Saturday, 14 January 2012

Our Trip to Beautiful Byron Bay 2010!!

Those of you that have read other blog posts we have written know that we were lucky enough to live in Australia for a year in 2010. While living in Sydney, we worked to fund mini-breaks around this AMAZING country, and one of our favourite trips was to Byron Bay, an hour flight from Sydney.

Byron Bay is one of the most beautiful, hippie, alternative places to go in Australia and one of the most Eastern towns. From the moment you arrive, to when you have to leave, you can't help but feel the laid-back attitude of this surfer's paradise. We spent four days in Byron in June and a further three in October because one trip wasn't quite enough! Laura has family who live an hour from Byron - in Ballina - so we also took the time to go visit them.

On arrival in Byron Bay we found our accommodation, a backpackers, for a reasonable price. We were lucky enough to get a two-floor suite complete with jacuzzi! Byron isn't very big and walking is the best way to get around, it's also jam packed with shops and cafes...most selling unique and organic products. Every wall is decorated colourfully and market stalls are set up in every spare space. When you head towards the gorgeous beaches you see people dancing, chilling out, playing music and the most breath taking views of the sea, and surrounding cliffs and mountains. If you are lucky, you may even spot a few whales (like we did)! If you turn up at the right time there is also a tea-tree oil filled lake at the beach - perfect for a refreshing face wash :)
Come on, they gave us a jacuzzi, they were asking for pics like these!!
One of the best things we found in Byron Bay was the range of activities (Australia really makes the most of its amazing weather) and because it was so nice outside, we decided to take the opportunity to go kayaking with dolphins, whales, seals and turtles in the ocean. At first the trip went very well - the Red Bull car turned up & gave us a free can (we were EXTREMEly ready for this trip haha), the kayak was carried to the beach for us and our tour guide was lovely. It was only once we actually got in the kayak that the challenge started....kayaking on a lake is one thing, but kayaking in the sea is quite another! You have to deal with waves - though the sea might look calm from the beach, when you are balancing on a kayak trying to get out to sea, it won't be. After numerous falls out of the boat and realising that we were not natural kayakers, we got help (well more like saved!). We had originally been in a kayak together, however because we were incapable, the guide put Laura in his kayak and Sarah got put with a manly random (all in the middle of the sea), so we would hurry up! As amazing as the trip was, it was hard to see anything when we were focused more on staying afloat! Though Laura, who ended up with the instructor, got to sit pretty the whole time and take photos. We're pretty sure the dolphins were mocking us, because whenever we saw one, it would stick around long enough for us to glimpse it before disappearing as we tried to get closer. It definitely was an experience!

The artwork that lines the streets and promenades of Byron is incredible. From recycled cans or glass turned into sculptures, to graffiti and paintings, Bryon Bay has it all. Activity-wise you can SCUBA, learn to surf, skydive, get artsy, go zen or ride horses - in fact, it's a beautiful setting to do just about every outdoor activity!

The walk up to the Cape Byron Light House is well worth it. It doesn't take too long and the view is spectacular - it is also a really good place to spot whales as they pass by on their migration.

Not far from Byron is Nimbin, famous for its Mardi Grass (a cannabis appreciation festival) in May where a giant joint is paraded through the streets and people dress up as pot leaves. The town famously celebrates a love of marijuana and even has a museum dedicated to the plant! They even sell 'special' cookies and lining the streets are stores selling SO many 'herbs' you get a little high just walking in! People living in Nimbin focus on living sustainable, eco-friendly lives, and you won't find any Maccy D's or restaurant chains here! We spent an afternoon looking in every shop with Laura's cousin & his fiancee, and strangely, looking around a candle factory was quite a highlight!

Nimbin's rules to live by!!
The really nice thing about this part of the world is that sustainable living is SO important and really does create a different way of life. Both times that we visited, we spent hours looking around markets selling everything from crystals to natural cures and recycled clothes. The people are so friendly, open and embracing that you will find yourself walking barefoot, appreciating the slower pace and simpler things in life. Laura even bought an awesome hippie-ish skirt!

The family Laura has in the area embody a lot of the great qualities just described. Laura's cousin is a great example of a modern-day hippie and her three beautiful daughters are individual characters with a zest for life. Her aunt & uncle (who is a retired surfer) are some of the kindest people you'll ever meet. They took great pride in taking us on a tour of the area - including the road-side fruit stalls that sell normal fruit, as well as custard apple (yep such a thing grows) and star fruit! We also got to see the vast fields of sugarcane, and thanks to Laura's uncle driving up to and then obtaining a cane for us, we got to try it!

You will also find some of the most beautiful sunsets EVER in Byron Bay- sitting on a beach watching the sunset here was our favourite thing to do! And after the sun goes down, the nightlife in this town is also good. There are plenty of young travelers around, and people party in beach-side bars until the wee hours!

Here's the video we made of our trip together to Byron Bay!!

We hope you've enjoyed travelling to beautiful Byron Bay with us :) Some of our fondest memories together are here, and it is a place definitely not-to-be missed when you go to Australia!

Visit our For Life's Journeys page to see where else we've traveled together!

Love always, Sarah & Laura xo


  1. Looks like an awesome place to move to one day! ;D Excellent blog and video! Love you, Mum xxx

  2. Beautiful post, your blog gives us lots of ideas for places to visit in the future :) Sarah & Lauren x

  3. Ah you get up to so much! Love it! Loved the video! :)

    M x


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