We were really looking forward to our penultimate stop, Byron Bay (the last one for me since our final stop is Sydney, and we have already been there). My daddy (as he always beautifully describes himself in the comments on our blog) has a colleague, Tom. His brother, Bob, has been living in Australia for years, in Byron Bay. We had contacted him beforehand, and he graciously offered us accommodation. His mother, Annick, was also visiting, so it was going to be a Belgian pit stop that we were really excited about. Bob picked us up promptly at 5:30 PM in the city center and was kind enough to take us to the lighthouse in Byron Bay, the easternmost point of Australia. Despite the unfavorable weather conditions, the view was breathtaking.
When we arrived at Bob’s house, Annick warmly welcomed us. They had prepared a delicious meal for us: boiled potatoes, asparagus, lettuce & tomatoes, and a tender piece of pork fillet. After almost two months of eating “poor” food, this was the tastiest meal we had had in a long time. Wow, we immediately felt at home here.
We went to bed early and slept like babies. The next morning, the sun shone, so we headed towards the center. From Bob’s garden, we could follow a walking path leading to a stunning dark red lake: The Tea Tree Lake. The lake appears red because Tea Trees surround it. We enjoyed a delightful beach walk with a view of the lighthouse, had a delicious lunch, and really liked the atmosphere in Byron Bay’s town center. We finally did some shopping at Aldi. Woohoo! Once again, we were treated to a delicious meal. This time, it was boiled potatoes, sausages, and lettuce & tomatoes. We were pampered.
We slept blissfully, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, and quickly did our laundry. As mentioned before, our options are limited within our walking perimeter. Bob was kind enough to drop us off the next afternoon at Broken Head, a nature reserve where Bob works. We followed a hiking trail that led us to a small beach. Bob had warned us that many gay people frequented this place, and we were occasionally dazzled by all the nudity around us, haha!
We climbed over the rocks until we reached the other secluded beaches. We were left speechless by their beauty and tranquility. We walked back towards the nature reserve and once again enjoyed breathtaking views. We were even luckier because we got to spot dolphins up close. We savored the beautiful spectacle while eating our sandwiches. What more could one ask for than a picnic with a view of dolphins?!
We walked along Arakwal Beach toward home. It wasn’t late yet, so we continued walking towards Main Beach and the town center. It was a slight miscalculation because walking the entire length of the beach took a good two and a half hours. Afterward, we enjoyed an aperitif with delicious hummus and tzatziki and made the final effort to walk back home. With 17 kilometers behind us, our legs were definitely feeling it. Bob had prepared a tasty spaghetti, which never tasted so good after all those weeks.
Our next day turned into a mandatory rest day. Rain, rain, and more rain. Ely played some music on his laptop while I enjoyed my thrilling book. This rest day was also good for us. We can feel that we’ve been traveling at a fast pace. Partly because we haven’t encountered a place where we really want to stay longer, and the beautiful weather always entices us to be outside.
After almost two months, fatigue is starting to creep in more than we realize. Around half past three, Bob came home from work. The walls were closing on us, so it was time to get some fresh air. We needed to do some grocery shopping, so Bob took Annick and us to the town center. We made a short stop at the beach. We enjoyed the fresh sea air and towering waves. It’s incredible how the sea never stands still and, above all, how indestructible it is. In the evening, we had boiled potatoes with “pekes en artjes” (peas and carrots) and the most delicious steak we’ve ever had. It was so tender, unlike any steak we’d had before. But then again, the cows here graze in vast pastures instead of being pumped full of hormones like back home. Bob suggested that we go fishing the next day. We had never done it before but were up for some adventure.
We were ready to go fishing on our last day at 10 a.m. Feeling a bit unfamiliar, we took the fishing lines in our hands. We first tried at the beach, but luck wasn’t on our side. The fish didn’t seem interested in biting. So, we decided to try our luck at the rocks. We made our way through the rocks and the water, getting our shoes soaking wet, but we didn’t mind at all.
Bob helped us cast the fishing lines because it’s not as easy as it looks. Ely had a few bites, but the fish ultimately didn’t take the bait. As for me, they were clever enough to take the food without biting 😀 It was an unforgettable experience for us! (Please ignore our sexy outfits 😉 ) We were served a farmer’s omelet at noon and took a refreshing shower. Bob made a delicious tarte tatin and taught us how to make caramel.
In the evening, as a gesture of gratitude for their hospitality, we took Annick and Bob to ‘Taste of Melaka,’ an Indian restaurant. It was the least we could do. And to top it off, we enjoyed a heavenly slice of tarte tatin. Honestly, we didn’t feel like leaving just yet. Byron Bay had so much more to offer, and most importantly, we felt at home with Bob and Annick.
Byron Bay has stolen our hearts. We enjoyed Belgian hospitality and a warm home and felt welcome. A sincere THANK YOU!
X Inez & Ely