The Ocean, Surfers, Dolphins and More!

Last weekend Ben and I *hired* a car for the first time since arriving Down Under.  At first, my driver was a little uneasy about taking on the open road from the opposite side but after a few turns, turn-arounds and windshield wipers instead of turn signals he became an international ambidextrous driver.

Our first stop off was within the Brisbane City limits at the Brisbane Dive Academy (more to come on this Ozsome Adventure soon.)

After that pit stop, we continued our way down the M1 – headed south.  That’s right; we were on our way down the Eastern coast of Australia!  Our destination:  Byron Bay

(Ben found this article a couple days later…look at #44!)  http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/worlds-50-best-beaches-364981?page=0,0

We ended up going on an adventure within an adventure.  We kept passing signs luring us to Surfer’s Paradise so we had no choice but to make a pit stop in the Miami of Queensland on the Gold Coast.  It was amazing.  The waves were huge, there were quite a few surfers and the beach already had heaps of people taking in the rays in the middle of winter!  The high rises against the ocean was an incredible sight!

We walked down the beach and ended up having barramundi (a local fish) and chips for lunch at a sidewalk café.  It was a little breezy so we were on our way out shortly after lunch but I must say, I CAN’T wait until it’s hot out!  At just 30 minutes from the city, I am confident we’ll spend more than a couple of days at this beach! YAY! 🙂

Back on the M1 we were on our way to Byron Bay.  The drive was quite scenic.

There were signs to report any koala sightings so of course I had my koala glasses on the entire time!  I didn’t spot any but the signs were enough to remind us that we were in Australia.

It was about a 1.5 hours from Surfer’s Paradise to Byron but it was totally worth it.  We got a little anxious and pulled off at the first mention of beach access.  Thank goodness we did!

The beach access was through someone’s private land which was beautiful.

We had our first wild kangaroo sighting!  It was a little far away but once it turned around and hopped, it was clear it was a roo!

The beach was filled with locals surfing and watching the surfers.  So cool!

We got a gorgeous view of our final destination – the lighthouse at Byron Bay.

After a brief walk with the Aussie locals we were on our way.  The town of Byron Bay was AMAZING!  So far, it’s my favorite thing we’ve done!  It was a hippie little town, filled with restaurants, coffee shops and surf shops (that actually sold surf boards!)

The beach and water, again, were filled with locals looking to catch some waves.

The last and most impressive part of our adventure was the lighthouse at Byron Bay.  This is actually the most Eastern point of Australia.  At first, I didn’t really care to take the hike up to the lighthouse but like everything else, it was SO worth it.  This was the view, opposite of the Bay.  Incredible!

We couldn’t hang out for long because it was so windy and cold!  No wonder there were no surfers over there!  The waves were huge but it was icy!  So up to the lighthouse we went…

It wasn’t far up to the lighthouse but once we got up to the top we were again enticed by another path down towards the water…this was quite long but after a few minutes we figured we must do it – I mean look at that view!

The waves were HUGE.  I mean, crash against the rocks and make you a little scared even though your 20 feet above the waves HUGE!  It was so neat and an obvious photo op!

It was so neat.  We probably could have stayed there for hours just watching!  Just as we were about to turn around and make the thousand step climb back up the dolphins came!  We weren’t able to do it justice but here is the one measly dolphin we captured in a picture. (You can just see the little fin out of the water)

We guessed there were actually about 50 dolphins out there.  They even put on a show for onlookers by jumping a couple times – causing a few oooohhs and ahhhs from the other tourists enjoying the view.  I’ve never actually seen a dolphin in its natural habitat so this was awesome!

By this time it was approaching 5pm and time for us to make the trip back to the big city.  We made the hike back up to the lighthouse and down to our car and hopped back on the M1 heading north – eyes still peeled for koalas and more wild kangaroos. 🙂

We took so many more pictures so I’ll try to post more to Facebook.

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