Category Archives: camping

Torres del Paine, Day Uno: Wild on the W

Tonight, Drunk and Jobless is coming to you live from Patagonia’s world famous Torres del Paine National Park. Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard about it until a few weeks ago, either, but it’s famous with the hiking set, and for good reason. The mountains in this part of Chile are incredible, the lakes are so blue it almost hurts. There are glaciers and icebergs, angry cliffs and violent winds. The weather changes its mind every five minutes, there’s the ever-present danger of being blown into a fjord, and every wonderful sight is beaten by an even more wonderful sight around the next corner. This place is great.

So great that thousands of people come to Torres del Paine every year. Seriously, this joint is Disneyland for people who enjoy looking at trees. I knew that when I found it on one of those shit ‘Top 5 Things to do in Chile’ blogs, but it was driven home when I happened on an introductory lesson for hiking the trail while I was picking up some gear.

“Are there toilets out there?”

“Will I get cold?”

“Where are the Wi-Fi hotspots?”

I’m not some unreal bushman, but I know that if you need to shit on a hike, you go behind a tree… but more on that later. Things didnt improve when I woke up at some some silly time, jumped on a bus, and ended up in the Park. I swear half the motherfuckers there were dressed as if they’d only ever read about hiking on the internet. North Face hard shells when it didn’t even look like raining, five layers of snow clothes when it was about 12 degrees, I even saw some fuckwit in a sombrero.

I took a catamaran across a windswept lake to the start of the hike, and that’s where I met a Portuguese chap named Antonio. He told me that he’d managed to sneak past the front gates of the park without paying, had climbed onto the cat without paying, and planned to camp without handing over a single peso. One thing I’ve learned since arriving in South America is that you don’t want to get between a Chilean and a dollar unless you’re willing to lose a finger, so when I said goodbye to him at Paine Grande camp, I didn’t expect to see him in one piece again.

I’m in Patagonia outside the peak times, but I was still worried that I’d be pushing through people just to keep going along the trail – and the truth is that I pretty much was as I started out on the famed W Trek. I can walk faster than most otber people (except the Germans) but I take a lot of photos, so I had to wind my way around the same people over and over again. For someone who usually hikes alone in Australia, I didn’t really get that feeling of being out in the elements that I usually look for.

It can be a clown show at times, but it is bloody amazing. It’s not just about the mountains and lakes, because every tree and shrub and rock is worth taking a photo of, or just standing back and basking in its glory. There aren’t many places that can match the epic scale of Torres del Paine, so watch your step whilst you’re gaping in wide-eyed wonder at the incredible stuff going on in the Patagonian wilderness around you.

The hiking in Torres del Paine isn’t exactly difficult. There are no really steep bits, or really rocky bits, so as long as you’ve got a set of legs that work, it takes no major effort to get around. What has made it tough for me is the fact I’m carrying everything I need for five days on my back – tent, sleeping bag, mat, and food. Most people choose to stay in the refugios along the way, or rent a different tent each night. Those who really have money falling out their arses also eat in the restaurants, so all they need to carry around is a spare cashmere sweater. Really, if you’re on a week-long camp and you can’t carry your own supplies, maybe you’d be better off staying at home.

Like most people who hike the W, I spent my first night at Camp Grey, about 11km north of where the catamaran docks. After setting up my tent, I hiked a further kilometre to Glacier Grey, which is absolutely astonishing. A wall of glowing blue ice lurks menacingly on the lake, while massive chunks of frozen water constantly break off and cause deafening crashes.

Things were also noisy back at camp, because I got the squirts. There was some bad stuff going on in my guts, and the toilets were full, so I raced down the track out of camp and let rip with last night’s chicken vindaloo, which looked like it hadn’t even touched the sides before coming back out. Unfortunately, in my panic I hadn’t realised that the path looped back towards the campsite, so when I started wiping my arse I looked over to see a couple of horrified Germans gagging on their sausages about three metres away from me.

“Sorry, Gunter,” I chuckled as I wiped my blurter. “I guess a threesome’s out of the question, then?”

