Crashing Byron Bay

Byron Bay Travel Blog

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Light breaks through the clouds...

12 July 2005


Arrival in Byron Bay at 11 o'clock sharp. At the bus terminal at least ten different hostel dudes in surfer shorts already await me trying to drag me into their hostel. I roll the dice and decide for Backpacker’s Inn on the Beach. After checking in at a 9-bed-dorm I head straight for the beach which - as the name of the hostel suggests - is right in front of the hostel. I sit down in the sand thinking of a movie quote: “Sand is overrated. It's just tiny, little rocks.”

Beautiful people are strolling past me. Halle Berry is just getting out of the water in slow motion. The beach is a perfect dream.

...and dances on the water
The waves are high. The sky is higher. This moment is too beautiful for not wanting to share it with someone. This sad fantastic feeling. This fantastic sad feeling. The sound of waves splashing on the shore is my soundtrack. As slow as possible I stroll along the beach. Feel the soft sand between my toes. Let some stones jump on the water’s surface.


A bit later I find myself playing beach soccer. The hostel organises a tourney once a week where everyone pays five bucks. The collected money is used for a party later on in the evening. Or so I am told. I’m in a team with an Israeli, a Dane, a Canadian and a Briton. Running in the sand is tougher than I thought and I stumble like a madman. Nevertheless I score one goal and we win 3:2. We suck in the second game, though, and lose 1:4.

Byron Bay beach
After not having won anything except a pounding head I fall into my bed sandy as I am and sleep for two hours. In between my slumber I awake every now and then because a Japanese guy is having a desperate go at his self-made didgeridoo. A bit later a Canadian comes in screaming “Wanna smoke a joint??!!”. The Japanese says “hell, yeah” and leaves.

After having rested I have some spaghetti. A backpacker's favourite food.

Around 8pm the Danish couple and I go to a place called “Northern Bar” where this afternoon’s beach soccer is shown on a big screen. I see myself stumbling like a madman and scoring the goal.

After about an hour the Danes call it a night. They are tired (old). Me, however, I head for the "Cheeky Monkey’s". People are wildly dancing on the tables. I have some more drinks and enjoy the music. Then I start some small-stalk with two Irish girls. Slowly but surely I get the feeling that Irish girls are the most beautiful in the world.

Byron Bay beach
Well, I guess you get a couple of feelings in a booze, don’t you?

Soon I am on the tables and benches myself doing dance-flirts, you know like when you rub against each other and sing loudly into the other person’s face (even though you don’t have a clue about the song’s lyrics). I stay until 3am. Then I accompany the two Irish ladies back to the hostel and after two cheek kisses I call it a night.


13 July 2005


I sleep until 3pm and wake up with a mean hangover and a psychic cold.

The Danes, of course, are fully awake.

The most easterly point of the Australian mainland
They have slept like in heaven, had a great breakfast and were already on the beach for a romantic walk. Great!

I walk into town and have some oily fish & chips. Back in the hostel I kill the toilet.

Already it’s starting to get dark again. The Danes smoke like a chimney playing a stupid card game called “Casino” the whole day.

The music in the garden is clanging out of the loudspeaker. Everyone’s cooking, eating, sitting next to a fireplace, chatting, drinking. A BBQ is held. I don’t want to do anything today. I gulp down two big bottles of beer, play an even more stupid card game called “25” with an Irish family and go to bed.


14 July 2005


I wake up around 11am and have some nutritious breakfast.

Byron Bay lighthouse
Toast with butter and jam. The Danes are gone. Then I go down to the beach and lie down in the sand. The sea is calm. The temperature is a pleasant 23°C.

A bit later in the day I go for a walk to Byron Bay’s lighthouse. On the way I eat a steak sandwich and wonder why there’s ten times more salad than steak in a steak sandwich.

Later I reach the most easterly point of Australia’s mainland from where it’s only a stone’s throw up to the lighthouse. I take some pictures of the beautiful landscape and the ocean. Walking back to the hostel along the beach I marvel at the breathtaking sunset.


