Tag Archives: New South Wales

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

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The Dog on the Tucker Box

The Drunk and Jobless World Tour™ has readers from across the planet, and one thing my fans are always asking me is whether it’s worth flying to Australia just to see the famous Dog on the Tucker Box at Gundagai. I wrote about this legendary roadside attraction a year ago but, in the interest of providing the most in-depth travel blog around, I decided to head back to that spot nine miles from Gundagai… or five miles, as it turns out.
After visiting the Big Banana, the Big Whale and two Big Pineapples across two continents, the Dog on the Tucker Box didn’t impress me with its size. It is, after all, the size of a regular dog, and I see them all over the place. The Dog gets a pass, however, because he was knocked together back in 1932, around three decades before some bright sparks started building gigantic roadside attractions up and down Australia.

You know a Gundagai’s full of life when a dog sitting on a lunchbox is most interesting thing to happen in the last century

The Dog was erected (oi, stop sniggering!) as a tribute to drovers across New South Wales, and inspired by a 19th century poem called Bullocky Bill, which featured the memorably odd lines, ‘And the dog sat on the tucker-box/Five miles from Gundagai’. For my foreign readers, a tucker-box is something you’d keep your lunch in, so it would be understandably upsetting if some rabies-addled canine sat (and supposedly shat) on your sandwiches.

Without television, video games or internet porn, a statue of a dog was pretty much the most interesting thing around back then, and drew admirers from Albury to Armidale. It was so popular that it inspired a further poem called Nine Miles From Gundagai, which ripped off Bullocky Bill in a way that would make any rap singer proud. In this version, however, the dog carked it: ‘The dog ah well he took a bait and reckoned he would die/I buried him in that tucker-box nine miles from Gundagai’. I feel sorry for the bloke who reached into the tucker-box expecting a Vegemite sambo and ended up with a fistful of rotting cattledog.

Big koala, bigger love!

The statue is just off the Hume Highway these days, and is a decent place to stop between Sydney and Melbourne. There’s a pie shop (the owners looked like they’d been slapped when I got out of my car and they discovered I’m not a fatso anymore and so don’t live on pastries), a KFC, and some sort of health food shop where they sell really expensive food that you could just as easily pick from a tree. The truly monumental Kip the Koala looms large about 500 metres down the road, and should satiate anyone’s need for something big (and if not, give me a call, ladies!).
So, should you travel to Australia just to see the Dog on the Tucker Box? No fucking way, but if you’re out here for the beaches, the bizarre animals, the lovely people and the lack of infectious diseases, you might as well stop by as you’re driving around. But if you see a tucker-box lying around, don’t reach into it. They do weird things with them in Gundagai.

My parents were delighted to visit the Dog on the Tucker Box back in 1973. My dad still wears those trousers!

WHERE: Gundagai, around four hours south-west of Sydney

WHAT’S THERE? A statue of a dog. A big statue of a koala. Some wagon wheels. Fat people eating KFC.

IF YOU’RE THIRSTY: There’s nowhere to grab booze at the Dog-stop (boooooh!) but there are a couple of good, traditional pubs in Gundagai (yay!)

AND IF YOU’RE HUNGRY: The shop behind the Dog has awesome pies and sausage rolls

WHAT ARE THE WOMENFOLK LIKE? The ladies in the pie shop are lovely. Give ’em a wink and they might chuck in a sachet of tommo sauce for free

FUN FACT: Gundagai is the only town in the world that rhymes with ‘thunder thighs’

Byron Bay Blues

Byron Bay was once the land of hippies and burnouts, but these days it’s better known for multi-million-dollar properties and overpriced drinks. Despite this drastic change it remains a beautiful place, and the gang and I thought it would be the perfect place to party after a week spent in sleepy ol’ Rainbow, where everything closes before 8pm. Little did I know that our detour into the popular beachside village would lead to rivers of blood and unspeakable violence. And some people reckon that flying is the most dangerous part of a paragliding trip!

