Australian holidays: Never make this mistake in Byron Bay

Your first kiss (“have you been eating cheese and onion chips?”). Your first flat tire (“hi, is this NRMA?”). Your first festival as a 28-year-old (“what are you doing here?”).

There are many embarrassing “before and after” experiences in life, and for me a two-week odyssey along the east coast one summer – from Sydney via Crescent Head to Byron Bay – was one of them.

Here are the worst mistakes I made on the trip and how to fix them.

Choose the right crew

You can’t have everything in life. However, I’m a big fan of trying, so I took my girlfriend, my brother, and my best buddy with me on this trip.

Unfortunately, the romance quickly ended when my buddy and my brother started drinking beer and doing “battle rap” in the back seat of the car while my girlfriend and I tried to concentrate on navigating and driving for the entire eight hours.

When they started kicking our seats and asking us, “Are we there yet?” we felt like we had aged 20 years and were a married couple with two unbearable children.

Don’t drink too many margaritas (especially if there is no drinking water at your campsite)

I don’t want to be too dramatic, but I still suspect that my girlfriend tried to kill me in the middle of this road trip.

How? By depriving myself of water. Why? Well, I drank one too many salty margaritas, had a giggle fit in the sand dunes, crawled around like Leonardo DiCaprio after too many Quaaludes in the Wolf of Wall Streetchallenged my brother to a wrestling match (and was brutally subdued), felt wonderfully at peace with the world, and then returned to the campsite very thirsty, only to find that my girlfriend had left the beach in disgust, cooked dinner, and then used most of our drinking water to do the dishes.

What a cheek! The solution? Buy a good water tank. Or don’t be an idiot like me.

Discuss your expectations regarding comfort before you set off

As it turns out, my 6’4″ buddy and 6’2″ brother are a little touchy. While my girlfriend and I like to save money and take it easy, eating pasta with sauce from a jar every night and shrugging at brown snakes, my brother and buddy screeched about the wildlife, complained about the food (and constantly demanded that we drive them into town “to get a bacon roll”), and moaned every morning as the sun slowly cooked them in their tents.

Don’t try to regain your youth

In keeping with the do-it-all theme, we decided to go to a music festival (Falls) on New Year’s Eve. In theory, it was epic. A surf trip and a festival. What could go wrong? It started well (the face painting was awesome), but with no proper accommodation, and then after a pretty exhausting night of waking up at 7am on January 1st in a soggy field in Mullumbimby to the sun turning our tents into infrared saunas, it was brutal.

No wonder the motto of our entire trip was: “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Don’t bring a cheap old tent

My boyfriend learned this the hard way. When we returned to our campsite from the festival at 3am, he felt alone and lonely – as one does on New Year’s Eve – only to find that his tent was flooded and he had to squeeze into my brother’s sleeping bag. He then had the nerve to complain about my brother’s snoring (allegedly putting “his smelly feet in my face”, as my brother complained).

Don’t expect fast service from small-town bakeries

I waited 20 minutes for a coffee and a pastry in Mullumbimby on New Year’s Day. No joke. Turns out the guy “forgot the pastries”.

Treat yourself to a few days of time for yourself – preferably not in a tent

Just when we were all starting to get fed up with each other, my idea of ​​booking accommodation for my girlfriend and me in Byron Bay for two nights paid off. A shower (and a bit of rest) has never done us so much good. It’s just a shame that the “private apartment” we had booked turned out to be a room in a shared apartment.

Don’t pay $80 to camp in other people’s front yards

Is there anything creepier than an Airbnb host who’s just a little too friendly? Try an Airbnb host who advertises their backyard as a place to stay (and then invites you to shower). Although our hosts did turn out to be legends, their constant interruptions started to get boring after a while. For $80 a night, you might as well spend $20 more and stay in a hostel.

Do not move every few days

A change of scenery is nice, but packing and unpacking the car can quickly drive you crazy, because with every campsite you leave there is more disorder and less order.

Don’t relax in Byron Bay

Although Byron Bay aggressively urges you to relax with a big sign as you enter, you have to be alert to have fun. For example, when I turned up at the pub at 2pm to meet some friends, I was refused entry because I didn’t have ID. What is this, Vegas? To make matters worse, there were kids running around inside, eating pizza and playing games.

What’s the point? And to think that people say Sydney is over-policed. I’ve never met so many bouncers on power trips in my life…

Don’t always be the driver

Spread the load. Otherwise you’ll become resentful. I learned this the hard way, following an increasingly cheerful group of friends around Byron and feeling very sorry for myself.

Expect the unexpected

We were also scared when we walked along the beach and discovered a beach house in Byron that had what looked like an orangutan enclosure in the garden. It turned out to be for some kind of bird. Still scary though.

Don’t take on too much in the surf

After mistimed a cliff jump at Lennox Head, I scraped half of my left nipple. Not fun.

Pack a proper cooler

Otherwise, staying at remote campsites means you’ll constantly have to drive into town to buy groceries, so it’s worth buying a cooler you trust.

Bring enough chairs

Otherwise there will be constant arguments about who has to sit on the floor.

Bring a beach hut

This, along with my car’s awning, was our saving grace. Sitting down here drinking margaritas at Crescent Head (until the incident) was the undisputed highlight of the trip. Plus, the cabana probably saved me from third degree burns.

This article originally appeared on Escape and has been republished with permission

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