Then it’s the Cheeky Monkey’s again. I have two beer and talk with yet another Irish girl. The nightclub is full of people and the music’s good but somehow I can’t get started today, so walking back to the hostel I decide to get wrecked tomorrow instead.

party at the Cheeky Monkeys


15 July 2005


Over breakfast I talk to a Dutch guy who has long hair that always looks like freshly showered. He is a real nice guy and I’m happy to meet another backpacker who is travelling alone. Then two students from Stuttgart are joining our conversation.

And then there is "The Invasion of Austrians". A gaggle of Austrians of some Christian association has inevitably arrived. And all these people are planning to storm the Cheeky Monkey’s tonight. Gee, that’s going to be fun…

Now everyone’s munching toast with sausage, cheese and salad as if they haven’t been eating for days.

Byron Bay beach
They came from Brisbane travelling to Sydney. One of the few backpackers going north to south at this time of the year. Did I already mention that they are from Austria?

I’m talking to a Japanese who is wearing his sunglasses on the back of his head. But besides that he is quite alright. He says he is not staying in the hostel but just likes to sit in this garden and watch the people. Actually he wanted to get to Nimbin - the mecca for potheads - today but he decided against it since he is neither a pothead nor a down and out. Good man!

My plan for today: Lie on the beach, read a book, smoke (cigarettes), have dinner, crash the Cheeky Monkey’s.

I fantasize about kissing a girl tonight even if it’s just an Austrian one.


What else is there to say about Byron Bay.

Well, almost any hostel here is a party hostel which is simply because everyone is here for partying. I imagined Byron Bay to be a bit bigger. On the streets of the town you see loads of Yesterday-Hippies. Byron Bay is “flip-flop village”. There is a Woolworths, many fish & chips places, surfshops, travel agencies, Rastafari and Wannabe-Rastafari, Barefoot-People, Britons, digeridoo sound, spliff, booze, even more Britons, BBQ, music, no chubby people, squeaking sand.

Byron Bay is a beautiful place but I don’t really understand why among all places in Australia this is the party stronghold.


In the afternoon I go to an Internet café writing an email to about ten people saying the same things again and again. Then I buy two big bottles of beer and go back to the hostel. The Austrians are just having their BBQ. I cook some spaghetti with tomato-like substance. After playing some pool with the Dutch guy I sit down next to ? and start talking to her.

Kurt Cobain stand-in
She is Swiss, her mother is Italian and her father Japanese and there’s no way you could overlook that. I manage to talk her into going to the Cheeky Monkey’s with me tonight.

The hostel bus leaves at 10pm. I buy a jug of beer for myself and a Bacardi Orange for the Swiss girl. I’m trying to keep up the conversation but due to the loud music it is almost impossible. Soon we run out of topics to talk about. She is constantly smiling. Whether she is smiling with me or at me, that I don’t know. I excuse myself and go to the toilet where I meet a Kurt Cobain stand-in and an Australian girl to whom I confide that I think the Swiss girl is pretty. Now she is giving me tips for which signs I should look out for. So I go back to the Swiss girl serenading her some more. The Australian girl is standing across from us, watching us and waving about with her arms showing me her thumb, which obviously means “You’re doing great”. It is daft as hell! A bit later I learn that my talking obviously wasn’t all that great when she leaves saying she was “tired”. Oh well, who cares.

I get up on the table, dancing and grinning like a Cheshire cat.

this is what you get to see at the Cheeky Monkeys :-)
A bit later I find myself among a group of Brisbane girls and start a conversation with Julia. We talk a mixture of English, German and Spanish.


Then it is suddenly 3.30pm and the place is closing down. The music dies. I go with Julia. She is staying at the Arts Factory. While we are waiting for the bus of her hostel we are alone for the first time and start kissing. Then the bus arrives with the bus driver happily smoking a spliff. This obviously affects his driving skills since he is taking the bends with great verve.

Arrival at the Arts Factory. Drunk and stoned people (often both) are dangling in sofa chinks. I take a seat next to a Briton who is also smoking a doobie and talking muddleheaded rubbish.

