Until next time QLD & Byron Bay!

Byron Bay
After a jam-packed trip to the Sunshine Coast, we made our way down the Pacific Highway to Byron Bay via Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Heading into Byron, we had heard some bad reviews from both local Australians as well as online so we weren’t really sure what to expect.

Byron is known as the ‘schoolie capital’ – high school kids on summer vacation who go there to party – and well, that wasn’t really the intent of our trip! Here is a shot of Byron’s main beach.

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Here, our AirBnb hosts were an awesome family of 4 who had a beautiful home and were super accommodating. We had breakfast with them each morning as well as drinks in the evenings. One of the daughters had just gotten back from 6 months travelling Europe as part of her “Gap Year” before heading to Melbourne for University. Apparently its the norm in Australia to take a year off to travel, work, and explore before heading to “Uni” and its actually encouraged by parents as it gives their children an opportunity to figure out what they want to do with their lives. She said she learned so much more travelling in 6 months than she had in school, and we would totally agree. Travelling teaches you so much about other places, people, and yourself. We have met so many travellers since we arrived here and in all of our conversations, not once had the word ‘work’ been mentioned. It is so easy in our day to day to get caught up in the routine, but this trip has put things into perspective for us. Our AirBnB host in Noosa had lived in Canada for about a year and she couldn’t believe how much people focused on work. She asked us when did people find time to play? Sorry about that tangent, back to Byron…

Byron Bay is popular for it’s surfing, but it also has Cape Byron, which is the most easterly point on the Australian mainland. Cape Byron boasts a beautiful lighthouse that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has stunning beaches to the north and south. From Cape Byron we watched the sun set and the following morning watched the sun rise over the pacific.

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We spent the good part of two days relaxing on Byron’s main and Clarke’s Beaches and trying Byron’s many awesome restaurants, from Mediterranean to Mexican. A favourite of ours was the falafel at Orgasmic Café, tucked away in an alley off Byron’s main strip, Johnson Street. Other notable mentions are Miss Margarita for Mexican and Top Shop where I had a ‘blow your mind’ breakfast sandwich. I’m pretty it had Johnny Hearn’s ham on it.

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Our trip to Byron definitely reinforced the fact that you really have to see it for yourself and form your own opinion. Had we listened to others, we’d likely have crossed this gem off our list. Yes there are tons of great bars and nightclubs in the core of Byron, but who wouldn’t want to have year round 25+ temps and a white sandy beach running parallel to George St?

Short stop in Brisbane
On our way down to Melbourne, we had an afternoon and night in Brisbane. In ‘Brissy’ as they call it, we were lucky enough to stay at the Marriott which was a welcome relief. Not that we hadn’t enjoyed our airBnB stays, it was just nice to have a big comfy king bed and our own space.

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I headed out from the hotel and grabbed one of the many river taxi’s that bring people through the city on the Brisbane River (the longest river in SE Queensland). I was headed to South Bank where there is a man-made beach / water park along with several pubs and restaurants, where I found a barstool and chatted with a couple of locals about cricket, rugby and how Canadians are ‘not’ Americans. Here a couple of shots of central Brisbane.

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The next post will take you through Melbourne, the new best City in the world…

jess+steven

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