On our last full day in Byron Bay, we woke up to a sunny, cloudless blue sky and the temperature was around 21 degrees Celsius. Not bad for winter. And now, we could actually explore the city properly, leaving our rain jackets at the hotel. So, we did! First, since it was so early in the morning and Byron shops don’t seem to open til 10 or so, I asked Tyler if he’d mind making the trek up to the lighthouse again, and of course he said we could. It also seemed like a much quicker walk up there and back down too, in the sunshine!
The view was much, much easier to appreciate this time and we spent awhile walking around the lighthouse and watching the waves crash at the base of the cliffs around it, gathering into foaming whirlpools.
Then, we went back to a couple of the funky fun shops that we’d missed or wanted to see again. There are tons of stores lining the streets, but I didn’t find it to be on the tacky side like I did in Airlie beach. Maybe since the stores were pretty unique and selling handmade goods, or interesting clothes or amazing food. For example, the “Institute of Cute” store was a local artist who sold her work and all kinds of ladybug themed trinkets, including a toothbrush holder that sticks o the mirror and clamps shut around your brush, and a bubble blowing machine stationed at the front door.
We decided to try the vegan/gluten free cafe attached to our hotel, called the Heart and Halo, and we each filled a takeaway container with all of the items they offered: mung bean and tomato quinoa, an indian curry with basmati rice, pumpkin and black eyed pea salad, and some pasta with peppers. It was all amazingly good and flavourful. And healthy – who knew!
After lunch we walked out of town to check out the Arts Factory. It’s a backpackers resort with art spray-painted everywhere, and people stay in dorm rooms, huge teepees or even camp out. We caught a bit of an african drumming lesson that was going on outside, and I also noticed a sign for a make your own didgeridoo workshop. Everything was surrounded by lush green foliage and enormous trees. It reminded me of a hippie commune and I could see why people would want to stay there even if it’s a bit of a ways out of the main town area.
They also have a brewery on site so we stopped and Tyler sampled a Byron Bay brewery beer!
It was still a gorgeous sunny day so we spent a couple of hours at the beach, walking, wading, reading, and relaxing. It was pretty busy, and there were a ton of surfers enjoying the high waves. We saw someone trying to kayak over the waves too (didn’t work very well).
One thing I noticed especially about Byron Bay was that the people were really friendly. Walking down from the lighthouse for example, we passed lots of joggers, mothers with strollers, other tourists (probably) and most smiled, nodded and said hi (or if they were Australian, smiled and said, “How ya goin?”) I could see why people would come here intending to spend a few days and then have it turn into a few weeks, or even months. It’s such a laid back, fun place and especially beautiful when the sun is shining!
I’m writing this on an overnight bus headed towards Sydney. It’s a long, bumpy, mostly sleepless and kind of smelly ride with so many people stuffed into the bus. We’ll be in Sydney soon though and ready for the last few days of our adventure in the big city!