A truly special place
04.08.2010 - 05.08.2010
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At Sydney airport we got a free wine sample and when the guy offering this heard my accent he said which part of Ulster are you from? His story was that his Dad was originally from Dungannon (and played rugby many times for Ulster) and his Mum from Belfast. In 1972 his Dad was in the Police and he was warned that he had 3 months to get out (because he was a well known local rugby hero he luckily got a warning). They then fled to New Zealand where the son was born and the family have lived there ever since. He says he visits Belfast every 18 months and did a great Belfast accent – it’s a small world alright.
The flight to Byron Bay went great and we arrived at Byron which is essentially a small village with a hippy vibe which has a stunning backdrop of beaches and mountains. There are strict rules on development there – all buildings are low rise and no McDonalds etc allowed. The weather was gorgeous and we checked into the Byron Bay Motor Lodge Motel – this was the first motel that either of us had ever stayed in. When we think of motels we think of the movie set up whereby someone usually gets stabbed by some crazed red neck trucker – the reality in this case, at least, was very different – nice room, friendly hosts and a pool. We then started walking along the beach towards the most easterly point in mainland Australia and Byron Cape lighthouse. On the way back the sun was setting and the sky was orange behind the distant mountains and as the sky darkened I have never seen as many stars in my life. I have heard work colleagues say about how nice Byron Bay is – it is a truly special place – the nicest we have seen so far on our trip.
That night in the pub we met in with a few blokes – one guy was from Tasmania and he had such a strong Aussie accent – his Mum was also originally from Belfast. I asked him if Tasmanians ever wanted independence from Australia – he said Tazzies were different from people on the mainland, (even more laid back if that’s possible), but he was as “Australian as a dingoe’s dongo” – can’t really argue with that.
One of the pubs was the Railway bar – train services stopped several years ago but the bar still goes strong.
Tomorrow we head to Surfers on route to Brisbane. We expect Surfers will be everything Byron Bay is not – brash, commercialised and loud. However looking forward to surfing there and going to Hooters (I’m a classy guy aren’t I).