After leaving Sydney, we stopped off at Palm Beach. To all those that know the Ozzie Soaps, it’s where Home and Away is filmed. When we got there, Stef had a little walk around whilst I took photos. I never really watched the soap so I had no interest but I had fun watching the surfers falling off their boards. We had lunch by the beach and left.

That night, we stayed in a little campsite called Bellhaven Caravan Park in Heatherbrae. They did have a few bug problems but overall, the park was nice and had free Internet. The mosquitos were out in large numbers, which stopped Stef having a shower in the morning, but they also had a few spiders that we hadn’t seen before. And wow were they big. I was brave enough to take a few pictures of one that we saw. It was making these little web balls and storing them. It was fascinating to watch, but the whole time scary, as I wanted to get close but scared that it would jump on to my face! When I was taking the photos, I asked Stef to put her hand next to it for a size comparison, however, she never. What a chicken! But for reference sake, the rear body was about 2.5cm in width!

 

The journey to the next site was interesting. I was cruising along at the legal speed limit when I went around a bend. There was a police car by the side of the road and an officer flagged me down to stop. It was the first time I’d been stopped by the police this trip. He had a sign on the back of his car that said random breath tests so I knew I’d be alright. He approached my window and asked for my licence. All of a sudden he went running after a passing car, shouting for it to pull over. He left us and ran further down the road to talk to the driver. This was a perfect time for me to get a photo standing in front of the car. I did think about donning the horse’s head but I remembered that they have video cameras everywhere on their vehicles so chose not to. He came back and I gave a breath specimen. He asked what I did back home. When I told him I was a police officer (or an English Bobby as they love to call them), straight away I was invited into the police car to see all the gadgets they have. The car was much more advanced than the Met police cars. I won’t go on, but they did have cameras that filmed around the car. After chatting for a while, I remembered that I had left Stef alone in the van! I was a bit cheeky and asked him if I could wear the horse’s head for a photo. He let me so I didn’t waste any time in doing so. He then told us about nice places to see and invited us for a meal with his wife who liked horses! How nice.

Horse photos taken, we continued our journey to Armidale Tourist Park in Armidale. Now this is where it gets a bit squeamish for us both.

Armidale Tourist Park, Armidale, Australia

After dinner I went to do the washing up in the camp kitchen. Whilst I was doing this, Stef was making the van ready for us to sleep in – putting the bed down and closing the curtains. I returned to the van to find Stef at the back. I banged on the window as I had my hands full. I’ve never seen Stef jump so much! She shouted to me that there was a MASSIVE spider in the front. I didn’t know what to think so I opened the door and looked down at the curtain where she said it was. Oh my god. It was massive. Stef had closed the curtains and when she went to put her hand down a gap to close it properly, she saw it. My heart started beating fast. I absolutely hate spiders. When Stef, my brother and I cleaned my Dad’s garage, Stef was the only one man enough to get right into the dark web-ridden corners to pick things up – I wasn’t even standing within shouting distance!

 

This spider was a beast. You could see the hairs on its finger length legs. You could see its eyes. It could smell fear.

 

Stef started to panic, which in turn scared the hell out of me. If this thing were to run, neither of us would be sleeping in the van until it had been removed. Stef had got out a pair of my leather gloves, a cup and a plate to get it out. There was no way in hell it was going in a cup.

 

I moved the other curtain out. I was not brave enough to scoop it out. Now, if this were my fearless brother in this situation, he would have just grabbed it with his bare hands and let it run all up and down his arm (shame Jay showed no sign of his braveness the day we were cleaning out the garage! – Stef). But I had to kill it. It was the only way. On one side of the curtain is the cockpit and the other side is the back of the sink and drawers. I got a big metal camp cup and went to place it behind the curtain. At this point, Stef screamed. Which in turn freaked me the hell out. She was worried that I wouldn’t be able to kill it and it would run. I told her to shut up and stop making me jump. I have never felt my heart beating so fast before. I took position again and after taking a few deep breathes, I slammed the bottom of that metal cup so hard against the curtain, people in the next town could hear the noise. I was scared to lift it back off. The spider was so big, I was surprised it didn’t just stop the cup and push it away!

 

But it was dead. RIP spider.

 

As I fished the spider out and placed it on a plate, ready to be thrown out, Stef freaked out and shouted again as she wasn’t expecting to see it. This in turn freaked me out. Again. What is wrong with this girl!

 

I was too much in shock to take a photo and I could hardly sleep that night.

 

But I Googled images of spiders in the area and I was right in what I thought it was. A Huntsman. I’d read so much about them before we left for this trip and I hoped to God that I never saw one. We both think it was from the previous camp where we had the side door open. Stef always moans when I want it shut because of bugs, but I’m sure she’ll be agreeing with me in the future.

 

It’s another tick in the box, but it’s one adrenaline experience that we both wish we never had!

A googled image of a Huntsman spider on a hand