Byron Bay must be the jaywalking capital of Australia. While it’s true that no one looks before the cross the road in most coastal towns, Byron’s pedestrians are truly a special breed. I remember as a kid, someone walking into the side of our car, which was not even going at 10 km/hr. When we went there last weekend, not much had changed.
Fortunately, not much else had changed about Byron either, despite the influx of tourists into the laid-back coastal town in northern New South Wales.
First stop: the beach. The beach is split by a long pile of large rocks and boulders that dribbles across the sand almost to the waters edge. One half, which was patrolled by lifeguards was packed, as was the grassy headland behind it. The other half, was much quieter for no apparent reason, so we settled there.
It wasn’t too long before we were asleep: My number one activity for a day at the beach.
The sun seems to suck up all your energy and leave your limbs heavy while the sound of the waves lulls you into a peaceful doze. I love that the beach can relax you enough to fall asleep in the middle of a crowded public space. And while you’re wearing minimal clothing and have all your valuables ( car keys, wallet, phone) lying beside you. It’s just that relaxing. A strength of Australian beaches is that theft is very low, especially compared to European shores.
After we woke up, we wandered around the town for a little while and even managed to get lost. It’s not a very big place, so I’m not sure how we did it. I think we were still half asleep and the heat was really getting to us, so our brains were a bit addled. Desperate for a cool drink, we headed into the Byron Hotel, which was also packed, and found a table with a refreshing sea breeze. I really don’t believe my vodka lemonade had any vodka in it, but oh well.
We spotted this brightly painted charter bus to Nimbin, which is unofficially the hippie (weed) capital of Australia… can you guess why? And yes, the writing on the back of the bus does promise you “the most fun you can have with your clothes on!”
Our last stop before we trekked (okay, drove) up to the eastern-most point of Australia, Cape Byron, was Miss Margarita, a small but punchy bar & restaurant. The cocktail list was killer, and would have made the perfect end to a day snoozing on the beach.