Since it’s been a while between trips away, we decided to do something a little wild, and drive to Byron Bay for a few days during the school holidays. For overseas readers, the Australian school year starts in early February. We have four ten week terms with two week breaks in the middle, and a six week break over Christmas/January (ie summer). The drive from Sydney to Byron Bay is just over 760km, and took us about nine hours each way.
This is the GPS just after leaving our house. Sorry about the blurry photo – it was 5am! Leaving so early was magical. We made it out of Sydney in an astonishing twenty-five minutes (usually takes an hour), which made us feel like we’d won. We shared the driving and after stops for lunch, etc, we arrived in Byron Bay mid-afternoon.
The intention was to laze about, read books, and enjoy the beach.
Is this enough books for six people for three days?
The beach next to our place was amazing, as was the local bird life.
Bush turkey in our front yard.
Cricket obsessed children on the beach.
We did manage a few touristy things. We visited the Thursday Plantation tea tree oil farm, walked through their tea tree maze, discovered a boob sculpture, and had a look at all the old bottles in their museum.
We walked around the Byron Bay lighthouse, and stood at the most easterly part of Australia. The walk is very hilly, definitely not wheelchair accessible, and the staircase was built by a very tall, long legged, man. Or at least, it felt like that to my short legs – quite hard on the knees (gosh, I’m getting old!).
The food in Byron Bay was excellent. We ate at the Byron Bay Brewery one night, at The Treehouse for lunch (pictured), and twice at The Park Hotel (because it was a short bike ride from the place we were staying).
Byron Bay is full of hipsters and surfers, but it’s also a very typical small town in so many ways. I found this hilarious article in the local rag, along with follow up Letter to the Ed. Are you #TeamSnail or #BirdLighthouse?
The drive home took a whole day, with a stop for coffee in a tiny town. The local church had been converted into a cafe, and they also sold locally made goods. We bought some honey, and a wooden cutting board. When I took it to the counter to pay, it didn’t have a price tag, and so one of the staff carried it back to the shelf to figure out how much it might be. She called out that it would be $30. I said, ‘Okay,’ and paid for it. But the staff member walked back to the counter without it. The person who served me asked where it was, and the first staff member said, ‘Oh, did you want it? I thought when you said okay that you meant Okay that’s too much, so I left it on the shelf.’
‘I liked it and I’ve paid for it.’
Her whole face lit up and she rushed back to grab it.
We stopped for lunch at Coffs Harbour, which is a pretty town with a nice bay, and a much lazier start to the day than on the trip up meant we didn’t get home until dark.