Being A Beach Bum Up The Australian Coast

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Alright folks. I just spent four days basically as a beach bum, and now I am starting to realize why Australian’s seem much more “chill”. 

I took advantage of my four day weekends here in Sydney and backpacked it up the coast, starting with Byron Bay and finishing at Surfer’s Paradise in the Gold coast.


Day 1: Friday in Byron Bay

Yes, I am a morning person, but I am human. Anytime the alarm has to be earlier than 6:30AM, I struggle rolling out at bed just as much as the night owl. Anna and I had a 7AM flight out of Sydney to Ballina, meaning we had to wake up around 5:15 to get to the airport in time. Thankfully, everything went smoothly and we met the two other girls we were traveling with at the gate with plenty of time to spare. 

This is when I clasp my hands together in a prayer and thank GOD for Australian coffee.

Hostel stay

Hostel stay

We landed in Ballina around 9AM, to catch an Uber to Byron Bay. Our driver - Allison  - was a local, and gave us great tips/recommendations as we drove into town, as well as sharing positive life advice to us four girls. I enjoyed the conversation so much that I will be designating an independence episode post to her in the near future :)

We arrived at the Backpacker’s Inn, still with the clock showing it was morning (where I felt like it was way past noon). This was my first time staying in a hostel and I was slightly nervous, considering I am a germ freak. But the inn was clean, friendly, and we ended up in a private room with our two other friends - making the “hostel experience” just a little bit more luxurious  ;).

I grew up going to a tiny beach town, but something about Byron screamed “COASTLINE” much more than Stone Harbor ever has. It may be because a lot of people were walking around the shops barefoot or because it took two seconds to step foot in sand. Back home, so many houses fill up the streets, that our actual “beach town” is a few blocks back from the waves. Needless to say, Byron Bay’s ~relaxed~ vibe was very addicting. 

There are a lot of trails that spiral through the coast of Byron, and we spent the rest of the day walking up to The Pass and the lighthouse, detouring through Watego Beach to see as much as we could. As we made it to the most Eastern point in Australia, we encountered not one, but TWO brown snakes. If you don’t know anything about brown snakes, do me a favor and google it. According to our zoololigst Anna ( 😉), they are the most deadliest snakes in the WORLD. And we saw two…just causally sunbathing in our path. Nbd. 

For lunch, I was recommended that we check our Combi. It was exactly what I wanted, and with their vegan cheesecake, my sensitive tummy was happy. One of the best things about Oz? I never have to worry about my dietary needs...EVER. 

20k+ steps later, we made our way back into town around 4PM, exhausted and hungry. Anna and I feasted on a poke bowl (very fitting for the ocean) and decided to make our way back to the hostel to…sleep. Yes, we were in bed by 6PM. (But we were getting up for the sunrise, so it was okay).

**I have so many photos so I made a gallery show below for Day 1. Click through (literally click the photo below) to see all the photos**

Day 2: Byron to Gold Coast

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Nothing makes me happier than being awake before the world. Our alarms rang around 5AM to remind us to roll out of bed and watch mother nature’s greatest show. When I watch the sun rise, I feel humbled. We are such a small speck on this great, magnificent planet. We should take the time to sit, and appreciate it more.

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With a full heart, Anna and I headed back to grab our stuff, to make it back again to the sand. Our other friend Anna, (apparently I have a thing for red heads named Anna??), was arriving in Byron that morning and we wanted to wait and eat breakfast once she arrived. We laid on the beach for a bit with our coffees in hand, soaking in the stunning scenery. Anna suggested I take a moment to honor my momma. Her favorite place in the world was our little beach town back in the States. I know she would have loved to experience an Australian beach, so I took a moment to say hello and show her a small part of this journey I am on. 

Once Macaluso (srry Anna’s, I gotta differentiate the two of you) arrived, we ate at Bay Leaf, where Shutley and I shared a delicious sweet potato flatbread. I tried their coconut brew since google reviews were raving about it. I give it a 9/10…I am not hard to please ;)

The rest of the day in Byron consisted of beach time, and browsing the shops. Our bus to the Gold Coast took off around 4:30, giving us a chance to recharge before the big night out in ~vegas~.

**click through gallery for more photos**

We arrived in Surfer’s Paradise and found our airBNB quite effortlessly (thankful for that!). Our accommodation overlooked the skyline across a beautiful lake - doesn’t get much better than that eh? As we were walking the streets, looking for a dinner place, a kind young sir explained to us a deal he was running with the clubs around the area. Since we didn’t really have much planned here in the Gold Coast, we took him up on it and spent the night exploring the night life. Absolutely worth it, but old soul Emma was happy to fall into bed…especially since the day started quite early :)

Day 3: Sunday in Surfer’s Paradise

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With the sun shining through the windows, I woke up, looking at my clock and realizing that YA GIRL SLEPT IN TILL 9!!!! I also was able to catch a FT chat with my sister while my niece’s first birthday was happening. It was great to see everyone - and that is where my grandfather expressed his interest in my blog. Y’all, feedback keeps me going with this sharing thing!! 

A quick shoutout to my grandfather for reminding me to update my blog :) Love you Bob Bob!

The two Anna’s and I found a yummy brekky at the Knox cafe, before heading over to the…wait for it…a CAT CAFE. I lost my dear cat earlier this summer so its an understatement when I say I am cat deprived. I’ve always heard of these places in Japan and LA - so I had to check it out. For 25 mins, I got to cuddle and play with cats. Sunday… made.

Since we were at Surfer’s Paradise, it was essential we checked out these beaches too. We laid out for a couple of hours as I let my skin absorb all of that vitamin D. This is where I had my realization about Australian’s being so relaxed. Heck, if I lived right by the shore, I’d feel pretty zen with those waves crashing too!

Later in the evening, as the sunset, we walked the beach front markets. There is just something magical about being apart of the transition to day to night. If you haven’t gathered, I was feeling pretty good during this whole trip.

**click through gallery for more photos**

Day 4: Bye Gold Coast

Another sunrise? You betcha. We got up again to watch the sunrise, this time on the Gold Coast. We were able to see that hot ball of air rise against the horizon. I couldn’t help myself - I was singing ‘Circle of Life’ loudly with no shame. You just can’t fight those things ya know?

**click through gallery for more photos**

Our flight was until mid afternoon, so we spent the morning indulging in a delicious breakfast. I finally got a matcha latte and it was heaven. Mrs Fulton - if you are reading this, I thought of you when I ordered it :). We had breakfast at SandBar, which was a cafe right on the shoreline. Australian’s sure know how to do brekky with a view!


As I sit here, organizing for the week ahead, I couldn’t help but think of what trips like this teach you. And now, I want to share. Too often, I fall in the trap of wanting to please everyone around me and DO everything around me. This weekend, I relaxed, I reflected, I took in the stunning scenery around me. It was rejuvenating as I was able to take a second and back away from my daily activities and look at my life from a third position. It is important to figure out what is a priority to you, and stick to it. Surround yourself with people that have positive, uplifting energy…understand the previous value of time…and find gratitude.

Thanks for listening to my Ted Talk.

TravelEmma Ecklin