After a week of staying with Bentley the time had come to leave him behind (and let him get back to work) and set off further up the coast on my own. I was so sure I was confident enough to go away on my own, but as I said goodbye to Bentley I found myself filling up and feeling very scared. How would I meet people? What if I didn't meet anyone and ended up wandering around on my own? What if the people weren't friendly. Travelling without Bentley, who had fast become my comfort blanket while I had been away, seemed a terrifying thought. What on earth was I thinking booking this trip alone?! Heading into Sydney and getting the next plane back to England had never seemed so appealing.
But I put on a brave face and got the overnight Greyhound bus to Byron Bay. The second I walked into my room in my hostel all my fears were proved to be silly. I had two girls in my room who were immediately friendly, helpful, and to my relief were also travelling alone! I soon realised that everyone in the hostel was in the same position as me, far from home and looking to make friends, and so everywhere you walk in the hostel, whether you be brushing your teeth or making a cup of tea, people are approaching you and starting conversation.
I stayed at the Byron Bay Village Backpackers resort. And the outside seating area made for an ideal place to eat, drink and make friends. The facilities were clean and the staff were friendly.
Byron Bay itself is lovely. Spent my first few days here chilling on the beach. Our hostel gave all backpackers free use of their boogie boards, surf boards and bikes. Me and my friend gave boogie boarding a try. I was pretty useless but laughed the entire time.
A group of about 8 of us then set off on a day long bike ride. A great way of seeing Byron and a fun way to get around. We rode to a Quarry and then to a beach miles away from the main beach where we were alone apart from the occasional surfer dude. We had such a good time that we went out on the bikes again the following day, this time riding to a disused Quarry where tourists jump from the 20 meter height into the water. Being the wimp that I am I simply watched and took photos!
Another tourist place in Byron is the Lighthouse. Walking up there gives you great views from the most Easterly point in Australia. We went up there at sunset (which at this time of year is at about 5pm) and took lots of awesome photos. Some keen beans also get up for 5:30am to watch the sunrise from that point, but I enjoy my sleep a little to much to do that!
In the evenings here everyone in our hostel tends to gather for a few drinks outside in the bench area. Most nights we would all play games together. Then we would head off the Cheeky Monkeys or Woody's Surf Shack. Cheeky's is opposite where I was staying and Woody's was on the same road.
Drinks prices are cheaper here than further South but drinking laws in this region mean that no bars will serve double measures, shots, shooters or bombs. Probably a good thing for a light weight such as myself.
On my final day I booked a three hour trip to go Kayaking with Dolphins. A friend from my hostel came with me. Getting out into the ocean was hilarious as the waves are so big you keep getting washed back in. I felt like Tom Hanks trying to escape the island in Castaway! The kayaking trip was great fun but unfortunately no Dolphins were spotted!
Then Bentley met me at my hostel. His job had transferred him to the Gold Coast for a month so we had arranged to meet in Byron and make the drive up together. To break up the journey for him I took him on a walk up to the lighthouse and we watched the sunset. He had been driving for 13 hours and so was keen for a hike. Then we hit the road together to set off for the next adventure together.
I loved my time in Byron, it taught me that travelling alone doesn't mean travelling on your own!