Welcome to Chapter 6 of our Short Travel Stories section, mostly stories about a great roadtrip around Australia, and a few more in New Zealand and South East Asia. Want to tell yours? Leave us a comment below or send us an email!
Chapter 6: Discovering Newcastle
Once on the Greyhound bus I met a Dutch guy sitting next to me. We were both headed to Newcastle, the biggest city, if you can call it that, in New South Wales after Sydney.
We get down at night without any expectations, and frankly we’re both surprised, it’s nice and lively, with venues full of people. We get to a YHA and stay there the night.
The next morning we meet a German and an American, both cool dudes. The German is a sarcasm master, funny but chilled, when you reply back to him he takes it lightly and laughs it off. The American is really easygoing, more serious but cool, and the Dutch guy is like the dad of the group, more responsible but still in for anything.
We rent a car and decide to drive up the coast for a bit to some sand dunes close to Nelson’s Bay. When we’re close we realize the car won’t make it all the way to the sand, so we park it, start walking and a Wrangler offers us a ride. We hop on and in two seconds we’re there. At the entrance there’s like five cars stuck, but not us baby. They drop us at the top of one of the dunes.
In the long distance you can see the blue Pacific Ocean, but below us it was a vast land full of sand. I had never seen something like that, I was surrounded by this golden powder that amazed me, I felt like in a desert.
We start fooling around but our plan backfires. We’re trying to slide down the sand with some cartons, but instead we get stuck. Change of plans, we just run around and roll downwards. Still pretty fun.
Covered in sand we walk and jump into the water. We’re basically swimming by ourselves, and the German is just swimming like crazy, going deeper and deeper. Then I start wondering why are we swimming by ourselves. So I get out and go ask a couple sitting close to the water.
“There’s sharks”, they say.
“Guys! Guuuuys! Get out now! Now! There’s sharks!” I scream.
I panicked, literally. I could see the German guy in the distance, really deep, really far away. He started swimming back almost crying, you could see the fear in his face, poor guy. Luckily, we’re all alive and in one piece.
After that we decide to change beach. We drive further up to a small beach protected by a bay and an island right in front of it. We have some beers so we bury them in hole we dig right next to the water where the waves keep them cool. We sit down to rest, drink and talk nonsense, and it feels like we’ve been friends for years.
I start thinking about how well this East Coast trip has started. I’ve been backpacking for a while now, and sometimes I think that I’ll get to a point where I’ll be sick of meeting new people, or they’ll have nothing else to offer to me, but no. I keep meeting new amazing people, I keep joining random adventures and I keep being surprised with deep conversations about things I haven’t discussed in the past, learning new cultures or just laughing my ass of with silly small talk. Here I am with three guys I just met less than twenty-four hours ago, and we’re drinking beers that are buried in the sand, and talking about past, present and future and it’s great.
After a while I dose off with the Dutch. The other two wake me up to see if I wanted to go with them to the island right in front. I’m tired so I pass and go back to sleep.
When I wake up they tell me they went to the island, the tide went down and there was a sort of sandy path that allowed them to walk all the way to it. The island is tiny but green, wild and mysterious.
I regret so much not going with them, bad call. The next day I was leaving and I know I won’t be there again, at least for a long time. I guess that happens a lot when you travel, you miss out on nice adventures for bad calls, but it helps to remind you that sometimes you just have to say yes and join in, rather than missing out for a nap. Of course you can’t do everything, but again, you should know when to say yes instead of passing.
At night we drive back to Newcastle and just when we’re getting into the city, we stop at a traffic light and a car full of girls stops next to us. The German pulls down his window and shouts at them: “What are you up to tonight ladies?” And when we less expected it we’re partying with five gorgeous Aussies, we’re absolutely smashed and we have to leave the next day really early, but who cares? This came up and we just said yes.