The road trip videos continue. Adventures through Lennox Head (unfortunately not us surfing) and Byron Bay, before staying with an Aussie family in a cute wee place called Little Pocket near Brunswick Heads. There, we helped look after Tiger, Townsie (2 awesome kids), and baby Roux, as well as helping out Bec and Trent in the garden. Then it was time to continue our journey to the Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Byron Bay. It’s a backpackers haven. A place where people plan to stay a week but somehow end up staying for months. They arrive clean cut and wearing shoes but somewhere along the way find they’re barefoot and have grown dreads.
When there’s so much hype about a place it instantly makes me feel sceptical about it, and so when Chris and I left chilled out Lennox Heads and drove up the road to Byron I wasn’t sure if I’d like it at all.
But it’s hard not to like the place! On one of the roads into the town is a sign saying ‘cheer up, slow down, chill out’, and that says it all.
The bustling little beach side town is busy and full of people, all ages and from all walks of life, just coming together to enjoy that feeling of freedom that Byron seems to give. Walking through the streets there’s organic foods, hippy stores, smells of incense in the air, street art. There’s such a high energy about the place and a good vibe, it’s impossible not to enjoy yourself.
As the sun starts to set buskers take to the streets. A drumming circle by the main beach car park, fire dancers in the park, and guitarists on street corners playing as crowds gather to sing and dance along. With a few drinks in you just walking the streets is an experience in itself. Continue reading
From Port Macquarie we drove on to Crescent Head, Australia’s longboarding capital. At the time it was school holidays and the place was absolutely packed! We drove down to the beach front where there was a holiday park full of tents, caravans and holidaying families.
The beach was nice with small but clean waves coming in, and I would have been tempted to go in for a surf, if not for the amount of kids and adults fighting over the waves. I was fairly entertained watching one guy on his longboard, who would be happily cruising along a wave, only to get cut off by some surfer dropping in on him. Every time he’d throw his arms in the air with an exasperated look on his face.
The next day the crowds were back fighting over the waves so we decided to drive away from Crescent Head along Plomer Road in search of uncrowded beaches. We’d driven less than 10km when we came across a campsite with showers and access to a quiet beach with decent waves. This was more like it.
So this was it, we were leaving Sydney and heading towards Newcastle with not much more to guide us than a Lonely Planet book from 2009, which we’d had for a while but only just started using. I got into the habit of reading a few pages ahead as we went so if there was anything of interest, we wouldn’t miss it. But mainly what we were interested in was finding good surf beaches!
Once out of Sydney we soon got off the highway and headed for the Bouddi National Park to check out the Central Coast. We spent the day exploring the beaches and stopped at Little Beach for a picnic on the sand. But with not much surf around we continued on to the town of Avoca, where although the waves looked a bit messy, there were plenty of surfers in the water showing it was possible.
Oh my god it’s such a cliché. Lets go to Australia! Lets buy some surfboards! Lets learn how to surf! Well apparently I am that cliché. Although I have to defend myself a wee bit. I didn’t arrive in Australia and suddenly decide I’d take up surfing. It’s actually something I’ve wanted to do for years.
Back home in Northern Ireland there’s some pretty great surf beaches. And growing up, I’d usually take an annual trip up to the North Coast with a couple of mates to mess around in the ocean. We’d rent boards and maybe even get a lesson. But the problem is, you don’t learn how to surf in a day! So I’ve never really progressed.
I’ve been saying for years I want to be able to surf. And by that I don’t mean clumsily climbing to my feet on a broken wave. I want to be able to do it properly, at least to an intermediate level. I suppose I’ve just never really had the time. I was at school, then uni, and then doing ski seasons in New Zealand. But now here I am, in Australia, travelling, unemployed, thousands of beaches ahead of me, not a care in the world. Continue reading