Oh Byron Bay! – Tips & Recommendations for my Favourite Place in Australia (?)

Byron is for sure a magical place. I can’t really tell if it’s my favourite as I also loved Bondi Beach in Sydney a lot and I had one of the best times in Melbourne with my first friends, as well as on my Surf Camp and the Sunshine Coast has a special place in my heart as well, but it’s on the top list for sure.

I want to tell you about the best places to go to, what to do, where to eat, to shop and to stay in Byron as well as do a little diary and story-telling from the three times and 10 days in total that I spend in Byron Bay.

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The first time I went there was with my cousin travelling from Sydney to Brisbane together when she visited me for three weeks. We spend three days there and that was the first time I fell in love for a bit.

When my parents visited me for three weeks over Christmas and New Year’s and we travelled down the East Coast from Cairns to Sydney we also stopped in Byron for one night and even though it was suuuper crowded (because it was holiday season), we fell in love all over.

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My third (and probably last time for now) was on my own. Perfect summer weather, great people in my dorm and I had 6 super fun days. I didn’t spend one day alone and it was nice to hang out with others 24/7 after lots of me-time in Sydney and Newcastle.

I could not have been luckier with my 10-bed-dorm as I had 5 people in there, that I can call my friends now. A German and a Spanish girl and three boys from Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands. We had lots of fun times at the beach, walking to the lighthouse for sunrise or sunset, surfing and playing in the waves, playing cards and drinking games at the beach, picnicking with the best view over the beach and the lighthouse and getting some amazing food from the awesome food places Byron has to offer, watching movies at the hostel, partying and having midnight pizza and crêpes – it was a wonderful time that I’ll keep in my memories forever.

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Where to Stay

Hostel I stayed at the Nomads Hostel for 6 nights because it is pretty cheap and super well located. Right in the centre, 3 minutes to the beach, one to Aldi, 4 minutes to Woolworths, it’s not the cleanest but still fine, the rooms and common areas are big and nice and they offer a lot of free activities, food etc. Also, the breakfast is great (toast, sweet spreads, cornflakes and fruit! Which is not common).

AirBnB With my cousin I stayed in a really nice Airbnb that is around 8 minutes by bus or 12 minutes by Bike from the city centre. It’s not that much more expensive than a hostel and it was really nice. I am sure there are a ton of cute Airbnb’s around Byron but you need to book early, especially in the season because Byron is a popular town.

Campground When I was travelling with my family, we stayed at the campground in Byron (20 minutes by foot to the centre), Belongil Fields Caravan Park, which I cannot recommend at all. It was the most expensive one we stayed at and the worst of all. No warm water to shower, super small spaces and just not worth the money at all. They know that people will book it because it is one of two near Byron and Tourists need to stay somewhere, but it’s sad that they don’t make an effort at all. Especially for the money they take.

Where to Shop

Cowper St is the main street in Byron and there are lots of restaurants, bars, cafés and of course shops, as well as in the streets branching off from it. You can find the main brands and surf/bikini stores there, but also some beautiful small and unique boutiques that sell wonderful, boho clothes, furniture, accessories and more. I fell in love with so many pieces, but it can get pretty expensive in these small stores.

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Where to Eat

I luckily got to try a few nice restaurants, cafés and bistros in Byron and everything I had was just amazing. Byron really has a lot of great places that are unique and have a lot of charm.

No Bones is a completely vegan gourmet restaurant and cocktail bar where I probably had the best vegan burger in my life as well as an amazing peach parfait and blueberry cheesecake for dessert. Their local Kambucha was really yummy as well and the waitresses were very friendly. Overall the restaurant just had an amazing alternative but still elevated vibe and I can only recommend going there. My brother really liked the burger as well and my dad was in love with the vegan pawns he had. This place is really amazing to show non-vegan/veggie people how good kind food can be.

Combi Café is one of these beautiful, hip and boho cafés where you can get Acai Bowls, Avo toast, Smoothies and all that good stuff. The interior is a dream and my breakfast was as well. I had a vegan toasty with avo, vegan cheese, spinach, pumpkin and olive oil between sourdough that was amazing and the best vegan muffin I ever had with pear, lots of cinnamon, chia seeds, dried figs and nuts.

