Byron Bay, Australia: Hippies, Foodies and Everyone Else

A 24 hour journey brought Meggan and I from the hottest time of year in India to a rainy fall day in Australia.  If the contrast in weather wasn’t enough, we also experienced some culture shock.  We’ve become very accustomed to the chaotic traffic, wondering cows, and the population density of India.  The laid back Byron Bay in Australia couldn’t be much further from life in India.  We were there during the off season, so the streets were nearly empty and if there was a car in the street, they gladly stopped to let us cross the street, a foreign concept for sure.   We absolutely loved Byron Bay.  It’s spectacularly beautiful with the lush green rolling landscape, bright blue water, long beaches and an iconic lighthouse with a 360 degree view.  The general vibe of Byron Bay makes the surroundings even more enjoyable.  The vibe is hard to place in just one category.  This town is known as a famous hippy hangout, which is true.   You will see plenty deadlock clad people walking a couple pet dogs and toting either a gourd drum or a didgeridoo.  What we found  funny is that Byron is not just hippies, it also has just as many yuppies, surfers, foodies, and many other people which are most likely some combination of all of the above.  We loved this about Byron, everyone is perfectly comfortable with each other and happy to be themselves.  We certainly didn’t go hungry here, just like the people, options here range from the whole-in-the-wall Orgasmic Falafel to a high-end-place-to-be seen wine bar and restaurant St. Elmos.  Every few doors is either a cafe, coffee shop, restaurant or ice creamery.  A favorite meal was to get take away fish and chips from Fishheads and a few beers and sit on the sea wall, listen to some drumming hippies and watch surfers as the sun went down.  Byron in a nut shell.  The main site to see here is the famous lighthouse which sits on the point overlooking the two coast lines.  The walk from town is not too bad and worth every step.  The view is stunning.  The beach below was nearly deserted and to top it off there were hundreds of dolphins jumping in the surf.I have heard that Byron Bay gets pretty crowded during the peak season, it was really great to experience it as a sleepy laid back town.  It did rain most of the time, but when the sun came out, it was the absolutely perfect temperature.  They say that people will come to stay in Byron Bay for a couple of days and stay a couple of weeks or maybe never leave, we can see why.

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