I completed my 33rd House Sit in Brisbane with the Great Dane Dudley (click here to read) and I had just been dropped off in the main street of Byron Bay. I arrived at the Aquarius Hostel along the main strip in Byron, I was in the middle of it all and I was so excited to take it all in. Falls Festival was still on so it was chaos on the streets with hippies, festival goers and other travellers.
image from Trip Advisor
I checked in and made my way to my dorm, juggling all my belongings and the sheets they had just given to me I got to the top of the stairs and saw a group of people playing music, laughing and generally having an awesome time. I thought to myself gosh I hope I am in their dorm, at that moment I looked up and saw that my dorm was right in front of me – dammit!
I went in, found a bed and sorted out my stuff. I had to go out to get a lock for the locker and some deodorant, as I was leaving the dorm I glanced over at the people I was so eager to meet although they were all having too much fun to notice the new chick awkwardly smiling at them
I came back, went out again, and came back again. By that point I was really giving myself the pep talk “look Elli you want to hang out with those people, they are all here for the same thing and what’s the worse that could happen, they say no you can’t hang out with them? Well then they aren’t the kind of people you want to hang out with” after pep talking myself for 15 minutes I made my way outside walked straight up to the group and introduced myself and asked the big daunting question “can I hang with you guys..."
The next thing… I was welcomed in, given a drink and being given the rundown of the drinking game they were playing. At that moment I didn’t realise I had made lifelong friends, but I felt instantly at ease and happy that they had welcomed me in with open arms. It wasn’t long until I found out that this group of friends had actually met at a hostel in Airlie Beach a year ago and then went on their separate travels and decided to catch up again in Byron, in my eyes I had hit the jackpot.
I had a tour of Byron to Nimbin already booked and paid for in the morning but after a few drinking games I was having too much of a good time to talk any sense into having an early night.
Although Aquarius is a little more expensive than other hostels they do have a pool and provide a free dinner each night. I went downstairs with one of the girls Gabby from Canada and we enjoyed our free pasta dinner, the hostel was packed and buzzing with great vibes. From there we headed out for a night out in Byron and ended up at Cheeky Monkeys, the place to be! The night ended and off to bed I went. I suddenly woke up at 5am remembering that in a few hours big old hippy bus would be out the front waiting for me so I got on my email and cancelled my booking.
The next day I went exploring around the streets of Byron, the fashion available here is incredible. If I had budgeted for it I could have easily spent a lot of money just on amazing clothes. The streets are lined with health cafes and juice bars (my fav!) I went and ate my lunch down on the beach and watched all the surfers.
I headed back to the hostel and there they were, my trusty new friends ready to hang out again. That night the tribe grew even larger with more newbies coming in to join. As we sat around, having a few drinks a guy rocked up with a guitar and beautiful blonde in tow. Said guy pulled out the guitar and boy could this guy entertain. Not only every girl was absolutely mesmerised but every guy was in awe too. I introduced myself to the girl and found out she was the guitarist’s fiancé named Cass.
Cass is one of those people that you find absolutely captivating yet incredibly humble. She told me about how they met and how he proposed and I think my heart was about to explode out of my chest. Cass and finance Michael had been travelling in their van up the East Coast as he had a number of gigs lined up. They also have their own travel page called Catchya so if you’re wanting to follow people living the dream head over to their page!
The next day I went down to the local pub with one of the guys and hung out with Cass watching Michael busk for their wedding, seriously could these guys get any cuter?
I grabbed a quick bite to eat from Chihuahuas which has the BEST tacos ever, if you do end up here the haloumi one is where its at!
Soon enough it was my last night in Byron and admittedly I hadn’t spent too much time exploring, I had however met an awesome group of people and I wouldn’t change a thing. The next day I went and said goodbye to everyone, checked out and made my way to the bus station. I opted to go with Brisbane2Byron shuttle as they are a family owned business (I always try and support local where I can) and they went from Byron to Brisbane City to Airport (international and domestic) for just $54 and in just over 2 hours. The driver was incredibly friendly and let us know that we just had to sing out if we needed a pit stop for the loo.
Although I didn’t get to explore Byron or see Nimbin I do plan on heading back in the next year to really engage Byron for what it is. Until then I’ll remember Byron for the incredible people I met and the memories made … If I can meet that many incredible people in three short days imagine who i'll meet 365 days abroad.