Road Trip: Byron Bay & Gold Coast

Australia, RTW: 2007-2008 — By on May 10, 2008 3:59 AM

Spencer and I spent last weekend in beautiful Byron Bay. We met up with our friend Stacy from San Francisco, who is living and working in Byron. We spent our first afternoon catching up with Stacy at the Beach Hotel and the three of us walked along the beach together watching the sun set over the gorgeous beach.

Byron Bay is a small hippy town, known for its relaxed and sometimes alternative way of life that has attracted and interesting mix of residents. The local community is socially and environmentally conscious who aim to keep their town charming. You will not find a McDonalds or any other large chain stores, nor will you find any high-rise buildings or traffic lights. Music is always playing whether it is a random guy playing his guitar on the street or a band playing at a local pub. I immediately felt a very laid back vibe and find Byron to be very relaxing and inviting.

Captain James Cook named the area Byron on May 15, 1770, after John Byron, a navigator and the grandfather of the poet Lord Byron. Cape Byron is Australia’s most easterly point, located on the north coast of New South Wales. Located on Cape Byron is a pretty lighthouse that was built in 1901. We drove right up to the lighthouse and were surrounded by perfect views.

The weather was perfect so we spent some time at Main Beach. There are many beautiful beaches along the beautiful long stretch of sand surrounding Byron Bay. We spent one morning at the Byron Bay Markets; an open-air market with hundreds of stalls selling a wide range of goods from leather to hemp and hot dogs to tofu. There were also many singers and performers included a fire-eating woman.

Stacy is working two jobs at the moment and had to work much of the weekend. Spencer and I visited her at work one night and ate dinner at her restaurant, The Curry House. Another night we spied on her from across the street and both agreed that Stacy is a great little waitress! We did have a fun night out with Stacy and her friends our last night in Byron. Apparently the Beach Hotel is the place to be on Sunday nights with and enormous beer garden, live music, and a large crowd.

Spencer and I left Byron and headed north up the Gold Coast, crossing the border of New South Wales into Queensland. We decided to stop in Surfers Paradise, a resort town resembling many popular vacation spots in Florida. Surfers Paradise is the exact opposite of Byron Bay in every possible way. High-rise hotels run along the beach and the area is more developed than any of the other beach towns we had seen on our drive from Sydney. There are many theme parks, bungee jumping, miniature golf, and even a Hard Rock Cafe. I did not dislike Surfers, but like many other Americans, I prefer many of Australia’s other beach towns as Surfers Paradise reminds me too much of home and I am in a foreign country to explore new things!

Our road trip together ended in Brisbane, where Spencer caught a flight back to Sydney and then on to San Francisco. I was sad to see him go as I had so much fun hanging with my lovely Spence and I will miss his loud New York voice and laugh, his silliness, and his company. I feel lucky to have such a good friend that would fly halfway around the world to spend time with Stacy and me!

As for me…I have been hanging in Brisbane the past few days dealing with a slight backpack crisis (packing blog to come later…) and getting my last round of immunizations for my upcoming travels. I will be taking a bus back to Byron Bay tomorrow where I will be staying with Stacy at her house for the next few weeks until we head north together. While in Byron I plan hang with Stacy, relax at the beach every day, and start planning my travels to Southeast Asia, which will kick off in a month! This is a part of my trip that will require research and planning ahead, as most countries I will be visiting require visas and onward plane tickets to enter the country.

I am really looking forward to spending more time in Byron Bay…perhaps the most perfect place to relax and do nothing!

To see more photos of Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, CLICK HERE.

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  1. Spencer says:

    My Kel!! We rock!! I miss you and all the fun adventures we had in Australia!! Hope you’re having fun back in Byron.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kelly, thank you so much for the time you spend doing this blog. It helps me keep up with Stacy. Ask her what I said about Danny….a Mom knows these things!
    Be safe and protect the web!
    “Man did not weave the web of his life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” –Chief Seattle
    Sue Oleneack

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