Sunday, July 13, 2008

Here's a Riddle For You

What do you get when you mix sunshine, surfers, humpback whales, and possibly the most beautiful stretch of golden beach and shimmering ocean with friendly locals and stoned tourists?

Byron Bay.

We've been driving up the east coast of Australia for the past week, and we've covered the part that's called the Gold Coast; from Sydney to Brisbane, the beaches are amazing. Mom even says the beaches are nicer than the ones in Mauritius, and she NEVER says that. The sand is soft and fine, and the water is blue and clear. The surfers are still out even though it's the middle of winter -- they're just wearing Uggs and hoodies around town instead of going barefoot. No wait, they're still barefoot. And they're still wearing short-shorts. I guess they're just not wearing their bikinis when they go into town to get a skinny cappuccino. (This is the world's "Sexiest beach", after all.)

None of us mustered up the nerve to go surfing there -- something about the cold weather and being forced to wear wetsuits. We didn't go surfing in Surfer's Paradise either. (However, we did learn that in Surfer's Paradise, if your parking meter expires while you're away, a Meter Maid clad in a gold bikini and cowboy hat will come by and put more money in the meter, saving you a potential parking fine. Now that's friendly service!)

Even though we didn't go in the water, we did take a nice walk to the easternmost point of Australia to the cleverly-named Cape Byron, where we were treated to views of humpback whales on their annual migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. It was a breathtaking sight, one made even better by the fact that we were on land and not in some rollicking boat. Also, we had gelato. Unfortunately, by the time we spotted the whales breaking the surface of the water and in our excitement managed to get our cameras powered up and focused on the right area, the whales took off, leaving us with pictures of mostly ocean and bubbles.

We're in Brisbane right now and are heading up to more sexy beaches on the Sunshine Coast. Sand and surf, here we come!

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