In the morning, after a totally unsatisfying breakfast, we get in the car and continue our drive up the coast. Today’s drive is even more beautiful than yesterdays and we stop at several lovely spots on the way. There are some historic towns that have been carefully restored and offer interesting spots to stop for a break.
As this is Australia (my prejudice coming to the fore) there are also some homes that are not quite so tasteful:
Somewhat later than planned we arrive at Byron Bay our destination for the night. Once again we have selected a bed and breakfast based on the reports on Trip Advisor, and once again you can color me disappointed.
The bed and breakfast boasts a small unpaved parking lot. It has been raining heavily and the lot is partly underwater and very muddy. There is a particularly large puddle separating the car park from the path to the house. Tim is our host and being a bright young Australian he has realised the problem and has attempted to solve it. He has placed a four inch wide plank of wood across the puddle. Unfortunately he underestimated the size of the puddle and the plank is several feet too short. This means a leap has to be made from the dryer ground to the plank. If you haven’t tried leaping on to a 4 inch plank of wood with a large suitcase in one hand and a computer bag in the other, I am here to tell you that it is fraught with danger. Crossing the narrow plank is not that easy either. Did I also mention that it is pitch black and there is no lighting.
And then there is the room. What is it about minimalism and Bed and Breakfast establishments? Is this an Australian thing? Maybe there is a different standard in Australia for Bed and Breakfast places. Tim has taken minimalism and given it a twist. He has added rustic to the look. Rustic minimalism may be a new term but it is not a good look. What furniture there is, and there is very little, is all made of pine. There is one bed, two bedside tables and a TV stand / bookcase. There is no TV and there are no books. But there is a place to put them should Tim ever decide to upgrade. Meanwhile his interior designer has had the clever idea of attaching a rail underneath the top shelf and Tim has added six hangers. So it is one up on our last place – it does have a wardrobe.
Breakfast is an improvement too. Although not much of one. Here the fruit is fresh, the cereal and breads unlimited, and in a final sign of unfettered generosity Tim has added freshly baked muffins to the menu which are, it has to be said, quite tasty. Tim rather grandly refers to it as buffet style. I would call it “help yourself”. It does however sink to a new low when Tim requests that we place our dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
We are staying two nights in this fair establishment to allow ourselves plenty of time to explore Byron Bay and its surrounds. Byron Bay is the iconic beach resort in Australia, famed for its beaches and its beautiful setting, and once we see it we can understand why.
The fabulosity meter is ringing loud and clear. If Port Macquarie was the Ellen Degeneres of resorts this is the Mick Jagger. It is full of life, loud and boisterous with a swagger that promises fun days and wild nights. There is more than a hint of free sex and expensive drugs. It is packed and almost everyone is under thirty. We have just left Palm Springs, California where almost everyone is over seventy. They are like the Yin and Yang of resort towns.
This is a surfing town and they start them young:
And from a personal point of view, I am delighted to see that not everyone has to have the perfect body. There is a small group of surfers who call themselves “The fat boys from Perth”
After a fun day we return to our bed and breakfast and are shocked to find our room untouched. The bed hasn’t been made, nor has the bathroom been cleaned. Is this normal for Australia? We have no idea?
Just in case you think we have brought all this on ourselves by being cheap, you might be right. We certainly were not looking at more expensive options. But this place is $150 a night and for that we expect our bathroom to be cleaned. We go to Trip Advisor to take another look and discover that Tim’s rating has dropped from number one to number five in the bed and breakfast category. It will drop even more by the time I have finished with it.
However our accommodation does nothing to diminish my new found appreciation of Australia. The drive has been stunning and we have seen many places we would happily return to. But there is still the problem of the people. In all fairness I have to say that many have been charming. But once outside of the big cities they can be a little frightening. We passed through small towns where everyone wore big oversized dungarees and dirty T shirts. The men had huge unkempt beards and the occasional woman did too. It doesn’t take much to be reminded that all of them are descendants of criminals. It is a classless society and by that I mean they have no class.
Last time I voiced my opinion on the Australian people, I got into a lot of trouble. So this time I thought I would let the photos do the talking. Here are just a couple to make my point.
Below is a lovely couple who are delighted the rain has stopped and the sun has come out. They thought they would take the opportunity to lie down in a parking lot and have a little cuddle.
Then there is the household that thought they would try and make money from the only asset they had. Notice the tastefully refined wording:
With that I will leave you for a while. Next stop is Papua New Guinea and I am not sure when I will be able to post the blog – but sooner or later it will arrive on your computer