One of my favourite ever places is Byron Bay on the East Coast of Australia. It has it all – sun, sea, sand, surf – and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.
After a 13-hour overnight bus journey from Sydney, my friends and me arrived in the chill-out town of Byron, a real tonic for the soul. We donned our backpacks and walked to our YHA hostel which was one of the best places I stayed in, in my year’s travels. Everyone was really friendly, there were spacious balconies outside our rooms where we spent every night playing drinking games before hitting the town.
My first stop and introduction to the place was on my mission to get a nose-stud after I had lost mine, so I went to a little trinket, jewellery shop and was welcomed by the hippy stoner shop owner with his dazzling smile, huge bear hug and kiss on the cheek to ‘Welcome’ me to his town. Nice one. I liked this.
The group of us hit the beach after taking the free body boards from our hostel and took the stroll down to the beach. It was January – the height of summer, and it was beautiful! The sky was pure blue, the sun was beating down on us, and when we hit the beach we were smiling and laughing away feeling the sand between our toes, and watching the kids surfing with such amazing skill. Our mate Damo went off with his real man-sized surfboard, and us girls lay on the sand catching the rays for a while. I can’t begin to describe how lying in a bikini, feeling the heat of the sun hitting my bare skin makes me so relaxed, peaceful and happy. It’s got to be one of the best feelings in the world. We took our boards and hit the waves, pushing off and riding the currents on our stomachs, resembling clumsy turtles. It was such great fun and something I had never tried before (the beaches in England don’t have the same appeal somehow).
The nightlife in Byron Bay was fantastic. The place is so geared up for backpackers, and we hit the infamous bar ‘Cheeky Monkeys’. It was so tacky it was amazing. Hordes of travellers from all nationalities were piled into the bar, drinking cheap vodka and red bulls, dancing raucously to the music, and off course we all ended up dancing on the tables, shouting along to the tunes, annoying the doormen constantly by taking our drinks up on the tables with us, spilling vodka over our neighbours in the excitement. It was THE place to be.
Byron Bay by day is so chilled out and cute. I love the feel of small seaside towns, the friendly atmosphere, the locals accepted us as we were, instead of being annoyed by our drunken antics, and smiles were all round.
This was the town for romance, and I managed to have a date with a really cute little Australian surfer dude, which just topped it all off for me. We only stayed 4 days as we had booked the bus to go onto Surfers Paradise, and when we left we all agreed we could easily have stayed for a couple of weeks. It’s the kind of place where time stands still. There are no hassles, no worries, and walking down the streets you get caught up in the crowds watching street performers and bands, building the atmosphere up until hitting the bars, to dance the night away, then off to chill by the beach the next day.
Byron Bay will always have a special place in my heart.
Vacation planning: The plans to take a caravan along the south coast are in full swing! Although we do need to look into getting some Caravan insurance, I am appointing this to Naomi…