On Monday morning I awoke at a quarter to five and got the train from engadine to the centre of sydney. Its crazy how cheap it is here- 5 dollars for an hour long journey ( the equivalent of about 2.70)
I made it to the oz experience office on elizabeth street in plenty of time for the half 6 leave. I had a long journey ahead of me- we stopped for breakfast and lunch and about 9 hours later arrived at Spot X surf camp- run by mojo surf company. The camp is literally in the middle of nowhere, but by the beach. We slept in shacks (or basically portaloos as there was a curtain separating the toilet from the beds!) At night there was a campfire and I met a girl from Carrickfergus- she had started off travelling with the girl who owned the chippie in greenisland- who I had heard had gone travelling. What a small world! The next morning was another half 5 start and after a fry up, cereal and toast (make the most of the food you are paying for it!) we hit the waves. As this was now my second time surfing I had got the hang of it and managed to stand up quite a few times! It was much more enjoyable than the lesson in Sydney as it was much warmer and the waves were calmer.
Later that afternoon we got back on the bus and headed to Byron Bay. I planned to spend one night here then go on to surfers paradise where some of my oz intro friends where. Yet something about this little town entralled me. There was a very alternative atmosphere, lovely little shops etc. And they do not let any corporations into the town (eg mcdonalds). I walked to the beach imagining it would be like any other but when i got there the veiw took my breath away. To the left there are mountains stretching into the distance and on the right you can see Byron bay lighthouse and Cape Byron. It was beautiful and I didnt want to leave.
I hadnt really met anyone I clicked with overly well on the bus but when I got to Byron I recognized a guy who had been in the oz intro group that started the day after me. I hadnt spoke to him before then but it was great as Daryl (his name) introduced me to some more people and i spent most of the week with them. We attended the infamous cheeky monkeys backpacker bar and restaurant every night. You can get steak here for 5 dollars! and cheeseburgers for 3. Really generous portions! There is no dancefloor- this is what the tables are for! A really crazy, different place but great fun!
One of the days I walked to the lighthouse. It took 3 hours there and back but was brilliant. Cape Byron is the most easterly point in Australia, and there are beaches on each side of the cape. Our hostel holiday village was built around a courtyard with a swimming pool and tables where everyone sat out each night and it was just across the road from cheeky monkeys. The place is over run with Canadians who have been there for ages but I also met a girl from Antrim.
Another day I went to Nimbin. What an experience! Nimbin is a little village in the hills about an hour from Byron Bay. It attracted lots of hippies in the 60s and lots of them have never left. The hippies made a deal with the police that they would inform them of serious crimes that the biker gangs were comitting if they turned a blind eye to their marajuana use. And this tradition has gone on until today- they hold protests rallies etc and there is a fascinating museum- and lots and lots of tie dye! I was on a tour which a girl in my room had won and gave to me as she had already been. After visiting Nimbin for about 2 hours we went to a gorgeous little pub in the hills and had a massive bbq. (Which i enjoyed even more as i wasnt paying for it!) Then we went to the Nimbin falls- a waterfall and were able to swim.
Byron bay was an amazing place and I could see myself living there later in the year. But after 5 days it was time to leave...Surfers paradie was calling.