After three days of city in Brisbane, we headed south to Byron Bay with its wonderful beaches. It is the first time since my departure from Switzerland where I actually went swimming in the ocean because at the latitude of Byron Bay, the risk of crocodiles and jellyfish us much lower than in the tropics. And because Byron Bay is famous also for its waves, I took some surf lessons as well.
Byron Bay Village and Surroundings
With its amazing beaches, it is no surprise that the whole village center is aimed at tourists. There are countless shops, bars and restaurants, tour agencies trying to sell activities such as surfing or kayaking. But even though I am not the biggest fan of tourist places, here at Byron Bay it still is quite relaxing. There is no loud music anywhere, people are relaxed, and the village looked quite pretty, without any huge hotel blocks and awful traffic. What I also appreciated is that in Byron Bay there are lots of young tourists, some of them staying in backpacker hostels, or like we did, on a campground where you could easily get in touch with other travelers while cooking dinner together at one of the BBQ stations on the premises. Just like at other beach places though, German and French are commonly used languages and most likely you would get along just fine here without speaking a word of English.
Around Byron Bay
The nature around Byron Bay is just amazing. The beaches are white and clean without any big rocks, the waters are somewhere between turquoise and deep blue, and there is lots of green around the villages.
And there is plenty of wildlife here, both on land and in the waters. One morning when I went for a morning run to the lighthouse, there was a 2m carpet snake just lying next to the street warming up in the sun. A very beautiful and impressive animal, and as I was told by a ranger that passed by, not dangerous at all. And at the same location a few hours later, there was a huge lizard walking in the bushes next to the street. Too bad I did not have my camera with me.
Other times during my surf lessons I could watch humpback whales splashing around out in the ocean, or dolphins approaching us while paddling on the surfboards. While this is very exciting for me, I guess it is quite common here. And as everywhere, there are birds of all kinds around.
Surfing at Byron Bay
The beaches here at Byron Bay are not just wonderful for swimming, but also for surfing. So I decided to take some surfing lessons here to refresh my basic skills I gained in Brazil in a two day course about 11 years ago.
I remember from Brazil that learning to surf can be quite painful, and also this time it should be no different. I ended up with two small wounds on my right foot because I hit the board with it, sore knees because of the surfboard’s rough surface, and some muscle pain. But I consider these as minor scratches. Apart from that, it was a wonderful experience, and after another two days of lessons, I managed to enter the waves myself, stand up on the board and go straight to the beach. But when it comes to making turns, I guess I am still a long way from actually controlling the surfboard once I am on the wave. But maybe I get the occasion again at some other places here in Australia to improve my surfing skills.
By the way, Ilinca did not join for the surfing activities, but spent more time exploring Byron Bay Village. So check her blog if you want to know more about the village itself.
Next Stop Noosa
After Byron Bay we are heading 300 km north to Noosa, another famous spot at the east coast of Australia with beautiful beaches and lagoons.