Australian East Coast – Week 1

A week of surfing, tanning and more…

This is the start of my month-long trip up the east coast from Sydney to Cairns. In this post I detail what I got up to in my first week in Byron Bay & the Gold Coast.

Day 1

Great way to start I know but there wasn’t much to speak about today, this was more of a travel day (night). I caught the 10.5 hour Greyhound Bus from Sydney Central Station at 9:30PM and was just getting all of my bags packed during the day.

All of the other passengers weren’t looking forward to the journey but as I’ve now been travelling a little while and experienced the transport in SE Asia this was bliss for me. The seats were comfy, there was air conditioning as well as charging ports and WiFi so nothing to complain about.

Day 2

I arrived at Byron Bay town at around 8AM and caught the shuttle bus to my hostel ‘Wake Up!’. The check in time was 2PM so I had some time to kill before I could settle in.

To pass the time I stopped by ‘The Treehouse’ (right next to the hostel) for breakfast – Fruit Salad, Muesli & Yogurt for $11AUD, not the greatest I’ve had but still okay. A lot of the people staying at WakeUp! really liked the place so it may be worth giving it a try when you’re here; it’s super convenient at the least.

Even though I couldn’t check in at the hostel, I was able to rent out a surfboard (for FREE!) from the reception so I decided to get out and see how good I was. Safe to say, not very! There was no real swell to catch any waves and if any waves did appear I missed them, smh! After an hour session I did manage to stand up a couple times but it was straight back into the water for me so best keep practicing.

Sadly I had to cut my surf short as I got caught up in a Blue Bottle Ambush. I was sat on the board waiting for the next wave when I could feel a sharp pain in my right foot. One of the buggers wrapped himself around my foot and then my hand whilst I was trying to take it off. Not fun! It was an effort to get back to shore on my own with the pain on my wrist and foot but I’m managed it eventually. I was advised to run the sting under hot water so I spent a long while in the shower to get rid of the pain. I’ve got a lovely big mark on my foot now to remember the blue bottle by.

Once I had sorted that out and finally checked into the hostel I decided to head into town on the shuttle bus. I spent a couple hours at ‘The Pass’ lapping up the sun before heading to the lighthouse for sunset. It was about a 40 minute walk to the lighthouse from town but it was well worth it, it was the best sunset I’ve seen in Australia so far.

Cape Byron Lighthouse at Sunset.
Sunset over Byron Bay.

Day 3

The early bird catches the worm, and I certainly did! I woke up at 5AM today to see the sunrise at the lighthouse – the very first place you can see the sunrise in all of Australia.

Sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse.

After taking in the view of the sun coming up with the waves crashing against the rocks below I headed down to the most easterly point of Australia, which is part of the coastal walk path to and from the lighthouse. Here you could see nothing but sea, with New Zealand way out of sight over 2000 kilometres away. The walk back takes you along the beach, passing many surfers along the way, which is what you come to expect in Australia.

After an early morning wake up I needed a pick me up so I headed to ‘Fish Head’, which is a café/restaurant next to the public swimming pools on the seafront. The Caramel Syrup Latte I had was amazing (I definitely recommend giving it a try if you have a sweet tooth like me). I also had to stop by ‘Sweet Byron’ for some Dutch Mini Pancakes which were recommended to me and they were lush (thanks for the recommendation Josephine!)

Strawberry Dutch Mini Pancakes ($9AUD) from Sweet Byron.

The rest of my morning and early afternoon was spent tanning and relaxing on the green at the beachfront.

I got back to the hostel in the middle of the afternoon and decided to head out for another surf. The conditions were more favourable than yesterday and with a good hour or so’s session I did manage to get up and stay up a few times.

Tonights food was covered as part the hostels activity schedule, as it’s a Friday there was a BBQ on offer for $12AUD so I decided to have that instead of cooking my own food. It’s a really nice place to socialise and have a few drinks.

The sky and surroundings from the hostel’s outside area.

I made my way into town with a couple others from my hostel to see what Byron’s nightlife was like – we stayed in ‘Woodies’ all night as it had a real cool vibe. If you go out in Byron I’d recommend either going there or to ‘Cheeky Monkey’ for a good night out.

Day 4

Today I was part of a day tour to Nimbin, famous for it’s cannabis and counterculture.

