Byron BayWednesday, 10 February 2016
◄ The Byron Bay lighthouse marks the most easterly point of Australia. With a group of friends I head off somewhere in Australia for a week in January or February each year. This year Byron Bay was the destination, the LP Australia guide suggests it’s the place where ‘that coastal surf culture flows into the hippie tide washing down from the hinterland, creating one great barefooted, alternative-lifestyle mash-up.’
All true although Byron has also just installed a truly draconian parking meter system – it covers an extensive area, it operates seven days a week, it’s big city expensive at $3 an hour and after hours it morphs (admittedly at 1 am) into a total lockout. All of central Byron Bay becomes a no parking clearway until dawn. That’s to keep those old style hippies from sleeping in their cars.
Never mind, the town is still laid back, the shops are busy, the coffee is excellent, the restaurants are numerous, the whales and dolphins still swim by (but these days so do the sharks) and there’s good surfing and scuba diving (just avoid the sharks). Beaches run north and south from that lighthouse-topped headland. Here’s Tallows Beach to the south. ►
▲ When you get tired of Byron you can head inland to Nimbin where the hippie vibe is still as strong as ever. It had been a long time since my last Nimbin visit and I was pleasantly surprised to discover Australia’s hippie epicentre can still be fun. The boys in my group – me included on the left – all felt obliged to buy Nimbin T-shirts.
I’ve already reported on our ascent of Mt Warning. I also made a flight over Byron Bay and the coast in a nearly ’70 year old Tiger Moth biplane, a report on that little flight will follow soon. Plus we visited the Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park, amazingly impressive, I was surprised I didn’t know about them before.