I sometimes enjoy going new places and having few expectations or prior knowledge for where to go and what to do when I get there. It leaves more room for an open mind and appreciation for the lesser-known/subtle aspects of a city/town/place. This was my understanding of Byron Bay and I liked that I hardly knew anything about it before I got there.
When we left for Byron on Friday evening, I had no idea where on a map we were even going, all I knew was that it was 3+ hours from Brisbane and that the clocks changed an hour on the drive when we crossed into New South Wales. Turns out that it’s over 2 hours south of Gold Coast and one of the most chillaxed places I’ve ever been. Everyone is there to hang out, enjoy the sun, and spend time with other people relaxing around the beach - nothing more nothing less. There’s no sense of rush or urgency at all.
We arrived at our campground Friday night, which was about a 30 minutes walk to the main street along the water in town. We set up camp and hung out on the site for the night in our makeshift living room setup. When I looked up at the stars that night, it had to be one of the clearest and brightest skies I’d ever seen. You could see thousands of stars and a piece of the Milky Way clustered diagonally across the sky. The thought of deep space and universal existence crossed my mind as a smile spanned my face induced by my imagination. I took out my camera and shot some stills to one day remind me of how awesome and clear the sky really was - but photos don’t do it justice.
The next morning we made an early breakfast and headed down to the beach for our first surfing lesson. This would probably have been my 4th time on a surfboard with no successful full standing ride under my belt. On this day, that would change. The guys at Black Dog Surfing took us down to the beach next to the lighthouse and gave us the basic training on how to successfully catch a wave. This beach was perfect because the larger waves would still come in at the sandbar, so catching the waves from a standing position was quite easy in the first place. It’s the perfect place to learn how to surf and was an overall successful morning in the water.
When we arrived back at the campsite we met up with our friends and indulged in a few afternoon drinks and music on the precious portable Bose speaker. By early afternoon, we took our time and walked to the main street by the water in Byron. When we arrived, there were people were packed allover the rocks, grassy strips, benches, and patios along the water. A few of us tossed around a Frisbee on the beach as the sun began to take its final place for the evening. At this time, the lorikeets started to take over the sound of the main strip with their loud chirps and calls over thousands of other coupled birds looking for their mate in the massive swarm doing laps around the trees. It’s so loud that it’s almost best to stop what you’re doing or talking about and watch for a bit.
As the sun set, we stopped in at a few bars and partook in some drinks with each other and a few superheroes we met along the way. We headed back to the site and had some more drinks while cleaning ourselves up before heading to an awesome Thai restaurant to celebrate my sister’s birthday. There we shared a cushioned flat bench/couch that squeezed our feet/legs together like pencils - which was a completely new eating style for me but I dugg it. The meal was delicious and full of good laughs and fun.
Later at the campground that night I had to take a few more photos of the stars and hit the sack before making the night any longer than it needed to be. The next morning was our second surf lesson, which had to be cut short due strong currents and high sand banks. Later that afternoon when we drove back to Brisbane I drove on the left side of the road for the first time…It was a huge moment for me because I was a bit nervous, but nerves don’t mean a thing when skill come into play. I'm confident enough to say I'm a pretty good driver. It was kind of a bummer our surf lesson got sut short since I was just starting to get comfortable with surfing. Byron is such a great place in general, didn't want to leave - I guess I’ll just have to go back...