There’s quite a nice bar at Camp Grey, but when I wandered in and asked for a cold one the little bloke behind the bar gave me a toothy smile and asked for 4000 pesos, so I stole as many complimentary olives off the bar and hotfooted it out of there. Luckily, I brought a bottle of Chile’s cheapest vodka with me, so when I got back to my tent I was faced with two options. I could take it out to the camp kitchen, where gorgeous European women would treat me like a king and fight for the attention of me and the bottle, inevitably leading to an evening of raucous sexual debauchery. Or I could mix it with a can of overpriced Sprite and smash it in my tent by myself, thus achieving maximum drunkenness and increasing my chances of vomiting on a puma.

I took a deep breath, made my decision, and walked towards the camp kitchen with the cheap bottle in my hands. A dozen women, each one looking stunning despite a hard day of hiking, was drawn to me like moths to a flame. For a few minutes, I was the king of Torres del Paine, as offers of sex and chocolate were thrown my way. But I’m a man of simple tastes, so I chose a delightful Brazilian lass and escorted her back to my tent as she sucked back the vodka.

Once inside, she began to strip off for me in preparation for hours of getting naughty in nature. And then… well, I don’t know, because I was so tired from walking all day that I passed out. When I woke up, there was no sign of the Brazilian or the vodka. I climbed out of my tent, and was stunned to see Antonio sitting on a log with a massive smile on his face.

“You wouldn’t believe my luck!” he told me. “Last night I arrive in camp late, a beautiful Brazilian lady come up to me with a bottle of vodka and asking for sex. She take me back to her tent, we make fuck all night. Three, four, five times. Free accommodation, free alcohol, free poontang. It’s a good day to be Antonio!”

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Patonga to Mt Wondabyne Overnight Hike

The seaside village of Patonga is one of the nicest spots on Central Coast of NSW, with calm waters, golden sand and spectacular views across the water to the Northern Beaches. If you just want to rock up, have a decent feed at the pub and enjoy the serenity, that’s great, but the area is best explored by hiking along the section of The Great North Walk that leads out of town. The views are tops, the track is well maintained, and for the more adventurous, it’s possible to make it over to Mount Wondabyne for an overnight stopover in the bush.

The track is easy to find; just follow the beach east from the pub, and you can’t miss it as it winds up into the thick coverage of the headland (but click here for in-depth directions if you’re worried about getting lost and being forced to live on tree sap and wallaby dung). It’s not long before the path offers up stunning views back over Patonga, across the legendary Hawkesbury River, and out towards Palm Beach. Warrah Lookout is around 2km from the beach and fenced, but there are heaps of other spots along the walk that offer more open views (just stay away from the cliff if you’ve spent the past four hours at the pub).

Most people turn around at this point, but if you’ve got enough provivions, the walk continues another 8km up to Mount Wondabyne (and another 120km or so up to Newcastle – you’d want more than a 600mL bottle of Coke and a bag of Twisties in your backpack to tackle that, though). It’s a good walk, crossing creeks and dipping into valleys while the cicadas sing loudly and birds flutter around in the trees. Mount Wondabyne is remote and beautiful, with a pak that offers jaw-dropping views out towards the coast.

I tried to hike to Mount Wondabyne a year ago, but had to abandon my adventure when I was caught up in a ferocious electrical storm and had to hide in a cave (and subsequently spent the night drying off on my lounge whilst watching the mid-80s sporting classic, Rudy). This time, I headed out in winds that were approaching 50km/h, because I’m an idiot. The wind was smashing in and getting worse all the time as I arrived and, to make it worse, the drought meant that the ground at the campsite was so hard I could barely pitch my tent (ladies, I swear that’s the only time I’ve had that problem). As I tried to sleep, the wind was gusting in at close to 90km/h, which was loud enough to tear me from my slumber as it tried to tear my shelter off me.

It’s possible to continue along the track and spend the next night at Mooney Mooney or Somersby, but my car was back at Patonga, so just after sunrise I retraced my steps. I was tired and grumpy after a bad night’s sleep, and things were made worse when I crossed paths with a couple of good-looking Danish sheilas who were heading up to sleep at Mount Wondabyne that night. If I’d headed up a day later, I could’ve shared a tent with them, because there’s looked quality. To lift my mood, I nipped into the pub for a quick beer… which turned into an all-day session, and I ended up having to pitch my tent in a local park to spend the night.

