We have returned to Byron Bay and Noosa Heads because we had such a good time at these places on our previous three month visit to Australia last year. These are two quintessential Australian beach towns. Our sole mission on this return visit was to relax and simply take a break from being constantly on the move. We have covered a significant amount of ground during the last 2 1/2 years of RTW travel and very rarely stayed put in one single city for more than 5 days. We have a full month this time around in Australia and we split the time between these two beach towns in order to limit the amount of our travel. This enabled us to really settle down and enjoy the relaxed beach atmosphere without having the need to plan any future travels which can be time consuming.
BYRON BAY –
Byron Bay’s motto is “Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out” and the town definitely reflects this. It’s a town that taught me life can be simple. Byron Bay is an awesome place and has retained its super laid-back surfing village charm. However, I can clearly see prices have risen and signs are in place which will eventually flush out the hippies, budget travelers and backpackers.
One thing that I have taken notice of during our extensive international travel over the past 25 years has been the evolution of once glorious backpacker havens. The best budget beach towns and islands, we have visited spanning the globe, once geared to backpackers and budget travelers have been discovered. Byron Bay has the perfect setup of being surrounded by a bunch of superb beaches. That is usually the recipe for the area to inevitably be built up and transformed into more upmarket enclaves with the goal of targeting more upscale travelers. Byron Bay town has become so popular, it appears to be struggling a bit to accommodate the influx of tourists.
The wide sweeping beaches directly on Byron Bay are some of the best in Australia. The Main beach is most popular because it is located right in town and on the center of Byron Bay. On the opposite ends of Byron Bay are Belongil Beach and Clarke’s Beach. The very awesome Watego’s Beach, can be reached via a walk along the Cape Byron Walking Track or via a car.
On this return trip to Bryon Bay, “I have some new information, man….some new shit has come to light.”
A local told us about a more secluded beach, named Tallows Beach which we overlooked on our previous visit to Byron Bay. I may just have to add Tallows Beach to my list of best beaches during our world travels as it was one awesome stretch of beach isolated in pure nature.
Nimbin is a little over a 1 hr. drive from Byron Bay. A visit to the Sunday Market was a real trip. The town of Nimbin is a total hippie haven and if you are looking for any of your long lost Deadhead friends, good chance they will be cooling out in Nimbin.
NOOSA HEADS –
Just like Byron Bay, Noosa is filled with many beach areas to choose between. Being situated further north on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Noosa is more tropical and the temperature is warmer than Byron Bay. On our previous visit to Noosa we stayed in an AirBnB on Peregian Beach. This time around, we hunkered down a few miles up the road on Sunshine Beach for a slightly different experience. Sunshine Beach is closer to Noosa Heads Beach which is the primary and most popular beach in the area and has the strip of shops and restaurants. The beauty of the entire Noosa area is the combination of a lot to do and nothing to do if you so choose.
After our time was up in Byron Bay and on our way to the airport in Brisbane, we made a pitstop at the Lone Pine Sanctuary. No way could a visit to Australia be complete without hanging out with the local kangaroos and koalas. Barbie got all the animal loving she needed and the visit was a perfect way to close out our stay in Oz.
THRU THE BINOCS –
We had such a relaxed time with our slower travel in Australia and I have come to realize from our extended travels……down time that’s not completely productive is not time wasted. A very valuable day can be passed by just relaxing, taking in the surroundings and simply thinking like Rabbi Marshak.
Consequently, we have decided to double down on our new ‘slower travel’ philosophy. So for now, until we get our travel mojo back, we will be scrapping our plans for Southern Africa and will be taking an extended breather in one of our favorite places in the world…….Maui. I am sure I will miss all of the exploring …..walking the world with no set goals and not knowing where we will end up. The spontaneity of living in the moment without having any definitive plans is so liberating. But for now, we will be settling down a bit in Maui for an extended period of time. I look forward to experiencing this alternative slower island lifestyle and continuing to stay far away from the game.