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[Only just written. Still needs to be proof-read.]

Saturday 30th December (Brisbane, Byron Bay, and Coffs Harbour)

####PDA crashed, and data lost. Needs to be re-written.#####

After having to drive along Gordon Street (that ginger scrote gets everywhere), we found the Youth Hostel. Becky did an excellent job of getting us there, using only the small maps in the Lonely Planet guide to Australia. The reception was closed, but the two blokes who man reception were playing volleyball in the pool. Since Becky had called to say we'd be late, one of them got out, and checked us in. Although he wasn't her type, I'm sure that Becky was pleased to be served by a fit topless man (although she reckoned that they were probably both gay).

There was a Spanish couple already in our room, and one other backpacker. The room seemed comfortable enough, and the Spanish totty was very sexy. Becky gave me the job of finding some sexy blokes to go out with on New Year's eve, while she got changed to go out for dinner. I sat down, and started chatting to a bloke who was sitting on his own. He wasn't sexy, but I thought he might know some sexy blokes. It turned out that he was leaving in about 10 minutes, so I chatted to him for a bit, before going back to our room. There were six beds, and a Spanish couple had already taken two of them - the bird was very sexy.

Having failed to find any sexy blokes, we walked down the road to find something to eat. Before leaving the hostel, I changed out of my Sugar Daddy T-shirt, to avoid embarrassing Becky an more. The curry house was closed for the day, but we found another restaurant that was still open. Feeling adventurous, I accepted Becky's suggestion of having oysters as a starter. They were very nice, as was the steak main course. After finishing our food, we went for a drink on the beech. Not only had Becky bought me an aphrodisiac, but she was taking me for a romantic drink on the beech. People will begin to talk!

Back at the hostel, we had another stubby before calling it a night (to avoid embarrassing Becky, I left my stubby holder in the car). While Becky was checking her e-mail, I sat down, and wrote up my dive log. There was a ginger bloke sitting opposite me, with his back to me watching the TV. He was soon joined by some top totty, and he turned round to talk to her - "he" was actually a bird. They were both speaking German very quickly. I could hardly understand a word, but I was convinced that they were both batting for the other side. After a few minutes, one of the gay receptionist boys turned up, started snogging the totty lesbian, and they disappeared together!

Sunday 31st December (New Year's Eve in Coffs Harbour)

Being only a few minutes' drive away from the Backpackers' Hostel, we only had to get up at about 7 o'clock. On the way, we stopped off at a phone box to try to phone Ugly Northern's parents again (we'd also tried before dinner last night), but still had no answer. Ugly Northern lives in Melbourne, but I've been unable to contact him, and want to arrange some beers before I go back to Blighty.

The blokes in the dive shop were very friendly (obviously giving me jip for having such a silly pencil case), but everything was really rushed. They didn't have any DIN cylinders, but one of the blokes assured me that there were A-clamp to DIN converters on the boat (I didn't bother to check whether they were 232-bar DIN fittings, because the A-clamp fitting must be 232-bar). There were quite a few blokes on the boat, but there was one totty diver, and two totty dive instructors. After loading up the boat, I checked about the A-clamp to DIN converters. Fortunately, he was right, and, also, they weren't 300-bar DIN connectors.

One of the totty dive guides came over to us, and said that we were diving with her, and two other divers. One of the other divers was a Dutch bloke, and the other was a lardy Aussie Rebreather diver. Becky asked him where he was from, and he replied "Sydney". He didn't make any effort to have any more conversation, so I didn't bother talking to him at all.

Getting kitted up was fairly easy, and I even managed to get my fins on myself, without any help. My octopus was still leaking, because my only other choices were to let somebody I'd never met before fix it, or to fix it myself. Neither of the repairing options seemed sensible. The totty dive instructor seemed concerned about the leaking regulator, but I told her that it would be OK.

The visibility was pretty pants, and the water was a bit colder than yesterday. I spent the first half of the dive trying to figure out why the water was colder, when we were 300km further south than we were yesterday - about half-way through the dive, I realised that it's because we're in the southern hemisphere! Becky thought we'd lost the Dutch bloke, but he'd aborted the dive before getting in the water, and the totty dive guide had neglected to tell us! The rebreather bloke had this really annoying habit of trying to squeeze between me and the bottom of the sea - bearing in mind his enormous gut, this was impossible, so he kept knocking into me. The totty dive guide also took loads of pictures - getting in our way, so we couldn't see what she had found, and also kept kicking us in the face.

Back on the boat, we were offered soup and nibbles. After finishing my soup, I realised that it was a choice between soup and tea. I had assumed that I could have tea as well as soup, so had to go without tea. The dive totty stripped out of her wetsuit, to be followed by Becky. Excellent - two sexy women swimming around.

