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Published: August 8th 2014
Lunch was a kale salad, mixed with other greens and superfoods. There was the widest selection of tie-died clothing I had ever come by. I nearly got blown away by incense smells, and I've never seen so many indian feathered dream catchers in one place. On the one side was the beach, on the other hippies. Dreadlocks and tattoos rule here. I could be nowhere else but Byron Bay.
It was a three day weekend for both me and my travel companion, Bernadette, so we had selected Byron Bay as the destination of choice. A relaxing and chilled out place on the coast, just south of the border with Queensland. It really is a beautiful spot, and I made the most of the sunshine on our first day, walking the coastal walkway up to the lighthouse at Cape Byron. I tried to see if I could spot any whales or dolphins which apparently are passing through at the moment, but I think binoculars would have made that task easier.
We checked out the markets, stocking all the usual market fare, including a vast array of dream catchers. I wasn't tempted at all, and also managed to resist the allures
of the tie dyed pants. Well I guess someone's buying them. Of course we also enjoyed the best on offer at the local restaurants. I'm still salivating at the memory of the slow cooked pork belly with dates, stuffed with blue cheese and served with quince aioli - just one of the amazing dishes on our tapas selection at St Elmo. Worth a return visit for this alone!
I think I could rename my weekend adventures as "food tours around Australia". One of my favourite spots was lunch at the beautiful Byron Bay Resort, a few minutes out of town. It is set in a truly stunning location near Tallow Beach, so I walked off lunch wandering through the resort's 45 acres of rainforest, spotting some beautiful birds (no other unwelcome wildlife I am happy to reassure you), enjoying the serenity at Tallow Lake, admiring the everglades and the lotus pond. With daily yoga, spa treatments and such a lovely setting I quickly came to the conclusion it would be a fabulous spot to stay if you wanted a quiet weekend getaway on your own. Maybe next time.
So, it was somewhat of a juxtaposition to be holed
up in the local pub surrounded by rugby buffoons on the Saturday night. However it was the final of the super rugby and New Zealanders are crazy about rugby. Rumour has it if you don't watch the final and cheer on the NZ team over the Aussie one they make you give your passport back. So there we were, in a cavernous hall with a giant screen of the fateful match, making friends with a group of young Queensland rugby heads, down for the weekend and supporting the Warratahs - the team from NSW who'd make it into the final against the Crusaders from Canterbury in NZ.
What a nailbiter of a night it turned out to be, across all the sporting codes. First up my travel companion, Bernadette, was following the New Zealand netball's team progress at the Commonwealth Games. We were in the semi-finals, playing England. So while the rugby was on the big screen the netball was on the very small iPhone screen. Both gave us cause for much grief. However happily the Silver Ferns took out the game by one point in the final few seconds of the match. Less happily, the Warratahs also took
out their game by one point in the dying seconds of the match. Oh well - you win some, you lose some.
Thank goodness I'd had kale salad for lunch, because all that nailbiting sports action took a few wines to wash down.
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