Behind Enemy Lines

Trip Start Jul 16, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Monday, January 13, 2014

Byron Bay is one of those places that you just have to visit when you are in Australia (apparently) having been there I am, pretty sure that is a lie. It is a notorious hippy town which had its hay day in the 60's.  Now it is pretty much just packed with travellers who think they are living the dream, they all have dreads, tie dye shirts, no shoes and are driving the most broken down cars and vans anywhere on the roads of Australia. Yet again this is one of those places we wished that we had just passed through.  Even more so because as we were still suffering from the curse of the school holiday the camp sites were extortionate with most sites fully booked the few spaces available were going at double the usual prices.  We managed to secure a pitch, on what turned out to be the worst camp site which in turn did nothing to improve our opinion of Byron.  The pitch we were given was just a big patch of muddy sand and the toilets and showers looked like they were last cleaned in the 1960’s, value for money it was not.  Keen to redeem our stay we decided to visit Byron Head to see the lighthouse which has amazing views and is the location of the most easterly point of Australia.  We dragged poor La Toya up the hill and noticed a few cars dotted on the side of the road and when we got to the top we were quickly turned around and told there was no parking.  Looks like our day was not improving after all.

We did have one trip planned for Byron which did in fact make it worth the visit.  A night vision tour in a national park.  Amazingly no one else had booked this tour so it was just us and our guide having a private tour.  We donned our night vision goggles and went for a walk in search of wildlife.  The journey to the park was pretty impressive with 2 snakes running across the road in front of us and a tawny frogmouth (bird) sitting in a tree over the road.  It was a pretty grey night so we were keeping our fingers crossed that the rain and storm held off from us.  With our goggles on we walked like a drunk people on the moon looking for anything and everything that moved.  It took a while for our eyes and feet to adapt to the strange feeling of being able to see in the dark.  The park has a camp site in it and we felt like snipers sneaking through their camps in the pitch black.  To add effect Tim referred to himself as 'Red Leader’ and made radio crackle noises every time he spoke.  After a slow start the animals started to make an appearance and we saw a lobster in the creek, tons of frogs, a pair of possums and at the very end when I had finally tuned in my eyes so I could see I found a little tree frog, so exciting.  Just as we made it back to the van the heavens opened but we still had time for a few snapshots of our night vision goggles and time for a quick trip to a waterfall and had a hot chocolate with marshmallows, lush.

We got back to our camp slum and thankfully despite leaving la Toya lid unzipped she had stayed dry in the downpour so it was just the large muddy puddle growing outside our door that we had to worry about.  On my last trip to the toilet before bed I had to go back to the van to get my camera as there was the cutest green tree frog sitting outside toilet block!

It pretty much rained all night and the next morning was equally gray so we decided to do something we have not done before, we had a duvet day.  It was pure bliss, chilling in La Toya watching films for the day.  Thankfully  before sun set the rain cleared and we decided to visit the lighthouse, it was much quieter and was worth the return trip for the amazing views.  From the top we could see a pod of dolphins and we even saw a massive manta ray (which is amazing given that I haven’t even seen one in the sea).  We also made it to the most easterly point of Australia. Woo!

Our visit to Byron wasn’t a complete waste but it is definitely not our sort of place and we could have spent our limited time in NSW better, but it was an experience and we found an amazing Mexican restaurant which definitely helped improve our opinion.

Next stop – another Helpx role near Coffs Harbour… 
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