17 – 24.01.2009
On the last day of surf camp we were dropped off at Backpackers Inn, a clean basic hostel 2 mins from the beach and 10 mins walk from town. The next week was a chance to relax, surf, sunbath and generally recuperate from the madness of surf camp. Byron was to prove the perfect tonic for this!! Byron was a very small town until the 1960`s when it was discovered by a bunch of surfers who found the pass which made it a great breakpoint for waves around the several beaches that surround the lighthouse. Byron is a very laid back, sleepy surfing town with loads of soul and character and is un commercialized (no American Embassy here ((ie McDonald`s)) with locals that are determined to keep it the small town that it is. It is one of Australia`s best beach towns with a real pulse to it and with surf conditions to suit both the novice surfer (me) and the more experienced one (everyone else). It has beautiful long outstretched golden beaches that stretch for miles.
Byron however shakes off it`s sleepiness at night and and becomes a real party town, and our surf family certainly made the most of it. Apart from the town itself there not many attractions in Byron itself (if you don`t call chilling, surfing and partying an attraction) but a trek up to the lighthouse is a great way to waste an afternoon.There is a small walk (3 or 4 miles) around the base of the lighthouse and all the way to the top which takes you through some lovely forests and shoreline`s. The lighthouse itself is the most easterly point of Australia and from the top you can spy down below on the turtles, dolphins, rays and sometimes sharks. Many para gliders use the thermal currents around the lighthouse to soar amongst theeagles which often swoop down above your head. The lighthouse is especially popular at early morning so you can boast to say that you are the first person in Australia to see the sun rise.
We also used Byron as a base to go and visit Nimbin for the day, a crazy little hippie town nestled in the northern Rivers. It has a high tolerance for all things hippie and is a must see destination just to experience the odd lifestyle of some of its residents and visitors. the town itself is very small (less than 300 meters long) and boasts novelty shops and juice bars.The Hemp Museum is an interesting collection of all things weird and wonderful along with local artefacts and local art. It is an international mecca for eccentric backpackers, alternative life-stylers and new age travellers. We used the day trip enjoy the local sightseeing and then have a BBQ overlooking a beautiful lake and some rock pool jumping! The rest of the week was spent lounging around sampling many of the
delightful coffee houses, delis and many of the pubs and clubs Byron had to offer. So it was eventually time to head further up north on my travels next stop was the greatly named Surfers Paradise (do you see a theme coming along here!!) which was 2 hrs away and just South of Brisbane. I could have easily stayed another week or so in Byron but time was pressing on and many more places to visit and explore.