Second day at Byron Bay…the weekend was yet not over

I didn’t have any plans for rest of the day after the Hot Air Ballooning adventure of mine. Once I was back in my hostel, I came to know about this monthly market that was held today in town. I felt excited once again to see something new so I checked out of the hostel, as my train back to Sydney was in the evening, and headed to the town with my backpack with me. I was again on my way for some more sight seeing. I was lucky that I got to visit this market and it was a nice way to explore more about the culture of the place as well. Market was more like a fair in this little town and there were colors everywhere. I did try some ice-cream and enjoyed some live music with the locals. It was a true authentic experience that makes you feel almost a part of the place.

After visiting the market, I called one of the friends that I made yesterday to catch up before I leave and he was generous to give me a nice tour of the nearby beach and then a small town called ‘Bungalow’. If you are looking for some peaceful and small place to stay then this is your destination. It is more like a countryside with a road full of greenery leading to it. It is a nice 15 minutes drive from Byron Bay with nice cafe and small market of its own. Also there are many art galleries and shops at this place. We came back to Byron Bay and as there was an hour left before I could catch my bus so we though of getting something to eat and drink in a nearby cafe just across the bus stand while still enjoying the sunset. It was 5:00 PM when I saw a bus with the Country Link logo waiting at the bus stand. I checked my itinerary and the time to board the bus was 5:15 PM on it. I still thought it’s better to board the bus in advance so I started getting my stuff together in order to get to the bus stand. The moment I arrived the bus stand the bus left. What? This can’t be happening I thought in my head. My friend was still with me so he offered me a ride to the next stop to catch the bus. Soon we were chasing this bus but soon it disappeared. I panicked thinking about the incidence last morning when I missed the station but this time I was angry thinking how can the bus leave earlier than the time mentioned on the itinerary. Suddenly my friend realized that the direction we were going was not correct and it was leading us to Brisbane (in the opposite direction to Sydney) and we saw another bus coming from the opposite direction. We quickly took a U-Turn and drove back to the bus stand as we realized we were chasing the wrong bus altogether and the bus to Sydney was on time. That’s what happens when you panic and when you have already missed your bus/station in past. I said good by to my friend and finally boarded the bus to Sydney (its a break journey – bus to Casino and then another train to Sydney from there). This time I didn’t miss anything and got home the next morning before going to work. So overall it was a weekend full of fun, adventure, thrill and excitement I must say. Hope you enjoyed it with me 🙂 I will be back with some more stories as I plan my next destination which is not far but only two weeks from now. Where? That I will reveal in my future posts.  Till then enjoy life and keep smiling my friend 🙂

Second day at Byron Bay – Hot Air Ballooning with a bunch of Sky Divers

 So far you have enjoyed the last two articles about my adventurous weekend in Byron Bay, Australia. Now I would love to share my experience of day 2 which was also full of excitement and joy. In case you missed my other two posts then here is the link to the same for you my friend.

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Alarm went off around 4:30 AM and first time in weeks I was not frustrated as I had enough sleep this time so I quickly jumped out of the bed with excitement. Today was the day I was going to experience Hot Air Ballooning. So many times I dreamt of doing it but every time I felt I should wait for some one special to do it with. But finally I decided to do it on my own after one of my friend suggested that it is an experience that you get to feel individually anyways so why wait for some one when you can do it by yourself. So here I was waiting at the gate of the hostel to get picked up around 5:15 AM. A car pulled up next to me and I confirmed that it was from the Ballooning company. After a warm welcome message from the guy driving the car, I fastened my seat belt and we headed to the location for base(the office for ballooning ). It was still dark when we arrived at the base. I could see many people getting ready in their gears for sky diving. I felt as if I was the only one in the balloon staying back and almost everyone else was going to jump. I wished I could jump with them for a moment and this thought was interrupted by one of the sky divers. She introduced herself and a formal round of introduction kick started for few minutes. These were professionals with more than few hundred and even few thousand jumps. My goodness, I almost freeze to digest this information now. I was excited and felt a bit naive to talk to these people now as whatever jargons they were using I couldn’t understand half of them. I met Thomas, the chief pilot of Byron Bay Ballooning (http://www.byronbayballooning.com.au) and signed some forms as part of the formal process. Thomas was quiet reassuring as I was a bit nervous as well excited, this being my first balloon flight.

Thomas after successful landing

Thomas after successful landing

Soon we started for Casino, place from where the balloon was supposed to fly. I was cold but super excited. I chose to sit with other sky divers in the first van to listen to some insightful information they would like to share during this one hour journey. It was a nice ride till the patrol station where the drivers stopped to fill patrol. I was told a lot of things and these people were very nice to explain me a lot of new concepts that made me look a bit puzzled. I shared rest of the way with other set of people and got to know some more people on my way to Casino. It was an overwhelming morning I must say, so much that I kind of forgot that I was here for ballooning really.

