Byron Bay

I was a few days off the end of a 5 week trip to Australia. Starting in with a group of friends in Sydney for New Year, I’d since travelled north to Cairns with another friend, stopping at Airlie Beach for the Whitsundays and Townsville to visit Magnetic Island before going on a southbound solo travel adventure, joining a flexi-tour with Loka Travel and making stops at Tully Gorge National Park, back in Airlie Beach and at Emu Park, Fraser Island, Noosa and Brisbane.

After spending the morning in Brisbane, I was now on board the Loka minibus heading to the last stop of my trip before arriving back in Sydney, Byron Bay. Although I was again the only passenger travelling south from Brisbane, we made a pick up at Surfers Paradise where 2 girls I’d briefly met earlier in the trip jumped on board and it was nice to briefly have someone to chat with.

A quick tutorial before kayaking

Arriving in Byron Bay early evening, I checked into my private en suite room at the YHA and went out to explore, walking along the beach as the sun stated to go down before grabbing a pizza and heading back to my room.

The next morning I was up early to head to the beach. I had booked a dolphin-spotting kayaking expedition which I was really looking forward to.

Kayaking in Byron Bay

After a quick tutorial/recap on paddling and kayaking, I partnered up with one of the other solo travellers in the group and we boarded our kayak, paddling out to sea with the rest of our group. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first group of dolphins swimming past. It was really exciting being so close to them.

Over the next hour we were lucky enough to spot a few more dolphins as we paddled across the bay.

Dolphin spotting

It was soon time to return to shore and we were challenged by the group leaders to try and ride one of the waves in. Like many of the other kayakers, we instead managed to capsize ours, both being thrown into the surf as our kayak made it to shore without us and causing me to lose my sunglasses in the process!

After making a quick stop back at my hostel room to dry off and change, I walked into town and found a cheap replacement pair of sunglasses before going to meet a friend who also happened to be staying in the area for lunch.

While there, I go a message from a tour company I’d book an evening wildlife-spotting activity with saying that due to the predicted storm coming in, they were cancelling that evening’s tour. Unfortunately, as it was my last evening in Byron Bay, I wasn’t able to reschedule the tour but the refund at least gave me a bit more money to spend on the remaining few days of my trip!

After lunch, I decided to do the walk to Cape Byron Lighthouse, a lighthouse perched above the bay.

Above, the most easterly point of Australia, and below, views along the lighthouse walk

It was quite an easy walk but as I made my way there, the weather started to change, the bright blue sunny skies being replaced by dark, storm clouds and just as I reached the lighthouse, the rain started to fall. By the time I reached the halfway point back to beach, the rain had gone from light drizzle to a full on storm – torrential rain, thunder and lightening and for the second time that day, I was soaked to the skin and in need of a change of clothes!

Making it safely back to the hostel, I stayed in my room waiting for the rain to subside, making a quick trip out between downpours to grab a Subway sandwich before ducking back to my room again!

Byron Bay was a really pretty place and I’d really enjoyed my all too brief stay there. I was up at the crack of dawn the next morning to go and wait for the Loka minibus to pick me up for the final journey of my trip. And it was a long one, a 12 hour drive back to where I started 5 weeks earlier, Sydney.

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