We were lucky. We managed to get a cancellation so we could stay overnight Saturday. Normally, you have to book weeks in advance to get a room or apartment of choice. One thing that seems incompatible with Byron's image and raison d'être is the fact that rarely can you visit spontaneously, deciding on a Thursday that you fancy the weekend in your favourite place, and be able to find somewhere to stay.
We decided to drive 'over the top' into New South Wales, via the delightful Numinbah Valley and the Springbrook escarpment. Leave the Pacific Highway at Nerang and take the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road. We turned off left soon after to look at the Hinze Dam. (There was no sign of a dam but there was a tree-lined lake!) Leaving Murwillumbah, follow the Tweed Valley Way to rejoin the Highway for the last 20-odd kilometres to Byron.
It's a longer, fiddlier way, but prettier, and there was hardly a thing on the road. There must have been a bikie convention somewhere though because there was a disproportionate number of unmuffled bikers in convoy on our route. Maybe they just enjoy the twisty-turny climbs and descents. It was a beautiful morning but there was a lot of evidence of the recent heavy rains and flooding (above). We stopped for a coffee just before Natural Bridge and were told there'd been so much rain ducks had drowned. The greens were glorious.
As we headed down the Tweed Valley there were a few sprinkles from unwelcome clouds, but they backed off as we drove along Ewingsdale Road from the Pacific Highway to the sea. Haven't I always told you that the sun smiles on those who arrive in Byron Bay?
One reason we were here was that my friend wanted to go to the beach. So off to Broken Head we went. He wrestled with waves: I photographed them.
Have I told you how lovely the Bay is at sundown?
The next day was the first Sunday in the month, so Byron Markets day. It has to be one of the most colourful markets I've ever seen. There's good music and like-minded souls. We chatted to a man on the Sea Shepherd stall for quite a bit, although he was preaching to the converted. And we listened to a musician on a cigar-box guitar and four other instruments at the same time. It was very hot in the sun and we drank lots of juice while buying a hat, two chairs, many candles and some bunting.
And then it was off to the beach again. I had wanted to go to Wategos but it was rammed and there was nowhere to park. So we went to Tallows, where there was virtually no one. Despite big surf and a strong current, I ventured into the waves – an indication of how relaxed I was – as well as watching them, again.