Tuesday, March 13, 2007

back to the countryside

They said it would be good and i'm amazed yet again. After an 11 hour train journey up the east coast from Sydney, anywhere would be a welcome destination, but Byron Bay is as good as the image painted by all those peoples descriptions.

A smallish town with a hippy feel and plenty of money attracted by the beach. The sand is golden and fine, it squeaks when you walk on it, down to the clear, clear sea through the tanning backpackers and the locals who spend their time alternating between swimming and surfing the sparkling, luke warm waters and sunning themselves on the sand. I joined this local tradition immediately, hiring a body board for a couple of pounds a day and hitting the beach big time. It was too hot during the middle of the day so i siesta'd im the most tranquil backpackers i have visited yet.

Some of the other hostels pumped out dance music each evening and the inhabitants spilled out onto the streets to stagger into town in search of even more of the amber nectar. The bars were full and the atmosphere fun and friendly, with people of all nationalities enjoying the holiday vibe. An old guy with a massive telescope had set up on the street and was happy to show anyone saturn for a small donation. The planet, still in minature, moved at a surprising speed across the lens, with its saucer or rings swirling about its centre. More incredible to see in reality than on any photograph or television screen.

The lighthouse is set out on a peninsula and protects the most easterly point of the continent of australia, aparently an amazing place to watch the sunrise, but i declined the offer. I did go and have a look though, the views were incredible, both along the coast and also deep into the clear blue ocean. Manta rays, turtles and shoals of silver fish, glistening in the sunlight, making their ways along the coast. The place to see various whales and dolphins on their migratory travels, but alas, not at this time of the year.

A week of lazing about and enjoying the views was a great way to recharge. Now off to visit my last helpx hosts of my travels. A few hours down the coast to see what i can do next.

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