Byron Bay

First impression: lovely, but lonely

It seems to me that I am not used to travel by myself anymore! It feels so strange, arriving in Byron Bay, my first stop on Australia’s East Coast, and noone is there with whom I can talk. I tried though, and although I was told people in this corner are so open-minded, I don’t really feel this way right now.

Maybe it’s also from exhaustion that I am not as positive about my journey in this moment as I hoped to be. I stayed the whole night in the bus, leaving Sydney at around 7 pm and arriving here at 8 am.

The hostel, “Arts Factory”, seems really nice and Hippie-like though, with lots of young women with dreads and long and light dresses. Guys walking through the hostel barefoot and with a surf board under their arms. And then there is a pretty lake surrounded by tables out of wood and small bamboo huts.

Starting to fall in love

Byron Bay became a short, but wonderful adventure: First day Kayaking in Cape Byron Marine Park and spotting some turtles and dolphins with really nice guides and other lovely backpackers. I made friends with an Austrian young lady, Andrea, who was travelling by herself and on the same tour as me.

The next day by chance we met again – in the bus that brought us to Nimbin, the Hippie town! I was really happy to meet her, and the bus drive by itself became really great, with heaps (Australian synonym for “lots”) of laughters thanks to the awesome driver and guide, Jimmy, and other young people in the bus! Nimbin is really known for its style of the 1960s, with people all wearing long hair and typical Hippie clothes. Quite a bit of marihuana (of course!) and space cookies anyone can buy from lovely old ladies in the streets. Jimmy told us then the story of a young lady who one day during the trip had had one or two cookies too much and started to have hallucinations. When the other guys left the bus to buy some ice cream, she imagined they wanted to get weapons to kill her, which is why she closed the door of the bus so that noone could enter anymore!

Instead of buying grass, I spent my money on beautiful Hippie dresses and jewellery and – I have to admit – one (or two) beers. The ambiance in the bus and during the BBQ on an amazing lake side was great. People were having fun, sun was shining and lunch and drinks were very tasty. Jimmy also showed us the most amazing landscapes and told us some more stories, while we could take pictures. That was when I regretted so much not having taken my bridge camera from Europe, but only my smartphone. I won’t ever be able to show people the exact beauty of what I have seen!

I also started to really like the small town of Byron where I went for a couple of walks. It is just like people imagine Australia: Cool, relaxed and with lots of surfer boys and girls all over the place. I also started to fall in love with my hostel and soon realized that it wasn’t actually too difficult to get to know people. In the evenings, I had some really nice chats with the girls in the “room” I was staying. It wasn’t only a room, but more like a tiny cottage right next to the lake, with its own bathroom and kitchen. In the mornings, I had great views over the forest and could spot some rare animals while enjoying my breakfast calmly. The evenings however I preferred to spent in the kitchen, which was much busier and I could meet people that had stayed longer in this place. Some were working there against free accommodation in a tent. They seemed to be laid-back nature lovers.

After two nights, I had to leave this small paradise however to discover my next destination: Noosa!

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