Beautiful Byron Bay… and it really is very very beautiful. The most Easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay is the cultural epicentre for the alternative way of life. There is a diversity of lifestyles in this one little town (pop 5000) that you would normally only associate with a larger city. The countryside is a combination of rolling hills that run down to the ocean and some of the worlds most beautiful beaches, and glorious farmland with rich, red earth.
The inhabitants are a bizarre combination from all walks of life. There is a true mix of counterculture as surfie meets soap starlet meets hippie meets city-dweller escaping the smog meets farmer. The rules are there are none. The main town beach- known uninspiringly as MAIN BEACH seems to be one of the magnets that draw people to this point. The beach is truly beautiful stretching along all the way to Brunswick Heads (20 km’s to the North). If you are prone to tire of lying on the beach, a trip out to Julian Rocks is a must. Julian Rocks Aquatic Reserve just off the Main Beach, is an 80-hectare area perfect for diving and snorkelling where you can be sure to spot lots of large fish, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, sharks, eels and much more. The incredible diversity of marine life in Byron Bay waters, due to the meeting of the Southern and Northern currents, make it second only to the Great Barrier Reef as a place to dive on the East Coast.
We are fortunate enough to have a beautiful farm outside Byron, with a farmhouse under MAJOR renovation. This area is so special because you can have a fully operational farm with cattle, horses and orchards yet be only a ten-minute drive from some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. The farm renovations were our primary cause for staying in Byron. We needed to make sure that all was well there and that the fella’s doing the work knew which end of the hammer to hold. In addition, we did have some crucial adjustments that needed to be made to the 4WD beastie, such as getting the air-conditioning system fixed, fixing the stereo and fitting proper 4WD tyres and beefing up the suspension.
A week later we are truly ready to head out to meet whatever awaits us on our travels. I guess the planning and organisation of any trips always end up taking longer than one expects, particularly if you are fastidious and want it done properly. We strongly suspect that all the extra care taken at these early stages of the trip will pay off later on ……..we’ll see as we go along eh………..
With the car loaded up to the roof, we cautiously drove down the driveway, past the patch of tamarillos, and barking dogs, and turned NORTH. WE’RE OFF!