WHERE: Patonga, at the southern end of the Central Coast, in NSW, Australia
WHY: It’s a great spot for hiking and camping

DON’T MISS: As well as unreal views out over the Hawkesbury River, the walk provides a scenic look at historic Woy Woy tip

IF YOU’RE THIRSTY: The Patonga Beach Hotel is a beautiful old pub with a remarkable view and cold beers (just don’t expect them to be cheap)

AND IF YOU’RE HUNGRY: The Patonga chippie does great food (and also sells booze). Make sure you lead up before heading into the bush, or you’ll be eating bark for dinner

WOMENFOLK: In Patonga itself, you might be able to find a pensioner who’s up for it. Up at Mount Wondabyne, a possum might be your best bet

Manilla Mayhem

“Hey bro, you wanna go to Manilla?”
I was sunning myself on the balcony on a bright autumn afternoon, and was startled to look up from my book to see my mate Scott sitting a few metres away from me. The shock was threefold; firstly, I hadn’t invited Scott over. Secondly, my unit is on the third floor. Thirdly, the last I’d heard Scott was serving a lengthy jail sentence for human trafficking.

“Mate, The Philippines is a long way away, and I’m pretty sure the cops will stop you at the airport,” I replied, whilst pulling my underpants back on.
“No, not Manila in Philippine,” Scott said with a smirk. “Manilla in country New South Wale. We go paragliding at State of Origin Championships.”
I had my bags packed in five minutes, and soon I was rattling off into the bush with paragliding’s most wanted.

When Scott tells you to get in the car, you bloody well get in the car

Manilla’s a good four-and-a-half-hour journey from Gosford, and its a nice ride through historic towns and stunning scenery. Scone is a lovely town, but I am a little concerned about a statue I saw as we drove through. I don’t want to appear crass, but it’s of a horse sucking another horse’s dick. I’m serious about this. I’m sure the dude who made it tried to pass it off as a mare feeding its foal, but a horse’s boobies aren’t between its legs. Decide for yourself.

What happens in the country, stays in the country

Scott’s colourful past includes a stint as a pop music hearthrob, so he’s chums with some of the biggest names in Aussie music, and barely a day goes by without him bumping into another sonic legend. Whilst cruising through Tamworth, we pulled in at the Big Golden Guitar so that Scott could snort cocain off a toilet seat with his former bandmate Lee Kernaghan meet up with his good friend and fellow music industry royalty Lee Kernaghan. Lee – famous for hit songs such as Boys From The Bush and Hat Town – currently works in the gift shop behind the guitar, so while the two has-beens caught up on old times, I snapped some selfies in front of the gigantic instrument. Unfortunately John Williamson ambled over and asked if I had any spare change, so I grabbed Scott and we got outta there.

I’d hate to meet the bloke big enough to play that

With that unpleasantness out of the way, it was off to Manilla, population 2300. I was expecting the town to be a load of crap, but it’s actually pretty bloody nice, with old pubs and all sorts of historic buildings. Scott and I met up with the rest of our paramagliding team (the Minsinks, although reckon we should’ve called ourselves the Central Coast Guy Surfers) at the Rivergums camp ground. Along for the ride were team captain Geoff, his brother Philby, and The Ween Machine. The competition didn’t stand a chance.

From left: Geoff, some guy in a green shirt who photobombed us, Ween, your drunken saviour, Philby. Not present: Scott, who was off fighting a kangaroo

At 850m, Mt Borah is a great place to launch from, providing access to hundreds of kilometres of rolling hills, wide open valleys and bucking thermals – heaven for any cross-country paragliding pilot. It’s a world class site that draws flight fiends from across the planet. The longest recorded flight in Australia – a staggering 360km – started from Mt Borah, so it’s a perfect place for beginners and sky gods alike. Not surprisingly, as soon as the conditions picked up, people were throwing themselves off launch like lemmings.

