Blessed are those born in Byron Bay.

  • Posted by Jojo Page
  • August 10, 2011 4:27 AM AEST

So you thought that Tesco’s frozen fish aisle was the coolest place on earth? Man, think again. To explain myself fully I’m going to continue the theme of frozen, and ask you to imagine the popular Solaro ice cream. Smooth and creamy, a soft chunk of deliciousness that is large enough to leave you more than satisfied with your choice in lolly. Equally satisfying, that exotic  orange lick hugs the ice cream inside, and as if the mere joy of colour wasn’t enough-you get a tangy layer of taste to complement the rich white. In my opinion this ticks all the boxes of what a decent ice cream should offer. This is Byron.

I first had experienced the innate coolness that Byron Bay oozes on a day trip down there, my second surfing lesson with friends. (More successful than the first, although I think that California surf clubs will have to wait for a while). As you drive in, you suddenly feel that wearing a seat belt and being so concerned about anything-is completely unnecessary and Byron’s effortless hipness seeps in through your car windows and doors. People walk bare foot, a surf board under arm, but this is not an obligatory badge to wear. Café’s buzz with the smell of chai tea and smoothies freshly blended and served with colloquial smile. Small in size but by no means boring, Byron Bay is an intimate melting pot of beach life, vintage shops and a delicious laziness that can’t be learnt. Not being able to stand that my first visit had ended, although a lovely day, I joined the army of Aussie followers that look forward to their weekends away down at Byron and made my trips more frequent. Walking, bare foot naturally, down the board walk towards the stretch of beach-one particularly young surfer took my eye. Perhaps the age of 12 or 13, he looked as though the normal worry of that Math’s test on Monday was the last thing on his mind as he unhooked his board from his bicycle, quickly shed his jeans onto a rock and paddled out to the hungry waves. A curse perhaps to be so cool so young? How will you ever improve, or feel the electric buzz of appreciating something that is just that bit cooler than you? No, these are only the words of jealousy, of someone whose youth hasn’t been nurtured in the Bay’s groovy womb and can only pick the holes from an outside perspective of a life that only some will know.

Again though, as I suspect no one’s ever will be-my thirst and curiosity and longing to be one of the many colourful pieces of the town I made-for now-my final trip back to Byron a week long stay. Parked for the week in the home of the original hippy, ‘the arts factory’ I discovered that it is not just Byron’s ethereal days that will make it one of your favourite places in Australia. At night, it just seems that the coolness takes on full stride and almost an air of sophistication. It is as if that beautiful easy going-ness, like a closet sprinter on sports day finally comes in to its own. My list of bars that week roamed from the silky ‘Owl and the pussy cat’ to the live music of the Buddha Bar. Byron Bay is in every sense of the word, awesome. We danced on the tables of ‘cheeky monkeys’ backpackers, and from how our evening ended up to borrowing newly made friends bikes and (half swaying) cycling with them down to the twinkly beach side I will let you imagine. But in the wise words of our hostel staff, ‘can you dig it?’