Positive balance about New South Wales’ Liquor Act

15/09/2016

Eight years ago the government in New South Wales, Australia, decided on a new legislation that should reduce consumption of liquor in public premises. Today, the situation in bars and nightclubs has changed a lot from the years before, as for example in a suburb of Sydney.

Loud music is coming out of the club whenever the door is being opened. The queue of people waiting in front is getting longer each minute, but this does not disturb the doormen of the nightclub “Northies” in Cronulla, South Sydney. No matter how much time it takes, everybody needs to show an evidence of age. Two young men are refused to enter: Their European ID is not accepted. “I really can’t believe they don’t let us in although we’ve got our European IDs”, complains twenty-one-year-old Christophe from France.

New legislation restricts use of alcohol in public venues

However, the doormen act in the right way. On 1 July 2008, the “New South Wales Liquor Act 2007”, the “Liquor Regulations 2008” and the “Gaming and Liquor Administration Act 2007” came into effect. They regulate the sale of Liquor in New South Wales (NSW), as well as “certain aspects of the use of premises on which liquor is sold and supplied”, according to the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR). For instance, one of the laws lays down that there are only three approved forms of proof-of-age: Driver’s licences, NSW photo cards and (international) passports. And the doormen have every reason to check each document twice: A bartender who supplies liquor to a minor on licensed premises can be penalized with a fine of eleven thousand Australian Dollars or twelve months of imprisonment – or both.

But Christophe and his friend, like many other travellers, could not care less about the strict legislation. And they are not the only unfortunate people this night. Many more almost-guests are refused entry, and most of the time because they show signs of intoxication. “We always have to pay special attention to our patron‘s speech, balance, co-ordination and behaviour”, explains George, who works as an RSA Marshal in the bar. Tonight, as a “Responsible Service of Alcohol” (RSA) guard, his role is to make sure that the law is being followed. “As soon as we recognize one of our guests is slurring, swaying or dropping drinks for example and that the reason is a result of drunkenness, we will politely ask him to leave.”

The presence of RSA Marshals is not the only change that has been carried out at the nightclub since the laws came into effect eight years ago: Signage that prevent minors without a responsible adult to visit the premises are displayed at each entrance door, free water is provided at the bar, and employees are instructed to record each incident in a register book, the so-called “incident register“. Violent or anti-social behaviour, people removed from the premises and patrons needing medical treatments must be written down and presented in case the police asks for insight.

Alcohol consumption as a preventable public problem

What is the reason for these strict regulations? According to New South Wales Police Force, alcohol is the most commonly used drug in Australia. Young people are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol, and it plays a vital part for death among adolescents. Alcohol therefore constitutes a serious threat to people’s health. The government’s laws have however shown effect: Statistics from the “NSW Population Health Survey“ prove that the rate of alcohol consumption from 2006 to 2015 at levels that pose a long-term health risk significantly decreased from 31.4% to 25.9% in New South Wales.

Yet there are more considerable negative effects of alcohol: Its misuse has not only economic consequences – in 2013, alcohol related crime cost the NSW Police fifty-five million Dollar –, but also physical and social effects. For instance, clubs and bars have to deal with violent guests who are under the influence of alcohol. In order to reduce this problem, assault incidents should be recorded in all 18 000 venues that sell liquor in New South Wales.

Success of the law in Cronulla

Alicia Pusell, manager of “Northies“, is satisfied with the legislation from 2008: “We have far less incidents to note nowadays“. Indeed, the club’s amount of assaults per year has decreased from twenty-eight in 2007/2008 to less than eight since 2011.

These numbers are quite important because they decide on whether the venue has to face restrictions or not: Licensed venues can be categorised as level one, two or three depending on the amount of alcohol-related incidents. While in 2007/08 forty-eight licensed premises recorded nineteen or more assaults – and were therefore listed in level one – in 2015, the only club in this level is “Home Nightclub“ in Sydney’s CBD. The latter has registered 19 assaults during one year, whereas eight years ago the highest number of assault incidents in one venue was 73. Nowadays, “Home Nightclub“ is the only club that has to obey some special rules, such as a mandatory 1.30 am lockout of guests and no use of glass containers after midnight.