Sending Geoff up as a wind dummy

It was actually a bit intimidating to be launching alongside so many people, but I had my mates around me and it wasn’t long before we were all in the air. I haven’t spent much time flying inland, and because it’s far rougher and much trickier than coastal soaring, I took a while to get the hang of it. That wasn’t the easiest thing to do with 50 or 60 other gliders around me, jostling for space. I ended up finding a ridge to work with Scott, and the frantic action had me grinning like a retard. I may not have been setting the paragliding world on fire, but I was loving every second of it.

Looking down, down, down at launch

It wasn’t long before we were back on the ground, because Manilla’s legendary lift was nowhere to be seen, and the majority of the pilots who went up went straight back down to the bomb-out field. I’m never one to follow the mainstream, so instead of landing in the nice, soft, designated field, I went straight into a million thistles and ended up with more little pricks in me than my ex-girlfriend. Total distance covered: around three kilometres.

This is what they call para-spiking

It was an inauspicious start to my first paragliding competition, but after a few beers back at camp and a debrief with Geoff, I was sure that the next morning would bring better luck and greater heights. And without wanting to ruin the surprise of the next blog, that’s exactly what happened. So, ah, read the next entry to find out just how bloody good it was.

I’d like to thank team photographer Tina Bednal for some of the photos I’ve used. Thanks to you, I can prove to people that I did actually fly off that big, scary rock.

Girra-kool? No, Girra-wet!

The last time I tried to go on an overnight hike above the tiny riverside village of Wondabyne, I was somewhat less than successful. Alright, that’s an understatement – I had to call my mum to come and get me because I was at risk of being flooded out. So when I set out once again under grey, stormy skies, I was probably tempting fate.

The plan this time was to walk from Girrakool to Woy Woy, spending the night at the top of Mount Wondabyne. Yeah, that was the plan. Things started to skid towards the ditch when I was forced to spend an unexpected two hours bashing through the bush behind Kariong in a desperate attempt to find the track I was supposed to be journeying on. The trees were thicker than a diesel dyke’s pubes, and by the time I finally made it through, I was way behind schedule.

The walk across the ridges of Brisbane Waters National Park is spactacular, and bloody hard going. There are steep climbs, river crossings, and heaps of brilliant lookouts to stop at. I was starting to think that things were looking up, and that this would be a trip to remember for all the right reasons.

That’s when the storm rolled in. Thunder had been hanging around since I left home, but I thought it full of shit and didn’t bother about it. As I was passing Scopas Peak, the sky split open in front of me. I was blinded by the light from the lightning and deafened by the sound of it, and I could hear the world crackling around me. As the stench of sulfur overwhelmed me, the rain rolled in – big, fat drops that drenched me. It wasn’t just uncomfortable, it was bloody dangerous. It’s certainly the closest I’ve gone to being fried like a fat girl’s dinner.

I scarpered off the track and crawled into a cave, thanful for the scrap of shelter that the sandstone provided. I huddled in there, wet and cold, for an hour. The storm raged around me and then wandered off to bother someone else. When I was sure it was gone, I timidly climbed back out into the darkness.

With five tough kilometres of walking between me and my rest stop, I realised that I’d never make it in such  tough conditions. So, I did what any big, tough bushman would – I took a side track down to Wondabyne Station, jumped on a train, and was at home with a German stein of wine in my hand 45 minutes later! Instead of struggling through the bush and spending the night in a wet tent, I watched the acclaimed Sean Astin sports drama Rudy. It was shithouse.

A Night(mare) in Ourimbah

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I haven’t had much of a chance to update Drunk and Jobless lately, for a very good and extremely sad reason. My life has recently been hit by tragedy and disappointment, after learning news that will adversely affect everything about me in the future. My hopes and dreams have been shattered, and my goals will forever go unfulfilled, as I recently received the shocking news that I’ve been refused a spot in the Aldi Testers Club.

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Fuck you too, Aldi

Obviously distraught following this callous twist of events, I packed a bag and headed into the wild, wanting nothing more to do with this open wound of a society. Unsure of where to begin my new life, far away from the heartless guffaws of Aldi employees, I remembered a conversation I’d had with Scott, one of the local paragliding bad boys.