Dunno who the prick in the middle is

It was getting late by the time we rocked up, so Hamster, Phil, Asian Scotty, Round-Eye Scotty and I raced up to the Beach Hotel to glug back some uber-expensive beers while checking out the totty on offer. If you’re not wearing a three-piece suit there you’re underdressed, so we wobbled up to the nearby Rails Hotel, which was overflowing with backpackers, tradies, surfers and other troublemakers. My memory gets a bit fuzzy at this point, because we were throwing down Coopers Red as if our guts were on fire, but I think we went to the Great Northern Hotel, and ended up at Woodies Surf Shack, which is located in the Woolies carpark. Top place, Byron – where else could you get a good deal on Tim Tams and a lapdance off a 21-year-old Canadian in the same place?

Can you spot Hamster chundering in the corner?

I was waiting for a big-titted French maiden to return from the bar with my pina colada when I heard a commotion outside and, fearing the worst, raced out to the carpark.
“What’s going on?” I asked Phil.

“It’s Scotty,” he gasped. “He’s punching on with the bouncers.”

“Big deal. He’s a career criminal and one of the most violent people I know. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t having a fight.”

“No, not the Asian Scotty – I mean Round-Eye Scotty. Y’know, the bloke who’s spent the whole trip reading books on Spanish history and learning the moves to the Macarena. Apparently they caught him pissing in the corner of the club and he flipped out when the bouncers told him to stop. He started slapping their faces, so now they’re kicking the crap out of him. I think I just saw one of his eyeballs pop out of kiss skull.”

“They might I have to call him One-Eye Scotty from now on,” I smirked, and someone slapped me a high five.

Round-Eye Scotty (left) gets knocked the fuck out by an enraged bouncer (right) as Hamster (centre) looks on in horror

The bouncers eventually scraped what was left of Round-Eye Scotty off the concrete and handed him over to the police, who didn’t know whether to arrest him or bury him. As the broken shell of a man was taken away in the cop car, we all joined together for a hearty rendition of, ‘You’re going home in the back of a divvy van’ and then returned to the bar for more beers.

I swear I took this photo, and didn’t just download it off the internets

I woke up behind an Otto bin a few hours later, and when I finally made it back to the hostel the others were ready to leave. Hamster sheepishly told me that he’d pissed his last pair of clean shorts and would have to go home, so he gave me a soppy hug and started walking back to Perth. That just left me, Phil and Asian Scotty to continue on to Laurieton, with dreams of epic paragliding spinning around in our minds. But on the way, there was something big that we just couldn’t miss…

Look at all that potassium!

That’s right, the most a-PEEL-ing roadside attraction in the world, and one that promises a whole BUNCH of fun, the Big Fuckin’ Banana! Built in 1964 and longer than Mandingo’s meat rocket, the Banana is undoubtedly the most famous Big Thing around. More than one million fascinated tourists gape in awe at it every year, and I’m happy to say that the freakish fruit is looking better than ever (unlike the poor bloody Big Cow). There are new attractions there, such as a water park and a giant slippery dip, making it the perfect place for a fun day out.

He was asking for it

Our afternoon was set to become decidedly un-PG, however. Phil, Scotty and I were enjoying banana smoothies and banana jam sandwiches when a group of attractive blonde backpackers walked over to stare in wonder at the banana. In turn, I stared in wonder at the blonde backpackers. Scotty, however, took things a step too far.
“Hey lady, if you want big banana, I have one in my pant,” he crooned, whilst thrusting his groin at them. “OK, it no so big, but it yellow and taste funny, so why you no give it a try?” We left before there were any further arrests.

