I had heard about people climbing Mount Warning, the summit of which is the first point of mainland Australia to see the sunrise. I wanted to do this; however, I couldn’t find anyone in Byron Bay that wanted to go with me! Stacy was game until she learned we would have to begin to hike at 4 am and she had to work. Danny did the hike when he lived on the Gold Coast and decided to come visit me for the weekend so we could do the climb together.
We spent the first night in Byron Bay at the Beach Hotel, hanging with Stacy and our friend Ester. Saturday we left Byron for Mount Warning. On the way, we stopped off in Nimbin, an alternative, hippy town born in the 70’s out of free love and the endless supply of marijuana that grows in the lush tropical rainforests that the town is surrounded by. It’s hard for me to imagine Nimbin as the sleepy dairy town that it use to be it until 1973, when the Aquarius Festival, a large gathering of university students, hippies, and party people, was held in the town.
The town seems to be outside the control of regulatory law enforcement and instead is ruled by “The Nimbin Code of Conduct”. The alternative lifestyle and desire for free love is still evident, yet it is somewhat tarnished by the abundance of drugs. I was shocked to be offered drugs by five different strangers on the street! It is a very surreal place and still has very spiritual aboriginal footprints. The Nimbin Rock overlooks the town and is said to keep it safe by an ancient aboriginal spirit. It really is a must see place for anyone visiting Australia.
We arrived at Mount Warning in the evening and set up the tent at a campsite nearby. Mount Warning is the solid plug at the center of a caldera containing the Tweed River, where millions of years ago, a volcano had stood instead. Today it has become a very popular hiking 8.8 km track that is classified as strenuous.
We woke up at 3:45 AM to allow at least 2 hours for the 4.4 KM climb to the top of the summit. I have never been a morning person, but Danny is, and even he was having trouble functioning that early as it took a lot of energy and concentration to hike uphill in the pitch dark! My flashlight was much better than Danny’s and he says that I kept leaving him in the dark, but I was only worried we would miss the sunrise! Just when I thought we were almost there we reached the beginning of a ridiculously steep climb up rocks that required the use of a chain rope to climb. I am not sure if it was because it was 6 am and I was for some strange reason climbing rocks, or that we had just hiked uphill for 2 hours in the cold, but the end seemed like the hardest climbing I have ever done! We arrived only five minutes before the sunrise!
The climb was tough, but the reward was huge as the sun appeared above the clouds about 6:20 AM. There were about twenty others at the top, some seemed to have slept there as they had sleeping bags and were making pancakes! The climb down the steep rocks was a bit scary as I slipped one time nearly causing a domino effect! Even though we climbed down the same path we came up, it was like a totally different hike as we could finally see everything beautiful around us!
We were both exhausted and couldn’t wait to get back to the tent to sleep! Later we drove to the Gold Coast and took another nap on the beach at Surfers Paradise. Danny had brought his surfboard and we had planned on surfing together; however, we were too tired to be bothered!
We spent the evening in the cute beach town of Coolangatta. Danny pointed out the area known as Snapper Rocks and he described it as “a massive sand bank known as the super bank, which started forming almost 20 years ago when the tweed river was being dredged. Today it is home to a national surf competition and has created the worlds best right hand beach break with fast barreling sections, and clean faces. On any day there is minimum of 100 surfers out trying to catch a wave”. The other well known surfers beach, Kirra Beach, is also in Coolangatta.
After a very fun weekend together, Danny flew back to Sydney early Monday morning for work and I decided to stay another few days in Coolangatta. I arrived back in Byron Bay today and will be here with Stacy until Friday when we both leave together.
To see all the pictures of my weekend CLICK HERE!