The visibility on the second dive was a bit better, but DutchHoudiniBoy kept disappearing, FatRebreatherSwimUnderneathBoy kept trying to fin underneath me, and TottyInstructorCameraBird kept taking pictures and getting in the way. During the dive, I saw FatRebreatherSwimUnderneathBoy swimming towards Becky. Because she swims closer to the bottom than I do, he realised that he couldn't squeeze underneath her, so he swam above her, and pushed her into a rock below. What a tosser! A bit later, I saw a diver finning downwards, but slowly going upwards, with his dive guide not noticing that there was a problem. He wasn't going up very fast, so I decided not to get involved. His dive guide eventually noticed, and she went up to help him descend. I assumed that she then made sure that he was properly weighted.

Our dive guide kept on getting lost - she seemed to be continuously looking for the other totty dive guide, and DutchHoudiniBoy. Towards the end of the dive, she suddenly went deeper. Granted, it was only down to about 15m, but I wasn't going to be following her reverse profile, so stayed at 8m. After a while, she suddenly turned around, and swam towards the other totty dive guide to rescue the bloke who was going up to the surface again. She gave him a rock the size of a football, and towed him towards the shot line. While we were ascending, I looked at the other totty dive guide's contents gauge, and she only had 40 bar left. She really needs more experience before leading dives.

Back on shore, there was some nice cleavage waiting for us! We loaded up the trailer, and then went back to the dive centre. I started unloading the trailer, and lifted off someone's box. I put it down, and one of the blokes told me to tip it upside down. This seemed strange, but I did what I was told. He then came over, and had a go at me for there being regs in there. Bloody cheek! I then went to find our box, so that our dive computers and Becky's cameras weren't damaged by someone turning it upside down. After helping unload most of the stuff off the trailer, I decided that I'd done enough, and went to sort our kit out, while Becky sorted out what she'd borrowed from the dive centre.

When we got back to the car, we realised that the butter that Becky'd bought for our breakfast scones had completely melted. Fortunately, I had put it inside the plastic container, so we didn't end up with melted butter all over the floor of the car! We then went back to the hostel, to get showered and changed before going back to the jetty for some fish 'n' chip action. We then went to get some postcards, and (as in Florida), I couldn't figure out whether the woman serving was flirting with me, or not. It didn't really matter, since I was spending the day with Becky, so wasn't going to pull some bird. As Becky pointed out, it's a good job that she's not the jealous type.

We then went to see the Big Banana. On the way there, Becky read out what there was to see in Coffs Harbour. One thing that caught my attention was the Dutch Clog Museum, but Becky refused to tell me how to get there! The Big Banana was as tacky as it to be expected, but we managed to get Tom a Big Banana stubby holder. As we were wondering around, Becky asked whether Coffs Harbour should have an apostrophe. She's learning well! I'd been wondering this since we'd arrived, but hadn't found out where the name comes from.

Becky then suggested driving south, to see what we could find. This seemed like a good idea. As I turned onto the main road, I saw a sign pointing to the Dutch Clog museum. Becky stayed in the car, while I went for a quick look. I think that Becky had the right idea! We then continued our journey south, and went to visit ######. We got an excellent picture of a passion wagon, saw some good views, saw a strange speed trough, and a lizard. I had a quick kip on a park bench while Becky went to check out the beach.

Back in Coffs Harbour, Becky got some nibbles and beer for this evening, and we then went back to the hostel for a quick kip before starting drinking for New Year's Eve. Becky was on the unlimited punch for $7, but I decided to stick to the beer. There weren't many people drinking when we started, and somebody came in with some pizza. Becky decided that she wanted some pizza, so we drove off to find the pizza shop (I'd only had two sips of beer, so was OK to drive). While we were waiting for the pizza to be cooked, we went to the nearest bottle shop. I was amazed to see that it was a drive-through!

By the time we got back to the hostel, there were lots more people there, and it was difficult to get a seat. We sat down next to lots of French totty (and a Canadian bloke), and made friends by offering some chicken dips to them. One of the French birds was a diver, and was very friendly. The Canadian bloke (who looked about 12, but was probably much older) was very blunt, and immediately asked whether Becky and I were going out. I approve of such bluntness.

At about 9 o'clock, we then had a choice between going to watch the fireworks, and joining the hostel guys on the beach, or going to a club. I didn't fancy the club, and Becky and the French totty were all up for the fireworks, so off we went. Almost as soon as we got out of the bus, we lost all the French totty, except for the friendly diver. We gave up trying to find the rest of the French totty, and found a spot where we could watch the fireworks. After the fireworks were over, somebody launched a few flares. Hopefully this was agreed with the coastguard to use up some just about to expire flares.

