Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Sunshine Coast

The last 2 weeks have flown by. The transition from the solitude of the the Nothern Territory in to the social whirlwind of the Sunshine Coast took place seamlessly. Christmas too has started creeping in.

In Emerald I drove around with Neal, a fellow biker who kindly put me up for the night, to check out the Christmas lights in town. Some neighbourhoods certainly do make an effort. I particularly liked the ones that had Kangaroo lights with Christmas hats on! Now THAT is what I call an Australian Christmas! The show however, was stolen by mother natures lights that night. I have never seen such an active display of lightning. Wonderful.

Kangaroo lights
My first stop on the coast was with Dave, a fellow traveller with roots in Emu Park in the form of a
self built log cabin, or "Man Cave" as it says above the door! Dave is a self confessed Pastafarian. Pastafarianism is the worlds fastest growing carb based religion. Pastafarians belong to the Church of the Flying Spagetti monster with the headgear being a colander (I'm not making this up! Google it)! They describe themselves as a genuine religion but perhaps they are best described as a movement that promotes a lighthearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design.

Dave had brewed his own spirit and invented a new cocktail named after his belief system. We toasted the Spagetti monster that night with a double Pastafarian and played international Pool. Australia won!!!

I had planned to stay just one night in the Man Cave but that ran in to 3!

Slowly I headed down the coast to Hervey Bay, where Rhonda was given a service FOC by the local Honda Dealer, Sun State Motorcycles. I was hosted by Dave and Sharon, both from the UK. I had met Dave in Bali having spoken to him on Facebook many months previously about his own plans to ride the world. He ended up going to OZ for a quick visit first. He never left. His bike remains in the UK and his plan put on hold for a new life in the Sun. Plans are made to be flexible and who can blame him for staying. The East coast really is beautiful.

From there I headed off to Brisbane to meet two more fellow Travellers. Jeremy, who is travelling
Meeting Jeremy
around the world on his BMW HP2 and Shane who is travelling on a Suzuki DR650. Jeremy left from Canada 18 months ago and has travelled through the Americas and Australia, and Shane left from New Zealand 9 months ago. Shane has actually made it as far as India but has left his bike behind and has flown back to sort his visa for Pakistan.

This was an opportunity not to be missed. 3 solo RTW travellers in one place at the same time.

It was great to finally meet them both having shared many good and bad times with them online over the last few months. All on our own journeys and all solo riders for a reason no doubt! We agreed that if we stayed together too long, we might find out EXACTLY what those reasons were!

RTW Shane in the Himalayas before flying back.  
Having spent a couple of days in Brisbane with Jeremy sharing route suggestions and taking in some sites, Shane borrowed a bike and came down to join us. We decided to ride to Nimbin together and share some tales of the road over a beer. It was a great location to chose, being a weird and wonderful little hippie town that lies in the heart of what is known as the "Rainbow Region".  Nimbin is the home of the alternative lifestyle, promoting self sufficiency, sustainability and of course (being hippies) the use of cannabis. It has hosted a Mardi Grass festival since 1993 and could be described as a mini Amsterdam without the red lights, in the heart of New South Wales.  We couldn't resist checking it out. It certainly sounded different to the rest of Australia and "different" was something we all shared a love for.  No one batted an eyelid at 3 armoured bikers riding in to town!

Despite our different backgrounds and different reasons for travelling, we got on like old pals from
Catching waves
the start. It was so nice to share stories and learn from each other. We didn't stop talking and laughing all night as we soaked up the atmosphere of this happy little place with its street drummers and rainbow coloured bus shelters.

In the morning Jeremy decided to move on whilst Shane and I stayed on for one more night to decide what our next move would be. Eventually we decided that we would spend the Christmas period together, taking in the sun and surf of the Sunshine Coast. The planning, routing and travelling could wait! My only deadline is to be in Sydney for the 10th January ready for my television appearance on Weekend Sunrise. This was the breakfast show I appeared on before I left London and I had to keep my promise of riding in to the studios when I made it to Sydney! Something I am very glad to have the opportunity to do!

This morning I caught my first wave!!!! Two days before Christmas and another first to add to my list of firsts that this trip has given me! What an amazing feeling! I loved it and I want more!!

We have now borrowed an ageing camper bus and we are heading out to see if we can find somewhere to park it. We are loaded up with boards, towels, food and a sense of adventure!

Happy Christmas everyone!


  1. Merry Christmas Steph, hope ya get to pull a Cracker..

  2. Merry Xmas Steph. What a fantastic year you have lived!

  3. enjoy your break, you deserve it. do not worry about us with the wind and rain in the UK. LOL. have a great Christmas in OZ. and may 2015 be even better for you. xx

  4. Sounds like you're on a real high again, Steph. Great to read another interesting update.

  5. At a girl Steph,
    got the bug on the first wave,,,ha thats how it is.
    when you get to California we'll get you on some more waves

  6. Happy New Year, talking to a very good friend today and mentioned you were in Australia.(he moved out from the UK few years ago) turns out he met you on the off road training in Wales and that he had sent you an invite should you visit Perth. It`s a small world lol. xx

    1. It is indeed Paul. Yep. We caught up on email. Small world indeed. Happy New Year! xx

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