Little by little, “Northies“ became a secure place to go out at night and today, its number of venues has declined to such an extent that it is not listed in any level anymore. “I know what the atmosphere was like a couple of years ago“, remembers Monica, a regular patron of the nightclub, “and now it’s calmer in a way, less aggressions. But I think it’s a shame the staff became so serious. The other day a German friend couldn’t get inside because the doorman thought he was drunk – but it was just his accent that made him believe it!“

Tonight, Monica and her friends were luckier than the French. After all Christophe has learned a lesson: “Next time I will bring my international passport“, he declares, before he leaves with his friend, hoping to find a nightclub that does not take the law so seriously.

Melbourne – last but not least

Melbourne! Awesome city, just as great as I imagined it to be. After talking so often with backpackers about the place, selling travel packages to the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island and the Grampians National Park as if I had been there already, I finally got the chance to discover the place by myself.

My stay of four days was much too short, since in Melbourne you cannot really get bored: There are just too many things to see and to experience.

It is very different to Sydney, the classical, stylish part of Australia. If it comes to Melbourne, I think about adjectives like alternative, creative and European. In fact much more the way I like to live. Indeed, it reminded me a lot of Berlin, and now I can’t wait to get back to this amazing city!

Melbourne probably isn’t about this one big famous building (although there certainly are some), or following google maps through its main streets. Its famous beaches in Saint Kilda are nothing like in Sydney, on the beautiful Bondi-Coogee walk for example. Obviously the weather also was not the same as in Sydney. (Someone told me, “if you don’t like the weather in Melbourne, just wait for one hour cause it’s going to change”.)

Instead Melbourne is more about turning into those small little lanes, because it’s the hidden places that will make you stop and admire the beautiful street arts or the cute little shops and cafes. It’s more the people that make Melbourne to what it is I guess. It is a very diverse city, where you see all kind of hair colours, dresses or almost not dressed, painted houses and so many musicians in the streets. Melbourne has its own character.

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Gastronomy also is a bit thing! You will find restaurants from all sort of countries, especially in the lovely area called Fitzroy. Me personally I chose “Afghan Gallery”, not only with really tasty food, but with the best waiters I’ve had in the last couple of months. They made me feel like a real guest, and since I got along so well with them they even offered me free pastries and drinks.

A very good idea if you want to learn about Melbourne’s culture, history and lifestyle, is to go on the “I’m free” tour.

And of course it’s not only Melbourne, but also all the places around the city that are so much worth being visited. Because of the limited time I had, I could “only” discover the Great Ocean Road with the twelve Apostles (that are actually eight). However the tour, our guide John, and the food (great pizza for dinner!) were perfect.

I was looking so long for Australian culture, something typical from the country. Now Melbourne did not show me anything like this at all. I saw all kinds of cultures except for the Australian one, the only language I almost did not hear in its street was Australian English, whoever was a tourist could have also lived there, just because there is no typical “Melburnian” face. But while looking for Australian culture I did perhaps forget that that is what Australia, and especially Melbourne, is about – a mixture of all countries, people and cultures.

After four days only I can say that Melbourne now became my favorite place in Australia and that if I ever was to come back to this country, I would very likely chose this city to live in.

Australia’s Outback – finally culture!

Traveling to Australia’s outback finally allowed me to come closure to the country’s culture, something I really had missed in Sydney. The whole journey only took four days, but it was enough to see a lot of amazing places and learn about indigenous life and traditions.

