I rise at 06:00 and take to the streets. I am not a man for early starts, but I must discover if Byron is a town for me before it is time for me to check out and stumble the streets in the burning Australian heat.
During the day, Aquarius hostel is disarmingly quiet. Perhaps it is not so much the hostel itself as the nightclub inside that is an insult to the noble art of drinking.
It is irreverent, for I will not stay here another night. Not for all the jelly in…wherever jelly originated.
Byron itself, in stark contrast to the previous evening, is entirely lovely! Quite small and quite expensive, it immediately proves ideal for kicking back and relaxing – which is what I intend to do. With reckless abandon.
Power chilling. Freezing??
Byron Bay was also named (by Captain Cook) after the mighty grandfather of the even more legendary Lord Byron. No more needs to be said on this matter.
I have seen online that one can camp in Byron for half the price of my bed in a 10-person dorm. I resolve to find the best campsite and stay for a while, until I am nothing but a mush of relaxation.
Infuriatingly, the first couple of sites I find are ludicrously overpriced; $72 to pitch my own tent on a patch of dirt?! For that money, I’d rather drink 100 beers (or 14 beers at the price they are here) and pass out in the warmth of my own total and brilliant intoxication.
Luckily, I have heard tell of the Arts Factory Lodge where I can do the same for $16. It is a little further out of town, but staying there for five nights will save me the best part of $300 over these pompous family-based sites.
Finding it, however, is no simple matter. Along the way, I accidentally find myself at Glen Villa camping, where the elderly guardians helpfully circle the other local campsites on a map for me!
Little do they know, my knowledge of Byron is already great enough to realise they are only pointing out the sites that are more expensive than their own…
They are trying to play me for a fool!
As a professional fool, I should demand payment for this use of my precious time! Instead, I lie to their faces and I bid them adieu.
Despite Glen Villa’s best efforts, I have a pretty clear idea of where the Arts Factory is. At least, that’s what I tell the lost English lass I bump into a few minutes later.
Feigning confidence in my navigational prowess, I lead this English girl – by the name of Fiona – down what I hope is the correct road. By sheer chance (based on the raw probability of trying each road in Byron one by one) this route leads us straight to our destination, the Arts Factory Lodge…which turns out to be my favourite hostel I’ve ever stayed in.
Simply put, it is entirely wonderful. The staff are the most helpful I’ve ever encountered and the guests in general are delightful. It is 10 mins walk out of town, but the time flies and there is a shuttle bus running for most the day and night if you’re feeling lazy…like me.
There are tasty $6 dinners available until midnight every night, Wifi all week for $12 and I saw countless Macs and phone left charging all over the place, yet never heard of anything going missing. Apart from Jess’ shoes…and our bacon.
I could (and one day will) go on and on about the virtues of this place. It was exactly what I wanted from Byron Bay…so I stayed there…longer than I’ve ever stayed in one place whilst travelling. Ever.
A mighty 10 days. (I move around a lot).