Being able to see where you’re flying is for pooftahs

We finally made it to Laurieton at dusk, and raced off to Southeast Bonnie Hills to see if we could get a fly in. The sun was down and it was getting dark quick, but the wind was good, so we set off. After a week of frustration, it was incredible to get back up in the air. In fact, it was so good that, after landing in the pitch dark and drinking ourselves stupid, we got back into it the next day. Beautly, it was even better when I could see where I was going! SE Bonnies was the first site I ever flew back when I was on my course, and it was ace to get another crack at it now that I’m (slightly) more experienced.

Mr Handsome 😍

That night, we were enjoying some well-earned beers while watching the sunset, when we received the news that Round-Eye Scotty had been brutally raped in prison and had died of extensive rectal haemorhaging. Asian Scotty started pissing himself; “He no even the one who was pissing in nightclub!” he guffawed. “It was me, but I blame him so that bouncer bash him. My plan work so well, I so smart. Please hand me party pie.” But in more important news, I beat Phil in a game of Jenga! All in all, it was a fantastic week, and my condolences go out to Round-Eye Scotty’s family.

Bush bashing

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The Central Coast has so many brilliant places to go hiking, and I’m doing my best to strut down every bushwalking track in the area! Today I headed out to Strickland State Forest, near Narara, and hiked to an abandoned arboretum (for those who don’t have their dictionary in their hand, it’s basically a botanical garden with all sorts of trees planted for scientific study. Bring that word up in conversation with the next pretty lady you talk to!).

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The tracks are easy to get to, relaxing to walk along, and provide an absolutely wonderful experience in pristine nature. The valley is full of ancient gum trees that tower above the forest floor, with some being 60 or 70 metres tall. Entire ecosystems exist among the branches of these proud giants, as birds flutter through the leaves and massive vines hang from the canopy.

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The arboretum itself is also pretty cool, with all sorts of pines and ferns and other plants that you wouldn’t expect to see in the Aussie the bush. The first trees were planted there around 120 years ago and some of them are enormous now. It’s a peaceful place where the only sounds are the gentle wind in the trees and the sweet songs of the birds. There truly is nothing like the Australian bush.

And I managed to keep my trousers on the whole time, so maybe I’m finally growing up.

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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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Brotherly Love

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I’m not gay, but I will admit to being hopelessly in love with a big, burly bloke from the country. He’s tall (around 476m, the last time anyone checked), dependable (he’s stuck around for millions of years), and he’s always willing to let my mates have fun with him, too.

He is North Brother Mountain, and he’s my weekend lover on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. I first met him around a year ago, when I first ventured to the area to learn how to paraglide (well, to start learning to paraglide – I still have a long way to go!). I thought he was imposing and a little bit arrogant, but I’m a sucker for a strong, silent type, so I had a bit of a perve.

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What a handsome chap!

Over the next week I flirted with some lesser mountains, that were more like hills to be honest, but it was North Brother who had my heart fluttering. I wanted to get to know him better, but he was playing hard to get. With one day left on the course, I was still admiring him from afar, and was starting to think it wouldn’t happen.

Things got worse when I had a bad curry and spent my final night of the trip doing my best impression of a broken fire hydrant. I figured it just wasn’t to be… and then something special happened. Hours before I was due to leave, North Brother smiled at me and smoothly asked if I was keen for a ride. Shit, was I ever!

I was as nervous and excited as an altar boy bending over for his first priest as I climbed into my harness, grabbed my risers, and prepared for the highest flight of my very short paragliding career. But North Brother was gentle and understanding, lifting me into the sky and making me truly feel like a woman… alright, maybe that’s going to far.

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Woooo, go my feet!

It’s hard to describe your first solo high flight. I wasn’t scared, because I was so astounded by what was happening and what I was doing. As I moved out from the mountain and watched the ground drop away below me, I struggled for breath as my jaw dropped as I took in the view. I had so much space to zip around, so many things to see, so many emotions to enjoy. That first flight off North Brother took only a few minutes, but it was the most incredible thing I’d ever done (well, apart from that chick in Bangkok).

