Sadly Emily and I have had to move from Melbourne because we have both not found jobs that we would be happy to commit to during our time here, and given that the jobs we found did not contribute towards our application for a second working visa (should we decide we want to come back to work again some time in the future), we decided that we would move up the east coast to the state of Queensland to do our regional farm working experience together.
Melbourne is a fantastic city, one of our favourite places we've visited and while it might not be appealing for tourism, you can see the appeal for people wanting to live and work here. Although we are disappointed to be leaving so soon, we are very excited to be seeing more of Australia! Although, not so fond of having to drag our backpacks around the country with us and living out of them again.
Our first leg of the journey was a two hour flight to Brisbane. We didn't get to spend long here, and frankly we weren't too bothered about that. Brisbane seemed to lack any appeal for us, although given that we only spent a day here we hadn't really given it a fair chance. It probably didn't help that we are staying in dorm rooms again. Bunk beds are an obvious annoyance for us, and the fact that while our hostel was ideally located and a well known franchise, it was quite frankly a dive that was run down and smelly....a shame really because the building has stood here for many years and full of character on the outside.
Up early to catch our bus at the station and make our 5.5 hour journey to Byron Bay, woop woop! Heard a lot about this place and we were keen to see it. However, Lady Luck was not on our side. For easily 90% of our time here it rained, no actually it p****d it down. Cyclone Marcia (a category 5 hurricane) battered Queensland over a couple days, and luckily we had moved down the coast from Brisbane just etching our way back into New South Wales, so really all we had was the tail end of the storm. We aren't even entirely sure there's a farm for us to go and work on given that it was in the direct path of the cyclone. Sod's law also decided to take a stab at us...we bought some ponchos when we first arrived in Bangkok should we encounter the tropical rains while we were travelling. We carried these around with us for about 4 months and never even opened them. So were in Australia right, in the summer, we're never going to need these and we could save room in our bags by throwing them out....so we did! Oh boy! Hindsight is a cruel thing! These would have been great! Instead each time we went out we got soaked to the bone, even with an umbrella and catching the hostel shuttle into town.
Byron Bay itself is pretty unique. It's a really laid back kind place, with a very noticeable presence of barefooted, rainbow wearing, tree hugging, dreadlocked and very funny smelling (you know what I mean) hippies. I'm surprised the economy of this place functions. Most of all I'm surprised our hostel functions as well as it does, given that the papers you must need to qualify for a job here are the type you roll with. All that said, they are all super cool, friendly and very laid back.
We stayed at the Arts Factory Hostel, the hostel where the Inbetweeners 2 movie was filmed. Really nice place, well decorated, pool tables and a good cafe (no naughty brownies for those wondering). To top it off, the Byron Bay brewery was across the road, some time was spent here while it rained outside! Good selection of beers having tried them all while we were here. One of the people we met here was called Eli, an artist who specialises in engraved artwork, some of them taking him up to 6 months to complete! We stayed in a 6 bed dorm, at times we really would have preferred to stay in a private room, that is all on that note.
One of the things you have to do when in Byron Bay is go on the Nimbin tour. Nimbin is a small town full of even more hippies than Byron, and let's just say that their brownies are not like the ones they sell at our hostel cafe....although I wouldn't be able to say for sure seeing as our tour got cancelled on account of a hurricane! Disappointed to miss out on all the waterfalls and stuff there but we got a refund so it could have been worse.
On our last morning the weather let up for a while, taking advantage of this and wondering along the beach gazing at the massive waves they have here. Many good surfers along the coast, but let's face it, it's far more interesting watching those getting owned by some narley waves. We walked the coast towards the lighthouse for as long as the shore and tides would let us before climbing the steps towards the footpath. There were a few good lookouts towards the bay, making the journey less painful as we continued our trek. As the path continued and the vegetation around us began to get thicker, we finally saw our first koala chilling at the top of a eucalyptus tree. We were so excited to see the little guy up there that we hardly took notice of the cookooburrows sitting at the bottom of the tree, which sound more like monkeys that birds. As we continued on our argunouse journey, we came across a wallaby virtually balancing on the edge of the cliff, we sat here for a while watching him until he fell off.....okay that didn't really happen but it would have been more interesting if he had.
Eventually we made it to the lighthouse, hallelujah! I could say that this brightened up our day, but to be honest it looks pretty much like, well a lighthouse, and we've seen plenty now, ohhh and it started to rain again. But we did manage to get out of the hostel and do something, so we were happy...even if we were getting soaked again.
Our last night we went to a restaurant/bar called cheeky monkeys where we met our dorm buddies. Very popular place here in Byron, well known for its fantastic steaks for very reasonable prices! I opted for the 300g steak, with mash and all the trimmings for $12, about £6! We had a few more drinks before we headed back to our hostel to pack up for our coach trip back to Brisbane tomorrow.
On a side note, it rained so much the pool was on the brink of flooding! And some of the rooms on the ground floor actually did have some flooding, glad that wasn't us!
C & E x