As you all know, Christmas at home is usually celebrated inside with the heating cranked up to eleven. Not for us this year, we were off to the beautiful Byron Bay! Thankfully we were only a short hop down and found the time to head to Woolies and stock up on all the Christmas essentials - meat, beer and goon. We didn't die/get pulled over in the van of death and made it to Byron in time to spend a couple of hours on the beach. It's a hard life, eh?
Then it was back to the van for dinner (meat) and drinks. We set up our lovely aussie Christmas tree - isn't it enormous? That's what she said
Of course Chris had his cooler, a fitting tribute to a trailblazing conservationist.
And the rest of us had our santa hats! Deciding that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to the pub we traipsed into town hit Woody's Surf Shack for more drinks and dancing. At about 3am (we're not sure) we decided to walk back to our little campsite, kebabs from the brilliantly named "Abra-Kebab-bra" shoved into our hungry mouths.
We woke the next day sans hangover, and Chris got down to the important business of cooking breakfast. In lieu of any presents, we had bright blue skies. I found this deal to be acceptable.
Happily, on our way to the beach we discovered a surf rental place and got ourselves some bodyboards. Not that we could use them for the frist hour - the beach got shut because a 3.5m great white was cruising around the bay... Apparently he lives here, but they like to keep an eye on him and he managed to disappear. I guess even sharks need their Christmas lunch!
It didn't take long after they repoened the beach for us to run into the water all guns blazing. A very happy few hours were spent catching some waves, getting pummeled by others and topping up our tans. Unfortunately we all topped them up a little bit too high and got a smidge sunburned... Another Christmas first!
Then it was back to the campsite for Christmas dinner and Bridget's first experience of Christmas crackers. We were joined by our friend Danny who we met on our diving trip - and excellent buddy both in and out of the water :)
Foolishly thinking we didn't have too much food we dug in with enthusiasm, only for us to barely finish everything with extremely full tummies. I couldn't even finish my corn on the cob. Managing to cook a dinner using nothing but a crappy electric BBQ and tiny gas stove was quite the achievement though; after all that effort we couldn't let anything go to waste!
Tash and I were very lucky to get to spend the day together - not every backpacker gets to have Christmas with their family.
As night fell and we grew sleepier, the idea of walking 3km back into town with a heavy eskie lost it's appeal. Lots of sun and food made us fairly lethargic, shocker, although we did find the time to play with sparklers!
Boxing day dawned grey and rainy, the only upside being that we hadn't had the weather for Christmas day. But did we let that stop us from using our boards before we had to hand them back? Of course not! It was actually lots more fun than on Christmas day - the break was nicer and there were very few swimmers. Thinking that we'd probably be desperate to get out of the ocean after an hour, we were actually very disappointed to end our surf-y session and hand back the boards.
After a hot shower we came into town to have a mooch around. Byron is gorgeous, packed full of little cafes and shops but also boasting some excellent nightlife. The rain did hinder us somewhat but as it looked to clear we decided to drive up to the famous Cape Byron lighthouse - the most easterly point of Australia.
Well, it did seem like a very good idea at the time. Until we looked up to see a literal wall of rain heading our way.
Snapping pictures as fast as we could before the rain came, we misjudged and left it too late. Monsoon style droplets drenching us in seconds.
It was worth it though, because we saw a goat! A random goat! ...Who turned out to be not so random and quite famous... Apparently there used to be lots of goats by the lighthouse but they were removed in 2005; now 'wategoat' wanders, alone, around the cape. Poor goat!
Looks quite nice, when it's not pissing it down.
Soaked to our skin and with the rain showing no signs of abating Chris cooked dinner as we huddled in the van. He prepared a three course meal - soup, eggy bread with beans and tinned peaches - which we devoured in minutes. Something about that fresh sea air...
Tinned peaches - take that Gordon Ramsey!
Finding enough amusement in our own company and a pack of cards (no one explained to me that you couldn't bluff when playing 'go fish') we drank, got merry and laughed ourselves silly.
All I'm going to say guys, is don't look at Chris' snake eyes...