I was nearly in tears as I left North Brother. True to form, he showed no emotion, and was flirting with another paraglider before I’d even touched down. I promised to frolic with him again, but the timing never seemed right. We passed each other like ships in the nigh, our paths destined to never cross again.

But all that changed last weekend. I was in the area again with the Cloudbase crew, trying and failing to get it on with any of the other flying spots. Harry’s Lookout didn’t want me, nor did Long Flat. I felt like a 60-year-old slag trying to find a cock to suck before closing time. I was dispirited and despondent, but when I was at my lowest point, he showed up. Big Brother wanted me to fly with him.

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Look how happy I am to be flying!

I wasn’t as nervous the second time I was with the big fella. I’d been with other mountains (including his brother, who is bigger where it counts) , but I was still looking forward to the ride. I felt comfortable as I walked onto the launch site, and when a gust of wind hit and I took to the skies, it was like North Brother and I had never been apart. I danced in the air like a recently-separated woman dancing with a group of African American sailors, once again barely able to contain my excitement and sense of wonder at what was going on around me.

It was so good to be back with my large lover, but he’s here for a good time, not a long time, so eventually it had to end. As my feet touched the ground, I looked up to North brother, blew him a kiss, and promised it wouldn’t be so long between dances this time.

But he was already fucking around with someone else, the slut.

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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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Booti call

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Your Drunken Hero

All good things have to come to an end (otherwise, Hey Day! would still be on TV), so with the winds misbehaving like a child on red cordial, I packed the Del Sol with my gear, said a sad goodbye to my Cloudbase homies, and headed home.

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It might not be paradise, but it’s close

On the way I stopped at the wonderfully-named Booti Booti National Park, just south of Forster, where I stripped off and had a delightful swim in Wallis Lake. I splished and splashed, enjoying an hour or so in an unspoiled paradise.

Unspoiled, that is, except for Ian.

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If this man tries to kiss you on the mouth, say no

When I got out of the water, a fat man with glasses was taking a good, hard look at my car. When he saw me approaching, my six pack glistening and my hair hanging down to my shoulders like some sort of ancient god, he stood up straight, smile, and stuck out his hand.

“Hi, I’m Ian,” said Ian. “Nice car! I bet you could fit a body or two in the boot!”

And, with that, I stepped into my Del Sol and left Ian eating dust.

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I was probably doing a wee-wee right here

The last week hasn’t seen the best of conditions, but I’ve had a bodacious time. I’ve explored childhood memories, looked for new places to lived, had flying failures and glorious success high above the ground.

I started paragliding because I was disappointed with how small and unadventurous my life had become. Through it I have excitement and challenge and new friends, I’ve become a more excellent dude, and more in tune with this brilliant world around us.

And that, to me, is what life’s about. Seeing new shit and doing new shit and meeting new people (who, hopefully, aren’t shit), and pushing the envelope. Get out there, get amongst it, and have a fucking good time.

Praise be to the Wind Gods

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Seriously, how good is this!

Yesterday was supposed to be a great day for flying. Unfortunately, the Wind Gods didn’t get the memo, and when we got to the bottom of Middle Brother, the conditions were as flat as a disappointing girlfriend’s chest. As a result, me and the Cloudbase crew spent the day waiting at the bottom of Middle Brother:

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Extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeme!

Waiting at the top of Middle Brother:

 

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It’s wetter than a fish’s hat!

And waiting in the park at Laurieton:

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Laurieton, NSW: Where dildos double as play equipment

The day wasn’t a wash, though. With our paragliding dreams in tatters, we headed back to Cloudbase HQ for an absolutely brilliant BBQ (thanks to Ricardo’s Tomatoes), a bellyful of beer, and lots of shit talk. The weather might’ve been dodgy, but the company certainly wasn’t.

