I decided this winter that no matter what I was going to find a way to Australia. 100,000 skymiles later and bags full of cameras, surfboards, skateboards and wakeboards, I was on my way to Sydney airport. I showed up with literally no plan. I had let a few friends know I was arriving in February on Facebook and that was it. I rented the cheapest car I could find and purchased a local phone. I made a few calls and Jeff Weatherall happened to be at Penrith Cable park and hour away. He said “ditch the rental, we’ll shred the cable today and tomorow morning and then a friend and I are driving to the Gold Coast and camping and surfing for three days along the way, just come with us.” So that was the plan. I returned the rental keys and waited for my ride. Things always seem to work better for me by not planning ahead and just rolling with whatever happens. The great thing about this trip is that I had no obligations, I was just simply there to have fun and document it.
We rode Penrith Cable that night and the next morning. Its a great cable if you even happen to be around there. Afterwards we packed the truck with everything you could need. Food, Surfboards, wakeboards, skateboards and a dirt bike and headed off to Stockton beach. It was about a two hour drive and its known for its big dunes that people go 4 wheeling and dirtbiking on. About a 20 minute drive down the beach we stopped to enjoy the beach for a bit. There is a big old ship grounded in the surf right there that we stopped to check out. When we stopped I noticed steam coming out of the engine hood. Sure enough we were overheating and spewing out coolant. So we waited for it to cool down and drove into the dunes into harder sand. Overheated again. Waited one more time filled it up with water and overheated 2 minutes later again. Now we think we have a problem. This time the car wouldnt start anymore and it was getting dark. None of us are qualified mechanics by anymeans, but we poked our head around as if looking at it extra hard was going to fix it. We ended up getting towed off the dunes at 10pm. We couldnt believe that a land cruiser towed us up, over and through these dunes.
Fortunatley, the Iacconi family, Tony Iacconi is a younger wakeboarder, has a big plot of land close by with a GoRide cable system and a little Dungeon looking caravan to sleep in. This caravan looked like something out of a horror movie. Its in the middle of nowhere, the door was open creaking back and forth and had no power. So we did our best not to think about the giant spiders and snakes living in this thing and somehow fell asleep.
The following day we simply rode the cable all to ourselves and had the car taken to the Nissan dealership. Of course they couldnt figure out the problem and it was yet another night in the Dungeon. We walked an hour down the road to a small airport to rent a car and just happened to run into the Iacconis whom were just getting back from the Gold Coast. They ended up taking us out in their boat, fed us, and let us stay at their house for the night. Finally the next morning Nissan called and said the engine was completely blown and would have to be replaced for $16,000. No worries, warranty will cover it……except for that Nautique had a chip in it which apparently voids the warranty. This was Jeffs first month working for Nautique and had already blown up a truck. Oops. For the record though he was not driving it through soft sand and working the truck hard. I think it was a previous issue.
So back to the airport we went and flew up to the Gold Coast. It was Valentines day as well. Definitely an interesting start to my Australia journey. None the less though everything was working out. - Collin