Living life waist deep

I don’t deny it’s a privilege to live near Byron Bay.

Today, I stood waist deep in calm, turquoise water with hundreds of other bodies, facing the horizon. The sky was cloudless.

My back yard (almost)

My backyard (almost)

I felt as serene as the colour. With each wave that rolled lazily towards me, I counted my blessings.

The choice to live in this part of the world is obviously not difficult. We moved from Melbourne when I was pregnant with Elka. My family live around here, so that was a factor. And we decided that we would rather raise children in nature than in the city. Although we live in a town, nature surrounds us. And on a hot day, the coast is 15 minutes drive.

We visit Byron Bay when we need to be reminded that lifestyle is more important than work and stress. Once a week, sometimes twice. Lennox Head satisfies our need to relax and live, but Byron Bay makes us feel like we are on a permanent holiday.

Backpackers walk around with paintings of flags on their bronzed, tattooed arms, handing out fliers to parties. (Naturally, they walk past the mother of two small children; an unlikely candidate for a backpackers’ party.)

A man sits on a bench dressed in rainbow, adorned with hibiscus flowers. He makes the Peace sign when he sees you, and holds his hands in prayer. Today, carrying a tired and hungry child, I thanked him.

Characters like him, like them, have long defined Byron Bay’s culture. It’s changed, over the years. Interesting, local shops have been replaced by Sportsgirl, Ice and interesting, local, expensive shops. Every week, it seems like a new cafe has pushed its way up from the pavement, to serve macchiatos to trendy visitors.

The council flounders about, trying to make the most of a lucrative tourist destination, whilst satisfying environmentally conscious locals. Seven years after a small landslide caused the lighthouse walkway to collapse, a new one is finally in its place. There have been other hurdles.

Byron Bay is busy, commercial, full of Schoolies and backpackers, Melbournites, Sydney-ites…anyone. You could choose to avoid it, in favour of locations known only to smug locals, but you don’t. It’s Byron, and its silhouette – as beautiful as its toned and tanned visitors – draws you back.

And days like today make you never want to leave its turquoise waters. 

Have you been to Byron Bay? What’s your backyard like?

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  • It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Byron Bay – I think I was just a young child!

    I can get a bit down on where we live – price and convenience made the choice for us. But, we can see koalas when we walk around the block, we have some gorgeous walks a short drive away, we’re only half an hour from the water and half an hour from the country. There’s some real bonuses about our area!

    • Hi Melina,
      Koalas are special! Not many get to seem them from their backyard 🙂 We are pretty lucky to live where we live. When we first bought, it was in Lismore, for financial reasons, but ‘up-graded’ to Alstonville, which is a bit closer to the coast. I love the lifestyle of this whole area though.

  • I do like Byron! My parents lived at Yamba for many years and I think it’s a bit nicer – not so busy 🙂

    • I really don’t known Yamba well. We went to Angourie once and it was gorgeous. Quiet is often nicer, I agree. x

  • Gorgeous photo – Byron does look like a top place to live! You forgot to mention the hippies and the arty types, it has heaps of them as well.

    • Absolutely Janet. The man in rainbow with hibiscus flowers is a travelling hippy I believe.

  • Brenda Janschek

    This time last year my family and friends were in Byron. I wish I was there now! Byron is magical and the beach & surrounds is breathtaking. My backyard is Coogee Beach in Sydney, so I can’t really complain. I’m in love with this place, it offers me and my family so much.

  • Jennie

    Byron was nice to live near 30 years ago. It’s just Sydney with more backpackers now. It’s quaint country town atmosphere and stunning beaches have been largely ruined now. It’s a shame.

    • Yes, many of it’s changes are sad. As locals, we were resentful as city life took over. But there is something that still pulls us back there…the beach is still the most beautiful in the area. And because so many are on holiday there, its holiday feel is contagious.