Second stop on our trip was the beautiful small town of Byron Bay. I’m going to come back to tell you about our first stop of Brisbane later, as we’ve got another few days there coming up to do still.
Byron Bay is around a 2 hour drive from Brisbane. Setting off from our hostel that morning on our first journey with Betsy, we were very excited to see how she would perform. You’ll be pleased to know, the drive went wonderfully. During the journey, Emma got out our Lonely Planet book provided with the car, which had some information on what to do in the surrounding areas. Coming across a town called ‘Mooball’, Emma read out to me that it was a small town with famous burgers for only $9 at Moo Moos cafe.
Almost as soon as she finished reading the description, I saw a road sign for the town, and getting very excited, we decided we had to stop there for lunch. We both ordered burgers, mine being beef with a topping of beetroot and cheese and Emma got a veggie burger also with a beetroot topping and all the trimmings, while keeping it vegan friendly. Both were unreal, and beetroot has now become my new favourite thing. If you’re driving past I’d 100% recommend stopping into this adorable wee town where everything is painted in cow-print. Well worth a visit.
We arrived in Byron Bay later that afternoon, and after some deliberation over hostels the day before we decided to rock up at The Arts Factory and see if we’d be able to get space without pre-booking. It has a few quite bad reviews online, but an excellent review from my friend Iona who’d been there earlier in the year, so we went for it.
It’s a majorly relaxed, chilled out hostel with various different types of accommodation to suit all needs and plenty of activities to keep you occupied. We stayed in the Lakeside Cottage, which was an all girls 10-bed room, with its own little kitchen, bathroom and terrace seating area. They also offered dorms, tepees, cabins and spots to setup your own tent if you wish. It’s a great place to stay and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s a little set back from town, but it’s an easy 15 minute walk so that’s no problem at all. The whole grounds of the hostel are very nature friendly, with lots of lizards and turkeys living alongside you.
In the mornings a yoga class takes place outside the cottage, which we took part in on our last day. It was much harder than we expected it to be, but very fun all the same! On another morning we also took park in a Didgeridoo lesson which was great fun, but none of us were particularly good at making any interesting sounds. There are also other activities on offer, but those are the only two we took part in.
During the days we mostly just chilled out in the relaxing atmosphere of the hostel, with a few visits to the beach and the shops in town. We visited a delicious little vegan Indian cafe called The Cardamom Pod for Emma’s birthday which I would highly recommend if you’re in the area. Both of us ordered a Kofta curry, and got a side each, one cauliflower pakora and one pea and potato samosa.
In terms of nightlife, we both loved it, and has been our favourite so far. On Monday nights they do a Regge night at The Beach Hotel, which had a really fun vibe. On Wednesday night we went out to Woodys, and as it was Emma’s birthday I can’t tell you much about the music or the club… but we had a great night regardless! One thing we did find out that night however is that the clubs there operate a lock-out policy. This means if you leave the club (for example, to go hug your friend goodbye) they don’t let you back in, even if it’s your birthday. Emma somehow managed to use her Scottish charm though and evaded the rule this time, but it’s something to watch out for.
One of the main sights to see in Byron Bay is the Lighthouse. It’s quite far uphill on the edge of town, giving a nice view over the beach. It would be a bit of trek to walk to it, or you could drive up as we attempted, however there is limited parking spaces, so I’d only recommend this if you’re planning on arriving early in the day.
However, for us we sadly did not get to experience the Lighthouse and the beautiful view in all its glory as we had our first spider encounter at the very moment we arrived. A spider suddenly appeared on our windscreen and started crawling about as we were arriving at the lighthouse, so naturally sheer chaos and panic ensued. With no parking spaces to be found, we drove halfway back down the hill and ended up pulling over on the side of the road and putting on our hazard lights so we could deal with the situation. I went fishing in the boot for our cups and after a lot of panic and stress, we managed to trap the spider and throw him out the car. Here’s hoping that will be both the first and last spider who makes it into Betsy. We did get a quick glimpse at the Lighthouse and it did look like a nice view, so its probably worth a visit.
Overall Byron has been one of our favourite parts of the trip so far, so much so that we intend to go back during our time here.