We went to the beech, but couldn't find the hostel guys. The only bar that wasn't ticket only was some pikey pub, so we just went back to the hostel. There weren't many people around, and the French bird was keen to go to a pub. I didn't fancy it, so decided to just go to bed if Becky wanted to go to the pub. Soon afterwards, all the French totty arrived, so we stayed at the hostel. Other backpackers arrived a bit later, and we were joined by a strange Swedish bloke, who was drinking cheap wine straight out of the bag. It was quite interesting chatting to him!

I noticed that there was a board at the hostel giving information about Coffs Harbour. I read it, and realised that there definitely should be an apostrophe in Coffs Harbour, because it was named after some bloke called Coff (actually his name wasn't Coff, but somebody spelt his name wrongly, and it's been spelt Coff ever since!). I couldn't believe it - a whole town with bad apostrophe usage! At about quarter-past twelve, both Becky and I were ready for bed! It had been a very tyring day, but I was amazed that we were going to sleep so soon after midnight on New Year's eve. The Spanish couple had moved into a double room, and had been replaced by a Swedish couple. When we got back to the room, we found that they'd put a sheet hanging down from the top bunk, and were both sleeping on the bottom bunk. I assumed that they'd done that so that they wouldn't be woken up by us coming into the dorm, but Becky (not being as innocent as I am) assumed they had done that so that they could have a bit of slap 'n' tickle.

Monday 1st January (Coffs Harbour to Brisbane)

We woke up at about 8AM, and I found that there was nobody up and about at the hostel. Knowing that we had a 550km drive ahead of us, we knew that we needed to have a bit of breakfast action first. Fortunately, there was a restaurant open that was serving breakfast. On the way there, I posted a postcard to Ugly Northern, hoping that he'd receive it before I left Sydney on Friday. I wasn't that hopeful. The breakfast was nice, and there was lots of totty serving. My only complaint was that the "free" tea top-up involved pouring boiling water on the already brewed tea leaves. Fortunately, we only had one pot topped up, so we combined two lots of tea leaves to make a half-decent cuppa.

[To be continued - Tom's just on his way up in the lift]

We went back to the hostel to check out, and then started our journey north. It was another fun journey, but it took longer than our journey south, because we took the scenic route. It was the wrong time of day for roos, but Becky still pointed out lots of wildlife. We stopped for lunch at a small town along the way. As we came into the town, my phone bleeped, indicating that I had a voicemail message (I'll be having words with Orange about not canceling my voicemail diverts). It took us ages to find anywhere that was serving food, and ended up buying pies from a bakery (but no tea). As Becky was buying the pies, I got a text message from Scary - "How is your speech writing going.". While we were eating our pies in the car (it was raining outside), I picked up my voicemail message. There were two messages from Scary. It was about 2AM on New Year's Eve in England, he sounded really bladdered, and we could hardly understand what he was saying. I called him to check that he had actually proposed, and he said that he had. Hopefully Suzanne would still say "yes" when she sobered up in the morning (and Scary would still remember proposing!).

After finishing our pies and drinks, we drove out of town, and found a tea shop, so I popped in to get a take-away cuppa. We then continued our journey (including going through Blue Knob, and a town in which grass is legal). After going over lots of wooden bridges, we found a secluded spot next to a small stream to stop for a break. Becky pointed out a few birds in a tree, and I started taking a video of them (I think I missed Becky saying "Don't turn around, Billy, I'm having a wee!"). I updated this trip report, and Becky wrote our postcard to Zoe. Our quiet spot was interrupted by some idiot reverse in with his motor boat. He actually seemed to consider launching his boat into a few inches of water, and the pokey little kids were being pokey.

We continued out journey back, and stopped at a dam near Crams Farm. It made a nice break, and I suggested that Becky had a go driving the car. While I went to take a picture of the Crams Farm sign, and got back to the car to find Becky reading the manual! I soon stopped that behaviour, and just sat in the passenger seat while she started driving. She was amazed to discover how easy it was to drive. I took over before we got onto public roads, and carried on driving north.

Our next stop was at a mountain, where we had a walk through a rainforrest, and saw loads of wildlife. The one that springs to mind is frog, whose call sounds like "Eh Eh Eh Eh", so I called it the Scouse Frog! There was also a Bush Turkey (or Brush Turkey as it was called at this place), and a Kucaburra. My camera's battery was flat, but, fortunately, Becky still had charge in hers. Despite lots of looking, we didn't see a Duck Bill Platipuss.

