Australian holidays: Never make this mistake in Byron Bay

Your first kiss (“did you eat cheese and chips?”). Your first flat tire (“hi, is this NRMA?”). Your first festival at 28 (“what are you doing here?”).

There are many embarrassing “befores and afters” in life, and for me, a two-week summer odyssey on the east coast – from Sydney to Byron Bay, via Crescent Head – was one of them.

Here are the worst mistakes I made while traveling and how to fix them.

Choose the right crew

You can’t have everything in life. However, I’m a big believer in trying, and that’s why I invited my girlfriend, my brother, and my best friend on this trip.

Unfortunately the romance quickly fizzled out when my friend and brother started drinking beers and “battle rapping” in the back of the car while my girlfriend and I tried to focus on navigating and driving. All eight hours.

When they started kicking our seats and asking “are we there yet?” we felt like we were 20 years old and a married couple with two insufferable kids.

Don’t drink too many margaritas (especially if your campsite doesn’t have drinking water)

I don’t want to get too dramatic, but I still suspect that halfway through this trip, my girlfriend tried to kill me.

As? Depriving me of water. Why? Well, I’ve had too many very salty margaritas, I’ve had a giggle in the sand dunes, I’ve crawled around like Leonardo DiCaprio after too many Quaaludes in the Wolf of Wall StreetI challenged my brother to a wrestling match (and submitted brutally), felt wonderfully at peace with the world, and then returned to the campsite thirsty, only to find that my girlfriend had left the beach in disgust , had prepared dinner and so we used most of our drinking water to wash our dishes.

The audacity! The solution? Buy a good water tank. Or don’t be an idiot like me.

Discuss “comfort” expectations before you leave

Apparently, my 6’4” partner and 6’2” brother are a bit delicate. While my girlfriend and I are happy to save money and hurry up, eating pasta with jarred sauce every evening and shrugging our shoulders at brown snakes, my brother and friend yelled at the wildlife, complained about the food ( constantly demanding that we take them into town “to get a bacon sandwich”) and groaned every morning as the sun slowly baked them in their tents.

Don’t try to regain your youth

True to the spirit of trying to do everything, we decided to go to a music festival (Falls) on New Year’s Eve. This was epic in theory. A surf trip and a festival. What could go wrong? It all started well (the face painting was amazing). But without proper accommodation to return to, being woken up at 7am on January 1st, in a soggy field in Mullumbimby, with the sun turning our tents into infrared saunas, after quite a long night, was brutal.

No wonder the slogan throughout our trip was, “Let’s get the fuck out of here.”

Don’t bring a cheap old tent

My friend learned this the hard way, at 3am, on our way back to our campsite from the festival, feeling – as one feels on New Year’s Eve – single and alone, only to find that his tent was flooded, and now it should have been stuffed into my brother’s loot. Then she had the audacity to complain about my brother’s snoring (while he supposedly “put his smelly feet in my face,” as my brother complained).

Don’t expect fast service from small town bakeries

I waited 20 minutes for a coffee and pastry in Mullumbimby on New Year’s Day. I am not joking. It turned out that the boy had “forgotten the pastry”.

Dedicate a few days to yourself, preferably not in a tent

Just when we were all starting to get tired of each other, the idea I had to book a couple of nights for me and my girlfriend in Byron Bay paid off. It’s never been so nice to take a shower (and some peace and quiet). It’s a shame that the “private apartment” we booked turned out to be a room in a shared house.

Don’t pay $80 to camp in people’s backyards

Is there anything creepier than an Airbnb host who’s a little too friendly? Try an Airbnb host who advertises their backyard as accommodation (and then invites you in for a shower). Even though our guests turned out to be legends, after a while their constant interruptions started to get tiresome. For $80 a night, you can also spend $20 more and stay in a hostel.

Don’t move every couple of days

While a change of scenery is nice, packing and unpacking quickly drives you crazy, as you become messier and less organized at every single campsite you leave.

Don’t “chill” in Byron Bay

While Byron Bay may aggressively warn you to “relax!” with a big sign as you enter, you must be turned on to enjoy. When, for example, I showed up at the pub at 2pm to meet some friends, I was refused entry because I didn’t have any ID. What is this, Las Vegas? To add insult to injury, there were kids running around, eating pizza and playing inside.

What does it give? And to think that people say Sydney is overly policed. I’ve never met more bouncers on a power trip in my life…

Don’t always be the designated driver

Share the load. Otherwise you will resent it. I learned this the hard way as I followed an increasingly cheerful group of friends around Byron, feeling very sorry for myself.

Expect the unexpected

We also got scared as we walked along the beach and found a Byron house on the beach with what looked like an orangutan enclosure in the garden. It turned out to be for some kind of bird. Yet, terrifying.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew in surfing

After miscalculating the rock jump at Lennox Head, I broke off half my left nipple. It’s not funny.

Make a real Esky

Otherwise when you stay in remote campsites you will find yourself having to make constant trips into town to buy food. So it’s worth buying an Esky you trust.

Bring enough chairs

Otherwise you will constantly argue about who gets to sit on the floor.

Bring a beach hut

Along with my car awning, this was our saving grace. Sitting here drinking margaritas at Crescent Head (until the accident) was the undisputed highlight of the trip. Plus: the cabana probably saved me from third degree burns.

This article originally appeared on Escape and is republished with permission

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