Sydney to Brisbane Jucy road Trip
1 Jucy camper van
4 Jucy girls
574 Miles from Sydney to Brisbane.
In a beaut (it was bright purple and green) of a camper van, our plan was to traverse the 600 miles from Sydney City centre to Brisbane. Our van came with two double beds, a gas stove and kitchen utensils and was plenty big enough for the four of us. Or so we thought, until we actually lived in it.
Travelling by car meant we saw a lot more of the country and the local way of life.
A few observations:
1) Australia has a very American feel to it. The roads are so spacious and the buildings are big, with massive signs and ample parking space. It gives off the impression and confirms that this country has a lot of space and money.
2) Australians view themselves as far away from the action. I think they’re talking about Europe. They almost seem upset that they are not just round the corner from it. I guess when you’ve visited the whole of your country you just yearn for some ancient Roman pillars.
3) Australians really do think that 18 degrees is Winter. One lady walked by us whilst we were sunning ourselves in shorts and bikinis and said, ‘Girls it’s freezing’. To be fair it wasn’t as warm as I would have liked it but it certainly wasn’t jacket and woolly hat weather.
4) By comparison to the UK, everywhere is so clean! Hardly any litter and not much graffiti. The buildings aren’t those awful 70’s dingy brick walls you see everywhere at home and staff behind the counters actually want to chat rather than rushing you through before you can even collect your purse. Personally, I think the weather helps tremendously. Sunshine = Happiness.
Jucy Day 1: ⛺️ Catherine Hill Bay
Picked up Campervan (who came to be known as Harry Dick throughout the trip hahaa bit of a long story) and headed to Catherine Hill Bay upon recommendation of a friend. It took aaaages to get out of Sydney as we set sail just as rush hour was upon us. We drove across the Sydney Harbour bridge though so I was happy about that. Catherine Hill Bay was a tiny pokey village around an hour outside of Sydney and we parked up in a little car park next to the beach after checking out the local (ghost town) pub. Our first night was a little daunting for four backpackers who were still finding their feet in an unfamiliar country.
Jucy Day 2: ☀️ Newcastle
Woke to the sound of waves and had a lazy beach day, grabbing the opportunity to soak up some warm rays. The night was chilly but I would much rather that than swelteringly hot. Couldn’t imagine doing the same trip in 45 degree heat. In the afternoon we drove to Newcastle, a quiet little suburb in the winter months, although I am told it gets much busier in the summer. It seems a lot of towns shut down for the winter months, like everyone is hibernating. Yes because it’s so chilly haha, they have no idea!
Anyway, we stumbled across this cute little cafe and I had an amazing Acai bowl. I was in my element. After wandering and picking up a few essentials, we drove to Bar beach upon recommendation of the girls in the cafe. We often relied upon local’s word as it seemed the best way. They would often tell us where was best to camp for free too. Bonus!
Jucy Day 3: 🍷 Hunter Valley
Woke up to a whole board walk of people running, talking and skating. We hardly felt inconspicuous in our bright Jucy Camper! After a breakfast of Janneke’s yummy banana and oatmeal pancakes and jam we braved the freeeeeeeeeeezing cold sea pool and then an equally as cold shower before I drove us to Hunter Valley for a spot of wine tasting.
As soon as we hit the beginnings of the outback, away from the coast, I knew this was where I felt most at home. The beach towns are gorgeous but I have a feeling I am going to enjoy the centre a whole lot more. We spotted wild Kangaroos and plenty of horses and I had a big smile on my face.
Wine tasting was at Keith Tulloch Gallery and it was just glorious. We paid $5 each and tried some exquisite wines, none of which names I can now remember of course. The sun was shining and the view was amazing and I was getting slowly pissed. Lovely!
That night we drove to Forster and found a cute little place for a much needed meal – ‘Little Lucifers’ – and got chatting to the friendly owner. It was warm and had a nice atmosphere and we didn’t want to leave for our cold Jucy camper.
Jucy Day 4: 🎤 Coffs Harbour
Headed to beach towns named Crescent Head and Coffs Harbour, neither of which I particularly liked. Still, it was good to see life outside of the big cities. Found a beer garden in Coffs Harbour that seemed to have the whole neighbourhood in it drinking. There was a big microphone they would use to give a running commentary about an upcoming raffle.
Jucy Day 5: 🌊 Yamba (My favourite!!)
Best Day! Stopped at a gorgeous beach town named Yamba. I liked it for its easy going vibes, its beauty and the friendly locals. We ordered tasty Turkish salads from a lovely lady and I spent time being a hippy by listening to the lapping of the quiet ocean.
Byron Bay continued on the Hippy theme and we instantly took to it as a town we felt comfortable in and could perhaps see ourselves living in. We splashed out and got ourselves a parking space on a camp site. I can’t tell you how nice it was to see some showers!
That night we headed out to the town, partying at a uv paint club and danced on the tables. Met some cool people and had a few too many g and t’s. It was all great fun.
Jucy Day 6: 🍫 Byron Bay
Massively hungover but of course partied again when darkness fell. Saw a different side of Byron to the one the night before – went to The Beach Hotel which was apparently THE place to hang out but I didn’t like the vibe one bit. Rubbish music and no friendly goers. Partied in a place called Lalas and on my way back home I paid $5 for the best caramel salted take-away brownie. It was literally a cafe selling brownies at 2am. He even warmed it up too. I love how that is basically a highlight of today hahaa.
Jucy Day 7: 🏢 Surfers Paradise
Arrived at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. First impressions were not great. Skyscrapers everywhere and nothing quirky about the place. A must see for some people but I couldn’t wait to leave. Having said that, we took a stroll through the waves and I enjoyed every second in the warm (finally!) water. Every time we got out of The Jucy van after arriving somewhere closer to Brisbane, we could feel the temperature change and it was marvellous.
Jucy Day 8: 📁 Surfers Paradise
I had my orientation session with The Global Work and Travel company who provided good information but DEFINITELY not worth the money I paid. Shame. I spent some time in their offices chatting over a few things, then hung out at the beach until we decided it was time to get Juced up again. We hit the road and found a quiet little spot just south of Brisbane to park our bums for the night. Another evening of travel scrabble and wine took place and I listened to the lapping of waves nearby as I fell asleep in the penthouse. (See Jucy Campervan picture)
Jucy Day 9: 🐋 North Stratbroke Island
Ferry to North Stratbroke Island to see some wildlife. We were extremely lucky as we managed to see some humpback whales breaching, some Dolphins close to shore and a blue tongued lizard within touching distance. It was a good day but I don’t think we picked the best island. From other’s experiences, the island just next door to Stratbroke was the one to go to. I am going to see if I can find time to go at some point soon.
Today was also the night of the ‘possum extravaganza’ as I like to have it known. We had just parked up when Sarah shouts, ‘Guys come quickly, there’s a koala outside!’ Well we all scrambled out of the Campervan to find a rather large possum making its way along the nearby fence. We had a good laugh about that. The chap also staying in his camper next door feeds them and knows them each by name. We thought it was all pretty cute until he said, ‘if you get too close they’ll rip you to pieces.’ After that we kept our distance haha.
Jucy Day 10: ✋ Brisbane
Actually not a lot to report as we had to return Jucy and check in to City Backpackers. It was all pretty stressful actually after an otherwise stress-free 10 days. I was sad to see Jucy go as we had had some very fun times. How lucky we were that we all got on, we all wanted to go to Brisbane and we all met at the same time. I will remember it forever.