I’m currently writing this sat on a bus on my way home from work in Sydney. Trying hard to cast my mind back about 7 weeks to when we were still backpackers on the east coast. Regretting not writing this at the time!
So let me take us back to a sunny November in Byron Bay, the last stop on our east coast adventure…
After a slightly disappointing stay in surfers paradise, it’s fair to say Byron was finally everything I’d expected backpacking Australia to be like. It’s a cute small town, although bigger than I pictured, right on the beach and full of proper hippies. I tried my best to fit in with baggy trousers, no make up and a hair braid although don’t think I was fooling anyone thanks to the camera round my neck.
It wasn’t long before we were sunbathing on the beach, being attacked by strong winds and sand. After only being there an hour, we looked up to discover our towels and bodies were completely covered in sand! Naturally the strong wind meant I got pretty burnt after not realising quite hot hot it was. Regardless, we were excited to be calling Byron our home for the next 8 days.
The only slight downside was the arrival of the schoolies. Schoolies is basically when the 17/18 year olds go on holiday after breaking up for summer. Essentially there version of when I headed to Newquay at 16. In fairness they were pretty tame compared to the stories we were reading about surfers paradise, but being on a night out with pretty, skinny, 18 year olds just made me a little depressed. And when a guy refers to you as an older woman, it’s time to go home!
Our fist night out consisted of £2 wine, body paint, topless barmaids and table top dancing at cheeky monkeys. Incredibly tacky and something only lots of £2 wine can make enjoyable! A much more fun night was had on Sunday at beach hotel for Stephs birthday. It’s only open til midnight but was such a good night and great atmosphere. Took us a while to get used to the strict drinking laws now we’re in New South Wales. No entry after 1, no shots, no doubles and no more than two drinks per order. I got told off a one point for being in possession of two drinks….I was thirsty! This scuppered my ability to get us midnight tequila shots to see in Stephs 25th.
Our heads and stomachs weren’t feeling too great at 8am the next morning when we scrambled out of our bunks to go kayaking with dolphins that we’d booked way back in Cairns. Unfortunately (and thankfully!) they cancelled it last minute due to strong winds. So instead we celebrated a quarter century of Steph’s life with a cheeky sunbathe, Mexican lunch and a new piercing. As pretty as my new nose stud is, it did cause me to faint in the chair with the needle still hanging out of my nose. I woke up with Steph and and the piercer patting me down with cold towels in the middle of the tattoo shop with lots of eyes on me. So embarassinng!
The following day saw our second attempt at dolphin kayaking, and despite some serious storms the night before, we were all good to go. It was pretty tough work battling against the currents for a few hours. We tried a bit of kayak surfing too which we failed miserably at! Unless the aim was to capsize every time… And as fun as it was, we saw no dolphins so there was a lot of disappointment. But due to the companies ‘dolphin guarantee’ we booked to go back a few days later. Skip ahead to Friday, and it turns out it was not third time lucky for us! There was a small pool of about five dolphins in the distance, but hardly the swarms of dolphins swimming up to us that we’d been promised. We were invited back again but decided not to bother, chances were still slim due to the wind conditions and the tough kayaking and disappointment were not worth it.
But if we ever head back to Byron, the dolphin guarantee is good for a year…