The Travelling Teacher: Let’s go to the beach, beach!
What’s it all about?
This week I move away from Brisbane city and head from a ‘city beach’, to the real deal. I’ll be spending time at the seaside resort of Byron Bay and be visiting the beautiful lighthouse there as well as meeting an unexpected furry friend before heading to Mooloolaba. At Mooloolaba I visit yet another lighthouse that, though it isn’t as beautiful as the lighthouse at Byron, has views that are definitely worth reading on to find out more about! Ever wanted to visit a tree reserve? Well, read on to find out where you can find one and trust me, it’s one that is breath-taking.
Getting to Byron Bay was super easy. Again, I know I’ve mentioned it a hundred times already, the public transport was so close and easy to access from our first apartment in Brisbane that we popped on our bus from almost right outside our door. We were picked by a minibus that had a trailer on the back for our baggage. The bus trip only took us around 2-2 ½ hours. Though Byron Bay isn’t particularly far away, the time zone was different here and it was actually an hour ahead of Brisbane.
Similar to our trip to Moreton Island, as it was early in the morning when we left for Mooloolaba, I did have a little power nap for the first stretch of our journey but soon tried to stay awake to take in the countryside, which made for a lovely sight. It was clear when we had arrived at Byron, as it had a real sense of a holiday destination. We stayed at a trailer park not too far from the main town and we had everything that we needed in a compact trailer. We almost hired out bikes to ride into town but it actually worked out cheaper to get a taxi.
In many of these ‘holiday’ resort destinations weigh up your travel options as there can be quite a hefty fee added on the bike hire etc. Though it doesn’t happen often, a taxi may be the cheaper option.
Byron: Cape Byron Light
After mooching about in the town one day, we decided we would head along the Cape Byron Walking Track to Cape Byron light. We had picked an ideal time to take our walk! The sun was out in full force and it was a beautiful day. On route we had a look at the beach and then carried along the pathway. There were some moments that we did have a slight de-tour from the actual designated route but in our defence, the guide map was not the easiest to read.
To refuel on the route and give our tired legs a rest, we stopped off at a lovely little café. We had some food and drink and more importantly again had the opportunity to witness my favourite Australian bird, a Kookaburra. I would go as far to say I enjoyed watching the bird more than I enjoyed the food and rest. As I sat there watching the bird watching the people in the café, I realised just how inquisitive (and noisy) these birds are.
This walk is not one for the faint hearted as it was long, much longer than expected! However the views on the way were spectacular, as was the view when we finally reached the lighthouse, after climbing up I do not know how many stairs. At the lighthouse the sun was beating down on us and we were feeling really good. It made us really appreciate everything we had around us. After walking around the lighthouse, we just sat there for a bit, taking it all in. Writing these blogs has made me realise how often I sit and take things in….does any one else do this?
After taking it all in, we decided we still had enough energy to walk back (I’m not sure where this energy was coming from) so we headed towards Tallow Beach. As we were at the top of the cliff, we could have just followed the normal pathway down the cliff side but this looked far longer. It seemed that if we went down the cliff side we would have a much more direct route to the beach, plus this looked much nicer. However, this route was not a suggested route and was a much more dangerous option. Slowly, slowly we clambered down the cliff side that was covered in a mix of grasses, sand and rocks. I was very anxious about this and I ended up taking off my sandals just to try and get more grip on the ground. I have to say, we were so lucky that we did not come across any deadly snakes or spiders (that we know of) instead, as we were planning out the safest route to navigate along, we spotted something emerge from the tall, brown grass and hop speedily into the distance when it spotted us. A Joey. We saw a baby kangaroo! I was SO excited! I actually slipped a little with excitement. What a way that would have been to go hey? Cause of death - ‘Excitement from seeing a kangaroo leading to a fatal slip’.
