Today's my birthday, 27 years young. Don't all shout at once. Anyway - Byron Bay, the 'must' of the east coast. Sadly, it's a - pardon my French - sh*thole. Once a beautiful, alternative retreat for the hippies, drop-outs and dreadlocked surfers, it's now overrun with the usual chavvy lager-louts roaming the streets drunk, bare-chested and sun-burnt. It could be Brighton, but with better surf. The surf here is more gentle than in Lennox Head - bigger breaks, but not the tide-fuelled beach dumping that made the waves always seem to break on top of your head like we had there. It's rained solidly for two days here now, and eventhough it's warm it's not very inviting trying to get out to have a go. A spate of shark attacks further up the coast (where we're heading next) adds to the spice.
The last day in Lennox saw us out on windsurfers on the little lake (the sea would have been suicidal). I've spent many summers on a windsurfer in my early teens (but not really since), and it was fun to get reaquainted with the Art. It was Sarah's second go (she tried briefly at Beachcomber, too), and she had the dubious benefit of my instruction. She's actually talking to me again now, though.
I guess with Australia we've sort of drifted onto the teeny-bopper backpacker trail which is a very different experience from the American climbing roadtrip, the more mature and easy-going Fiji island hopping crowd and NZ outback. The remainder of our itinery is now set - we're going to visit Mt Warning national park next to scale the peak, and then to Noosa for a few more days hoping for fun in the surf and sun, three days on Fraser Island and then to Cairns for the diving. We had the option of catching the bus from Brisbane to Cairns, 32 hours door to door and $250, or flying with Jetstar, 2.5 hours and $79. Tough choice. The cheapo airlines are changing the geography of the world.