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Orgasmic Falafel When you are lucky, this place is giving out sample falafels on the main street to taste and we went there one night to get takeaway vegan pita’s with hummus, falafel, some veggies and a nice sauce to bring to the beach. The falafels are so crispy and probably the best ones I ever ate and the boys I was with also loved the vegan pitas.

Miss Margarita is a Mexican restaurant on the main street close to the beach and I was told it is the highest ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor. It took pretty long to get a table so I would recommend reserving before, but it was so worth it. The place is not just super unique and has a great Mexican vintage vibe, the food was really amazing too. I had a zucchini and mushroom Burrito and it was definitely the best one I ever had. Such a great flavour and the combo of roasted zucchini and mushrooms was amazing.

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Crêpes There is a very popular crêpe place at Spar in Byron and you literally see hundreds of people eating them every day on the streets. So we obviously needed to try them and we didn’t get disappointed. Crêpes are pretty expensive in Australia compared to Europe but we got a strawberry one with dark chocolate and it was so good. Super creamy, still cross and the combo of warm melted chocolate and fresh strawberries is just a dream.

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Acai Obviously I needed to have Acai before/in between a hot beach day and literally every café/shop sells them. They cost around 13-16$ but there was one place that had them for 10$. It wasn’t the best one I had, but still good and because they used lots of muesli to fill up the bowl, it made you full for longer.

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Fresh Coconuts Many places also sell fresh coconuts, but there is a guy at the main beach that sells really amazing fresh cocos. He freshly cuts them open for you, has paper straws and when you finished the water he cuts them completely open and cuts the coconut meat out so that you can eat it as well. It was the first time for me trying a fresh coconut and I already love the store bought coconut water, but this one was a dream!

Other great places that I want to go to next time are Folk and Byron Bay General Store.

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What to do

There a plenty of things to do in and around Byron Bay. The most popular ones are day trips to Nimbin (the weed Mecca in Australia), diving and snorkelling, kayaking with dolphins, hiring surfboards, stand up paddle boards or kayaks and walking to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse walk should be a must for everyone visiting Byron Bay as it is super famous and beautiful. Not just at the destination, but also the way up and down. Especially when you take the walk at the coast/beach and not through the rainforest or at the street (even though they are shorter). First, you walk along the main beach, then up some small hills to get to Wategos beach, which is a dream for surfers in the morning and then some more hills until you arrive at the most easterly point of the Australian mainland and head to the lighthouse. If you are lucky you can spot turtles, dolphins or whales in the ocean and especially around sunrise and sunset the light is beautiful. I did the hike twice at daytime, once for sunset and once for sunrise and it was always a great experience. Especially when you can jump in the refreshing water afterwards to cool down again.

The beaches in/around Byron are super beautiful and as they are pretty big/long you can always find a nice calm spot to relax. The water has an amazing temperature, just right to stay in for long but still cold enough to cool you down and the waves are great to play and jump in. If you go at the right time and to the right spots surfing is great as well, I just wasn’t lucky to experience that…If you walk down the main road until the end you find the main beach to your right side and the dog beach to your left (both beautiful), a bit further along the coast in the direction of the lighthouse is Wategos Beach and Tallow Beach on the other side of the cap is wonderful as well and super empty.

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It was always my dream to ride a horse at the beach and not far from Byron Bay, at Seven Mile beach it is possible. I booked a two-hour beach ride with Sea Horses Byron Bay and I can highly recommend them. I got the chance to help the owner making the horses ready and driving them to the beach as well as helping with the “after-riding-work” bringing them home, showering and feeding them. Most horses are rescued from the meat industry and live a wonderful life in a big open forest space now. You can tell that the owner really loves them by how she cares for them. They look super healthy, have a wonderful, spacious and natural home, get great food and get pauses from riding regularly. I spend almost the whole day on the ranch and riding and had an awesome and fun experience. It costs 140$ which is a lot, but after seeing how well the horses get looked after, I can say that it was totally worth it.

They say that surfing is awesome in Byron Bay. Especially when you go in the morning and know some nice spots with great waves, but I sadly didn’t get the chance. The Nomads hostel rents surfboards as well as many shops in the city and near the beach.

Nightlife is great in Byron, but a little different than in other backpacker hotspots. There are two clubs (Woodie’s and Cheeky Monkeys) where you can party every night and a lot of cool bars with live music, but Byron Bay is more about the street artists that are playing everywhere on the streets and especially at the park at the main beach. You get an amazing view over the beach, sea and lighthouse and can listen to some wonderful musicians while picnicking, drinking or playing card games with friends. There is also a van that does a silent disco at the beach with headphones which is super fun.