The excitement soon wore thin as the cliff grass started to become denser and it seemed that we would not be able to get down. We almost turned back but decided to persevere. Then as we came out of the trees, a big jump down and we were straight on to the beach. We were right at the end of the beach, with lush sea, white sand and hardly any stones or shells. Not only were there not many shells, but there were no people. We were so far along the beach that no one wanted to walk up this end. Heaven. I couldn’t believe we’d made it! Such a satisfying walk and I had a real sense of achievement (particularly as, for any one that’s read my previous blogs may remember, I’m a wimp with heights!). This is a good point to remind others that it is important to remain safe whilst travelling and you SHOULD take the designated safe paths.
The walk back to our accommodation might have been slightly ambitious. It felt like it was never ending. Whilst walking along the beach we came across a very peculiar red/ brown coloured creek that had people swimming in it. It turns out that this creek is coloured as a result of the tea tree from the nearby trees flooding the water. Then not far from this, we spotted a bridge in the distance and knew this meant we were close to our camp. We were so pleased when we finally saw a sign for our camp. We walked through a grassy area that led up to our campsite and it was amazing to get back to our accommodation and have a drink and wee in a toilet. Oh, and not forgetting the shower, the shower felt so good!
From Byron Bay, it took just under 3 hours to get to Mooloolaba. Again, like we experienced in Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, the weather was not on our side and we had quite a bit of rain welcome us to Mooloolaba.
Another place, another lighthouse to see. We decided to walk to the well-known Mooloolaba lighthouse but this time it was too far to walk so we found the nearest bus stop to help us cover most of the ground. This dropped us off right outside a shopping centre which meant we could stop and get supplies. We began our walk along the coastal path which would have been beautiful on a sunny day but because the weather was a little dark, it was all just very grey. However, there were some cool trees. The trees over the pathway loomed over you and made a unique archway.
After around half an hour or so of walking, the route began to get much prettier and greener. Soon, we were surrounded by the coast with trees and grass to the side of us. The lighthouse had been decorated with a mural of sea creatures. Though we were hopeful we might see a whale in real life, unfortunately we weren’t able to see the humpback whales as they are there in June. In my opinion this lighthouse isn’t quite as pretty at the one in Byron Bay, yet the view here is utterly fantastic. There are a couple of benches along the hill cliff side where you can take in the scenery in this luscious peaceful area. We didn’t actually realise that the benches we were sat on were part of the tree reserve surrounding the lighthouse – how lovely?!
On the walk back to the bus stop, which seemed like it was much shorter (isn’t that always weird that the way back seems shorter), we took a walk along the harbour and saw the fisherman cleaning up their catches from the day whilst some pelicans were waiting to be fed. The pelicans were so big! Their eyes so big, round and black. I couldn’t get over how long and thick their beaks were. Some of the feathers on their faces were also really short, so short that they almost looked like fur!
What a day!
What’s it like to work here?
When we moved from Brisbane to Byron I had not accommodated for the time change, which meant I ended up having some late-night teaching sessions that lasted until midnight. I personally don’t work well working too late at night, so for me, I soon had to change my schedule. So time changes are something to bear in mind and check prior to travel.
Though Byron has lots of cafes you could do some work in, it would work out expensive working from one of these. In a holiday type destination, the prices for ‘luxuries’ like eating or drinking in a café often come with a higher price tag. We did have some WIFI in the accommodation which was just enough to work with but in general the connection whilst out and about was not great.
In Mooloolaba we bagged ourselves a great little place to say that had WIFI and this worked great! I didn’t seem to come across many places whilst out and about that had WIFI though, so working at home was the best option.
What’s up next?
In my previous blog I finished up in Brisbane city and this week spent a few days in Byron Bay and then Mooloolaba. Next up I head to Bundaberg, known for its Rum factory and ginger beer. As it was only a few hours from Mooloolaba, it seemed rude not to stop and pay a visit to the Rum factory. So, look out for next week’s blog to find out more!
If there’s more you’d like to know please do not hesitate to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org .