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Scott: rebel with a heart of gold

“Whenever the pigs are after me, I hide out in Ourimbah State Forest,” I recalled Scott telling me, while listing a stolen car radio on Gumtree. “Very beautiful, very remote, nobody find you there. If you need to bury body, you can do that, too. If you find my old business partner One Eyed Sanchez up there, you say hello to him for me – he can probably be found in shallow grave, tee hee!”

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A fish lives in this water

As Scott is currently serving a six-year sentence in jail for participating in the white slavery trade, I was forced to find the track myself, which proved to be quite simple. It’s at the end of Ourimbah Creek Road, and after parking my car I walked through a lovely valley full of very large dogs. Fortunately, they weren’t aggressive, and allowed me to wander into the dense jungle.

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Woof!

The walk from Ourimbah Creek Road up to the old archery fields at the top of the hill is pleasant if not spectacular. Over the course of 10 kilometres I crossed a few streams, climbed some pretty steep hills, picked up heaps of leaches, and finally made it up to the camp grounds just as the sun was setting and the mozzies were getting mad. There’s not much left of the archery range – the targets are gone, as are the sheds and tables once used by the club – but it’s a nice place to spend a night.

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My luxurious accommodation for the evening

I enjoyed a delicious hamburger for dinner and watched the footy on my stream, so while it feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, it isn’t really. I even managed to match with a couple of good sorts on Tinder, and they were really impressed by my adventurous nature and cheeky smile. I hope to disappoint them in the near future.

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Hey ladies, if you want a mouthful of meat…

The trip home took me along the same road, but this time things were very different. I was nearing the end of the track when I saw something white lurking behind a bush about 100m in front of me. I stopped and realised it was a dude in a white shirt, who popped out as soon as he realised he’d been spotted. He looked around in embarrassment, then sauntered up to me with his hands in his heavily-stained shorts. When he got close he tried to strike up a conversation, but I brushed him and kept walking – I’ve already got enough perverted mates, so I don’t need another one. The man in the white shirt appeared crushed.

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Can you spot the pervert in this photo?

I assumed that was the last I’d see of him, but every time I looked back along the track I could see him hiding behind a tree and weeping. It was a pathetic sight, and I was happy to get back onto the road where there was less chance of him raping me. As I powerwalked back to my car, a filthy white van crept past me, and behind the wheel was the sicko in the white shirt. He stopped next to me and wound down the window, revealing a puffy red face streaked with tears.
“We could’ve been perfect,” he whispered, then drove off into the sunset.

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The Blue, Blue Skies of Corryong

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As the first golden sunbeams of 2017 hit me, I knew something was wrong. My pillow was the unforgiving concrete of the gutter outside the pub, and my pants were awash with a mixture of urine and vomit of unknown origin. I clutched my throbbing head and felt no hair there, and had painful flashbacks to a New Years Eve spent partying with a gang of violent skinheads who had initiated me into their deranged cult.

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New year, new look. I call it ‘jihadist-chic’

My mate Scotty pulled his car into the street just as I was stumbling to my feet and asked me if I wanted to go paragliding. I realised I had to get my shit together, and the only way to do that was by heading to the tiny Victorian village of Corryong and throwing myself off a giant hill with nothing but a glorified plastic bag to save me. Five minutes later we were heading for the border, leaving the skinheads far behind us.

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Scotty – he’s a great bloke, but he doesn’t like having his photo taken

A few hours later we were about nine miles from Gundagai, and I was reminded of the shithouse Aussie poem of the same name. It’s about a dog who takes a crap on some bloke’s lunch and then he eats it (the lunch, that is, not the dog), and surely only attained popularity due to a severe lack of entertainment options during the 1800s. The statue of the infamous dog on the tucker box is absolutely rubbish. In a country full of giant roadside bananas and gargantuan pineapples, a lifesize dog statue fails to impress. I’ve seen actual dogs, and they move around and lick their balls and everything, so a crappy statue was never going to get my blood pumping.

