Byron Bay & Releasing the Inner Hippie

Trip Start Sep 14, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

12th - 16th October 2011

So we arrive in Byron Bay, mildly confused being an hour and a half early (unheard of for the Greyhound Bus) but finally reassured as the clocks have in fact moved in hour forward as we enter the joys of New South Wales. Checking in at the Nomads Hostel was also a nice surprise by the virtue that it wasn't a complete deathtrap like the others we've encountered so far (case in point - the Noosa bed incident).

Byron itself you may have heard of, being particularly famous as the hippie capital of Australia. The first few days followed a pretty distinctive pattern, whether we planned them to or not, something in the mould of the following:

Awake, Beach, Sunburn, Storm, Eat, Drink, Mess, Bed.

This was of course interspersed with the business-hippies protesting against everything ever. We didn't figure out the true nature of their unhappiness for over 2 days, and even then it was basically a protest against money and an excuse to smoke their favourite part of nature. Complete with drum circles. What more could a budding hippie need?

Anyhow, 2 big reunions for us in Byron with our most beloved native Australians for the Friday and unexpectedly with our English family the following night. Beautiful.

Byron Bay itself turned out to be a fantastic town, not that we were expecting anything less. We've not eaten so much good food in one place since we got to Australia's shores; this placed alongside a dorm full of the awesome Canadian and Swedish girls and the Aussie Rules lads (Shoey!) to drink alongside made for a pretty entertained Martin and Nicholas.

17th October 2011

On the Monday we figured we best actually do something reasonably productive, with time in Byron rapidly disappearing before our very eyes. Enter the Grasshoppers Bus and the delights of Nimbin. Again, if you don't know what on earth Nimbin is particularly famous for, then we will of course tell you. In the 1960's as a fading dairy town, the governors of Nimbin approved a large hippie music festival, knowing what illegalities it would bring but deciding to turn a blind eye to it. Politics an' that. Somehow it's remained a shrine to the 60's ever since. Easy!

We 'sampled' Nimbin for about 2 hours; never have we been offered so much from so many strangers without shoes. Declining the prospect of psychotic death by mushroom, we ambled round the museum. The term museum is a pretty loose one, you don't need to be on anything to wonder what the hell is going on in life while you're inside.

Moving on for a BBQ lunch and some more stories about how our driver Jimmy once took Blink 182 on a naked drug-induced rampage around Byron, we soon found ourselves at a small waterfall and pool for a swim. Mountain goats would have struggled to get across the muddy path down to the falls, so rather than swim we spent half an hour enjoying the sun on the rocks, appreciating the fact that we still had all our limbs. Such a bizarre day!

18th October 2011

Another productive day and perfect weather for surfing! Despite it being a 1pm start, we struggled to pull ourselves together after a heavy night at Cheeky Monkeys, but figured that a day battling the waves would sort our sorry selves out. How right we were!

Our surf instructor was the stereotypical Aussie beach fanatic. Looking a whole lot like Bodhi from the film Point Break, he had over 30 years surfing experience and 11 years as a surfing coach and still kept making little woop-ing noises and funny hand gestures whenever within a 20m distance of the waves. Suddenly invigorated, our small group went through the motions on the beach before clambering into the sea at Lennox Heads to see how much we could ruin our egos in 4 hours.

As it turns out we did pretty well! Having both got ourselves up on the boards in the first few waves, we continued until the rip dragged us halfway down the beach - finding surfing success and bails came to us in equal measures. We were completely shattered by the end of the first session; battling the currents and trying to keep control of your board which apparently develops a mind of it's own can really take it out of us amateurs.

During our break Bodhi (definitely his name) caught some waves of his own and of course put us all to shame! The second session was also a lot tougher as you begin to battle against the willingness of your own body to even want to stand. Bailing in the shallows is also not the best idea, as Martin found out for himself with pain.

A reasonably quiet night followed as we recovered ourselves ready for the mammoth 12 hour journey to Sydney via Coffs Harbour (included in pictures!), saying our goodbyes to Byron and all it's lovely people in the process. How we'll miss it all.
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Tom on

Goddamn hippies!

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