I traveled in a group of ten, one of them was our guide, a lovely Australian young woman. Already from the plane I could get a glimpse on famous Ayers Rock, or Uluru, the Aboriginal term for the rock formation. We visited it on our first day, as well as the cultural center where we learned about Aborigines, their life and Uluru’s history. Ayers Rock is a sacred place for the Anangu, the locals from the area, and today UNESCO World Heritage. Since European settlement it had been visited by tourists and until few years ago the most important reason for them to go there was to climb the mountain. Nowadays most people recognize and respect the fact that the Anangu people ask tourists not to climb it, since the Indigenous feel responsible for their guests and guilty if someone gets hurt or dies.

We also visited and walked around the other big rock formation, Kata Tjuta, or the Olgas, which, together with Uluru, make part of the national park. On our last day we visited Kings Canyon, or Watarrka. Especially Kata Tjuta and Watarrka required long and exhausting walks, we had to climb lots of steps to get to the very top – these walks were accepted by the Anangu, they had even helped to construct the walking ways. Although we started our walks still by night (we go up at 4 am!) and finished them in the morning at around 10, we always needed to take a lot of water with us because of the heat: During he afternoon, temperatures went up to 40 degrees or even more. Once arrived on the top, the view and the whole surroundings were just breathtaking. I cannot remember having ever seen landscapes like that.

In the evenings after dinner we were all so tired that we fell into our swags (mixture of sleeping back and tent) and I usually slept by 8 or 9 pm. It was amazing sleeping under the starry sky, I even got to see a shooting star.

Trying to learn about Indigenous culture

During the journey I saw lots more Indigenous people than ever before, the red centre really is home to lots of them. Backpackers usually do not live there, because there is nothing to do or to see than the Uluru-Kata Tjuta national park. Even in Alice Springs, the closest city to Uluru and about a five hour drive from there, there are almost no other people than the Indigenous living.

Unfortunately it is also known to be a dangerous place, especially by night, because of a high crime rate, and tourists should never walk around in the small centre on their own. Former exclusions of the Aborigines from society have led to serious social problems such as poverty, unemployment and alcohol addictions still until today. Although they officially have the same rights as other Australians and should make part of the country just as every other citizen, I could strongly feel that “Australians” and Aborigines are separated, or separate themselves from each other. White people were driving in cars, whereas I saw not one single vehicle driven by an Aborigine in Alice Springs. I saw them sitting in parks, seemingly doing nothing, or walking outside in the heat.

I was told about their culture, for example that it is impolite to watch someone in the eyes while he is talking to you and I didn’t really get the impression that they were very interested in talking to foreigners. These reasons and the fact that our guide had warned us from the high crime rate stopped me from trying to get into conversation, but probably also because I was too tired when I arrived in Alice. I realized no one else from the backpackers I met had, dared, either. I truly believe this to be a big problem, because how else can you make sure that different societies get along well when their members do not talk to each other? When I think about it, it is actually a big shame. Finally I had discovered what I was looking for since months – typical Australian culture! And I couldn’t even learn about it from those who represent this culture.

However I was really amazed by what kind of landscapes and views Australia’s “red centre” has to offer and I can only recommend every tourist to go there when they come to visit Australia. This is a very special place to see and something you can only experience in this country.

Why I don’t feel home in Sydney

It’s been almost six months now in Sydney and they passed by so quickly. I had the chance to travel the country. I lived in a hostel and now in a shared apartment and got to know wonderful people. I found a great job in a travel agency which can be sometimes tiring, but all in all it’s an awesome experience and I probably couldn’t have find anything more fun. Sydney has so much to offer that even until now I haven’t yet had the possibility to see everything.

And still… There is something missing. Maybe I can call it “feeling home”? But right now, there is no place in the world I would call my home anyways.

It’s hard to explain why I cannot nod enthusiastically when people ask me if I enjoy my time in Australia. Well, “your time” already means that it’s limited, doesn’t it? It implies that there will be an end. I wonder, what do they mean with Australia? It is a country obviously, but what really is Australia? What is Australian culture? A typical Aussie plate, banana bread? Aussie music, Kylie Minogue?