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If you wanna impress me, try a Dagwood Dog on the Tucker Box

To make things worse for the dopey dog, it’s completely overshadowed by a massive koala that’s only 100 metres down the road. This big fella – who is apparently known as Kip – took my broken heart and rebuilt it with love, welcoming me into his colossal arms. I truly felt at peace whilst being cradled by that mammoth marsupial. Of course, Scott became jealous of my blossoming relationship with Kip and stormed off to sit in the car until I was ready to leave several hours later.

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I’ve never felt so safe

After a teary farewell, I reluctantly climbed back into the car and we continued on our way. I thought Kip would text me, but he didn’t, and it was with tears in my eyes that we stopped at the site of the Southern Cloud air crash. Eight people died in 1931 when an Avro 618 Ten was blown wildly off-course and smashed into the Snowy Mountains, disappearing without a trace. The wreckage wasn’t discovered until 1958, when some bloke accidentally stepped on what was left of the plane’s wing.

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The wreck is out there somewhere…

As a darkly humorous aside, a fella named Stan Baker was booked on the fateful flight, but cancelled at the last minute, and consequently developed a lifelong fear of flying. Twenty years later, he finally plucked up the courage to step aboard a plane – which crashed shortly after take-off, killing him and everyone else onboard. I hoped that all this airborne tragedy wasn’t an omen for my own flying.

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That’s where the Egyptians live

An hour later we were cruising into the buzzing metropolis of Khancoban, just outside of Corryong, population 281. Nestled by the shore of a glistening lake in the Snowy Mountains, Khanco is a delightful village from a simpler time. It’s quiet and rustic, and perfectly located for hiking, skiing and other fun activities. Sure, there’s probably a slight history of incest in the region, and some of the local sheep were walking funny, but it really is a very nice place.

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These nice people allowed me to hang out with them for five days!

We stayed at Khanco Lakeside Caravan Park, which is by the side of the lake. What a coincidence! With almost a dozen pilots and family-of-pilots there, we had the run of the place. Dinner was at the Khancoban Hotel, which is a true step back in time and where a schnitzel is considered exotic effnic food. There were a few good sorts behind the bar and I was raring up for an all-night bender when the place shut down around nine, and I was forced into an early night back at the cabin. But that’s alright, because the next day promised some epic paragliding – and it delivered.

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The triumphant return of The Naked Luchador

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I’ve been as sick as the proverbial dog since getting back from Sri Lanka (who’d think that three months of drinking and making sexies with women of ill repute would have such a negative impact on my health?), so I decided to celebrate my first healthy day in three weeks by going bush. I packed my tent and a box of goon and rolled out to Watagans National Park, between Gosford and Newcastle, pitching my tent at the beautiful Gap Creek camp ground.

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It’s a lovely little place to spend a night, and only 15 minutes from the Pacific Highway, so it’s the perfect place to stop if you’re heading north and don’t want to pay for a night’s accommodation. Its location means that you might have to share the place with other visitors… or maybe just a wallaby! This fella bounded over to say g’day and pose for a photo. Champion.

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There’s a waterfall pretty close to the camp ground, and I love running water, so I trotted over to see it. The walk is about a kilometre, and climbs through beautiful rainforest. I’ve been around the world, but nothing is as awe-inspiring as the Australian wilderness (alright, there have been a few sheilas who have come close). With giant palms and swinging vines, it’s like travelling millions of years into the past, and is far removed from the noise and hassle of the city. I expected a triceratops to wander over, but it didn’t happen.

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The waterfall itself was as dry as a lesbo at a Manpower show and not nearly as impressive as the falls I saw in Croatia, but the shadowy canyon was really pretty. I enjoyed just hanging out by the water, listening to my favourite Vanilla Ice CD and dancing. With steep cliffs on three sides, it felt like I was sinking to the centre of the earth, which was really cool.

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With the sun setting I headed back to camp and whipped out my cock wine cask and got stuck in. As the light dwindled the bush truly came to life, with all sorts of bird and animal calls tearing through the night. I made myself some delicious burgers, and when I was finished those I went for a much needed slash. Unfortunately, I tripped and fell into the fire, where I was burnt to death.

