Happiest of New Years to you!
The festive season in Coffs Harbour (which turned out to be most enjoyable – of course spent on the beach as per Australian stereotype!) flew by, and I must apologise for being so quiet on the scene, but January saw a highly unexciting final surge on the blueberry front. Mixed with cleaning the hostel kitchen for free accommodation, there’s been little time for much other than work!
But the time arrived to say farewell to Coffs, and even though I left a lot of fantastic people behind, I have taken a lot of special memories with me, and 51 completed days of farm work. Unfortunately not an end to the days of farmer peps.. But that’s another story altogether..
I suddenly found myself overwhelmed, emotional and back on the road, to Byron Bay! After hearing so many great things about this “must do” stop on the east coast, excitement soon took over, and with only a short 3 1/2 hour journey I was sat with a cold beverage overlooking the beach, listening to a man playing the drums on an array of different bins. Normal for Byron it would seem!
Byron is full of backpackers, and consequently full of different hostels. Travelling in the middle of summer made it essential to book, so ahead of time we reserved 2 nights at Arts Factory, and 2 at Nomads.
Arts Factory is famed as a hippie hotspot, with a huge campsite where the long term campers have everything from sofas to mailboxes in camp. Perhaps more recognisable – this is the hostel featured in the Inbetweeners 2. There might not have been such awkward fire-side serenading, but we did recognise the place from scenes in the movie, and stayed just 2 doors down from the room used – such fun! It turned out we loved life here, met some great people, and happily moved between chilling in the pool, to having a cup (or 2) of goon out on the benches. Perhaps a little bit shabby chic for some people, but the rooms did the job, bathrooms were clean, and the chill out areas around the building are endless. I didn’t quite leave as hippie Peps, but did actually struggle to leave, and just kept on finding myself back on those benches for the rest of our time in Byron.
Keen for some rest and relaxation after so many blueberries, much time was spent jumping in the pool, and reading down on the beach (which it must also be said is an excellent spot for people watching!). Byron is a fairly small place, but there’s still lots of shops to peruse, and countless places to eat. There are also travel agents everywhere you turn wanting to book you your ultimate backpacker experience, which did get me thinking about whether I should have been prolonging this part of the adventure.. But that time will come..
Even though it’s part of the same chain, the second hostel was bitterly disappointing. If you’re young, British, and keen for a Magaluf style experience, then I’m sure it’s a fabulous place. But we were less than impressed hearing a boy in our room had confused the balcony with a toilet and vomited all over the floor the night before we arrived, and combined with the dirty bathrooms and kitchen, as little time as possible was spent here. I also unfortunately, experienced my first ever theft in this hostel, saying goodbye to my UK adapter and iPhone cable (seriously – who leaves home without these and needs to steal someone else’s!). All in all Hex, not what I’d call “our scene”.
Nonetheless, we had already made some lovely friends, and after some fairly wild nights on the social scene, our last night in Byron was spent down at the wreck listening to some epic bongo playing and watching people dance away under the full moon. One of those wonderful moments that won’t be forgotten lightly.
Before leaving Byron, we finally made the walk up to the lighthouse, for some amazing views of the coast, and a trip to the most easterly point of Australia’s mainland. A bit of a steep trek, but as everyone has said, definitely something that must be done!
Although it feels sad to leave, after already getting stuck in one place in Australia for so long, it’s time to head onwards and further up the coast. Next stop – surfers paradise!
With kindest regards,
P.S. Must start working on a wish list after perusing those amazing places you have on your list!!