Byron Bay and Sydney

Wednesday afternoon we decided to venture out into the rain in Byron Bay. It had been raining since we arrived, and by raining I mean unlike anything I have ever seen before. It rained the entire time we were in Byron Bay, for 3 days, stopping for only an hour from what I could tell. It didn’t rain like in Vancouver where we’re used to the Wet Coast climate, it poured and poured and poured, extremely heavy rain and very, very high winds.

So, we decided to leave the hostel – what’s the point in travelling if you never go outside? It was, to say the least, wet outside. We may as well have gone swimming in the ocean with our clothes on.

I got really thirsty, and catching the rain in my mouth wasn’t working, so when we found this tree fountain, I spent a while downing the rainwater that was pouring off it.

As we walked toward a lighthouse (our goal for the journey), we passed through a wooded path that had an art display consisting of a series of very creepy art pieces by some local artist. This one in particular we found quite strange.

Last week, according to the newspaper, Byron Bay got 498mm of rain. As we drove off on Thursday toward Sydney, we had to take a back route as the main highway was flooded and closed as a result. Luckily, the deepest water we drove through was only just over a foot deep.

We stopped at Coffs Harbour for a few minutes, to get out of the car and stretch our legs. This is the fine weather that greeted us there.

So, we stopped for the night at Port Macquarie after a solid few hours driving. We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, the first we’d seen in ages, and headed for Sydney.

But first, we headed to the beach for a few photos – Flynn Beach to be specific.

Despite the good weather we encountered on this second leg of our drive to Sydney, many of the fields on either side of the road bore testimony to the rains that had ended only the night before.

Turns out you can drive across the Pacific Ocean too… I didn’t get a pic of the sign pointing to Brooklyn (11 km).

We arrived in Sydney in the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. Luckily Todd, a Kiwi, was driving in Sydney and he’s used to driving on the left side of the road so we were ok. It took a few tries to get to the car rental drop off location, but we made it without any serious incidents :-)

We got set up in a hostel after 10 minutes of walking, in Kings Cross, an area of Sydney that a Vancouverite might see as a blend between Gastown, Robson St, and a bit of East Hastings. There are a lot of unique characters outside, and we have a room with a 3rd floor window overlooking the main street here, so we sit watching and listening to the hundreds of people walking by at night. Here’s a daytime view from our window.

For instance, on the 3rd of July, over 5300 American sailors and airmen arrived in Sydney on the USS Kitty Hawk, the oldest serving aircraft carrier, and its escort ships. They overran Kings Cross and probably a few other areas of town, looking to drink a few nights away for July 4th after over a month at sea.

On the 2nd, we decided to do a bit of a walking tour of Sydney (roughly following a route in a Lonely Planet guide). We saw the Harbour Bridge and the Opera Houses, but for me the highlight of the walk was our encounter with a tame flock of cockatoos in a harbourside park.

They’re huge – my aunt has one (I think it’s the same) in Vancouver – but they were careful not to take any chunks out of the people feeding them. Ian and Ron decided to have a go at it.

We also played in the trees as we walked back to our hostel. When I’m 40 and wearing a suit downtown, I plan to climb trees for fun anyways.