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After a remarkable recovery I woke up the next morning to the sound of something eating noisily outside my tent, and assumed it was a possum or a turkey munching on my leftovers. I crawled out of bed and was surprised and amazed to find my old mate The Naked Luchador hanging out under a tree, casually eating a tin of baked beans. When he saw me he gave me a thumbs-up and went back to munching his delicious breakfast.

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While I didn’t get much out of The Naked Luchador the last time I met him, he was more talkative this time. As he shovelled the beans into the mouth-hole of his mask, he opened up about his life and loves, hopes and dreams.
“I was forced to leave Tijuana by a dangerous dug cartel,” the deranged pervert wept, wiping bean juice from his chest. “In Mexico, I was hero to millions. They chant my name in the street, women throw theyself at me, but I have only one love; a beautiful woman name Charlene.

“Charlene was most famous donkey prostitute in Mexico. Big, brown eyes, fat bottom, lips made for sucking on penis. We were in love, and planned to leave Mexico forever as soon as I win major wrestling championship belt. I was preparing for match against the champion, man named Ultimo Doodle, when drug lord come to me and say they he has kidnapped Charlene. I only can have her back if I lose match to Ultimo Doodle. It very hard decision but…”

At that point The Naked Luchador was startled by a butterfly, and catwheeled off into the bush without finishing his incredible story. Oh well, maybe I’ll run into him next time I go camping…

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Camping, Latvian style

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All roads lead to Riga, so I’ve spent the last few days back in the Latvian capital with my lady friend Marty. She’s smart and pretty and nice to me, and really quite pleasant for a Norwegian. Thankfully, she also has poor taste in men and a soft spot for a Gosfordian accent. One thing I’ll never let her do again, though, is plan a camping trip.

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Still looking good after a night of sleeping in sub-zero temperatures

We headedout towards the beach at 8:45pm, as the sun was setting behind the Riga skyline, and made it to the sand just as the northern European twilight was fading. We set up the tent and the fire (alright, Marty set up the fire after my disastrous attempt) as the cold settled around us, and when everything was organised we lay back on the sand and ate good food and drank good alcohol under a full moon. It was a fantastic night with fantastic company.

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It would be even more romantic without the empty beer cans in the background

Bedtime was a different story, though. No, no, I’m not going to get rude, it’s just that Latvia gets really, really, really bloody cold at night. Seriously, there are snowmen with willies warmer than a Latvian evening. And despite Marty having spent most of her life in climates too cold for human habitation, we were unprepared for the elements and spent the evening shivering and fighting off the effects of frostbite. Seriously, the next morning I was counting my fingers and toes to make sure none had dropped off in the evening.

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Showing off my sausage. Marty was not impressed

It was the perfect way to end my (longer than expected) trip to Latvia. Now, it’s time to head south to the beautiful land of Lithuania, where dragons roam wild and free and all the women  are strong enough to bend iron bars with their bare hands. I won’t be going camping down there, though – well, unless one of those Lithuanian women with the strong hands promises to keep me warm at night!

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Checking off all the rules we broke. While we were taking this photo, a handsome policeman with a bushy moustache stopped us and told us to leave the beach immediately

One minute I’m camping, the next there’s a naked luchador dancing around in front of me

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I went camping in Yengo National Park this week, and it was an interesting trip for a number of reasons. First up, I took a stroll out to the Circuit Flat Bridge, a short walk from where I stayed at the Mogo Campground, and which was built by convicts back in 1831. It was maybe two metres tall and spanned a creek a metre wide, so it was very impressive.

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I sat in my chair drinking cask wine while listening to good music, enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with camping in the middle of nowhere. I cooked burgers and read my book and reflected on life and watched possums play.

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And then, when I thought things were going to remain slow and steady and relaxing, a naked luchador showed up.

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Sorry, Rey

The demented Mexican wrestler – who identified himself as el Pervertido Desnuda, and who appeared to be struggling with the cold weather – proceeded to prance around the campground for several minutes, apparently oblivious to me sitting there. He fought imaginary opponents, shouted at trees, and flipped around like a monkey on methadone.

