Byron Bay, Where the Hippies Stay

16th February, Miami and Byron Bay, Australia

Ian writes:

So, Byron Bay is the place where all the hippies turned up one day in their VW Kombis, decided that they liked the look of the place and made it their home. Or at least that's the impression we had been given before we got to Byron but so often this is little more than folklore. Not so in Byron. Approaching the area, we had noticed a marked increase in the number of Kombis that we passed, each time giving the other driver a wave - it's a custom, and one that I love about owning a Kombi, even if it is for a short while. But damn my arm was going up and down like the Aussie dollar the nearer we got to Byron.

In Byron Bay you could almost guarantee that if you looked around you, somewhere there would be a Kombi parked up or driving by. That was how it was for us, and as for the hippies, well this Kombi parked overlooking the sea pretty much summed it up:

Hippy Kombi in Byron Bay.

The van also had a name - Daisy - although I suspect that the owners preferred eating the mushrooms that were also painted on the van more than daisies. There was a dog sat in the driving seat, too. No, I hadn't taken drugs either.

As Byron Bay was the first place that we'd stopped having come down from Surfer's Paradise, we found out one of the quirks of crossing the state border between Queensland and New South Wales - we lost an hour. Although we had headed directly south - no easterly or westerly diversions - there is an hour time difference between the two states.

We spent a little while walking around the town before heading off to find somewhere to stay for the night. The hippies may still be in town, but capitalism ruled here, for sure. There was no such thing as a free lunch or a cheap room in Byron - everywhere was charging high prices (or so it seemed to us) and everywhere seemed to be very busy, if not completely full. Eventually we found a site and got ourselves a cabin - a bit of breathing space for one evening, rather than being cooped up in the van.