I couldn’t help but laugh at this sign. Otis, the lift company, are located at 5-9 Ricketty Street. Oh dear, that was an unfortunate choice!

Tunnocks Caramel Wafers in Sydney

I spotted Tunnocks Caramel Wafers in a speciality sweet shop in Pitt St Mall. I just couldn’t resist.

Excess bandwidth charges in Australia

What is bandwidth?

A quick explanation for non-techies. Think of an internet connection like a water pipe. You can choose what size of pipe to order. The bigger the pipe, the higher the water pressure. Internet is the same. But as well as the speed / size of your pipe, you also have to think about your total usage. So how many litres of water you pull through the pipe. In internet terms, that’s bandwidth usage.

Typically, in the UK / Europe / US / Canada, you choose your size of pipe, and that’s it. You can run the water almost as much as you like. If you leave all your taps on all the time, the company will complain. But otherwise, you’ll be fine. Not so in Australia. All connections charge you per litre, or in internet terms, per gigabyte. It’s the same in South Africa.

It’s not such a bad deal. The more water (or bandwidth) you use, the more you pay. Seems fair enough.

Australia

You choose your quantity up front. So you might pay for 2Gb or 4Gb or even 40Gb. The pain comes if you should go over your pre-ordered usage. Your pre-ordered bandwidth will cost you anywhere from $2.50 to $10 per Gb depending on how much you buy. Once you go over that, the excess charges are typically described as “15c per Mb”. That’s $150 per Gb.

Your first 6Gb cost $10 each, then use one more by mistake, oops, here’s a bill for $150. Arrrgggghhhhhh.

In South Africa when you run out, your connection shuts off. Then you can call your company and pay for some more. At a little over the regular price. In Australia excess bandwidth costs 15 to 60 times more than standard bandwidth. If I were an Australian citizen I’d campaign to have this type of excess charging banned.