Brisbane was a relaxing recuperation time for Sarah and I, and now we are back and raring to continue the adventure. Our next Greyhound trip takes us to Byron Bay, home of surfers, hippies and many, many backpackers.
Driving through the Gold Coast is a somewhat surreal experience. It’s a part of Australia that feels exactly like the U.S.A., especially Florida. Out of one window I spy “Wet ‘n’ Wild” and then a few seconds later “MovieWorld,” followed in quick succession by “DreamWorld” and the ever-popular “SeaWorld.” They don’t say the Gold Coast is the “world of worlds” for nothing. Otherwise I could be in Miami. There are condos everywhere. And on the rivers and lakes leading down to the Pacific, huge, modern homes cling to the water’s edge. The obligatory yacht is parked in the docks in front of the houses. It’s a millionaire’s world out there; I am glad we’re not stopping.
Byron itself is a strange mix of people. The beach is crowded with surfers and today the swells are bringing out the pros. There are some beginners in the midst of a surf lesson, and it brings back memories of Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa and my very first surfing attempt. But the best surfer on the beach is a little boy, probably no more than 10 years old, who catches the waves like a future “sponsored-by-Billabong.” The other large local contingent is made up of old women with long grey hair, sparkling headbands and floaty dresses, remnants of a bygone era. Of course, the hippy spirit is still alive and well in Byron, with many crystals and “happy herbs” shops dotted along the main strip. Apart from the locals, backpackers are the life and soul of byron bay. Our hostel is located right on the beach, and the people who pick us up from the Greyhound station are Canadian – Torontonians even, who used to live in the Beaches! From the Beaches in T.dot to the glorious beach of Byron Bay, it’s not a bad move.
We’ve only got a day here, but I think we’re going to enjoy it.