This week has been much more relaxing. It’s been great because we’ve not had to put any set in stone plans in place with the kids finally going back to school.
Continuing our journey down the East Coast of Australia in Jippy – our motorhome, we travelled from the Gold Coast to Byron Bay in New South Wales.
Day 33 – Exploring Byron Bay
I fell in love with this popular coastal town from the moment we arrived, just like I did with Airlie Beach. I can’t think of anywhere in the world that have backpackers, hippies and surfers all in one place.
It almost felt as if we’d gone back in time. Everyone appeared to be enjoying life without a care in the world. Just how it should be!
Over the next three nights we embraced the laidback Byron Bay lifestyle spending most of our time watching surfers catch waves on Belongil Beach, as well as browsing through the local shops and enjoying the wide variety of eateries.
It didn’t take us long to find the nearest Crêperie.
Day 34 – Markets
Today, we ambled around the monthly Byron Community Markets – a collection of local stalls selling everything from boho clothing and handcrafted jewellery to locally made arts and crafts alongside local musicians and food vendors.
There was a company called Good Mix who were advertising super foods to help with bowel movements. Their tagline ‘best poos ever’ certainly grabbed my attention.
Em purchased a pair of cotton trousers and a T-shirt from a company called Sunday to Sunday.
Day 35 – Just chillin’
We had planned to move on this morning, but we decided to stay one more night because we had time on our side.
During the day, we chilled out and enjoyed Byron Bay’s unique vibe and in the evening we eat at an Italian restaurant called MVP. Incredibly, this is the first time we’ve eaten out since Los Angeles now over three months ago.
Renting a motorhome in Australia and New Zealand for six weeks has been expensive, but we’ve definitely saved on meals and accommodation.
Day 36 – Cape Byron Lighthouse Hike & ‘The Big Banana’
This was only supposed to be a 1.8-mile walk, but it ended up being almost double that because we unintentionally combined it with The Pass, Fisherman’s Lookout and Wategos Beach. No complaints though because the views along the way were great!
Australia has more than 230 ‘Big Things‘ – large sculptures or structures some of which are novelty architecture located all over the country. We hadn’t seen any until we came across ‘The Big Banana‘ in Coffs Harbour, which turns out was the first to be erected in the 1960s. All a bit strange if you ask me…
From Googling, some of my favourites include ‘The Golden Gumboot,’ The Big Cassowary’, ‘The Big Lobster’, ‘The Big Prawn’ and ‘The Big Cane Today’.
Day 37 – Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Consisting of exhibit enclosures, a treatment clinic, intensive care unit, rehabilitation yards and a ‘Koalaseum‘, this morning we checked out the wonderful work the volunteers do at Koala Hospital Rehabilitation Centre before driving a further three hours to the harbour city of Newcastle.
Day 38 – Meeting up with Contiki family
After spending the afternoon at our campground in Stockton Beach, we got the ferry into the city centre in the evening to meet up with Nick – an Aussie from Newcastle who we had met on Contiki’s tour of Canada and the Rockies.
(To read about our time on this incredible 11 day tour, click here).
He picked us up in his ‘ute’ and then gave us a guided tour around Newcastle’s main sights. He then took us to Foghorn Brewery – one of his favourite places to eat.
I really enjoyed catching up with him and reminiscing on our time away in Canada earlier in our travels.
Day 39 – Quad biking on Stockton Beach Sand Dunes
We’ve been quad biking and ATV’ing in the past but never before on a beach! We had one hour of riding time on 150cc quad bikes zooming through the dunes and riding up and down the coastline at speeds of up to 40 km/h.
Use of our electronic devices whilst riding was strictly prohibited – like driving a normal vehicle I guess!
Later in the afternoon, we had the depressing task of packing our bags because tomorrow we had to drop our motorhome back to the Sydney Cruisin’ HQ.
We’ve got a lot already booked in the capital of New South Wales including climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and watching a show at the Sydney Opera House, as well as much, much more!
As always, if you’d like to keep up-to-date with our adventure, you can either enter your email at the bottom of this article to receive instant notifications every time I post a new blog; click the Follow ‘Al’ Around The World link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @AlecW95 or @alatw95.
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Thanks for reading, until the next time…