My Legendary Drive around the Bryon Shire: Day 3
First of all, I must explain why I have been a little late posting my adventures on Day 3 around the Byron Shire. As it happens, I was photographing some kayak surfing with my guide from Cape Byron Kayaks and we inadvertently got dumped and my waterproofed iPhone was knocked out of my hand by an errant kayak. It is currently enjoying life on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Ah, such is the life of a travel blogger.
But you would not have believed how many dolphins we saw. First up, however, Cape Byron Kayaks kitted up a group of us with life jackets and helmets and gave us a kayaking lesson on Clarkes Beach before we headed into the water in search of dolphins. Byron Bay has a large resident population of bottlenose dolphins and it was just a matter of minutes before we saw several pods of mothers and babies. And all they wanted to do was play…they leapt in the air, dived under our kayaks, swam all around us and showed off their skills at rounding up schools of fish for feasting. We must have seen more than 60 of them, including a couple of Pacific humpback dolphin and a common dolphin. We paddled into Wategos Beach for morning tea and Tim Tams and then hopped back in the kayaks for the return back to Clarkes Beach where my aforementioned iPhone surfing mishap occurred. I can only imagine how the fishes must be making long-distance calls to friends in the Atlantic Ocean.
I then drove into the rolling green hills of the Byron hinterland to the pretty little township of Bangalow. Bangalow might just win best my award for best little town in Australia. Sure it has great cafes and restaurants worthy of Sydney and Melbourne and a terrific collection of boutiques and home wares shops but it hasn’t lost its soul. There is still the local pub and newsagent, a terrific butcher and a really wonderful farmer’s market. You just get a great feeling walking around that people love living here, greet their neighbours and enjoy living life at a slower pace surrounded by big trees and lots of bird life.
I had a delicious lunch at Utopia Café, which has a terrific array of healthy juices including Anti-Ox Purple made from beetroot, pear, blueberry and lime and Cleansing Green created with kale, celery, cucumber, apple, mint and ginger. I feasted on lemon house-cured salmon with avocado on zucchini frittata and their signature baked pistachio and praline cheesecake. I wish all gluten-free dishes were as delicious as these.
I spent the afternoon browsing some of Bangalow’s terrific shops including Our Corner Store which has a beautifully curated collection of clothing, jewellery, shoes, bags, home wares and even games. Many are from Byron Shire creators like Goddess of Babylon and Bruns Accoustics while others come from as far away as Sweden and South Korea. Other great finds included Heath’s Old Wares, Collectibles, and Antiques and Island Luxe which has a glamorous collection of men’s and women’s clothing largely from Europe as well as a selection from local jewellery designers.
I checked into my delightful Bungalow 3 just behind the main street. Cute as a button, this classic wooden cottage had everything a couple or family would need for a relaxing holiday. The open plan living area has a big-screen television, loads of DVDs, a wood-burning stove, front and back porch and a full kitchen. There are two bedrooms and a quaint bathroom with a large bath great for soaking. Everything has been done up with a country cool aesthetic and it is just a short walk into town.
Dinner tonight was at the charming Italian Diner, run by former architect Sharon Fraser and her husband. What a delightful airy space to enjoy some mighty fine dishes such as a great individual marherita wood-fired pizza and Barcoo eye filled with Parmesan and anchovy potato gratin, Reggiano and Parmesan salad with fresh horseradish and lemon. Yum. What a way to end my three-day adventure in the Byron Shire. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back!