I don’t really like writing this because I would never want to make people feel bad who love the country, or even those from here. I’m not saying that it’s a bad country. You have so many opportunities here, which is why so many foreigners come here. And Aussies (at least those few I’ve met so far) are extremely open-minded and mostly happy to meet new people, I’m aware of and so thankful for that.

However it’s the first time of my life I’m living in a country and feeling that I don’t know it really. I don’t even have Aussie friends, how can that be? I heard that it’s Sydney’s fault, because here are just too many backpackers and foreigners, but I also feel like I didn’t put enough effort in it.

It’s not a big thing though, it’s not like I’m suffering. I am so happy with my new flat mates – so many Brazilians, the culture I miss most! I’ve made new friendships and learned a lot while living here. I’m travelling to Uluru soon! There is just something missing that’s hard to describe.

I’m guessing Sydney and me, we’re just not getting along too well with each other.

Cairns: 22nd to 25th November 2016

After almost two weeks of tours and people around me all the time, I felt just like in paradise when I arrived in my hostel in Cairns where I had my own room and a big bed… the first time since I had arrived in Australia in August!

All I wanted was being with myself, reading a book and having dinner in a nice restaurant alone. The journey had been amazing so far, but I had not one day “off” during 15 days, because my timetable had always been filled with tours or bus drives.

My arrival in the hostel was quite funny though: When I checked in, I realized that the  receptionist was extremely polite to me and tried to help me out with anything she could, while at the same time she seemed a bit confused. After a while I understood her behavior, when she looked at me and asked shyly, “Do you know why the computer says you are VIP?”. I couldn’t help grinning: I hadn’t booked that hostel but got it for free from the company I work at.

So although I was quite in the mood of doing nothing, I couldn’t wait for my first tour in Cairns: A one day trip on the “Ocean Freedom” boat to discover the Great Barrier Reef. Of course I had already gotten to know it around Airlie Beach, but every part of the reef is different! And also just the time on the boat was wonderful – many people laid down to relax, there was heaven knows how much tasty food and really nice people and crew members. However, I preferred spending almost the whole day in the water (always with a wet suit to protect from jelly fishes), snorkelling and diving. I had passed my diver’s license in South Sydney (cheapest place in Australia) and was therefore more than excited to see what’s it like to dive in the Great Barrier Reef. And it was – what else – stunning! I saw lemon sharks (not dangerous), swam next to a half-meter-long turtle and hundreds and hundreds of fishes of all colours and sizes and took photos of them, as well as of a beautiful red starfish. I could take underwater photos thanks to a plastic cover for mobiles I had bought earlier in Airlie. It’s about $ 15.

 

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Me right before my first dive in Cairns. Wetsuits are important so not to get hurt by jelly fishes.

After the tour, together with two other guys I had met on the boat, I went to a small lagoon close to the ocean, just like a swimming pool and free for everyone to use. Lots of swimmers even did aquarobics, but I was too lazy after one day of swimming and preferred leaving after a bit, to have dinner at the harbour. After all I realised that Cairns by itself has not too much to offer, the main things to do are actually around the city.

I spent my next and last day on a tour to discover the only place in the world where two natural listed world heritage sites meet each other: Daintree rain forest, the oldest rain forest in the world and the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s greatest living tropical reef. Highlights of the bus tour were swimming in a lake at Mossman Gorge, spotting a baby crocodile during a river cruise, having lunch at an awesome place at the famous beach Cape Tribulation and obviously discovering plants and animals in the rain forest! Our guide was in a good mood and told us lots of interesting details during the bus drive. I honestly am happy having done this tour, but again after so many days of action I often felt like I just wanted to lay down and do nothing.

In the end my mind was full of incredible memories, I had seen so many things and met so many new people, but I was also quite tired. I reckon if I had had more time for everything, I would have been more relaxed and rested by the end of the trip. However I do not regret one single tour I did and I know that I will never forget the whole trip and all the wonderful experiences I made.

Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands: 19th to 22nd November 2016

After Fraser Island, I was really excited to finally get to see the Whitsundays Islands, because they are to most a really important part of their East Coast journey and I had heard so many things about them.

