So a 12-hour bus ride, while suffering from a bad cold, gets me to Byron Bay, home to Australia's most easterly point and... drum roll please... famous residents such as OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN. WOW. It's still really nippy in Australia and I'm not loving it. Imagine my delight when the girl in the bunk next to me decides to bring a guy back for the night? That's sarcasm, by the way.
The whole thing lasted four excruciating minutes, preceded by her saying "how the f*** did I get so drunk?". What a classy lady. And what a boy of dubious morals. She also banged her head on the bunk bed ladder halfway through. Halfway through the four minutes, that is, not halfway up the ladder. I guess they just assumed everyone was asleep. The next morning, before I checked out early, he told me all about his exciting career plans, which involve "doing that fruit picking thing in Australia so I can stay for another year". And to think, ladies and gentlemen, that students now have to pay a whopping £9,000 per year so that they can graduate and then hit the heady heights of a banana plantation.
Enough of the bile. But Australia's pretty odd in that it attracts A LOT of young Brits who basically drink their way up the east coast. That, to me, isn't travelling. Anyone can book a plane ticket and a bus pass, buy some boxed wine (nicknamed goon in Oz, it's a badge of pride if you can survive a goon hangover. Mine was pretty horrendous, I have to admit. But then again the boxes are 4.4 litres. Who needs 4.4 litres of wine?). I therefore realised I'd have to be pretty careful about the kind of hostels I stayed in, because some were specifically full of people who were still clearly getting excited about drinking without mummy and daddy around, while others were chilled and fun.
Speaking of which, I stayed at another hostel for the next three nights in Byron Bay, and it was really good. The hostel was kind of open plan, with a great communal area, so after meeting some people we generally just hung out. I later discovered that someone who I thought was really cool was convinced I had merely "tolerated them". It must have been that complete bitch stare my friends tell me I've got - looks like it's my default setting...
In Byron Bay, I have to admit, I didn't do a whole lot. It's a cute little beach town and entirely pleasant on the eyes. Walking up to the lighthouse also provided some great views, but because I was a little on the poorly side I just took it easy and relaxed. There is a place lots of people go nearby called Nimbin, which is like a hippy town in which you can eat "special" cookies (I'll leave you to guess why they're special). I didn't go, but apparently it's pretty good fun.
Here's the view from halfway up the lighthouse path:
And here's the lighthouse (obviously):
And on the beach: