10.02.2016 30 °C
Yesterday I left Coffs Harbour early for the long drive to Byron Bay, estimated to be a 3 hour drive according to the ever helpful Google maps. The driving unfortunately was not as interesting as the drives have been nearer to Sydney, the countryside here is more given way to farming and is missing the dramatic scenery of further south. This did make the drive feel a little longer than it should have but after 3 and a bit hours I arrived in Byron.
One other thing that has changed on the drive up is the heat, it is definitely getting warmer and more humid the further north I am heading! I first headed to the main beach at Byron and a negotiation with the parking meter for the car park. I was surprised to find that Byron has quite extortionate parking fees, this is the first place I have had to pay for parking so far. The beach was nice at Byron, of the long sweeping kind typical of what I have seen in Australia but obviously popular with the younger backpacking crowds. After a couple of hours and a quick lunch I decided to move on and round to the other side of Byron, Tallow Beach. This was another long beach backed with cliffs and forest though, so much prettier. It was also virtually abandoned with only a couple of other people as specks in the distance. A short rest on the beach and then a bit of a walk in the forest and a chance to see some wallabies.
I popped into the town for food in the evening, which was nice but I have to say I'm not overly taken by Byron, it feels very touristy both during the day and in the evening, it is clearly set up for the backpacking crowds and is not for me!
There was a more relaxed start to the morning, my drive to the Gold Coast was only going to take around an hour and I also knew that when I moved into Queensland I would gain an hour as they are an hour behind New South Wales, so on the recommendation of my host I popped up to Cape Byron and the lighthouse. Parking fees paid ($4 for an hour, ouch!) I walked up the hill overlooking Tallow Beach to the lighthouse, where at the top there were 360 views of Byrons beaches and sea. There was then a quick walk back down through a forest along well maintained paths to another surfing beach at the bottom. Walking back up the hill to collect the car I began to feel the heat and humidity of the day and I was glad for the air con in the car.
I then set off for Coolangatta, at the beginning of the Gold Coast in Queensland. An easy drive of an hour which made a change to some of the longer drives I have done this week, I arrived in the Gold Coast and was pleased to find free parking again right on the beachfront! Again the sun was shining but a cool breeze made it feel not quite so humid and I decided to walk around the headland towards Tweed Heads. This was another well set out path with lovely views of the white beaches and turquoise seas, with sightings of bush turkeys and lots of Iguanas, which don't seem that bothered about humans walking past.
After some lunch I headed for some relaxing on the beach but not long after the rain started and persisted for quite some time so I retreated to my accommodation for this evening. I was aware that there was likely to be more wet weather in Queensland and it does help with the humidity. A quick trip out for some dinner this evening and with it getting darker earlier due to losing an hour, I was able to experience the noise of the parrots roosting for the night in the trees, it's unbelievably noisy!
Tomorrow is another longer drive up through and out the other side of Brisbane to Noosa, of which I have heard very good things so I am looking forward to this trip!