Since I last blogged, Lauren and I have left our city life (and heels..) behind us, packed our backpacks and have settled in Byron Bay for a few days.
After a 12 hour coach journey beginning at 7am and only managing to catch a couple of hours sleep the night before, we can only describe our tiredness as something similar to the jet lag we experienced when we first arrived in Australia. Therefore, we got to Byron Bay at 7pm feeling like walking zombies!
We piled off the coach, collected our bags and waited patiently for our (45 minute late) shuttle bus which would be taking us to our very first hostel ‘The Arts Factory’. We were pretty anxious as we had read very mixed reviews about The Arts Factory on trusty Trip Advisor and just wanted to see what we were letting ourselves in for! When the bus finally arrived, a friendly girl called Roxy greeted us, helped us move our bags and welcomed us to Byron Bay! We travelled a short distance before arriving to an array of accommodation, varying from teepee huts to tents and dormitory’s!
This looked like the home of all the hippies in Byron Bay! There was reggae music playing, drums banging and surfboards everywhere. We had booked ourselves into a 6 girl dorm and were keen to meet our 4 new roomies… However when we walked in, it was empty, basic (no mirror- nightmare!) and hot. We had no idea what dorm ‘etiquette’ was when it came to bed choosing, all we knew that there was two free beds on completely opposite sides of the room and we wanted to be together rather than sleep next to strangers. We decided to leave our bags, walk in to town and hopefully come back to a nice girl travelling solo that would be willing to swap beds with us.
We explored the little town they called Byron Bay looking for a nice restaurant to eat at. However, all the restaurants had decided to stop serving food, and we were left with the Spar and a small yoghurt. By this point I was past the point of starving and just wanted to sleep…so it was quite a situation when we couldn’t remember the way we walked into town in the pitch black. There was no taxi rank in sight and we had to walk to the police station and ask them to book us a taxi.. Slightly embarrassing but luckily the policeman was a nice gentleman and offered us a drink.
Finally back at Arts Factory, we went back to our dorm and were greeted by a Swedish girl (already asleep), a Norwegian and a German. All three we much older than us and there were two other beds already in use, however them two happened to be out. This left us with 7 girls including ourselves and 6 beds… Absolute nightmare! We were upset, annoyed and refused to go into completely separate dorm’s, therefore a timid hippy man had to try and resolve the situation. He wasn’t much help and was actually asking us what he should do! This didn’t fill us with confidence at all, so he brought a list of names that should be staying in our room. The German girl ‘Natalia’ was our issue but was refusing to move so luckily another lady said she would move. That was that, with an awkward atmosphere, separate bunk beds and two worried little faces we headed to bed for our first night of hostel life…
It’s safe to say that we don’t think anything else could have gone wrong that evening. Due to our tiredness and emotional states we even questioned whether the travelling life was for us.
Luckily, the morning after, three girls had left which left a free bunk bed under Lauren. Wasting no time, I moved all my stuff to it and wanted to get out of that room ASAP. We grabbed our bikinis and towels and headed to the beach. Thank god, there is nothing a beach day cannot solve. Enjoying the sun, laughing about our awful situation and paddling in the sea enabled us to relax and take in Byron Bay for what it was: a hippy town, with good vibes and a lot of sunshine! Feeling much better, we arrived back in the room to two English girls (new roommates) who were so sweet and friendly.
That night we ventured into town and experienced our first backpacking night out at a club called Cheeky Monkeys! It was hilarious, full of travellers dancing, chatting and receiving free chips at the bar! All in all it made for a really fun night out and we slept like babies right through until the next morning.
The sun was out again and we decided to book ourselves into a kayaking tour where we had the opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles and dolphins. It was such an experience! We were launched into the waves on a kayak and had to get to grips with the rowing very quickly. Of course everyone else was a pro and Lauren and I found ourselves sailing away in the opposite direction. We were pretty exhausted after about 5 minutes and figured out how to turn back round so we could join the rest of the group. We kayaked for about three hours, saw the dolphins (unreal!) and relaxed in the most Eastern point of the Australian Ocean. Our aboriginal guide also told us stories about his childhood and taught us all about their history with dolphins. It was really interesting and singing aboriginal chants in the middle of the ocean was all too much for us. We couldn’t of asked for a better afternoon, the people were lovely and capsizing on the way back really topped off our day (obviously, this only happened to us as the whole shore watched us arrive back). We were exhausted, dying laughing, looked like drowned rats and ready to get showered and out for the evening. Cheeky monkeys provided another eventful night out, and for some reason many people seem to think I work there, asking me every five minutes do I know where Cheeky Monkey’s is? Brilliant…
The next day we went on a coastline walk to the infamous lighthouse in Cape Byron, taking in the views and scenery around us as it is the most Eastern land-point of Australia! We chilled on the beach and watched the sun set with many others on the main beach and headed for tea. The perfect end to our first 4 days travelling!
In all honesty, our first impressions of Byron Bay could not have been more wrong. We met such characters on our trips, saw some amazing creatures and sights and loved the chilled out vibe at The Arts Factory! We didn’t even want to leave, just like some of the people we met who had been here for months. The traveller lifestyle is a surreal lifestyle but one you can quickly adapt to as we are finding out. Life in the sun is treating us well and we are on our way to Surfers Paradise in Queensland now! See you on the other side! X
Note: when you see a hippie in the UK, they have a few dreadlocks….when you see a hippie in Byron Bay, they go all out and they really are a hippie.