They are actually 74 islands all in all, but only three of them are normally visited by tourists. These three islands offer amazing beaches and perfect places to snorkel, since they make part of the Great Barrier Reef. But the most important reason why people go there is “Whitehaven Beach” on the biggest island, “Whitsunday Island”, after which the group of islands is called. This beach has, believe it or not, the purest sand in the world: It comes freshly out of a volcano under water and is therefore as white as snow. My skin became softer and my hair silky when I washed it with the sand. I told Lotte, the Dutch girl from my group on Fraser Island and who I met on the Whitsunday tour again, that I had been told that the sand even whitens your teeth. She then brushed them with it, and it was disgusting – at least I had something to laugh!

What I also liked about the tour was the place where we spent most of our time: Not in hostels (because there are no on the islands), but on a sailing boat! There are actually many different choices of companies and the boats all have their own kind of atmosphere. There is a party boat, a calm boat and many more. I was on an ecological boat and only stayed for two days and one night, whereas the others usually take two nights. I initially wanted to stay longer, but to get the best boat I should have booked many more weeks in advance. Unfortunately, Australia doesn’t work like other holiday destinations: You cannot always book spontaneously, because everything will be sold out. Many backpackers I met didn’t get any sailing boat anymore.

The crew (three young Australian and Kiwi guys) was really friendly and helpful, food was included and sooo tasty and it never got boring on the boat because there were lots of opportunities: Sunbathing, going for a swim, snorkelling (A-MA-ZING! Never in my life I swam within so many fishes!), chatting with the other boat guests or just chilling downstairs in the cabins. We could feel really honoured, because the staff members told us that we were the best group of people they’ve ever had! I just hope they don’t always say that. 😉

Before and after the trip I spent a night in the small town of Airlie Beach, which is the departure point for the islands. I hadn’t actually heard too much about the city and was surprised about how nice it was! It reminded me somehow of South France, with lots of small cute shops and restaurants. The coastline – again – looked just amazing, although you cannot go swimming in the water because of small dangerous jelly fishes.

Town of 1770 – 18th of November 2016

I spent one day and one night in the small town of 1770, which is named after the year of its discovery. The accommodation “Southern Cross hostel” was a beautiful place surrounded by trees and a swimming pool, very good to relax and close to nature.

However, the reason for visiting this quite unknown city was a famous tour, which has been voted top 5 things to do on Australia’s East Coast by TripAdvisor: Scooteroo. During the tour, you discover the area’s wildlife, see kangaroos running next to you and have tasty potato wedges at the harbour. But the best thing: You’re not driving around in a normal tour bus, but on your own scooter. I imagined that tourists watching us 30 people on scooters that look like real motor bikes, with our cool motor jackets and helmets, must have believed we were some gang and I felt like making part of the Hell’s Angels or so. Though I had some issues with my scooter in the beginning and one of the guides accused me of not having payed attention to his instructions, he later apologised when he realised that it wasn’t my fault. Except for that I really had a great time and wouldn’t like to miss that part of the journey!

 

 

 

Fraser Island: 15th to 17th November 2016

Fraser Island – or K’gari, in the Aboriginal language – is the biggest sand island in the world, one of Australia’s twelve natural world heritages and to most the absolute highlight on their east coast trip. I’ve had the chance to spend three amazing days on this awesome place. After one night in a hostel on Rainbow Beach, departure town for the boat to the island, I could start my journey in the morning together with 31 other travellers and one guide.

The tour on Fraser Island is not like any other tours though, and that is also what makes the experience so special. I did not spend my time in a tour bus, but instead enjoyed a ride in a 4WD with seven other young people. Since I have a driver’s license and am older than 21, I was allowed to drive. However did I drive only very shortly. Instead I preferred playing the DJ next to the driver, which my fellow passengers might not always have appreciated too much.

We spent our nights in a big pretty modern camp. Food was provided and each group cooked their own dinners in the evenings, which was much fun and tasty.

