I arrived in Byron Bay after about a 4 hour rainy bus ride south of Brisbane. Byron Bay is known for being a hippie enclave. It's filled with cafes, incense-filled gift shops, places to get massages and alternative (homeopathic) therapies, and of course, surf shops.
In fact, board shorts and surfers are everywhere. By my third day, I gave into an urge to buy a pair of new shorts myself. I don't even particularly like board shorts. Traditionally, you're not suppose to wear underwear with them, though you need to when trying them on. Plenty of people wear underwear with them regularly as well, except that defeats the advantage of having a quick-drying piece of clothing (to live in 24/7). I bought my Billabong pair on sale for 40% off. They're brown and orange which is why they were no doubt on sale. After I got back to the hostel and tried them on without boxers, they practically fell off me – too small. I either need to gain weight, or remain satisfied with my non-flashy blue Gap bathing suit.
It's in Byron Bay that I booked my 2 BIG activities for Australia – a 2 day/1 night 4×4 tour of World Heritage site Fraser Island, and a 3 day/2 night sail around the Whitsunday Islands (within the Great Barrier Reef). I booked the trips at the first of a series of tour agents along a certain section of street. The guy was charismatic and patient, so I was decisive and went with it. I booked on the slightly higher end of the scale price-wise, however The Lonely Planet seems to suggest you get what you pay for, so why not pay a little extra! You must know that's how I roll by now. :)
I can't say I did much in Byron Bay. It rained 2 of the 3 days, and it was quite hot so lounging around, indulging in gelatos managed to fill up my time quite nicely.
My diet on January 5, 2008:
- Breakfast – peanut butter and jelly, granola bar
- Lunch – 2 beers (it was hot out!)
- Snack – Swiss chocolate gelato cone
- Dinner – instant noodles
I did catch two movies in the YHA tv room. “Notting Hill” was a bit silly, though passed the time. More my speed was “Greet Street Hooligans” about English firms associated with football (soccer) teams. Great movie, though rather violent.
Then again, I did bear witness to a street fight between a big, bald English guy and a small, young surfer around midnight as I was walking home from a dance-on-the-tables party bar called Cheeky Monkeys. The young kid was completely drunk, and kept getting up in the face of the other guy despite the fact that he kept getting punched and kicked to the ground. I heard a guy the next day mention all 3 people involved were arrested. I really don't like fights, and a young girl was knocked over and crying as a result of this one. There were lots of people around, and some guys tried to break up the fight. Cars were honking, trying to call back the cop on a bike who had passed by a few minutes prior. Suddenly the signs up in bars about “no violence” made much more sense to me.
PS – no, I did *not* do the scenic 4km walk to the lighthouse. I'm on a hiatus from scenic walks.