When travelling to iconic destinations, it’s easy to take in the hotspots and miss the places concealed behind the bushes or beyond the next hill, where lie the nuances that make a visit a more memorable experience. I’ve discovered such places by poking my beak around the backstreets of Byron Bay, which I’ve written about here. Here’s three more backstreet things to do in Byron Bay.
Byron Bay’s train line, which carves through the countryside behind an explosive border of forest, a block or two behind the main road, stopped running in 2004. There are a few people that explore this neglected pocket of town, although many locals I’ve spoken to haven’t given it much thought. A good entry point is behind the newly appointed cafe, The Roadhouse, on the corner of Bangalow Road and Old Bangalow Road.
I’ve walked both ways and the line gets pretty wild in places. Handsome, unkempt countryside, large fallen trees, barbed wire fences, waterfalls hidden under thick kingdoms of grass, hobos, snakes and half rotten bridges are some of the things you’ll see on this old train line. It’s a swashbuckling adventure that’ll take you to the fringes of Byron’s homeless underworld. Highly recommended.
Ride to Mullumbimby
Jump on a pushy (colloquial Australian for bicycle) and head north along Byron’s well groomed cycle tracks. At the edge of town the tracks stop and you’ll be skirting the highway as cars fly past. Turn right towards Myocum (where the real fun starts) and weave your way past hefty cows, heritage homes and up and down numerous hills through kilometres of pulchritudinous countryside.
Myocum hosts some striking scenery and is a good shortcut to Mullumbimby. Bring some water, a heart for adventure and keep in mind there’s a golf course at the end if you’re up for a whack. When I first arrived in town, I would ride to Mullumbimby Golf Course this way (about 20 kilometres), play nine holes, then head to Lulu’s Café (my favourite café in Mullumbimby) for a coffee and some live music. A splendid day out.
Nocturnal bike ride over Tallow Creek bridge
This is an exceptionally atmospheric journey that reveals the town’s more mysterious face, in the quite reeds by moonlight. If you’re in town, head south towards Suffolk Park and pass Byron Bay High School, use lights and a helmet. Just past the turn off to Bangalow Road, turn left and follow a path towards Tallow Creek. Now turn your lights off and glide through the unkempt darkness towards the bridge.
Stop on the bridge and watch the water, listen to the wind and take in the sky. Be silent for about 30 minutes for full appreciative effect, then continue over the bridge and wind through the dark forest, feeling blind yet liberated, until you slowly enter civilisation. Turn your lights back on and make your way through Suffolk Park towards the town pub for a well earned beer.
Watch out for bush turkeys, dogs and wayward wanderers.
Can you suggest any other backstreet things to do in Byron Bay?