This past weekend my friends Tashi, Kelsey, and Kristen, and myself decided to take a last minute weekend trip to Byron Bay. Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales, Australia. A headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. We had another holiday weekend meaning again no class on Friday…. I can get used to this whole breaks,holidays, ect that has been going on. On friday it was Anzac Day: a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.”
Since there was no class on Friday, we thought it would be fun to take a weekend trip. I have been to Byron before for day trips going to the beach;its about a 45 minute drive from Lismore. This weekend we wanted to go catch a sunrise at the lighthouse (the first spot in Australia to see the sun rise), and we were informed that the town had a good night life so we wanted to check that out as well.
So early friday morning I packed my bag to then go catch the 9:00am bus that would be going to Byron. Since it was Anzac Day, there was a parade that was going on. We happened to make perfect timing to watch it while waiting at the bus stop. Veterans were roaming the streets all dresses up in their uniforms.
The parade was in the main part of town, which meant certain roads were blocked off, and the bus route was one of them. After waiting at the bus stop for half an hour, we thought we had missed our bus, or it wasn’t coming our way because the roads were blocked. Eventually our bus driver showed up walking towards us. He had to park a few blocks away, and also mentioned “we picked a bad day to take a bus to Byron since it was Anzac Day.”…oh well
After an hour drive we got off the bus and ventured off to find our hostel. We would be staying at Cape Byron YHA. We got our room, dropped our bags off, and went to town. We would be spending most of the day at the beach. We also did a little shopping, and on Anzac day it is the only day that the Game 2Up can be played in Australia. Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving a designated ‘Spinner’ throwing two coins or pennies into the air. Players gamble on whether the coins will fall with both (obverse) heads up, both (reverse) tails up, or with one coin a head, and one a tail (known as ‘Odds’). It is traditionally played on Anzac Day in pubs and clubs throughout Australia, in part to mark a shared experience with Diggers through the ages.
On our way to the beach we went to the Beachside hotel and bar, where 2Up was being held. It was crazy. People had formed a circle around a ring, and there were two “spinners” in the ring. There were massive amounts of yelling and shouting heads or tails, and ,many bets being made. Still to this day I am confused how the game and betting works. We were going to participate in it, but at the same time we had no clue what we were doing, and also didn’t feeling like losing a whole lot of money. It was still fun to watch though.
We soaked up the sun for a few hours, afterwards we went to go find a happy hour spot and grab dinner. We ended up going to a place called Miss Margaritas. A spanish restaurant. For happy hour they had $12 Margaritas. We all were in the mood for one. I ordered myself a Mango Mint Margarita. It was oh soo good. We also split an order of chips with salsa and guacamole, and I ordered myself a borutio for my main entree. Everything was delicious….and…expensive…
Since it was a national holiday, there would be an added tax on all of our food and drink items. I learned that this is because on holidays staff gets paid more; hence taxes go up more. I can say that this meal was up there in the running for “most expensive bill I have ever had to pay for a meal.” Oh well I guess..I’m only in Australia once and for a short time….then hello cheap food and everything else cheap in the States! Even though it is sad I only have a month left in this beautiful country, there are some things I’m looking forward to when coming back home: how cheap everything is, seeing my friends and family, and having MY CAR BACK! Oh do I miss my car oh so much. It is quite difficult not being able to get around without a vehicle, and I hate sounding like a nag always asking my friends for rides, and also I think I have been on plenty enough bus,shuttle and maxi/taxi rides while here. My car is definitely something I’m looking forward to having again.
…Back to Byron:
After dinner we went back to our hostel to go change and get ready to check out the nightlife for a bit. We decided that we wouldn’t stay up too late because we would be waking up the next morning at 4:30am to hike and catch the sunset at the lighthouse. We were staying in a 5 person hostel for the weekend as well. When we got back we met our 5th roommate. Her name was Claire and she was from London traveling around Australia. Earlier that morning she had woken up to hike to the lighthouse to catch the sunrise. She said it was well worth it. That night we ended up going back to the Beach Hotel and Bar. It was packed since it was a holiday. They had a live band playing as well. Overall it was a good night.
The next morning my alarm went off at 4:30am…time to wake up! We got dressed and off we went to the lighthouse. It was about a 40 minute hike to get there. It was so pretty watching the sun come up, and the added fact of being at a lighthouse made it even better.
After catching a beautiful sunrise we all went back to our hostel to take a power nap. After that we went back to the beach! After having another relaxing day at the beach we got dinner, and then back to our hostel to get ready for Byron nightlife round two. This night we also hung out with our roommate Claire, and a bunch of other travelers as well that were staying at our hostel. It was cool learning where everyone was from and hearing about their travels. We all went out together that night as well. Overall it was a fun night to say the least. It also was a great weekend getaway as well. I got to lay on the beach, see a beautiful sunrise at a lighthouse, go to the most easterly point in australia, and made some new friends. I couldn’t ask for more.