Happy High

Yamba

Yamba

After a few days in Sydney, I’m back on the road with Cairns as target, an exotic town in the far north-east of Australia.  Rebeca, a 25yr old Mexican girl who worked & lived in London would be my travel buddy for a part of the journey.  When we left Sydney, it was raining cats & dogs unfortunately and the forecast for the week was not the brightest!  We decided to drive all the way to Coffs Harbour and try our luck there.  We stayed for the night but it kept on raining so we continued our journey with quick stops in Yamba & Ballina before arriving in the world renowned township for its surfing beaches, surrounding lush beautiful countryside & hippie culture… Byron Bay.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Byron Bay counts 9000 souls & it’s latitude gives it a perfect average temperature of 21-28C in summer & 15-21C in summer.  We were extremely lucky as the weather seemed to be bright & sunny!

Me, Tom, Paul, George, Rebeca & Morito @ Arts Factory

Me, Tom, Paul, George, Rebeca & Morito @ Arts Factory

The original European name ‘Cavvanbah’ was a derivation of the Aboriginal name for the area ‘Bundjalung’ which meant ‘meeting place’.  It was changed in Byron Bay because of cape Byron, the name that Captain Cook gave to the high piece of land in 1770 on which the famous Cape Byron ilghthouse now stands.

Free camping is hard to find in New South Wales and is forbidden in most places.  But by renting a minivan with ‘Jucy’, I got several vouchers for intresting deals with hostels on the East Coast where you can park your van on their grounds & use all the facilities such as showers, kitchen, swimming pool, laundry, lounge area, … for just 5-10$ a day.  ‘Arts Factory’ backpackers hostel was such a hostel in Byron Bay.  As you may well know, it’s not so hard to meet fellow travellers in such places and so it didn’t last very long before we met some nice people such as Morito from Japan, Tom & George from UK, Paul from Germany and many others.

Paul, Rebeca, Tom & George @ Cape Byron lighthouse

Paul, Rebeca, Tom & George @ Cape Byron lighthouse

We had 3 great days meeting those people, strolling around in town, wandering the sunday markets, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, playing silly drinking games, chillin’ at the pool…  We hiked the Cape Byron walking trail as well.  A beautiful 3.7km walk that includes coastal cliffs, littoral rainforest, the historic Cape Byron lighthouse & great beaches such as Wategos beach popular for longboarders.  The walking trail offers panoramic views of the ocean & north coast hinterland.

Nimbin

Nimbin

Having bad weather in Byron Bay the next day, I had no intrest to go to the beaches and I was thinkin’ about alternatives. That’s when I remembered many people had mentioned this weird, crazy place just outside of Byron Bay, nestled between the rainforest and the ocean occupied by hippies & Aboriginal people of the Bundjalung nation.

Tucked away in the hills west of Byron Bay, Nimbin was once a sleepy little dairying village in a lush setting of farmland and forest but now known as Australia’s most famous hippie destination and alternative lifestyle capital.

Nimbin

Nimbin

Nimbin shot to fame when it hosted the 1973 Aquarius Festival, attracting students, hippies and visionaries from all over Australia.  Once the bands left and the dust settled, a few intrepid souls stayed on to live the dreams and ideology of Aquarius and sow the seeds for today’s vibrant, sustainable community. This internationally famous village is intriguing and quirky with its unique mural streetscape of indigenous, rainforest and psychedelic facades and colourful local characters.  Personally, I really enjoyed the ride to Nimbin itself with its rainforests, green landscapes, mountains,… Nimbin as a town was fun to see with dodgy, hippie characters all over the streets, psychedelic facades… Just unique!

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