Becky suggested getting the river taxi into town, so we went to check the times. Becky came back with the times, but then realised that she hadn't moved her clock back an hour, so had to recheck them! After getting the correct times, we drove back to her place, dropped off a few things, and then walked to the river taxi stop.

The views from the boat were really nice, but there was a family getting in our way. The little kid seemed quite well behaved, and Becky got quite brudy. When we got off the boat, it started raining, so we had to run to get some shelter. There weren't many restaurants open, so we ended up in an Italian restaurant. Feeling adventurous, I ordered a seafood pizza. It was OK, but I won't be ordering it again. We were both really tired, so went back to Becky's place soon after finishing dinner.

Tuesday 2nd January (Brisbane and Sydney)

After dropping Becky off at work, I went to Australia Zoo (the one founded by Steve Irwin). The zoo opens at 09:00, and my flight to Sydney was due to leave at 12:30, so I didn't have long to spend at the zoo. I drove out of town on Bruce Highway, and tried to find a radio station to listen to. Becky had been in charge of radio entertainment before, but the radio seemed easy to use. After initially tuning into a foreign radio station on 93.5FM (possibly Aljazeera), and a religious station, I found a good music station.

It took about an hour to get from Becky's work to the zoo. Before going into the zoo, I packed my bags, ready for a quick getaway at the airport. The totty at the ticket counter was very friendly, and even asked whether I'd hired a car for my visit. I told her that I'd hired one through Avis, and so she gave me a 10% discount. I hate rushing around things, but I had very little time, so only went to see the animals that I particularly wanted to see - walabees, kanagaroos, koalas, and Tasmanian Devils.

After seeing what I wanted to see, I headed back into Brisbane. It was 10:15, I was about 60km outside Brisbane, I had no idea how to get to the airport, and I had to check-in by 11:30! I drove back along the Steve Irwin Highway, to get to Bruce Highway. The aussie motorways are good, but everybody travels at the speed limit across all lanes, so there was no way that I could break the speed limit. I got to the airport, and realised that I'd hired the car from the international terminal, but that I needed to depart from the domestic terminal. Oooops! I pulled into the car rental returns part of the international terminal. Fortunately, there were a few Hertz guys there, who told me that there was an Avis car rental returns area at the domestic terminal (about 3km away).

Dropping of the car was very efficient, but I was charged extra for vehicle registration, and airport taxes. I'll be having words with EBookers when I return. I changed into my trousers, before walking into the departure terminals. I couldn't find a trolley, but I hadn't used one at Heathrow, Auckland, Christchurch, or Brisbane before, so just carried my dive kit this time.

I got to the Virgin Blue check-in queue at about 11:40, and joined the queue. Unfortunately, I got confused, and joined the queue for people who had checked-in online. Fortunately, the totty at the desk was OK with this, and checked me in anyway. I then went straight to the security queue.
Security bloke: Have you got anything in your pockets?
Me: No, it's all in there (pointing to my bag and fleece).
Security bloke: What about your camera?
Me: It's in there.
Security bloke: What about your camera?
Me: It's in there.
Security bloke: What about the pouch?
Me: I've taken the camera out, and put it in my bag.
Security bloke: Oh, that's a good idea. One step ahead of us, I see.

Well, it doesn't seem to take much to be one step ahead. Having deodorant in my bag seemed to cause problems, and the bloke who examined it asked me how it works. I just pressed the top of the aerosol to show him! Knowing that Virgin Blue would charge for food, I had a quick bite to eat at the Red Rooster. After that, I updated my trip report a bit, but my PDA crashed when I tried to save the Word file, and the file didn't seem to exist when I reset it. Hopefully it would re-appear when I synchronised with my PC. I also wanted to check whether I could send and receive e-mails abroad, so sent a quick e-mail to Becky. I was impressed that my PDA connected to GPRS without any changes to the settings, and it sent the e-mail without any problems.

It was time to board the flight, so I turned off my mobile, and PDA, and got onto the plane. I found my seat (10D), but there was somebody already sitting in it. I asked what her seat number is, and she said 10E. I asked the totty in seat 10E, and she said 10E. We called over the air hostess, who moved the women who was in my seat to the back of the plane. I woke up when the fasten seat-belts sign was turned off, and continued updating the trip report. I'm glad that I have an infra-red keyboard, and not a Bluetooth keyboard, because both Virgin Blue, and Air Kiwi, both forbid the use of Bluetooth. I was gagging for a cuppa, but didn't want to pay $3 for a tea. I eventually gave in, and ordered a cuppa. The air hostess said it was complementary, because of the confusion about my seat. Excellent!

I then spent a few days in Sydney.

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Created on: 14 Jan 2007. Modified on: 14 Jan 2007.
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