Ross and Jolene’s Australian Experience
12 February 2014 09:20 a.m.
American actor, filmmaker, philanthropist and adventurer Ross Thomas and his girlfriend, musician Jolene Rust, took the JUCY Condo out for a spin in Australia. They share the highlights of their trip with us.
After 2 weeks in Australia without our own set of wheels, we couldn’t have been more excited the day we picked up our Jucy “Condo” Camper Van. We were so ready to hit the road and explore Australia with a feeling of freedom and independence, and that’s exactly what we got! We had a rough idea of where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to see on this 2 week road trip, but were also leaving it to chance, completely open to anything that came our way. In the end, it was perfect, and will be a guaranteed highlight of our travels.
Day 1: Sydney—>Boomerang Beach
After getting the rundown on our new home from the awesome Jucy crew, we stopped at the store to pick up a few supplies for cooking in our incredible kitchen setup, and we were off. It felt so good to drive out of the city, wind in our hair, and not much of a clue as to what to expect or where we were really even going. We knew that we wanted week #1 to be all about the beaches and the surf, so our first stop ended up being Boomerang Beach, an epic little town with lots of beautiful beach, and very few people. Ross got in a couple of great surf sessions here and we stayed the night, cooking a great dinner and sleeping amongst pristine nature. The bed was super comfy, and by the time we were halfway into one of the movies Jucy gave us for our DVD player, we were asleep like babies.
Day 2: Boomerang—>Crescent Heads
Woke up and made some coffee and breakfast, cleaned up, then it was in the water for one more surf and swim before we were back on the road. We continued our drive north and ended up at Crescent Heads, but not before stumbling upon one of the most beautiful beaches we had ever seen. Not sure what the name of it was, but we saw the water through the brush as we were driving and knew we had to stop. We pulled over, and once we made it through the clearing we found ourselves on an endless beach and not a soul in sight! It was though we had magically arrived in a scene from Blue Lagoon. So, naturally, we got our buns in the sun and played the part. Heaven!!! As hard as it was to leave this beachside Eden, we continued on. Crescent Heads didn’t disappoint either. We found a great spot to park right on the water and watched the sky change colors as the sun went down. Listened to music as we made dinner, left the back open so we could stargaze and listen to the waves from bed as we drifted off to sleep.
Day 3: Crescent Heads—>Emerald Beach
This was one of those days that accidentally becomes an all-time favorite with zero effort or planning. We weren’t really sure where to head next. We had some options in mind as we headed north, our GPS being our loyal guardian, but something told me to stop when I saw the sign for Emerald Beach. And yes, it was simply because I liked the name. We stopped and found ourselves yet again in paradise. We headed up the road a bit and before we knew it we were surrounded by dozens upon dozens of kangaroos as we walked from the camper to the beach. I even had the pleasure of taking in a sunset with no one but me and a kangaroo by the water as Ross surfed a perfect left with friendly locals. This was a great day, one we will never forget.
Day 4 and 5: Emerald Beach—>Angourie
Ross decided to get one more surf in before we hit the road, so he headed back down to the water. I lazed about in the Condo for a bit, journaling and making tea. I didn’t expect the camper to be so spacious, which makes it feel so luxurious to just relax and take it easy. Eventually I motivated myself enough to walk down to the beach, and I’m so glad I did, because I was greeted not only by Ross, but a pod of dolphins surfing the break, jumping in and out of the water. It was like a dream! I quickly joined in the play. I can’t think of a better way to start the day. Every morning we have been spoiled with walking out of our home right into the ocean. Perfection. After a beautiful morning we made our way to Angourie. We spent time walking around the Green Pool and the Blue Pool, and found a magical spot to camp for the night. It was totally secluded and absolutely gorgeous. One of the best sunsets we’ve had so far. Every color of light filled the sky before it went dark. Then we played cards at our table, drinking wine and listening to music. It wasn’t long before we were in dreamland.
The next day we passed the hours surfing, swimming, sleeping, and sunning in our own little piece of heaven. Only seeing one other person the entire day, we truly forgot about time and just enjoyed the beauty around us. Retiring to the camper for a break from the sun, a bite to eat, or anything else we needed, we were totally self-sufficient and loving every moment.
Day 6 and 7: Angourie—>Byron Bay
As hard as it was to leave majestic Angourie, we were excited to make our way to Byron Bay. When we arrived to the busy little town, we were so thankful to have our amazing sanctuary on wheels to escape to when we tired of the crowd. We strolled along the streets looking in shops and did a fair share of people watching. Byron is quite entertaining with its combination of hippies, backpackers, posh travelers, and families. We walked along the water and went for a lovely swim. We were lucky enough to bring our camper to a friend’s place to sleep for the night. It was great to visit with friends, take in a house concert, hear some amazing music, and then retire to our own cozy little home when we were ready for peace and quiet.