I was in a group with Jose from Spain, Tory from London, Lee and Frankie, a couple, also from England, Lotte from the Netherlands, Sammy from the States, and Mike from Belgium. Spending night and day together, we became good friends for the short time. The first night was particularly funny for me – and for some of my mates a nightmare, but even worse for them was the next morning. The reason for this is a drinking game called “Fuck you” and the very cheap Australian boxed wine “Goon”, which every backpacker in Australia has tasted at least once. Although I had never played this game, I “won” several times against poor Lee, who even had taught it to us.

Despite the long night and all the hungover people, we always had to leave early in the mornings. There are so many amazing things to see on Fraser Island! Besides the lovely views we always had while driving on the beach and in the woods with the car, our guide, who always was in one of our four cars, showed us many more attractions. Lake McKenzie is probably one of the most famous ones. Its water literally looks like a swimming pool and its sand is just as white as snow. I also loved to swim in in the current of Eli Creek with an air mattress, to admire the view from Indian Head, where I spotted a big turtle, to relax in the Champagne pools next to the ocean and do a one hour walk to finally reach amazing lake Wabby.

I more than enjoyed my time on Fraser Island. There were so many moments I was speechless about what nature offers to us humans, about what wonderful places exist on our earth. And beside the nature aspect, I have had such a funny time with the guys in my group.

Noosa: 12th to 14th November 2016

Noosa is, according to Graham, the manager of Backpacker’s World Travel where I work in Sydney, “a holiday in a holiday”, and that is absolutely true. After two nights in this small town, I had kind of the same feeling as when I leave a spa after one day: Slightly tired, but comfortably warm and relaxed.

The only unpleasant part of my stay was my hostel because of unfriendly staff, long waiting periods and a non-working air conditioner (in the first night, our room was a sauna, another link to spa 😉 ) which is why I had a chat with the manager in the end. But even this could not keep me from enjoying this trip a lot. The first day I spent with discovering what the city is famous for: Its Everglades. I had booked a one-day boat tour linked with a 45 minutes’ canoe drive. In the morning, I got to know Elaine from Dublin and we found out that we were staying in the same hostel, and even in the same room. So we spent the next days together discovering Noosa and its surroundings.

The Everglades are tropical wetlands and exist only twice in the world: In Florida and in Australia. We discovered those beautiful landscapes on a boat and were canoeing for about an hour. In between we had morning tea and later BBQ and we could jump in the river, which felt just great after the small sports part on the canoe. Our guide also gave us a lot of interesting information about nature and aboriginal culture.

Elaine and me ended our day with another BBQ in the hostel, before we fell in our beds, exhausted, but so happy.

The next morning, we got ready to discover Noosa’s beaches and especially its fairy pools. It took us about one hour to get to those small pools in between a rock platform. I honestly don’t even like walking too much, but this walk was so much worth it. The ocean next to us was shining in a crystal clear turquoise-blue color; the stone beach didn’t really seem to be the most comfortable place to lay down, but it looked just amazingly beautiful next to the sea. Our route was surrounded by palm trees and other plants and we spotted at least three lizards that were about one meter long and crossed our path leisurely (no joke!).

However, the absolute highlight on that way obviously was our destination, the fairy pools! The water was so refreshing after the walk and after climbing the rocks to reach them. It was also so clear, I could see small fishes swimming between my legs. A crab crossed our way, but luckily didn’t come too close. Of course Elaine and me took lots of photos, trying to keep his moment forever. Just before leaving, we watched the sea for a moment and – it might seem exaggerated – but I felt a kind of gratitude that such places exist in the world and that I was able to meet them.

Elaine and me finished our short time together in a – what else could it be – Irish pub, where we got fish and chips and beer, and it felt just sooo good after the walking trip. I had to leave in the afternoon to get my bus to Rainbow Beach, but I really hope to meet her again one day!

Byron Bay: 10th to 12th November 2016

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!