Friday, April 09, 2010

Byron Bay

We are now further north, about a 2.5-hr drive south of Brisbane, in Byron Bay. This is the 'Caramel' of Australia, with its magnificent beaches, great weather and a lush, tropical climate. It is about 25 degrees and humid; a total shock to the Canucks - of which we have run into a number here. And to think – this is their Fall – what happens in the summer?

Byron Bay is a town of 18,500 people, and was named after the grandfather of the famous poet, who was a navigator and honoured by Captain Cook during his epic explorations of the East Australian coast. However, that didn't stop an ill-informed clerk in Sydney, (thinking that it was the navigator's grandson, the famous poet, that was being honoured), from naming streets in the town after other poets such as Shelly, Keats and Jonson. With its natural beauty, great surfing, warm weather and lush landscape the town has become a magnet for young backpackers, who throng to the area to lay about, and to construct the Escape From Reality that is the signature of the town. This is not the chic, sophistocated, plastic Coffee Shop crowd; there isn't even a Starbucks in town. Byron Bay is one of the last refuges of the 'Hippie Culture' that blossomed in North America 45 years ago. Long hair, beads, granny glasses and gowns, and the de rigour guitar cases are all about, with the young crowd hanging out at the main beach in town. The town also promotes itself as an Alternative Healing Centre, with such things as Yogi and Meditation centres, Crystal and Aroma Therapy shops, and even an Aura Photography store. The local Fortune Telling Store boasts that No Appointment Is Necessary; after all, they know you're coming! I'll just bet that the many Smoke Shops around town sell more cigarette papers than anywhere else in Australia.

To complete this Theme Part For Alternate Reality Seekers, the town crawls with vans painted in Psychedelic colours, each bearing it own affirming slogan on its back door – e.g. 'You were born original – don't die a copy!'; 'Follow us – we're on the way to Nivrana!'; 'A man would be interested in a woman's mind if it bounced when she walked'. Even the town Utility Boxes are decorated in the Hippie Van motif.

Dominating the town is a cliff with Australia's most powerful lighthouse; its powerful beam can be seen as far as 50 kilometers out to sea. Built in 1901, its grounds give a beautiful view of the area, and is used by hang-gliders, who ride the off-shore winds and land on the big beach below. On the day we were there the slope was crammed with visitors, and a wedding was booked for the early evening. On a good day 200 vehicles will pay the $7 parking fee at the top, and an equal number will decline!

We have a large beach-front house just 7 km south of Byron. It is located in a rainforest, and about 20 paces behind our home is the beautiful and pristine natural beach called Tallow Beach in Slowdance. This runs all the way north to Byron, and south for another 5 km. Life is great out here; at night we sleep with the windows open to hear the soothing sound of the surf. Arising in the morning between 6 – 8 am, we have breakfast, and then typically head out for a walk on the beach before it gets too hot. Following this we change into bathing suits and go for a cooling dip in the ocean. The beach is very wide, has strong waves, and a powerful undertow. Unlike in Canada, the water here is very warm, and waves are quite high. Best of all; there is no coral to slice you up, such as found in Hawaii.

After the warm ocean dip it is time for a little sun; however, since we started out lily-white following our Canadian winter, we can only take a little sun. Then it is time to make lunch, and maybe have a beer to cool down on our back deck. Now comes a shower and change into shorts, shirt and sandals – here in Oz it is all very casual. In the afternoon we usually set out to explore the area; we have already gone to a local airfield to check out the skydiving / gliding / ultra-lites / gyro-copters, etc; toured the lighthouse point / explored the town, and done a little shopping. We have dined out on some nights; on others we BBQ some really delightful meals while sampling some of the Hunter Valley's best wines. The Aussies have excellent beef and seafood, and the more adventurous of our group have even tucked into some Roo – a lean meat best served Rare! After this it is time for a movie, chat or simply some 'down' time working on the computer, sorting photos, or catching up on e-mail. We tend to retire earlier than at home; but then again, we are up earlier as well. So the days are slipping by out here on the beach; it will be a sad day when we move on.

Aussie Oddities

-Byron Bay is the eastern-most point in Australia. We are just south of Byron, on the eastern side of the eastern-most road; therefore, we are justified in stating that we are currently located in one of the most eastern houses on the continent!

-On the way we passed the landmark voted the Worst Roadside Attraction In Australia. Would we, the sophisticated, knowledgeable Canadians that we are, fall for it? Oh yea; this is The Big Banana, and it is made of concrete. Note that it advertises a hockey rink, of all things!

-Not to be outdone is our personal runner-up for the Worst Roadside Attraction In Australia; The Big Prawn – thoroughly sun-bleached and firmly ensconced above the Mother Of All Tourist Traps in a town just south of us.

-This is the infamous Rare Roo Sandwich; with all the trimmings! It was done up just as the locals insist; rare, with lots of onions. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water, (and running to the bathroom).

-Cheap Chook Day – a Chook is slang for Chicken!

-You just never know what will pull into the local Petrol Station!

-Some of the locals enjoying a Schooner of very good local Aussie beer.

The Tim-Tam Bomb experiment was successfully concluded. To aficionados, the local chocolate-covered biscuit can best be enjoyed with a hot cup of tea, using a special sampling technique. A corner at each end is bitten off, and the tea is then sucked through the biscuit; much like a straw. Unfortunately, the pleasant taste that results doesn't last long, since the entire Tim Tam disintegrates in the hot fluid. So you have to let go and the whole thing dissolves in the tea, creating a different, but not unpleasant taste treat.


Anonymous manfred said...

well Byron bay is one of the amazing holidaying destinations and Byron bay luxury accommodation... You can really have great experience by staying there ... I uses go with my family every year... that's really great place...

7:33 AM  

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