It's been nearly 26 years since I last visited Byron Bay and how times have changed. The last time I was here my first born, Emma, was just a few months old. I had flown up with the little baby, meeting my husband and his mother there, as they had driven ahead of me.
Now my two girls are grown up and it was time to return, except this time I was just coming up for a couple of days to write a travel review, and I was travelling alone. Note to self: grumpy old ladies should check if it is school holidays before booking travel to a tourist destination, lol. Yes, that's right I booked the trip without realising I would be travelling in a very busy time. Not only that, I was still suffering from the flu.
My first shock when I arrived at Coolangatta airport was the crowd. My second shock was the chaotic traffic heading into and out of Byron Bay. OMG, it's worse than Sydney! Despite that, the actual trip from Coolangatta to the Byron turn off was really pleasant, there wasn't much traffic at all on the highway.
Things all settled down when I arrived at my lovely little cabin in Shirley Lane called Byron Haven. Paddy, the owner, rents out these two cabins that overlook bushland. The cabins are close to both the beach and Byron Bay town, in fact easy walking distance to both. They are clean, quaint and quiet. For dog lovers, you can bring your dog. My neighbour had a dog and I really enjoyed giving him pats every time I walked past. Paddy has one rule and that only guests my enter the property, so no bringing any friends back. I really liked that because I knew it would be safe and quiet.
Byron Haven cabins have lovely verandahs to sit on and also nice gardens to gaze upon. It's wonderful overlooking the nature reserve and being able to listen to the birds singing their songs. I wasn't actually very well on this trip, so I enjoyed the serenity of just being able to escape the madness of Kings Cross and relax hearing birds and frogs.
The beach is only five minutes from Byron Haven and as you wander over, you will see a railway track, I don't think it's in use anymore. I also noticed a sign "Beware of Snakes". I didn't see any snakes!
Being a lover of nature, there was plenty of wildlife to look at, so I was in my element.
On one of my walks I was actually attacked by one of these Brush Turkeys. It came running at me in full flight with it's tail feathers up. I think my crime was that I was dressed in black with my sweater tied around my waist and maybe it thought I was a giant Brush Turkey that needed sorting out. I counter ran at it screamign back and that stopped it in its tracks.
I really enjoyed exploring the township of Byron Bay. There are fabulous shops, boutiques, cafe's, pubs and restaurants. As I mentioned it was school holidays when I was here so the place was teeming with people.
I certainly never went hungry.
I bought this beautiful Dream Catcher at one of the new age shops.
Because I'm nursing an injury on my hip, I didn't manage to take a walk to the Lighthouse, however that is one of the major tourist attractions of Byron Bay (pictured top of this post). I'll do that next time!
I also didn't have the best weather, I was hoping to capture on of those brilliant Byron Bay sunrises but that also did not happen.
On the second day of my stay I took the car and headed for the Hinterland. My goal was to go to the Crystal Castle which I was really looking forward to. When I got there though, there was a huge line up of people waiting to get in, and I couldn't be bothered joining the queue so I decided to keep driving and explore the Hinterland. Again, it was school holidays so that's why it was so busy.
Now I was in my heaven! Surprisingly there were not that many cars on the road at all so I really enjoyed the trip weaving around the bends and looking at the amazing views, stopping along the way to take some photos.
The views around this area really are spectacular and definitely worth a trip up to the Hinterland. The road eventually led me to Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park. FYI the road does turn into a dirt road for approximately 1km before you reach the falls. The falls were unfortunately dry as rain has been very scarce up here. I wanted to walk the 4km track deep into the bush, but I was wearing a denim skirt that had a zipper on the back from the waist to the hem, and the damn thing kept coming undone! I had to laugh, if only I had worn a pair of shorts!
I drove back through the town of Mullumbimby which was surprisingly quite bigger than I had imaged.
In the afternoon it was time to go back to the beach and have a walk. You can understand why people flock to Byron Bay in their droves. The sand is soft and white and the beach is vast. Considering I was here still in the first month of Spring, the temperature was quite warm.
Even the seagulls take time out to relax.
This was just a quick short trip for me. I flew from Sydney via Virgin Airlines and stayed at Rydges Sydney Airport as their guest prior to flying up here which is very convenient for travellers, especially those long haul flights overseas.
Byron is a laid back beach town, I think it's probably a little too commercial compared to what it used to be, and it certainly attracts large crowds. The locals told me that the people here when I visited are nothing compared to the summer holidays.
I hired a car from Apex Car Rentals and drove to Byron which is about 58 km and a very enjoyable drive.
Do I want to go back? Yes! For a little longer and in a more quieter time. I don't think Byron is quite the Hippy town it used to be, but there are still many of those characters around.