But, like a sexual drought being broken by a prostitute moving in next door, the tough times simply made the good times better. The Wind Gods must’ve heard our overnight prayers, because they were certainly smiling on us today. The weather was incredible and the flying was, in a word, phenomenal.

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Kenny!

We piled into a convoy of cars and headed out to Long Flat, where a 225m-tall mountain would serve as our launch zone. I’ve flown at Long Flat once before and loved it, so I was as excited as a kiddie with a new box of Lego as we drove up the hill.

The wind was light as we started out, and the students who are wrapping up their course with Cloudbase did awesomely to get away and have sleddies down to the landing zone far below. I was one of the last to leave the hill, which worked out well because I found myself in a monstrous thermal out in the middle of the valley. I climbed, and climbed, and climbed, until I was higher than Charlie Sheen and more than double launch height. It was an incredible flight, and really helped with my confidence after some patchy flights in recent times.

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“Dashing” Duncan has no problems getting it up

My journey to the heavens had nothing on the adventures of Mark, one of the legends who’s been flying with us the last few days. He hit the same thermal as me and took it all the way to 3800ft, or more than 1200m. I’m glad I didn’t make it quite that high, because I would’ve shat my pants, squealed, passed out, and probably ended up somewhere in Tasmania.

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View from the top of the world

I had a further two flights that were plenty of fun but not quite as good with themals, and when I made it back to terra firma I was hotter than an Indian bloke’s lunch. There’s a beautiful river that runs through the valley, so I stripped off and jumped in, splashing around like some sort of demented eel.

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Yes, I was skinny dipping

Days like this are why were paraglide. Smashing weather, awe-inspiring views, good company and the opportunity to push ourselves to do things we never thought possible. It doesn’t get better than this!

Big Things (and not so big things)

While in Lake Innes on my paramagliding adventure, I’m staying at a petting zoo. there are llamas and alpacas and other stupid-looking beasties wandering around, and this morning I was awoken by the insane bleating of a herd of horny billy goats. I won’t tell my mate Dean* about it, or the dirty bastard will be up here in a shot.

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Goat fuck yourself, mate!

I like big things (so do all of my ex-girlfriends, which is probably why none of them liked me too much), so I headed down to Kew, to see the Big Axe. They’re not bullshitting with the name, either, because it’s fucking huge – far too large to be put into practical usage by the timber-cutting industry, but impressive nonetheless.

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I’ve got an axe to grind with you!

From there I headed east towards one of my favourite towns in the world, Laurieton. I’ve been in love with this joint since I came here to get my paragliding license a year ago. It was, without hyperbole, the best week-and-a-half of my life, so I’ll always have a place in my heart for Laurieton.

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I wanna flyyyyyy sky hiiiiigh!

Today I decided to tackle the formidable Queenslake Track. Alright, it’s not that formidable – it’s a 3.2km amble along the lake’s edge, and it’s really quite lovely. With a smile on my face and a song in my heart, I trotted along the track, marvelling at the water views and enjoying the handsome boardwalk.

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Delicious!

It’s an easy and peaceful journey, and illustrates the beauty of this place. I’ve been thinking of moving up this way for a while, and this afternoon simply reinforced those thoughts. If you’re up this way, dont think twice about stopping in Laurieton and having a walk along this picturesque lake.

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Not a bad place to eat some meat

Unfortunately, while trotting along my shorts became quite loose and fell off. As I was attempting to pull them up, I was startled by a possum and had to seek refuge in a tree. I was terrified! To make matters worse, my phone somehow took a photo of me during my darkest moment and, in the interests of journalistic integrity, I’m putting that photo up to illustrate my pain.

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Yep… I’m still single!

As I was climbing up, a senior gentleman came ambling round the corner, and when he saw me he had a chuckle to himself. “We never used to do that in my day, but it looks like plenty of fun,” he smirked. “Of course, if I was hanging out of a tree with my daks off like that, my dick would be dragging in the dirt.” And with a spring in his step, he disappeared down the track.