This journal was written as a physical diary by me during my gap year. I am typing this up to share my gap year experience. At the beginning of travels I was 22. I travelled with a friend (Kieren) and anybody else involved will be introduced during the journal. For more details, check here.

To spend a year in Australia, we got working holiday visas. These allow up to 1 year of travel and work in Australia. Find more information here.

Check out the previous instalment here.

26th March 2018

Our surf lesson was at 8.30am this morning so we had to get up a lot earlier. The first part of the lesson wasn’t great – I was definitely worse than yesterday. However, after that I improved and was standing about 50% of the time.

After the lesson we chilled on the beach for an hour before lunch. I decided to do an afternoon ‘Expression Session’, which is basically just a surf board hire to practice. I was getting up a lot in the first 45 minutes but after that I seemed to get worse….

A lovely chilled evening around the campfire.

(a)(b) Surfing at Spot X. (c) Campfire nights.

27th March 2018

Another early morning surf. The waves were pretty rough this morning so it was a bit more difficult. After the surf session, I had a lovely few hours lying in a hammock in camp just reading my book. So relaxing because as the camp is so close to the beach you can hear the waves.

(a) Morning surf group. (b) Surfing.

After lunch we did ocean rafting. This is basically a combination of white water rafting and surfing. It’s really fun when you manage to catch a wave. I also fell out of the boat..

Another lovely evening around the campfire. We spent about an hour watching 2 alpha water dragons (big lizards) have a fight over who was going to be alpha. It got brutal – they were trying to bite each other’s tails off. They didn’t succeed though, and eventually one ran off defeated.

Water dragon

28th March 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!! I’m 23 today!

I got woken up by Kieren giving me my 1st birthday present – a small stuffed dugong (sea cow) from Sydney Aquairium. I really wanted this when we went months ago and regretted not getting it. When we were in Sydney a few days ago, Kieren snuck off the get one. I called him Boomerang (Boo for short).

On the way to breakfast I saw a kookaburra (honestly the cutest bird ever) steal somebody’s toast from their hand and it was amazing! Honestly this is the best birthday present I could receive. Side note: Kookaburras are known as laughing kookaburras because they make a laughing sound that sounds a lot like a monkey.

I got some more presents from Kieren at breakfast – Kiwi earrings from NZ, thee photo package from Mojo Surf (a photographer takes photos during surf sessions) and a Mojo Surf T-shirt. My mum sent me a photo of a lot of cards from family back home too!

(a) Mornings on the beach. (b) Laughing kookaburra in camp. (c) Breakfast spot on the beach.

Great morning surf session – very successful for me, and Kieren has finally got the hang of it and is standing up everytime now!

(a) Falling off a surfboard. (b) Standing on a surfboard. (c) Enjoying the beach.

After lunch we wandered along the beach to a nearby caravan park where we got really nice milkshakes from the café. There were so many wild kangaroos about too! We also saw a huge monitor lizard, which was unbelievable!

We did an afternoon surf session, had dinner, then chilled in some hammocks and drank some wine. An incredible birthday – surfing, kangaroos, kookaburras stealing food, a wild monitor lizard, great presents and a milkshake!

(a)(b) Arrawarra Beach. (c) Birthday milkshake.

29th March 2018

Final morning surf today. It was v. high tide and the waves were very rough. It was difficult but still successful. The Loka bus wasn’t leaving until 1pm so we had time for a quick lunch before we left. I’m so sad to be leaving Spot X because I really loved it here.

Surfing with Mojo Surf

Nobody else from our original bus did 5 days of surfing, so we’re joining all new people now. We drove to Nymboida River where our accommodation River Retreat is. We’re staying in cabins basically in the middle of nowhere.

This afternoon we did some white water canoeing. I was sharing a canoe with Kieren. It was pretty fun although we bumped into a tree and capsized so not the most successful activity ever… I now have another bruise to add to my many previous surfing injuries.

We had a BBQ for dinner, which our driver Wes was in charge of, then we drank wine and toasted marshmallows by the fire.

30th March 2018

The bus left River Retreat at 9am and we drove to Yamba. This is a nice seaside town. We found a good spot for a picnic.

The bus then went onto Byron Bay where we checked into Nomads. This is a really nice hostel – it even has hot tubs! Blues Fest is on here at the moment so there is Blues music everywhere and so many buskers! We had a wander around the small town and there was a good market on. The beach is beautiful. I thought Byron Bay would be overrated but I love it!

Byron Bay

We hired a surfboard for a couple of hours and had a great time on the beach. After dinner at the hostel we went to a pub to see a cool Blues band.

31st March 2018

We hired another surfboard for some morning surfing then did some sunbathing. We both got very burnt. I haven’t been this bad in a while but Kieren’s is even worse.

As it is Easter tomorrow we decided that we should get an Easter egg. However, everywhere was sold out so we ended up getting a couple of crème eggs from thee pharmacy (thee only place that still had them).

In the afternoon we walked to Cape Byron to see the lighthouse. By the time we got there it was dark and it was a full moon so was very pretty!

Cape Byron

Check out the next instalment here (available 9am GMT 6th May).