Along the Away

a traveler's tales

So, I have been to Byron Bay once before, in late 2007 I had a week semester break during the intense year I worked full time while studying part time at Shillington Design College. I packed up my Barina with all my course work, my beach gear and drove 9 hours up the coast for a week’s R&R beach study. Oh how I like to joke about that week of constant, horizontally-driven rain, deserted streets and general lack of beachy R&R. That and how during a day spa pamper afternoon I fainted after sitting in a too hot bath while scolding myself for fussing and-for-crying-out-loud-can’t-you-just-sit-down-and-relax.

So this past weekend I tried again. I went back to Byron with my sis and friend for the three day Australia Day long weekend… which turned into five days counting the two extra ones we stayed after the flash thunderstorms and flooding closed the airport and shut the town power down. Is it me? Am I a rain charm for Byron Bay?

Anyhoo, it was not so bad – we actually had a lot of fun!

Faced with one rainy day after another we searched Byron for the best indoor options and had quite a lovely, relaxing time away.

For one, I discovered my inner artiste! I’m creative but not in an artistic way. I can’t draw to save my life… Or can I? We went along to an afternoon class at Byron Bay Art Studio, which promised I would “become an artist in 3 hours – it’s fun, it’s easy, you can do it. From no art ability you complete a masterpiece rolled up for easy transport – guaranteed!”

Sounded like a challenge! We arrived soggy and wind beaten greeted by our cheery teacher Irena and a nice warm studio with easels set up ready to go. We put on our aprons and listened, watched, copied and attempted creative license as Irena walked us step by step through the creation of our very own chalk person. I am personally so impressed with what we all produced – I had serious doubts I could create anything remotely in proportion of a normal (non-disfigured) human being – but look at this will you:

Wowsers! We finished the class by getting our artwork sealed and rolled up to take home. I’m so chuffed with the end results and highly recommend the class to anyone visiting Byron (even if its sunny!!)

Other rainy weather fun we had included:

  • Visiting the Byron Bay Holistic Massage Centre and indulging in a little pampering. I had a massage which was amazing (no fainting this time, brilliant) and my sis had an auro-soma colour reading.
  • Going to the movies to see The Silver Linings Playbook – such a great movie!
  • Going for drinks and dinner at the The Brewery and Buddha Bar at the Arts Factory.
  • Hanging out in every cafe in town… Twice. Ok Why Not, we visited you a few times (oh how I dream of your haloumi burgers). It was cosy, and really food and coffee and food and coffee – you know this is my thing.
  • We wrestled the crazy wind and I almost died laughing at my companions trying to put their plastic ponchos on. It was funny coz really, there was no way those things were going to do a thing.

A beautiful aspect of the wet weekend was absorbing the therapeutic sound of the rain bucketing down constantly for 48 hours – I’ve never experienced anything like that before. In bed at night the downpour was torrential, the wind howled and the windows shook. The lightening flashed through the windows and the cracks of thunder that followed… oh my heart! I was so warm and cosy in my bed, I stayed awake most of the night listening and feeling… connected. The sound of nature is so soothing to me, even the drama, even when it reminds me how much bigger than us it is, how vulnerable we are to its might. It doesn’t distance me, it makes me feel more ingrained somehow.

Though we did experience the power getting cut intermittently and for at least 12 hours at one point. We went to Woolies and saw all the locals piling up their carts in anticipation of apocalyptic town shut down. We felt a bit homeless, but we bought some chocolate to get us through. After the airport had closed and we realised we weren’t going to make our flight for a couple of days we moved from the backpacker hostel to a holiday unit where the manager gave us a great pity rate. I don’t mind backpacker hostels when the weather is so good you’re barely at them – but when the weather drives everyone indoors I appreciate somewhere a bit more comfy. Where we can read our books by candlelight and eat apocalyptic chocolate.

The day after our we were supposed to go home, we woke up and this happened…

Oh happy happy sunshine, where have you been? Well now we have to wait two days to get on a flight home, so let us bask in your glory and finally see the beach…

We wandered around and made up for lost time. Admired some pretty pavement art.

And went to visit the famous Byron Bay Lighthouse (it is famous if you live in Sydney and see the CityRail promotional poster on every train with a picture of the Byron Bay Lighthouse on it).

We enjoyed a lazy coffee at the Lighthouse Cafe, where we sat next to a couple of local women having a good chat about the tourists that arrive from the Gold Coast and wreak urban, drunken havoc on their hippy town. They had a few things to say about Sydney tourists as well, but we aren’t as bad as the Gold Coasters thankfully.

Uh oh, the clouds are returning.

But they didn’t get in the way of a walk to the most easterly point of Australia – yep here it is:

And that was all. Back home to Sydney two days late, but relaxed and happy!


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Sydney based, coastal dwelling. When I'm not at work I'm somewhere outdoors, or in the yoga studio, or at my local cafe, or pottering at home.

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