A belated Happy New Year to all – I hope 2008 has started well for you. My apologies for not having written in some time. With final exams in December, heading to Toronto for Christmas, and then starting my fourth semester in January, it’s been a busy few months.
We had a good visit to Toronto over the holiday. It was great to celebrate Christmas with family and friends we had not seen in a year. In the past few weeks since we returned to Brisbane, Anna and I have jumped back into school and work, and still found time to visit the Sunshine Coast, QLD and Byron Bay, NSW.
Byron Bay weekend
Anna and I celebrated our third anniversary in northern NSW. We stayed outside Byron Bay at a very comfortable B&B. The rainy weather held off until after we arrived on Friday night, and our host Tim showed us around the house.
Slaying the dragon
Anna and I were awoken around 3:30am by the sound of a mozzie (mosquito) buzzing around our heads. It was hard to hear anything over the general sounds of nature from outside the window – frogs, crickets and the like – but any camper would agree that a mozzie’s buzz is pretty distinctive.
After a few minutes of denial – that is, me swatting aimlessly at him in the dark – he seemed to go away (out of pity?). I tried to get back to sleep, while Anna got up to use the bathroom. She had barely closed the door when a shriek filled my ears.
“There’s a frog in the toilet!” she gasped, “and I nearly sat down on it!”
Sure enough, a good-sized green frog had made its way into the bowl – whether it swam in or hopped, who knows? But he was much bigger and far more sinister than a cute green tree frog.
Just how do you get a frog out of your toilet? I decided that the best way would be to trap him in the small rubbish bin – it had a flip-down lid – and then to put him outside. But rather than using my usual diplomatic approach – talking him into the garbage can – I would have to go in after him. I pulled the plastic garbage bag over my hand and reached in for froggie. Plop! He wanted no part of my plan, and jumped from the bowl’s side into the water. The last I saw of him was a leg swimming away.
I flushed … twice.
Byron Bay & Cape Byron
On Saturday we explored Cape Byron and the lighthouse (built by the federal government in 1901, just after Australia’s Constitution Act was signed). The lighthouse is still an operating site, though it has been modernised and requires no operating staff./p>
- The Cape Byron Trust adminsters an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (map) registered in 2001 over the recognition of native title rights in the land and waters around Byron Bay. It was signed by the federal, state and local governments, and the Arakwal people (a sub-group, tribe or estate group of the Bundjalung nation).
The town of Byron Bay has grown considerably since Anna last saw it in 2000. It was very busy with locals and tourists, browsing the shops, having a meal and trying to stay out of the rain. Geez, did it rain!! It was a common sight to see people climbing into their cars from shin- or knee-high water at the curb.
Byron was an interesting cultural melting-pot — city slickers enjoying lattes and tapas, hippies and yogaists, backpackers and surfers. Nevertheless, everyone comes to Byron to relax and have a good time. If there’s something about Byron which needs improvement, though, it is the entertainment: The buskers we saw were truly awful!!
On Saturday evening we enjoyed a fantastic meal and views over the Byron area at Fig Tree Restaurant, not far from town. The steak and mahi mahi were outstanding, and the chocolate fondant was lucious. If you have a chance to try the Bleasdale malbec 2003 (red wine), we highly recommend it!
After breakfast on Sunday morning, we headed south along the coast road to Ballina. The countryside and sea views were beautiful, even in 90% humidity.
It was a very enjoyable anniversary weekend!