Monday, June 6, 2011

Byron Bay, NSW

When we left Sydney the weather was miserable. It was pouring rain for most of the day. New South Wales (NSW) has a “Driver Reviver” program and the objective is to get drivers to stop every 2 hours to avoid fatigue. Since it was the Easter long weekend, part of the program is to offer free coffee, tea and cookies at stations set up all over NSW. We stopped at a few stations and I think Andrew particularly enjoyed the cookies. On the way up we stopped in at Coffs Harbour, a small town on the North coast of NSW. We arrived in Byron Bay around 9:30pm that evening.
Byron Bay is a small town around 800km north of Sydney which is very popular with backpackers. Over the Easter weekend there was a Blues Festival going on so the town was fully packed. Friends of my aunt and uncle who we had gotten to know quite well were at the festival, and we were trying to meet up with them but in the end it didn’t work out. Byron Bay is a small town with a lot of little stores. It has a very similar feel to Grand Bend in Western Ontario. Because of the festival the town was packed and we didn’t have a place to sleep so we headed 20km’s north of town to a rest stop where we could sleep for free. The rest stop had restrooms we could use but it was also home to one of the “Driver Reviver” stations so we had as much hot tea, coffee and cookies as we wanted. It was nice to wake up to hot tea.

The next day we woke up and went back to Byron Bay, parked the car and headed to the beach. It wasn’t really hot outside but when the sun was out it was quite nice. Unfortunately the sun didn’t stay out for long as big black ugly clouds came along and we were absolutely drenched. We tried running back to the car but after 10 minutes we knew it was pointless. We were soaked anyway. We returned to the car and changed and headed to the lighthouse. The parking there cost $7 and we said no way so we found a free one 200 meters away. We waited for the worst rain to pass and then headed to the lighthouse. Byron bay, and the lighthouse specifically is the most easterly point in Australia. The lighthouse sits at the top of the cliff and the views were stunning. The beach on either side stretched out for miles.

We did some shopping at the local Woolies (see the “slang” section of our blog which will be updated as new slang is discovered) and then headed towards the mountains. It was an hour drive through very small towns, but we finally reached Mount Warning. We went to Murliwumbah to do some shopping. We were lucky enough to find an open Coles as stores typically close quite early in Australia. We walked around a little bit and went for a beer at the local pub. We then went to the very small town of Uki and parked in the back of a bakery for the night.

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