With the Labour Day public holiday falling on the first Monday of October in New South Wales, we decided to make the most of the long weekend by doing what we do best – an incredibly long road trip!
For this trip we decided to go even further than our previous trip to Coffs Harbour, making the nine hour drive to Byron Bay, the famous coastal town that is one of New South Wales most popular attractions.
After leaving Sydney on Thursday evening, we stopped for the night in Port Macquarie, before making the second half of the journey early Friday morning.
Byron is most famous for its beautiful beaches, and laidback surfing lifestyle, and after finally arriving we made our way straight to Clarkes Beach, at the eastern end of the town.
Glad to finally be out of the car, we stretched our legs with a walk along the beach towards the Pass. It looked like plenty of people had also decided to spend the weekend in Byron, and the beach was busy despite it only being a few weeks into Spring.
It was a blustery day, and there was also plenty of windsurfers out on the water making the most of the conditions.
We continued along the beach, before stopping for the some lunch at the Pass Cafe. Unfortunately by the time we returned to the beach, the weather had changed dramatically, with a large storm arriving from across the ocean.
As well as being a public holiday, it was also one of the biggest weekends of the Australian sporting calendar. Grand Finals Weekend is when the championship deciding games of the countries two most popular sporting leagues, the AFL (Aussie Rules) and NRL (Rugby League) are played.
Given the poor weather, we made our way back into the town, and to the packed Beach Hotel where we watched the West Coast Eagles win a fiercely contested game to win the AFL championship.
The next day began with our usual early start, in the hope of watching the sunrise at Cape Byron, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. However the weather had failed to improve overnight, and the strong winds made it difficult to even walk around the exposed headland.
Having worked up an appetite, we returned to the town to find some brunch, and after a short look around we chose to eat at the Bay Leaf Cafe. The service was very slow and laidback, and we were seated outside on what was essentially a bed – all very Byron. Thankfully the food was great!
With the beach weather still failing to materialise we decided to visit The Farm, which is situated just a short drive from the town. Principally a working the farm , the site is also home to a collection of local businesses and producers, with a focus on ethical and fresh produce as well as protecting the environment.
We took a stroll around the animal paddocks, one of which was home to the largest pig either of us had ever seen, and we watched as she was followed by a litter of at least 15 tiny piglets.
Unfortunately, having just eaten we were unable to sample the farm’s Three Blue Ducks restaurant which appeared to be incredibly popular. There was definitely some food envy as we walked past the busy tables, and it was obvious why it has such a good reputation.
We instead made our way to the neighbouring Bread Social bakery, which happened to sell one of Rachael’s favourite things – Portuguese custard tarts!
Our next stop was at the nearby Stone & Wood Brewery, which just happened to sell one of my favourite things, and given this it was only fair that I sampled the whole range of beers on offer.
Stone & Wood are one of the most well popular independent breweries in Australia, and have played a big role in raising the profile and availability of craft beer within the Australian market. Although all of the beers were very enjoyable, the Cloud Catcher pale ale definitely the highlight.
The following morning saw the return of the sunshine, and as our luck would have it, perfectly timed with our departure. Fortunately we still found time for a quick walk on the beach before beginning our long journey home.
We returned to the Pass, and enjoyed a relaxing walk along the waters edge. Although the beach was almost deserted, with this being Byron there was plenty of surfers out on the water and it was great to watch their varying luck in catching the waves.
Despite both of us wanting to stay for longer, with lots of driving ahead we said our goodbyes to Byron and hit the road. We again decided to break up our journey with a visit to Port Macquarie, albeit briefly this time.
After parking at Taking Point Lighthouse, we took a much needed walk around the headland, admiring the beautiful views along the coastline in either direction.
Keen to make the most of the sunshine, we followed the path down steep steps to the vast Lighthouse Beach before returning back to the car.
Managing to avoid any public holiday weekend traffic jams, we arrived back in Sydney in the early evening, after what had been a great weekend in Byron Bay.