My next stop on the coast was a place I’d heard much about: Byron Bay.
Byron, on the northern coast of New South Wales, sits on a piece of land that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. It’s actually the most easterly part of mainland Australia!
There were limited free camps around Byron and I’d heard that the town was tough on people sleeping in their cars on the streets, so I decided to treat myself and book a hostel for a couple nights. I enjoyed being able to stretch out fully, charge my phone, and take a hot shower, but…. I found I missed sleeping in my car (yes – really). My Subie has a sunroof, and at night I like to lie and watch the stars as I’m falling asleep. I also like listening to the nature sounds just outside the car window: the ocean, the wind, nearby campfires. In the hostel, there were no star views, and all I got to listen to was the sound of my roommates’ snoring.
The next morning, I woke up early and set out for a very Byron-filled day.
I started out at Cape Byron and the lighthouse. Just wow:
This was such a stunning place. Looking to the south you could see the most pristine, 7km-long Tallows Beach:
Below the lighthouse, soaring above the crashing waves, there was a pair of my newest favourite birds – Brahminy’s Kites – soaring around.
See if you can spot the birds:
You could also see migrating whales from the cape! And these whales were close – the nearest one I saw was only about 50 metres off shore. At times there were too many to watch at once.
A pair of whales close to the cape:
There was even one little humpback, a bit far out, that was breaching (throwing themselves out of the water and crashing back down). I’d never seen this before, and it was pretty spectacular.
Not the best photo because it was so far away:
Another whale, only about 100 metres off shore, would go for a dive and then slap their tail on the surface of the water. It was so loud you could hear it from shore, and went on for several minutes. Apparently this acts as a signal to other whales.
I walked a bit down the cape, for a view of another beach to the north:
There were lots of surfers at this one. After a moment I squinted and looked a bit harder. Somehow, the surfers in the water didn’t all look quite…. human.
There was a pod of dolphins, visiting the surfers:
At one point the dolphins must have been within ten feet of the surfers. As I watched, the dolphins circled around the cape, even leaping in and out of the water like little acrobats:
That arvo, I decided to enjoy one of Byron’s many beaches. My guidebook said that Tallows Beach (the same one I’d viewed from the lighthouse) was the best place to avoid crowds, so I headed there. True enough, on about 7km of beach, there were barely 20 people.
Beach to myself:
I had a very happy afternoon there reading and watching the Pied Oystercatchers (shorebirds) running in and out of the waves.
The weather was warm enough but a bit of a wind picked up, so after a while I headed back to my hostel. The hostel did have one major perk – it backed right onto a beach. I went there to watch the sunset:
I finished the evening by getting burgers with some friends and having dinner on yet another beach.
All in all…. Byron is beautiful.
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