Before I came to Australia I accumulated a handful of addresses of friends and friends of friends living in Australia, who invited me to stay for a while. And it's been absolutely wonderful to be able to stay with them.
Backpacking in Australia is definitely very different from backpacking in Asia. Here most backpackers are between 18 and 22 years old, like partying a lot, go to the beach during the day and don't do much else and that's not exactly my style. Of course these kind of backpackers exist in Asia too, but there are also a lot of older people who enjoy some more interesting things.
Budget accommodation is usually in the form of hostels with dorms ranging from 3 to 30 beds. Generally they are extremely messy, smelly and noisy (even though on the websites they look clean and modern). Exceptions have been the YHA in Murwillumbah and Bellingen. So you can probably understand that it's quite nice to stay at a friends house for a few days, where I don't always have my own room, but at least it's clean and quiet.
So far I've stayed with Georgia, Sarah, Emma, Steffi and Wim & Hilde. And I can't thank them enough for opening their doors to me. Last week I stayed with Wim & Hilde in their house in Wamuran. After an exhausting week of running around looking for accommodation everywhere, it was like arriving in a sanctuary. I had my own room in their beautiful house with big tropical garden and swimming pool. It was interesting to talk to them about their experiences as Belgians living in Australia and they took me on a walk in the area and showed me Maroochiadore and Mooloolaba on the sunshine coast.
On thursday I left them and returned to Brisbane to pick up some things I left at Sarah's place and then I moved onward to Bellingen. When I was doing the yoga course in the beginning of my trip somebody recommended Bellingen to me and I can see why. Bellingen is probably Australia's best kept secret. The hostel is probably the best hostel in Australia, small, friendly, quiet and clean. The town is very relaxed, with lots of little cafes, a view of the Bellinger river with a backdrop of the Great Dividing Ranges. At night hundreds of flying foxes come out and fly over the hostel. And yesterday we made a trip to the rain forrest and waterfalls in the Dorrigo National Park. I could easily stay a lot longer, just relaxing, but my train ticket to Sydney for today is booked. Tonight I'll be there...
Labels: Australia, Bellingen