Mar
20
2009

Kayaking with dolphins, having our “auras” photographed at Crystal Castle in the hinterland and laying a few bets on the gee-gees at a pub with ocean views wasn’t exactly the sort of blend I had in mind for a boys’ weekend, but hey, we were in Byron Bay and it was a case of doing as the Romans do … well, some of them, anyway.

Our weekend launched the moment we touched down on the Gold Coast at Coolangatta. We hooked ourselves up with a Toyota Aurion after snapping up the hottest deal at DriveNow with Hertz emerging the winner on this particular search mission. Three blokes with a thirst for adventure and a boozy weekend in mind headed south and the party was up and away.

Spirit of adventure

While exploring Byron Bay, hitting the beach, entertainment, eateries and nearby hinterland only a short drive away was the name of the game, reaching the destination is a leisurely one hour drive direct from Coolangatta along the Pacific Highway, but we detoured to a Crystal Castle (www.crystalcastle.com.au) set in the hinterland only 20 minutes or so in a westerly direction from Byron. Crystal Castle aura photo: Energised to the max!
This was an ideal way to hit all the right R&R buttons before playing hard in town – Crystal Castle is an enchanting place with mystical statues, an ancient labyrinth walk and amazing gardens. Then there’s the thousands of crystals, a cool cafe for lunch, books of wisdom to peruse, tarot card readings, and an opportunity to catch a snap of your aura and see what your energy fields are up to.

A place to party

Once in town, our destination of choice was the Oasis Resort and a tree-top house, only a stone’s throw from all the action in town. For food, don’t miss the O’Sushi Train for a fresh lunch, Belongil Beach Cafe for breakys or lunches (and amazing beach views!), and Balcony Bar and Restaurant in the city’s heart for a great evening meal. Other than that, The Beach Hotel (www.beachhotel.com.au), formerly owned by the legendary Aussie actor/comedian “Strop”, was our second home for food, betting on the TAB, great beers and superb entertainment – Sunday session is a must do, especially with its amazing Pacific Ocean waterfront views. Other cool nightspots include Liquid, Lalaland and Cheeky Monkey’s. If you find the time, visit Stone & Wood Brewery (www.stoneandwood.com.au) where three blokes share their love of beer, music and surf and are living the dream.

Paddle power

For boys’ weekend, I cannot recommend a better hangover cure or travel adventure experience as kayaking with the dolphins, turtles, stingrays and/or whales thanks to the gang at Cape Byron Kayaks (www.capebyronkayaks.com). Owner Alice and crew take you on an ocean safari for between 2 and 3 hours and it’s an exhilirating experience you can’t forget. We learnt a little history about Byron Bay, frolicked with the marine life, surfed a wave back to shore and shared a beer or 10 with Alice at the Beachy (hotel) for what was the highlight of the weekend.

For driving adventure it’s an 8 out of 10 in this part of the world.

For a boys weekend, it’s a 9.

10 words: Sun, sand, spiritual, relaxed, views, crowded, backpackers, hippies, chilled, adventure.

AUSTIN BONHAM