australia, byron bay, new south wales, travel

Attempting to Find Happiness in Byron Bay

October 23, 2018

Byron Bay has to be one of the strangest places I’ve ever been to and I can’t seem to make my mind up about it.

Before I went, I researched things to do on countless travel blogs, all of them describing Byron Bay as ‘paradise on Earth’ insisting I’d need a year there rather than a short three days. Basically, I had high expectations and I left a little disappointed.I’m not saying Byron Bay is a bad place. In fact, I’d love to come back to Byron Bay at another time in my life. But I’d be lying if I said I had a good time there. Quite simply, I didn’t.

As usual, things went wrong in Bryon Bay. They always go wrong for me. It’s not a holiday if I don’t turn up to restaurants after they close, or turn up to a tourist spot only to discover it closed down years ago, or it’s a private property. I blame myself for trusting GoogleMaps and HappyCow. And funnily enough, during my three day stay in Byron Bay, this only happened to me once! That’s a good statistic in my world.Unfortunately, the thing that went wrong was the first thing I did in Byron. I went to Folk café, only to discover they were having building work done on Wednesdays. Oh well, I’ll try again tomorrow.From there, I headed into town to try Elixiba instead. I enjoyed the lunch, although the décor wasn’t to my taste. After that, I went to the beach. I’d already been to plenty of beaches at this point and wasn’t feeling it at all. In an effort to turn the day around I decided to drive to Crystal Castle.Crystal Castle deserves a blog post all to itself as it was probably the most memorable part of my journey so far. In theory, it sounded like it would be right up my street. A botanical garden with crystals! But after paying the extortionate entry fee of $29 I discovered it wasn’t simply a botanical garden like I expected. I should have known when they described it as an ‘experience’.Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in a bad place recently – evident by the large amounts of self-help books I’ve been reading. I have a friend who reads tarots and after he predicted my recent breakdown using them, I’ve started to put a small amount of sceptical faith (oxymoron?) into other things, crystals being one of them. But yeah, I wasn’t buying this place. Sorry. I did pay for a tarot reading, though. Apparently I won’t be happy until December.

After leaving Crystal Castle, I drove back down to Byron to watch the sunset from the lighthouse. This ended up being a little bit of a disaster. Finding parking in a small town with a large amount of tourists is difficult enough. Somehow I managed to get a prime spot at the top of the lighthouse. I watched the sunset, and yes, it was beautiful, then I decided to walk down to the most Easternly point and straight down to the beach. I enjoyed the walk until I was chased back to my car by an angry woman as they had closed the car park fifteen minutes before and I was holding her up from going home. Oops.After that I ate tea at a place called No Bones, a popular vegan restaurant and I loved it and would definitely recommend the truffle and mushroom mac n cheese.The second day in Bryon Bay was better than the first. I tried Folk again, although I have to admit I was a little disappointed. As instagrammable as the food was, it wasn’t that tasty and there were limited vegan options.After that I decided to wander around the arts and industrial estate. I bought some tea that’s supposed to help with female hormones. Perhaps this will make me stop crying uncontrollably in weird places? I’ve yet to try it out as I don’t have a mug or a kettle or a tealeaf strainer, but I’ll report back. Hey, if I’m turning to crystals and tarots, I might as well try tea.After this I headed back into the centre of Byron and went for lunch at Combi. I’d definitely recommend this place as they had a gorgeous vegan toastie with pumpkin, mushroom, spinach and ‘cheeze’. It was delicious! I did a bit of shopping at the local bookshop too, as I can rarely resist a good book shop.For tea I went back to No Bones because it was that good.

The next day, I woke up early and went for breakfast at Espressohead. I had some delicious porridge and then decided I’d head off to Minyon Falls – a place I had seen signposted on the way to Crystal Castle.Byron Bay supposedly is a place of healing. Perhaps I’m not ready to be healed just yet. I’d like to come back one day for it to work it’s magic on me when I’m feeling more open-minded. Maybe in December when I’m finally happy?Unfortunately I was in the wrong mindset to enjoy Byron. It smelt of weed, there were potholes everywhere, there were too many tourists and not enough roads. Everyone had that ‘peace and love’ attitude that I was not in the mood for. If that’s your thing then you’ll probably love it. I didn’t. Having said all that, the beaches and the sunset were incredible. Most of the food was something to rave about. If I didn’t have so many brunch places lined up on my instagram collections, I wouldn’t have stayed so long, but I’m glad I did.

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