Near the Arts Centre in the western part if Byron there is a Yoga Retreat place that does daily yoga lessons taught by future yoga teachers that are practising teaching for only 5$ for 90 minutes, which is super cheap.

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Breakfast at the beach with my family

I’ve been three times and I still want to go back because there is still cafés I haven’t tried, waves I haven’t caught and beach days to enjoy… Byron is a dream and I can only recommend to go there if you love this beautiful alternative hippie vibe!

 

 

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My Medicine Bag and Practical Things every Backpacker Needs

Before you start travelling longterm you think about what you could need. What situations are likely to happen. And what is actually necessary to carry around.

But you are never fully prepared, you never think about ALL the things that are actually handy to have and obviously, everyone’s needs and focus is different as well.

So with this blog post I want to show you a few things I am really glad to have with me and are actually approved by 6 months of travelling (so far). And I’ll also show you the insides of my medicine bag that is very minimalistic but still holds everything I need on hand (because everything special can be bought when you actually need it).

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My Medicine Bag

I don’t get sick very often and I don’t think it’s necessary to travel with a lot of medicine on hand. You can always buy something when you actually need it and that’s far better than carrying everything for every situation with you around. You won’t need it all. There is no need to be prepared for everything.

Obviously, it depends on where you are travelling and what you are doing and you need to adjust your medicine bag from country to country (and person to person).

This is just an idea of what I took with me for one year of backpacking through Australia.

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  • Bandages. I’ve got way to many with me! I don’t even remember when the last time was that I needed one…
  • Nurofen Painkillers for Teens. They still work for me when I have a headache, so I still use them. I try to always use the minimum amount possible (while still taking what is necessary).
  • Strong Painkillers. Never needed one, but it’s good to have some on hand in an emergency and then I can buy more if necessary.
  • Eyedrops. For minor infections, itchy eyes or too much salt water in eyes.
  • Anti-Diarrhoea tablets. In a new country with new food… you never know.
  • Nose spray. A little cold can always surprise you, especially after flying or strong changes in the weather.
  • Throathies. Having an itchy throat is so annoying and happens so quickly when you are in cold Aircon air a lot. (Not in the picture bc already used up…)
  • Homeopathic Globuli. I know, not everyone is a fan of stuff like that, but my family is into that stuff and it doesn’t hurt to take these to help your body and feel better.

My mom helped me decide what to take and she also made a sheet with when to take which Globuli. We always buy all our medicine at an online pharmacy* and until now I only had to buy Nose spray (bc I didn’t take any with me – I don’t know why) and some caught medicine because I had a cold from the cold shopping centres.

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Practical Things for Backpackers

Along my travels, there were a few things that ended up being super handy and some other things that I felt like missing and bought. So here are the things that I find really handy as a Backpacker and some of them, you might not think about yourself when packing.

Besides that, I obviously also have a lot of other handy things with me. Here you can see What’s in my Backpack for longterm travelling through Australia.

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  • Reusable Water Bottle. To always have something to drink with you. Never pay any money for water and save the earth from plastic.
  • Cotton Shopping Bag. As a beach bag, handbag, for plastic-free shopping…
  • Tupperware Containers. To store leftover food or for cheap & healthy meals on the go.

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  • Spices. To make your food taste like something and because most hostels only have salt. Cinnamon for sweets. Turmeric because it’s healthy. And the All Purpose Seasoning contains mostly salt, paprika, garlic and some other herbs and makes every savoury dish really yummy (and it’s so easy!).

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  • Mueslie Bar. I always carry a safety bar with me when I go out for a whole day. You never know when you need some extra energy and it’s not always worth spending money on takeaway food.

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  • Pen.
  • Headphones.
  • Baby wipes. Or hand sanitiser for disgusting phones, hands or…
  • Cream. For dry skin and lips especially.
  • Vitamin B12. For veggies.
  • Multivitamin. I don’t take them daily, but here and there if I feel like I am not getting all the nutrients I need through my diet.
  • Ohropax. For hostel rooms or loud aeroplane rides.
  • Playing cards. It’s always fun to play some cards with friends and it’s a great way to make new friends in hostels.

