Trip to Byron Bay

 After saying goodbye to Noosa early on Wednesday morning, we lugged our suitcases across the street to the transit center, and tossed our stuff onto the greyhound bus taking us to Brisbane. We arrived around 11:30am to the Roma Street bus station and grabbed a quick bite to eat, then hopped back on the bus around 1 to head off to Byron Bay.  We got a great view of the Brisbane as we left on the bus heading for Byron Bay. 

My fleeting impression of Brisbane is that I'd like to go back there and actually stroll around and stay!  Lots of of long, interesting bridges, boats chugging up along the river, lush green plants and trees dotting the grass, white houses with orange curving tiled roofs nestled in the side of the hills, funky artwork adorning the cement barriers n the edges of the highway. 

We drove through the Gold Coast and caught glimpses of the ocean, and finally arrived in Byron Bay just before 5pm. We quickly checked into our motel and then roamed around looking for a place to eat.  We saw lots of black, fluttering shapes cruising through the darkening sky and Tyler suddenly realized they weren't birds - they were bats!  We tried to learn the streets a bit, but it started raining so we just grabbed Pho down an arcade (sort of alleyway with shops on either side - not a bunch of pinball machines and games, unfortunately). 

We got up early on Thursday morning to make the most of the day. We had lattes at a wonderful little cafe called Bay Leaf. For breakfast, we had stewed rhubarb with vanilla yogurt, blueberries, and almonds (it was so good - do they sell rhubarb in Ottawa?)

It was still raining, then pouring, then it cleared for a bit so we decided to walk up to the Cape Byron lighthouse.  Built in 1901, it's at Australia's most eastern point and the views are incredible.  Although nice, we didn't get the full effect, I don't think, cause of the misting rain, we did see a pretty rainbow, and a shining view of the beaches below before it started pouring rain again. 

The lighthouse itself is majestically tall and you can see its beam at night from the beaches far below. 

We also saw some cute rainbow colored birds! They congregate in trees together and make a racket of chattering to each other. 

Byron Bay is a bit of a hippie town and is full of interesting and whimsical shops.  We wandered through art supply stores, galleries, funky t-shirt shops, clothing stores,  places selling candles,  handmade earrings, scarves, bags, and little music shops with everything from tiny accordions to didgeridoos and bongos, bead stores, a "happy herb" store...we walked for hours though all of these places, mostly local and most definitely memorable! 

Not a bad way to pass a rainy day. 

Walking through the streets I could smell wafting scents of incense, baking bread, roasting garlic, handmade soaps and oils, and vanilla.  I had decided I would try some different types of food while here, since there is a huge variety of creative dishes.   Lunch was a squid salad with avocado chunks, tomato salsa, and fried chili, and for dinner we ate the Fish Heads, on the beach, and enjoyed pasta (lemon with roasted zucchini and feta for me, seafood pasta for Tyler) and both had amazing meals and a nice chat with the servers there. 

Tomorrow we plan on visiting the Arts Factory, and hopefully check out the beach if the rain has cleared up a bit. Cross your fingers! 

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