After a couple of weeks staying in the sleepy town of Laurieton while Blakey learned to paramotor, we were finally back on the road. Laurieton was a cute little place… for a weekend. After two weeks though I was looking forward to moving again.
Although it wasn’t all bad – we got to hang out with some really cool Aussies for the two weeks and when the boys were paramotoring on Grant’s Beach I went with them to take pictures of them flying and chill out. It’s actually hilarious watching blokes run up and down a beach trying to get into the air with a massive motor on their backs, they looked like giant seagulls flapping away.
I’ve been trying to persuade Blakey to write a review about his paramotoring adventures but it’s like pulling teeth. I’ve given up… I think I’ll have to write it instead and he’ll forever stay as the silent team member, lurking in the stories but never speaking. Tonight we’re actually going to stay with one of his paramotoring friends near Sydney, so I’ll be able to get his take on the paramotoring course too.
Before we carried on with our journey south, we decided to stay in Port Macquarie for a night to check out the beaches and visit the Koala Hospital, as we’d yet to see any of the little balls of fur out in the wild.
We stayed at a little site near Lighthouse Beach, a quiet and beautiful stretch of sand to the south of town. We sat on the beach with a few beers to watch the sunset, and saw some dolphins leaping out the waves in front of us. It’s crazy how many dolphins are chilling out along Australia’s coasts – Blakey said when he was paramotoring, he could just look down from the sky and see them in the water.
The sunset turned the sky all sorts of amazing colours, as Blakey pointed out all the different cloud types with his new found knowledge of the skies (crucial to the keen paramororist apparently). We were just seeing the first few stars come out above us when we got slightly confused by the rising of a second sun over the water… too many beers perhaps? It was the giant super moon sticking it’s head above the water – blood red and huge. The reflections in the water were amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it. We seemed to be the only people on the beach too, making it even more eerie.
The next day we went to the Koala Hospital, which was really sad. They rescue koalas which have been hit by cars or injured in bush fires and nurse them back to health to be released. However, the majority of koalas are brought it because they’re diseased – apparently chlamydia is rife in the little buggers, who knew! Clearly they missed the talks about sexual health at koala school…
For the afternoon we decided to go out of town and do something a bit different, so we headed to Bago Vineyards, which is a winery with the added bonus of also having a giant maze. Drinking lots of wine then trying to escape from the maze definitely sounded like a good idea.
The winery itself is beautifully decorated, and has a little chocolate shop inside with some very expensive treats… $2 for a single chocolate truffle anyone? We decided they were definitely out of our price range as broke backpackers… until we tasted a lot of wine with lunch and then suddenly $2 truffles seemed very reasonable and yes of course we’ll have some please. Nomnomnom.
Not only did the chocolates seem reasonable after luchtime drinks, but then so did buying a case of wine. My reasoning being that as we have the van for three months I’m clearly going to get through a lot of wine, so might as well buy it in bulk…right? We aren’t very good at keeping to our budget, but we’re trying…
We noticed that there were a lot of well dressed people wandering the maze and vineyard… I know that we’re usually dressed like scabby travellers, but even so, everyone was looking very posh. We then spotted a film crew lurking. Turns out they were filming for Australia’s Extreme Weddings or something, and the wedding breakfast was located at the vineyard the day we were there, and the wedding was going to be somewhere super posh the next day. The guy serving us at the bar said the wedding flowers alone cost more than his whole wedding. Crazy.
The maze was really fun, although in the afternoon sun it was mega hot. Despite the wine (or maybe because of it?) we managed to get through with minimal backtracking. It was all beautifully kept – I don’t know if it was all super neat beacuse of the filming, or if it’s always that pretty, but either way we appreciated it. The maze has got 2km of trails so it can take a fair while to get out the other side. I wonder if they ever need to go fish people out at closing time because they’re stuck?