Byron Bay

We have always loved the north coast of NSW around Byron Bay, so thought it would be nice to spend a few days around Byron and catch up with an old university friend who moved up here many years ago. It was now Dec, so thought a bit of Christmas cheer on the road would be in order. M

decorated car
No tree to decorate so thought we would do what you see farmers doing in the outback. They decorate their bull bar or their mailbox, as often it is impossible to see their houses from the road.
wolongbar u camp
We camped at a lovely ‘Ucamp’ in Wollongbar called Parker’s Place. It is on the grounds of a wholesale nursery that has made a special area to camp next to a creek, that makes you feel like you are camped in a botanic garden. It was so lovely and peaceful we stayed 6 nights!
eastern rosella parkers place
There were plenty of birds in the trees around us like this Eastern Rosella
superb fairy wren
The Superb Fairy Wren was not far away
lismore xmas tree
We went into Lismore to the Richmond hotel to meet friends for a lovely dinner and a walk around town afterwards. This is Lismore’s town xmas tree. It is made of recycled material with a solar powered reticulated water pump watering the plants. Yes those are old jeans at the bottom.

At Flat Rock near Ballina we were pretty excited to see 4 new birds and a few old ones!

wandering tattler
Wandering Tattler
curlew sandpipers
Curlew Sandpiper
common tern and little tern
Common Tern and Little Tern
common tern
Common Tern
sanderling 2
Sanderling

We went for a nice coastal walk in Broken Head Nature reserve which has an area of coastal subtropical rainforest or littoral rainforest. Originally, the area between Byron Bay and Lismore contained the largest area of tall subtropical rainforest in Australia. This 75,000 ha forest was almost totally destroyed for agriculture in the latter part of the 19th century. Today only isolated remnants like this area remain so they are like little gems of bush. We walked past the The Two Sister’s rocks to the lookout over Smith’s beach. We then walked down down to Smith’s and around the rocks and found our very own beach to have lunch and a swim. M

three sisters at broken head nature reserve
The Two Sisters
broken head smiths beach lookout
Looking down towards Smith’s beach at broken head Nature reserve. We walked around the rocks in the background and found our own little (keep your swimmers dry) beach to have  lunch.
nudie beach lunch spot
A lunch spot under the pandanus near Smith’s Beach. The ocean temp should never be cooler than what it is here! I think Sydney will be a shock for us now.
limpet island
The gorgeous Limpet Island rock 

After reading about the voyage of the Kon Tiki” a few years ago, I was keen to go to the Ballina Naval Museum to see the raft from the Las Balsa’s Expedition which went from Ecuador to Australia in 1973. The original expedition with Tor Heyerdahl in 1947 was supposed to prove that a western migration across the Pacific from the west coast of South America took place. The success of the trip never completely convinced some anthropologists of this. Even without the science I thought this trip was fascinating! Las Balsa’s voyage was led by Vital Alsar and was twice as long as Heyerdahl’s at 8,600miles. M

balsa raft poster
The museum showed this movie which was actually a documentary shot by one of the men of the voyage and interesting. 
balsa raft newspaper
They were supposed to land at Mooloolaba but strong southerly currents carried them down the coast to Ballina. HMAS Labuan followed the rafts south from Brisbane where 2 trawlers helped two of the rafts into the Richmond River. The third was abandoned at sea. The Ballina raft is made up of the best of the other 2 as all were in bad shape in the end.
balsa raft 2
One raft was so water logged coming in that is was abandoned. 
balsa raft 1
A side view of the raft with the wooden toilet bucket that hangs over the side. The sails were made of canvas. You can see where the balsa logs were eaten and rotting. 
balsa raft diagram
The rafts were made entirely of wood fastened by wooden pegs and sisal ropes. These were being repaired all along the voyage. The balsa logs had to be cut from female trees at the time of the full moon as these trees have a higher sap content. This ensured the rafts would be the most resistant to saturation by sea water.
huge goanna
We found this huge Lace Monitor climbing a tree in a another small area of rainforest near Ballina. It looked like it had just eaten something and could hardly get up the tree.
forest kingfisher
While looking for 2 other new birds in this reserve we ended up seeing only this gorgeous new Forest Kingfisher
cattle egret
The area near where we stayed were mostly cattle properties or macadamia farms. We are always amazed how Cattle Egrets don’t seem to be afraid of being stepped on, sometimes walking in between their legs!
poo fairy sign ballina
Sick of stepping on domestic animal poo we loved this sign on the Ballina breakwater walk. Go Ballina council!
masked lapwing chick
A Masked Lapwing chick near the Ballina breakwater.
great egret ballina
Great Egret

The second big prawn on this trip. We decided the Ballina prawn was a much better prawn than the Exmouth Prawn. Just look at the little legs and eye detail  on him! Sorry Exmouth!

byron bay beach
Byron Bay main beach is nice but we swam up at “the pass” all the way around the other end.
wategos beach
Watego’s beach on the walk up to the Byron bay lighthouse.
tallow beach
Tallow Beach from viewed from the lighthouse.
cape byron
In Western Australia we went to Australia’s most westerly point so now we are at the most easterly at this point in Byron Bay.
lighthouse
The Byron Bay lighthouse
evening market
Here we are at the night markets where we ended the day after birding and walking and swimming. You can always find a butterfly a crystal or a dream catcher at the markets!

 

6 thoughts on “Byron Bay

  1. My niece Clare is living in Byron Bay at the moment. It wasn’t that long ago that Ian, Alec and I were there as well. The coast is very pretty.

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  2. Love your Xmas decor, such a good idea. Am also really impressed with Lismore’s Town Xmas tree.
    And Smith’s beach so isolated.

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    1. HI Glenda, Yes I like it when people can make something beautiful out of junk. Smith’s beach is not actually that isolated it only feels that way because of the steep climb down through rainforest. M

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  3. Thanks for the ride you two. I expect you may just keep going but in any event it has been the best bird book. My favourite still has to be the Gouldians then Catbirds and Forest Kingfishers. Great photos the lot.

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