Byron Bay aka Surfers Paradise! During my tenure as a lifeguard I was once told that Ilooked like a surfer girl. Living in the Midwest, it’s safe to say, I was not, but I wanted to be! To finally get to live out this fantasy was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!
In Byron Bay, we hooked up with a crew from Mojo’s Surf Shop, led by the one and only “Whopsie” (yes, this was his name) to learn how to “read the ocean” and how to stand up on a board! The guys at Mojo’s, were fantastic teachers, emphasizing the importance of understanding the sea and the surf to be able to SAFELY catch a great wave – with the exception of my friend Meg, who tore her calf muscle and was in a brace the rest of the trip.
As someone who has always had more success with “book learning” skills than “natural athleticism”, I was so relieved to learn there were 4 simple steps to standing on a surfboard. We practiced our standing first on land, then migrated to the water, where the first thing we practiced — was falling! Glad to know they had such confidence in us!
Seriously though, I have never fallen so much in my life! And I was an uncoordinated kid who wanted to be a gymnast, so I’ve had plenty of opportunities for falling! To be honest though, I’m proud of how many times I fell, because it means I must’ve been standing a lot! And I must’ve continued getting back up and try again. It’s so easy in life to feel embarrassed by our falls and failures and to let that embarrassment limit us – limit us in our careers and our willingness to accept challenging projects, limit us in our relationships and our willingness to be vulnerable, limit us in our joy and our willingness to laugh out loud – and suddenly our fear of an embarrassing failure becomes the very thing causing us to fail. So get out there and embrace your impending embarrassments by falls and failure! Your life will be more full! (Off my soap box now.)
After learning to catch a wave in Byron Bay you must rejuvenate in the tea tree lake at Lenox Head. This is exactly what it sounds like – a lake surrounded by tea trees where the water of the lake leaches tea from the roots so you’re literally swimming in a giant cup of English breakfast! It feels amazing on your skin and will undo all the hair tangles you’ve accumulated with your morning surf lesson.
Byron Bay is also home to the most eastern part of Australia, so if you head to the iconic lighthouse and look out to sea, there’s nothing there but water and paragliders for 7,100 miles until you reach Chile.
- This lighthouse is still functional and is open for visits 364 days a year.
- This is a great spot for whale watching! You can also see dolphins and turtles!
- There used to be a herd of wild goats that were jeopardizing the coastline so they were all transplanted elsewhere except one she-goat named Wategoat who avoided capture for 11 years!
- This is a great place to access to the Cape Byron Loop Walk which boasts 3km of views like the one below!
In the summers in Byron Bay, the park along the beaches are THE place to be on a Friday night. I highly recommend grabbing some shrimp and some ‘roo from the supermarket and meeting up with the locals to share a public BBQ by the beach accompanied by some wild and talented drum circles.
Byron Bay is not a place I had heard of prior to my arrival in Australia, but it was easily one of the coolest places I visited. As a whole, the town has so much color and art and personality, all of which were represented in the hostel called The Arts Factory Lodge. This was literally, THE COOLEST hostel I have ever stayed in. It has a funky psychadelic rainforest vibe and gives you the option to stay in a room, a teepee, a cabin, or bring your own tent, and the common space is completely open air! It also has it’s own microbrewery and restaurant onsite, The Byron Bay Brewery. I cannot recommend it enough! Plus if you eat too slowly outdoors a turkey or iguana will try to steal your food! They also have a ton of artist workshops onsite if you’re actually talented and crafty, unlike myself.