I was on the Grasshopper Tour, however there is also the Happy Coach tour which I found out is cheaper – $55AUD rather than $79AUD for the Grasshopper tour. The tours are really similar, the main difference being they go to different waterfalls, however as I’m travelling in Summer they are just little trickles of water so not worth the visit. I also prefer the look of the Happy Coach bus so if you want to get that Instagram shot I suggest looking into that tour instead.

As part of the Nimbin tour I was on we visited an authentic Aussie pub to stock up on some bev’s before getting to the main town. When we got into Nimbin we had an hour and half to do whatever we wanted, I decided to explore the town and take some pictures of the street art before chilling in the skatepark all while avoiding the people asking ‘Do you want any weed?’ as soon as we stepped foot off the bus.

‘Welcome to Nimbin’ sign.
Street Art in Nimbin, 1.
Street Art in Nimbin, 2.

Once we had finished at Nimbin we made our way to a dam nearby for a BBQ – two in two days isn’t bad!

Photo taken at a Dam just outside of Nimbin.

(Left to right: James from Canada, Erika from Sweden, Sara from Sweden, Me.)

We did make one last stop at the Minyon Falls but seeing as there hadn’t been much rainfall recently there wasn’t really much to see.

I stayed in town with some people from the tour and we chilled on the green for sunset listening to the buskers play – all of the buskers that play on the green are really good so I recommend staying there of an evening to check them out, one of the guys that was playing there sounded like Hozier.

We then checked out the Saturday Markets before heading home. There was a lot of cool stuff on offer there as well as many food stalls – I decided to have some Nasi Goreng ($10AUD) as I’ve been having withdrawals ever since I left Indonesia four months ago. It was well worth the money!

Day 5

Today I met back up with Erika, James, Olivia & Sara from the Nimbin tour. We spent the whole day chilling at the green by the waterfront, tanning, swimming and having a good few laughs. Part way through the day we were all hungry so we decided to head back to Sweet Byron. Rather than having Dutch mini pancakes again I went for an Acai Bowl ($12AUD) which was delicious – I would definitely give it a try if you’re in Byron.

We went to the beachfront for the rest of the day, passing the time by having a little photoshoot and playing keep-up before getting hungry again.

Photo of me at Byron Bay Green.
Photo of Olivia from Sweden (left) and Sara (right) at Byron Bay Green.

We ate at a Brazilian/Japanese restaurant called ‘Temakiya’ which was recommended to Erika. The food there was amazing; I had Fried Chicken Steamed Buns ($15AUD) and Edamame ($5AUD). I would also recommend trying their signature sushi cone rolls, others had them and they looked delicious.

Day 6

Today was a chill day. I spent all of it at the beach right in front of the hostel – literally within a 50 metre walk. I decided to soak up the last of the sun and surf whilst I could before moving on to the Gold Coast.

Good job I did, as when the evening rolled in so did the thunderstorms.

Day 7

I had another early wake up this morning so that I could check out and catch the shuttle bus to town in time to catch the 7:30AM Greyhound bus to the Gold Coast.

I didn’t know until the bus journey when the bus driver announced it that Queensland is a different time zone to New South Wales. Queensland is an hour behind New South Wales as it doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time.

The rain and thunderstorms from the night before were still going so there wasn’t much I could do at the Gold Coast. Luckily I didn’t have a lot planned on my itinerary for the Gold Coast anyway.

I did make it to the beach which seemed to never end as well as the infamous ‘Surfers Paradise’ sign before heading to the tallest building in Australia, Q1.

Surfers Paradise sign.

This was the only real thing I was looking to do in the Gold Coast. The elevator is the second fastest in Australia, going 19 kilometres per hour to reach to the top of the tower in 41 seconds. At the top of the building is an observation deck, here you have 360 views of the Gold Coast reaching up to 60 kilometres on a clear day. Sadly today wasn’t a clear day with the rain and all but the views were amazing nonetheless. I bought a day ticket for $27AUD so decided to stay to get a view of the Gold Coast from above during the day, sunset and at night.

Daytime view of the Gold Coast from the Skytower Observation Deck.
Nighttime view of the Gold Coast from the Skytower Observation Deck.

Next week I’ll be heading to Brisbane & Noosa; follow my blog to be notified of when I post my next instalment of my East Coast trip. And if you want to stay even more up-to-date with where I am and what I’m doing be sure to check out my Instagram @chadkirby_ and maybe even give me a follow.