The next day we drove the camper back to the beach for a nice swim in the ocean, and then we headed just down the road to Lake Ainsworth for a dip in the tea tree lake. The water was a beautiful cola brown that got darker as the lake grew deeper. We bathed for hours in these mineral-rich waters as a beautiful python rested in the tree above us. We have been so blessed with seeing such beautiful creatures out in the wild so far!!!
Day 8 and 9: Byron—>Mt. Warning
Ross and I got an early start to get one more ocean swim in before we headed inland. We reached the halfway point of our road trip and we decided to go take in some of the beautiful rain forests we knew were nearby. This drive was absolutely gorgeous!! Super lush and green, and full of music from the cicadas that filled the trees. I’m sure it took us twice as long to arrive, as I kept asking to pull over to snap photos of incredible landscapes that will live in my memory forever. We found a beautiful spot to stop off and make lunch, and continued on to Mt. Warning in the Mt. Warning National Park. We were in awe of this beautiful sight. We walked around the park for a while, made dinner and called it an early night so we could get up early to Summit the mountain.
The hike took us about 4 hours and it was breathtakingly beautiful. We saw so many different types of trees, plants, mushrooms, etc. and all to the soundtrack of the most beautiful songbirds and cicadas. We also saw snakes and brush turkeys and huge lizards and bugs. It was incredible to be surrounded by nothing but nature, and the view from the top was stunning.
By the time we got back from the steep climb, the camper van had never looked so good! We set up our bed in seconds and climbed right in to relax our tired muscles and watch a movie, birds and cicadas still singing in the distance.
Day 10: Burleigh Heads and Rock Pools in Corrumbin Valley
We woke up a bit sore, but ready for a new day! We packed up and met up with some friends of ours from Burleigh Heads at some beautiful rock pools in Currumbin valley. We hiked along the water in the rain, finding steep rock slides to plunge us into the deep pools. Quite a thrill!
We decided to stay out near the rock pools for the night, and our 2 extra guests were no trouble at all. They took the bed up top and we all had plenty of room. We were quite impressed with not only how spacious the Condo is, but the layout that makes the most of each inch of space.
Day 11: Corrumbin Valley—>Burleigh Heads—>Springbrook
Today was a bit of a driving day, making stops to drop-off friends, and heading on our way. Luckily the van is super comfortable, so we felt nice and relaxed as we made our way to Springbrook. Our friends had recommended this spot, so we decided to give it a go and I’m glad we did.
We packed our lunch, and spent the day hiking to different waterfalls, climbing Antarctic Beech Trees, and swimming in the refreshing pools. We rarely ran into other people, which made it feel like our own little piece of paradise. When we had our fill of the falls, we drove to the Natural Bridge for a look. It was about an hour walk to a beautiful rock archway, waterfall included. We decided to stay around here until dark so we could witness the glow worms in the caves. It was beautiful to see them glowing like stars on the ceiling of the caves, as bats danced in the twinkling dark! We hiked our way back to the camper and had a restful sleep.
Day 12: Springbrook—>Redcliffe
As much as we LOVED our time in the forest, Ross and I both woke up feeling ready to put our feet back in the ocean, so we headed back to the coast and up to the little beach town of Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane. Here we found a perfect little spot to camp and just enjoy the sound of the waves crashing right outside. We joked about how most people buy sound machines to hear the noises we have been listening to for nearly the past two weeks just outside the comfort of our camper. I think we started to realize how much and how quickly this became home. We are both going to miss this cozy Condo on wheels!
Day 13: Redcliffe—>Brisbane
We woke up again to the sound of the gentle shore break, had a peaceful morning by the water, and finally, drove just south, back to Brisbane. We spent the afternoon in the city, walking around, visiting the museum, and enjoying a wonderful dinner out. We decided to make our way out of the city to a nearby beach to enjoy one more night of peace in quiet in our camper, and of course, listen to the ocean.
Day 14: Dropping off in Brisbane
Thank you so much JUCY for this amazing 2 week journey up the coast. This adventure was incredible and your awesome camper made it the epic trip it was! It’s amazing how much better an experience is having the camper. We were able to really go with the flow, not be bound to a specific itinerary and be completely open to what presented itself. We are so happy with our experience and can’t wait to meet up with you again in the world!