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I hope you found this blog post helpful and you got some ideas for things to not forget on your own travels!

Am I missing anything in your opinion? What do you take with you?

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* This post is sponsored by shop-apotheke.com. Everything I say and recommend is still 100% honest and true to what I have with me / use.

Why I couldn’t be a Full-Time Nomad – Things I Miss about Home

I have many homes now. I call everywhere I go home. If it’s a hostel bed, friends couch, camper bed or my own room. As long as I feel comfortable and have my stuff with me I feel good.

And even when I leave Australia there is a place that I’ll call home forever. The Sunshine Coast with my AuPair family. This place and these people will stay in my heart forever.

But there are definitely things that I miss about my real home. Germany. My parent’s house. And about having a constant home base.

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The Nomadic life is great and I love it. I enjoy it a lot to have the freedom to go places, see friends, move again if I am not happy and travel where my heart leads me, but through the 6 months that I have been doing that now I discovered that this couldn’t be my life forever.

I love it, BUT I also love having a set home. So in this blog post I want to talk about a few things that I miss about Germany, my home and the „normal“ life and why. Maybe for you to understand that the settled down life has its advantages as well and for you and me to remember and appreciate when we are not travelling.

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  • Having your family and friends around you. No need to constantly make friends with new people, meet new people. To be around people you know, that know you and that you trust.

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  • Knowing your way around. I love exploring new places, but it is always most exciting when you finally can put your map in your bag and stop constantly checking on google maps if you are still on the right way. It’s great to know the best places to shop and know how to get around with public transport easily.

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  • Having a routine. Daily and weekly routines make me more productive, organised, feel safe and comfortable which can be great. But I obviously would never miss the curiosity of new challenges, changes and new adventures.

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  • Staying on track with your goals and plans. It can be hard to continue good habits and work on your goals while travelling. You get distracted, you want to explore and experience and you’re not in your usual environment. So it might be a bit harder to eat healthily, work out and work as you are used to.

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  • Having everything you need. I am definitely not a person that needs a lot of material things. I am fine with the few T-Shirts that I carry around with me and only use one soap bar to wash my hair, body and face. But there are a few things that are wonderful to have. Your own comfy bed, no snorers, fresh air and nobody distracting you while sleeping. Your clean kitchen with all the utensils you need and nobody in your way while cooking. A clean bathroom where you don’t need to wear flip flops or clean the toilet before you use it.

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  • Your own space. Walking around naked, throwing your clothes on the flow when you come home late at night, cooking only in a shirt, singing out loud or listening to loud music, only wearing underwear while getting ready –  all the things you can do when you have your own space.

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And a few small things that I miss:

  • German bread. The sourdough bread here can be really yummy, but sometimes I just miss my super grainy, moist fresh bakery bread from home.
  • My cat. I miss her so much. Miss her cuddles, her talking, snoring. Just her being around.
  • Some real German food. Sauerkraut, red cabbage, German dumplings, Schupfnudeln, Spätzle… sometimes that’s just really nice. Especially when my grandma cooked it.
  • Family gatherings. I am always so sad when I miss family gatherings. Christmas, Easter, birthdays or just for no reason… I love sitting together and talking with my grandparents, aunts & uncles and my cousin and eating yummy food together. And also my aunt & uncle just adopted a foster child and I haven’t got the chance to meet her yet :(

 

  • Sauna. We have a sauna at home and I missed the snuggly Sunday evenings.
  • Food Testing & Photography. I miss my pretty bowls and dishes, decoration, ingredients, supplies and the time to try out new recipes, experiment in the kitchen and take pretty food pictures from it… but I am still cooking: Easy, Cheap, Healthy Dinner Recipes – Perfect for Backpackers

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But there is something that would combine the two – being on the go, travelling, exploring and having a home, a cozy place where you don’t need to move from: camper life!

I’ve done several camper road trips and vacations with my parents already and last week I did my first one with a friend renting the little camper myself. We had a lot of fun, a great little cozy place for us and everything with us all the time.

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And if it’s your own camper you can even pimp it and make it extra cozy and cute with your own things, decoration and nicely renovated.

I definitely want to own a camper myself at some stage in my life to travel Europe in a little home on wheels and also do some other van trips on the West Coast of Australia and through north and south America.

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What do you love and dislike about Travelling? What do you miss when longterm Travelling?