About half an hour later I accompany Julia to her dormitory.

Shakira stand-in
Her bed is a top bunk so we climb up. Julia, I soon find out, is wearing at least twenty piece of clothing. Drunk as I am I fall asleep before I reach the "bottom drawer".


16 July 2005


At some time early in the morning I wake up with my bladder ready to burst. Since I can’t find any clothes right away, I walk out the dorm with only my shorts on storming the toilet. How embarrasing it would have been if the door fell shut… but fortunately it didn’t. So I crawl back to bed besides Julia and sleep until 11am. She should have checked out at 10am, so she hurriedly throws me out. She gives me her phone number saying I should give her a call once I get to Brisbane.

I lurch back to my hostel still half drunk and go to sleep again just when everybody else is getting up.

I wake up at 4pm. Then I have breakfast. It is getting dark again. The Dutch and me are playing pool. The Swiss girl is reacting a bit weird towards me and I wonder why. I buy a sixpack of XXXX and sit down next to three Austrians and one French guy.

And before I can react, I have another stamp for the Cheeky Monkey’s on my hand which grants me free entry. We also get another stamp for which we should receive one free drink. I didn’t really want to go back to Cheeky’s again but everyone else is going so I’m going too. Once there the three Austrians, the French guy and me stand at the bar showing our stamps and ordering five beer. But it turns out that the beer is not free but only cheaper. Instead of AU$ 3,50 the glass costs AU$ 2,50. That’s fine with me, I say. But it obviously isn’t fine with the others. That is because they didn’t bring ANY money. Nothing! They tell me they would only be here for the free drink. Now everyone is acting dumb as hell and argues with the barkeeper.

Byron Bay lighthouse
How can anyone be so stupid as not to bring some money when you are going out? I can’t believe it. So, having no choice, I pay for the five beer, give one to the French (who has - believe it or not - found a dollar in his pockets) and drink four myself. The Austrians are going back home. They’ve been out for five minutes. What a great night! Did I already mention that they are from Austria?

The French is happily sipping his beer and together we stare at the display of depressingly beautiful girls dancing on the tables in front of us. About an hour later, after the French finally finished his one and only beer he goes home as well. I’m staying. I start dancing like a maniac without a reason. Later I meet a Shakira stand-in who tries her red lipstick on my cheek. Then I get depressed. Around 3pm I stagger back to my hostel and sleep like a log.


17 July 2005


I’m terribly hungover.

the garden of the Backpackers Inn on the Beach (the beach is right behind those trees :-) )
I have a dry toast for breakfast and pack my stuff. Sitting in the bus at 10.30am I am close to chundering. I’m leaving this place with a 5-day-Byron-Bay-Hangover. But I survived!

Vikram says:
LOL @ spaghetti being a backpacker's favourite food!
Posted on: Mar 27, 2010
strangemystic says:
Es war koestlich! Die Sache mit den Oesterreichern und den Passauern muesstest Du mir noch erklaeren.
Lg, Dominique
Posted on: Sep 07, 2009
JoellePeters says:
Very interesting reading that from the perspective of someone who grew up as a Byron local. Haha.
Posted on: Jul 25, 2008
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Light breaks through the clouds...
Light breaks through the clouds...
...and dances on the water
...and dances on the water
Byron Bay beach
Byron Bay beach
Byron Bay beach
Byron Bay beach
The most easterly point of the Aus…
The most easterly point of the Au…
Byron Bay lighthouse
Byron Bay lighthouse
party at the Cheeky Monkeys
party at the Cheeky Monkeys
Byron Bay beach
Byron Bay beach
Kurt Cobain stand-in
Kurt Cobain stand-in
this is what you get to see at the…
this is what you get to see at th…
Shakira stand-in
Shakira stand-in
Byron Bay lighthouse
Byron Bay lighthouse
the garden of the Backpackers Inn …
the garden of the Backpackers Inn…
iron man at the most easterly poin…
iron man at the most easterly poi…
Byron Bay
photo by: SFGiantsGirlie