Surfer Paradise was just down the road from Brisbane, a short one hours drive. We truly have learnt the meaning of long drives out here, and vowed that when we get home, short drives around our country will be the norm.
The small beach town was everything you expected. A long beach stretching on as far as you could see, Surfers (surprise, surprise) enjoying the swells, a long stretch of beachside cafes and restaurants with shopping streets stationed just behind.
Time was not on our side and we had to leave after a nice stroll along the beach and a quick lunch.
All the places now seem to come and go too quickly. In a fleeting moment this town would be a memory, not given a chance to imprint it’s true self on us. We have to try not to linger on what we were missing out on because the next place will undoubtedly hold something else for us.
Byron Bay was an amazingly cool town. The main street was adorned with vintage shops and branded stores, small cafes and restaurants, bars and pubs, it had it all.
Exploring, we immediately noticed the diversity of people here. All the modern day young hipsters, aging hippies, bloody tourists (us) and all those in between, mingled easily.
After bypassing a camp site where the facilities looked questionable, we ended up at a posh place about 5 minutes from the town centre. After getting settled, we lounged by the pool, hoping to relax before exploring some more. Half snoozing, we were rudly disturbed by a loud nob head Aussie blasting half hits from over a decade ago. As a park official approached him while Beyonce blasted his excuse was “Yeah, I’m in Byron?!” whatever the tosser meant by that.
We loved this town. We didn’t need an expensive night out or an overpriced tour to enjoy our time here. Slow strolls up and down the main street, relaxing on the beach and eating ice cream was all we needed. After a long hard days milling about, splitting a bottle of wine under a lilac sky watching the stars come out ends set us up for a good night to have a beer in town. At an old converted railway station we enjoyed our beers listening to a live band.
We could have stayed here for weeks, doing nothing and digging the city in all its freedom and glory. With constant smiles etched onto everyones face, including ours, this extraordinary little town had life right. Stress seemed a distant thought of everyone here and everyone was accepted. If I had of told people that Holly and I were escaped criminals from the UK seeking refuge, they would probably just nod with a “Cool” and go on with their night.
We left Byron after another well deserved break to take the arduous 5 hour drive to Port Macquerie, a stop off on the way to Sydney where our trip would end.
Port Mac would be our last night in the campervan and both tired from the days drive and the thought of another long trip the following day, we decided to have an extravagant night of laundry and consuming everything in the van so nothing was wasted.
After our delectable meal of rice, sweetcorn and bread and butter between washing and drying, twilight set in as we stepped out to admire the evening.
Peering around the sight the night was cold and empty, the trees above us forming black silhouettes against the purple sky. Trying to capture the moment on camera we looked up at the trees without any luck. We lowered our gaze, and right there in front of us, was a little girl. The insidious little urchin, still and staring, scared the living shit out of me. Where the fuck did she come from? After a few moments in silence, our fears were alleviated when a few other little scamps came frolicking round from the back of another van, and the group slunk off into the night.
With a mixture of relief and melancholy our campervan experience in Australia was at it’s welcome end. Saying goodbye to our temporary home would have been harder had we not booked for another three weeks of tin can living in the next country.Before that, Sydney awaited us.