Four - Another Day of Driving and Byron Bay
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On the road again, bright and early, continuing north
along the Pacific Highway. The drive to Byron Bay is usually a little
over 3 hours from Port Macquarie. I was again taking lots of detours
and being sure not to hit any kangaroos or koalas crossing the road.
Much like deer in the US, many an unfortunate 'roo meets its demise
attempting to cross.
For thousands of years Aboriginal people came to the
Bay to swap stories, find marriage partners and trade goods. They called
it Cavvanbah. Later, Captain
James Cook found a safe anchorage and named Cape Byron after John
Byron, who had circumnavigated the world and who was later the grandfather
of English poet Lord
Today, Byron Bay is an interesting mix of young people
and older hippies and it's quite festive on the weekend. People come
from all over to surf and party and it's particularly popular with backpackers.
I found that almost all the rooms were booked when I got there, though
I did find one about a quarter-mile walk from the beaches with a two-night
minimum stay. I took it.
Much of the charm of Byron Bay is what you do not find
there -- No McDonald's! Drive-through restaurants are banned in the
city centre and buildings are limited to a maximum of three stories.
What's leftover is lots of pubs and bars, many with balcony seating,
offering a wide variety of quality food, drink, and live music. One
of which is the Beach
Hotel, which is owned by partly by Paul
Hogan. You can even find the hat there used in the Crocodile
Avoiding some of the bigger crowds, I stopped over
at Hog's Breath
Cafe, which can be found all over Australia, for an outstanding
lemon salmon dish and a few pints of Super Dry. Sitting up on the balcony
and watching the crowds below on a warm night with a good beer was an
ideal way to spend the evening.