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He seemed so talented at performing cartwheels and other acrobatic manouvres that I asked him where he had learnt his skills. He simply told me that he’d had two girlfriends who had been professional gymnasts, and I just looked at him and thought that any bloke who has had two girlfriends who had been professional gymnasts must be pretty fucking lucky. And pretty fucking cool.

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Yango National Park is full of natural beauty and interesting relics of our past, but if you head out there, watch out for the naked luchador! Oh, and I saw this sign on my way out, so if the naked luchador isn’t able to update his blog (which is completely unrelated to this one), you know why!

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Barnstorming through Bouddi

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I’ve had as many long walks as Stephen Hawking lately, and I’ve been missing the hiking, so today I strapped on my walking boots and hiked from Killcare, NSW to Little Beach… erm, which is also in NSW. I didn’t walk interstate or anything, because I had to be back in time to watch the cricket.

It’s a delightful 15km round-trip through Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast, and is an enjoyable journey for anyone looking to see the sights and have the delights of this awesome part of the world. Just watch out for the long-haired weirdos who hang around there…

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Killcare Beach… right next to Kill Bill Beach

After traipsing north along the wide, open Killcare Beach, the path took me along some countryside as rugged as farmer’s wife pubic region. Steep cliffs dropped down to wild oceans as the path weedled its way along the coast.

There’s a lovely boardwalk that hangs out over the cliffs, making for both an easy and spectacular walk. A lot of effort has been put into this place, and I was oohing and ahhing like a woman on her wedding night as I made my way through heaven, under an endless blue sky.

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I missed out on seeing Tasmania’s tessellated pavement a few months ago (my brother was having Dagwood Dog withdrawals and was threatening to drive to the nearest fast food van without me), so I was astounded and delighted to see a similar set-up right here on the Central Coast. I’d like to have a similar design for my bathroom, but I don’t have 10,000 years to wait for it.

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It is, indeed, hip to be square

The second beach on my epic journey was Bullimah, which is a little bit small and a little bit rough, which is also an adequate way of describing a number of women I’ve been with over the years. The last time I was at this beach, I was on a nude photo shoot with an 18-year-old blonde girl. Things weren’t quite as exciting this time, because all I did was sit down and stuff my face with cheese and bacon balls – which, to be fair, is pretty much what the 18-year-old blonde girl did.

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More cheese on my face than a Bangkok hooker

The journey continued through thick bush and steep climbs, never venturing too far from the ocean and offering some astounding views out over Maitland Bay. It’s a well-made and preserved track that’s easy to walk and the equal of many more famous tracks around the world. It’s peaceful and challenging, wild and wonderful, and takes in some of the best views you’ll ever see.

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This is where dreams live

After sweating in the sun for an hour or so, I was happy to hit Maitland Bay, which is my favourite place on the planet and one of the most gorgeous beaches you could ever hope to visit. I’ll do a full entry (ooh!) on it at some point, covering the colourful history of this place, so for now I’ll just say I had a grouse time clowning around in the delightful water. In underpants, too, so have a good look, ladies!

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I’m too sexy for my board shorts, too sexy for my board shorts…

I would’ve liked to stay all day, but I had a legendary journey to finish, so I pushed on north towards Little Beach. This section of track is up and down like a wino’s moods, taking in the remote Caves Bay before cresting a steep hill on the way to Little Beach. It was bloody hot and I saw sweating like a vegetable in a wok (that’s my second disabled person joke for this blog!) as I swaggered along, but the remarkable visuals made it all worthwhile. Just as remarkable was the fact I kept my trousers on the whole time!

Sorry, Nobby.

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Little Beach…Possibly named after Kevin Rudd’s penis

Finally, with my legs weary and my supply of ice-cold beer a distant memory, I stumbled upon Little Beach. The moniker suits it, because it is quite little, so thumbs up to whoever spent all of 30 seconds naming it. There’s a really nice camp ground right next to the beach, but no big-titted bisexual Swedish girls invited me into their tents, so I took the track back to the main road.

The 7.5km back was a slog but, like returning to your work desk to find someone has left a fun-sized Mars bar there while you were having a wee, there was something brilliant to break up the monotony. Hi, God, it’s me, Row-Row. Thanks for the sunset!

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