Monday, September 10, 2007

Byron Bay

After much delay in trying to figure out how to put 80-some pictures up on my blog, I've finally been able to figure it out, get it all sorted and tell you about Byron Bay.

Byron Bay is located approximately 160km (about 100miles) south of Nathan - where I live.

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Maija, Maria, Sloveig (friend of Maria) and I packed into Maija's car Saturday morning around 8am and began our trek down the coast. On our way we stopped in Coolangatta for some breakfast at a place RIGHT on the water. It was absolutely beautiful!! After some eggs, bacon, toast, coffee and a bit of the ocean breeze we hopped back into the car and continued on our way.

We reached Byron around noon, searching for our place of residence: The Arts Factory. When Maija and I booked our rooms at The Arts Factory, we were under the impression that it was a neat little hippie place that would be fun. Little did we know. When we arrived we were escorted to our living quarters: a tent-like building with dirty bunk beds practically piled on top of each other due to the lack of room. The "tent" was located out in the middle of a red pond-like body of water - far from ANY sort of bathroom (we assumed previous customers might have used the pond for relief). On the ground were cigarette butts and leftover trash from the previous dwellers. When the employee ran to get a broom - or a different room key - we all couldn't help but laughing hysterically and came to the conclusion that maybe the hippie-dwelling wasn't our thing. So we walked ourselves back to reception, requested our money back, and went in search of vacancy. After much driving and calling, we found a 4-person room at the YHA (Youth Hostel Australia) and were ecstatic to find that everything was clean and the bathrooms were a mere 20 steps away!! We happily moved right in.

The rest of the day consisted of eating carrot cake and drinking coffee on the beach, looking into a few shops, stopping by a chocolate factory where we ate some delicious truffles and were fed chocolate-covered orange peels from the - assumed - shop owner (that's another funny story that I can tell you about later if requested upon), and then we were off to the Lighthouse to watch the sunset- located at the south end of Byron Bay - and known as the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. We drove up to the top of the hill, walked around a bit, took some pictures, and then Maria, Solveig and I walked down a very large hill to a lookout point (there is a picture in the below slideshow that shows the LONG walk that we made). It was amazing. On our way down from the Lighthouse is began to rain. And it didn't really stop the entire time we were there. But it didn't dampen our spirits. :)

After the Lighthouse we went in search of dinner and found a nice cafe on the main street where we enjoyed a delicious meal. Following the meal we took in the fun nightlife of Byron. We were given a flier for a bar where ladies were being offered a free glass of champagne, hand massages and free hair styles from 7pm-10pm. So we walked over, received our glasses of champagne and Solveig and I were given new hairdos from the stylist. Afterwards we found a bar and grill that was showing the Rugby championship and also had a live band. We hung out for about an hour, got tired and head back to the YHA around 11:30pm and conked out in our beds.

We awoke not-so-bright and early at 6am so that we could see the sunrise on the ocean (which I had never experienced before). We literally rolled out of our beds, threw on some clothes, pulled up our hair, and drove down to the beach. The rain had cleared for the time, but there was a HUGE, dark cloud along the horizon - in precisely the right spot where the sun was to rise. So instead of watching a sunrise, we watched the sky get lighter and the clouds change color. It was still beautiful.

After the "sunrise" we went back to the room and slept for another 3 hours - until 10am, when we were to check out of our room.

We grabbed some breakfast (around 11am) when it started to really pour. Luckily most of the shops had awnings so we were able to walk up and down the main street window-shopping. Around 1pm the rain let up, we grabbed some gelati and walked to the beach. Just as we were finishing the wind picked up and the rain came down. HARD. So we ran to the car, locked ourselves in and decided it was time to go. So we took our last looks and said goodbye to Byron Bay.

On our way back we stopped off at Yatale Pies - world famous pies - and grabbed some "dinner" (around 4pm). I got a chicken pot pie and it was reeeally good. Almost as good as mom's pie. ALMOST.

So that was my weekend at Byron Bay. I took heaps of pictures - too many to post - so I created a slideshow. It will hopefully give you an idea of what it was like there....



barnoult said...

Oh, for goodness sake... Shame on you for not putting a disclaimer on this: "Warning: Pregnant sisters who miss Andie should NOT watch this slideshow at work."

I was about three-quarters of the way through the video (teary eyed, of course) when my boss decided to come by my cubicle and introduce the new Software Account Manager from the company we're migrating our database to. So, I turn around, attempt to shake his hand and hold back the tears. But they obviously could tell I was crying and sort of looked at me, puzzled. I just said - "Sorry, my little sister is in Australia and I'm watching one of her slideshows. I haven't seen her in a long time and I miss her." They were nice, smiled and walked away. Oh, but then... but then the tears just came gushing out. And now my face is going to be all red and puffy for the rest of the morning. So thanks a lot. Next time, please don't forget the disclaimer. ;-)

I miss you. This was a great post.

BIGMatt said...

You are becomming quite the photographer these days!! Some of those shots belong in National Geographic! Very well put together.

Mom said...

Bryon Bay looks great! What a wonderful experience! But I think the nicest part is the good friends you're making. The best memories you'll have of Australia will be of the people you met there. Oh, and I loved your updo! Very cute!

Elizabeth said...

Everything looks amazing! I am so impressed with your courage to pick up and move across the world. That's pretty amazing!