Byron Bay: Peace and Love, Surf and Drugs

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August 31st 2012
Published: August 31st 2012
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We had a great introduction to Byron Bay, a hippie town near the border of New South Wales and Queensland. It was another beautiful, blue sky day and our driver who collected us from the bus stop kindly drove us around town and to the beach before taking us to our home for the next two nights. We debated getting our heads down as we hadn't really slept the previous night on the coach but decided on a shower to fully revive us instead. Our dorm seemed ok, we were on one bunk of four in a fairly big room, but it smelt of boys and alcohol!

We set out and walked through the bush straight onto the beach, although the sand was cold between our toes it was lush and thick and golden. Definitely one of the nicer beaches we have frequented in our time. We had a lovely morning strolling, our feet wading through the small waves. We saw a few people but not enough to feel like we were sharing the beach! There were paddle surfers in the water but it was still too early for the surfers, recovering in their pits at present from the night before! We grabbed a lovely fruity smoothie and wandered about in the town getting a feel for the place. Which was very hippie, most people wandered barefoot carrying a guitar and shop fronts were either surf or rainbow style! There was no high rise here, hostels filled the streets with apartments along the coastal road.

We decided to trek through the jungle hills to reach one of the main attractions in this small town- the lighthouse and Australia's most easterly point. We passed some brush turkeys amongst other small animals and enjoyed the trek up and down many steps! We made our way around the coast passing the most impressive beach we had ever seen. Tallow beach. It was simply sensational, gorgeous white sand that stretched for 7km and a fantastic surf, this was where the early risers had come to surf but there wasn't a single other person on the beach. Just us and sand and sea! Just how we like it! We made our way up to the lighthouse which was impressive with the beach and coast backdrop. We treated ourselves to quite simply the best ice cream we have ever tasted. That's right the connoisseur Lauren had found the ultimate! We had Mars flavour and honeycomb and it was divine. We were told of the choice of ten we had here there was the main shop in town with 40 flavours, well we would be stopping there for sure!

We headed to the most eastern point and were even treated to seeing whales playing on the horizon, too far away to fully appreciate them but enough to make us feel special for spotting them! You could make your way further down to a lookout which we did and passed a tiny beach again with no one on. As we walked along the beaches and coast back to town, about 5km away we barely passed a soul, Lauren enjoying cartwheeling as there was no one watch her make a fool of herself! We were so lucky with the weather although there was a breeze and pinched ourselves that this was actually winter and we hadn't dared to hope it would be this good! The

hostel offered free rental of body boards which we were eager to use but our weary bodies had other ideas instead deciding to have lunch and a rest. We had a massive choice for food, still most places expensive but as it was a hippie town there was a massive emphasis on healthy organic food. We chose toasted wraps with sweet potato and tuna along with other healthy salad foods and devoured them greedily. Back at the hostel we got some shut eye before a BBQ that was being hosted at the hostel by the pool. This was good but unfortunately controlled so it was only one small burger, sausage and some salad but still it tasted good!

We sat by the fire and pool and spent most of the evening chatting to sisters from Christchurch and learning about New Zealand and getting even more excited for that impending adventure! We decided to follow the crowds, for once, and head into town to see if the night scene was as good as its reputation. We didn't really get to find out though as all places with live music were now shut up, but for the buskers still carrying on the streets, and you needed ID for everywhere which we never bring out! Even forty year olds were ID'd and photos taken. We got in one place, Cheeky Monkeys which has a reputation! It was in full swing and we decided just one drink was all we could afford. We didn't feel like we missed out due to this, these people would most likely to see tomorrow till 2pm and miss the early sunshine. We headed back, stopping at the 24 hour bakery for a muffin and was slightly annoyed to see our French companions, the four smelly boys were playing drinking games and loud music. They eventually left but only to come back making more noise and some a bit too obvious as they shacked up in the bed nearly next to us! The French do have their way, but seriously in a dorm?!

As soon as reception opened in the morning we asked to switch rooms and were delighted to be given another nine bed dorm but all to ourselves! We got some more sleep having had little the last two nights before getting wraps again for an early lunch. We rented bikes from the hostel and cycled for a while but the bikes were a bit too old to control and brakes were questionable so we didn't go for long! The weather as well was now no longer the beautiful blue sky, slightly grey and very windy so instead we decided to chill at the hostel watching some tv shows and reading a book. We walked to the supermarket and saw some more shops and treated ourselves to the ice cream again! This time we got a few flavours! White chocolate, caramel, chocolate and caramel cheesecake plus malteasers flavour! Divine!

The evening was just as uninteresting as the day really, we got some soup and noodles worrying about our expenditure the last few days and called it a night playing games on our phone and chatting about the future. And that was it really, a short stop for us. We heard several conversations during our time about drugs, mostly from staff which wasn't comforting and didn't use the pool as it wasn't quite warm enough! We saw a great sunset and some amazing beaches but that was all that was in store for us here. We could have stayed longer if we had time, and enjoyed it, eating healthily for a change etc but we were also happy to get the bus at 9am next morning, onto Brisbane, a small 3 hour coach journey by comparison to recent trips.

We passed through a number of towns that looked pretty and quaint before driving through Surfers Paradise, a place we toyed with going but decided it was too American Vegas mixed with Florida for us. It was theme parks and gambling plus many high rise hotels, exactly what we want in America but not here so we congratulated ourselves for choosing the quieter spots as we continue to journey North.

Things of note:

You wouldn't know it but drugs are still illegal here despite the number of people clearly taking something, even in the hostel staff were chatting about an orientation for the next set of arrivals where they would have one big trip at 9pm!

A lot of places again had BYO advertised, we are unsure why this is so popular when restaurants can make so much profit on alcohol

There are a lot of beaches to choose from, we saw and visited at least six, and one always has a great break for surfers.

Again a lot of people lived at the hostel and all worked some variety of job to stay for free so you felt like intruders in the kitchen and common room.

Ben really felt like he fit in here with his hair and beard as everyone did seem very care free!

There is a massive emphasis on arts and music here with signs welcoming buskers as an opportunity to make a living and artists selling work on the street, only one place had a sign saying no buskers, and we never saw this free of buskers!

What would we do differently:

Mixed bag answer here, we would have stayed longer hoping the weather would get brighter and we could have whiled our days on the beach drinking smoothies, but that wouldn't be experiencing anything or achieving things which is more and more what we think this trip has become. We don't mind moving on quickly, it keeps us on our toes and we see so much more.

Thefts: robbed of sleep by the bloody French guy and his Australian floozy for the night!

Near Misses: 0

Fallouts: 0

Additional photos below
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5th September 2012

Cyprus Windsurfing
Wow - a very content packed blog.Nice blog with some very useful info.I like your pictures and information.Thanks............
5th September 2012

Cyprus Windsurfing
Wow - a very content packed blog.Nice blog with some very useful info.I like your pictures and information.Thanks............ Surfing Europe

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