Byron Bay, July 24th

We had a long drive up from Arrawarra to Byron Bay, through flat flood-plains of a wide river-valley that reminded Marjolein of home, except for the extensive sugar-cane plantations. It all had a slightly run-down air, so we broke off towards the coast and stopped in Iluka. Iluka is a little town buried in the coastal rainforest of Bundjalung National Park. It was a different side of Oz, tiny and very quiet with one fast-food thai/fish and chip shop and a local supermarket that sold everything from olives to fish-bait. We had horrible coffee in the town, stocked up on groceries and had a very nice walk in the national park.

Back on the road to Byron Bay the countryside started to look like New England, but with all the pine trees turned upside down: one of the native trees resembles a Christmas tree that has had all it’s needles blown vertical: Marjolein thought it looked as if someone had frightened it. We were all glad to finally find Byron Bay and got our first look at it by stopping at the headland above it and admiring the enormous beach and crashing waves, adorned as always by surfers. Aussies surf like Dutch people ride bikes, but cover less distance… The town itself was immediately attractive – it had a laid-back San Francisco atmosphere with a mixture of expensive surf-shops, crystal healing wellness centres and back-packer everything. They also serve the first decent espresso we have managed to score in Oz, i.e. it is actually as good as, or in one remarkable case better, than what we make at home. We fumbled about a bit finding a camper-park and settled in just in time for the heavens to open and hammer our little home with rain.

The next day cleared up rapidly and we walked into town, downed mega espressos and then marched almost 3k in brilliant sunshine, up through rainforest (more NP and World Heritage to boot) to the Byron Bay lighthouse and the most easterly point of Australia. The toads complained at various points, but also enjoyed themselves and did the whole long walk up and down the steep headland pretty well. The gods smiled on them and us and conjured up an ice-cream vendor at the top of the climb. Similar gods also produced a pair of whales to observe from the most easterly point. We waddled back to town, scored a late lunch from a gluten-free coffee shop that revived me with “Immune Booster” juice: apple, ginger and carrot, a mixture I am definitely going to try at home. Refreshed and revived, but with the little monsters showing signs of wear we trundled around town, found Marjolein a nice bathing-suit to replace the one lost with our luggage and booked a whale watching trip for the next day. I signed waivers for pretty much anything other than active attempts to murder us and we shall be venturing out into a briny infested with enormous powerful creatures in something that is literally a stretched out Zodiak rubber-boat. It is a far cry from the floating gin-palace that we went in at Nelson Bay, but very appropriate to the way of life here. If there are no further entries after this…

There are 2 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Henri /

    Hoeveel kilometer hebben jullie nu gereden?
    Zal niet ver van de 1000K zijn?

  2. marjolein/tim /

    Nee, ik denk dat rond de 1000 een hele nette schatting is. Van Sydney naar Brisbane is 980 of zo, en dat is nog 50 km hiervandaan. Maar we hebben de Blue Mountains ook nog meegepikt. 1100 Nogiets zou mijn schatting zijn, maar Tim heeft de toerenteller pas na Bateau Bay aangezet dus daar kunnen we het niet op aflezen 😉

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