Once we arrived in Casino, the process of unloading the balloon and setting it up started. It was such a huge balloon, I guess all of them are but I was witnessing it for the first time. It was like preparing for a festival, with so many people helping in the process and some of us trying to shoot the process or take pictures of the location. As the balloon rose, it was such a mesmerising view with all the colours rising in the sky with the bright light of  the sun. Then we climbed into the balloon and Thomas started to fill the balloon with hot air and the balloon took off. It was so smooth that we didn’t feel anything but only the view started changing as we gained height. Just so that you know Thomas has been flying since the age of 22 and has also won many awards.  So if you are in Byron Bay and feel like ballooning then he is your guy. I was trying to absorb this whole experience while also taking a lot of pictures at the same time. The basket is divided in three compartments and the middle one is reserved for the pilot with some gas cylinders. We were almost 12 people, 6 in each baskets on both the sides and out of which 7 were sky divers. Soon we rose to the height of 6000 feet and it was an amazing view. It felt so light and beautiful to see the whole area at this hour of the morning. It was around 8:45 AM. The divers were all ready to jump and soon we hit the height of 9000 feet from where they were supposed to jump. It was more scary to look at them standing on the edges of the basket. And I guess I was more excited and worried than them. Some of them were doing it for the first time which I thought was very brave and increased my respect for all these divers. Soon before I realised they started jumping from the balloon. It was so fast that I didn’t even get chance to take many pictures of them jumping and soon they disappeared from the sight. We started moving towards the destination, Thomas was co-ordinating with rest of the team to make sure all the divers are safe and have been located after reaching the ground.

Thomas started to prepare us for landing and soon we were descending fast, not that you can feel it other than the height displayed on the system. We landed on a  farm with more than 50  bulls all staring at us in not so welcoming mood. Thomas waited for rest of the team to come to this location and get the permission from the farm owner before getting us all climb out of the balloon. Once the team was here, the bulls started heading towards their vans and soon we were out of this adventurous and risky zone. And next thing I remember, we were all rolling the balloon and packing everything back in the vehicle to head back. I was still floating in the sky in my thoughts though as it is a last longing experience and it takes some time to get back to reality I can say. Thomas stopped in a nice cafe on the way and bought lunch for all of us as part of the package. I chose Spanish Omelette and you know what, it was the best breakfast ever after such a beautiful start of the day. What else can you ask from life I thought with a smile. The day is yet not over my friend and I still have to share my experience of the monthly market, beach and one of the most beautiful town/village in the area before I finish my story. So keep an eye for another post after this 🙂 Till then have a wonderful day my friend.

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Fabulous Day at Byron Bay – Kayaking, Flying and some sight seeing

    So now that you know how it all started, you might be ready to know the best part of the day. And if you missed the last part then here is the link to it:
    It all happened so quickly when I was wondering about the plan for rest of the day in this new place. I saw the advertisement for Kayaking and one of my friends had told me about this awesome experience as must have in Byron Bay. And the hostel manager of Cape Byron Lodge(oldest backpacker in Byron Bay – http://www.capebyronlodge.com) was quiet nice to book it quickly for me and before I unpacked all the stuff I got the time for their pickup around 9:30 AM and within half an hour I was on my way for Kayaking (http://www.goseakayakbyronbay.com.au).

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It was exactly what I need, splash of water, a bumpy entry into the ocean through some rough waves that almost flicked me out of the boat and a serene beauty of the place to look at. I was almost lost in the place and this whole fun experience. It was a reward of all that hard work I felt and all that planning that went behind this. I was so relaxed that I almost forgot all about morning. We spotted so many dolphins while kayaking. Me and my buddy even went back to catch some more waves but the second time we got washed away by the bigger waves. It was great fun and the people in the kayaking company were super friendly that started this whole trip in a very nice manner. I met many interesting and friendly people on this trip and when I came back I couldn’t stop smiling thinking about such an interesting morning. Once I was back in hostel I requested the manager for some more information on hand gliding as I had heard that it is also a very nice activity that you can do and it was on my bucket list as well. He even booked one for me, although a different version with micro light plane as the wind was not good for flying otherwise. img_6072_med_hr img_6073_med_hrimg_6091_med_hr It was good to fly over the coastal line of Byron Bay with an expert pilot (http://byronbayskysurfers.com). And after my flight I made friends with few pilots and one of them offered me a ride but unfortunately I had to head back to hostel but I promised to come back to Byron Bay again for it. See, very nice people really. I love Byron Bay J After returning to my hostel I went to the light house and the hostel manager was very friendly to arrange the hostel van to give me a ride to the light house. And I had some cool shot of sunset after two of my other adventures. It was the best way to wind down the day really.

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 I was thinking to go out that night even though I have quit drinking but I can still enjoy with plain juice I thought. But then I had arranged the Hot Air Ballooning the other day so it made sense to get some rest before my pick up around 5:15 AM the next day. I made some noodles and had some baked apple for my dinner and went to bed with a happy soul J Best day after getting burnt out last week with hectic life and work not that this day wasn’t busy but I guess this is my way to relax 😉 So what happens the next day? Yes I am about to start writing about that so stay tuned. And here is the link to the next post.

Second day at Byron Bay – Hot Air Ballooning with a bunch of Sky Divers

 

Road to Byron Bay – Not so easy but worthwhile for an interesting weekend

About to start a long train journey to get to my next stop - Byron Bay

About to start a long train journey to get to my next stop – Byron Bay

That's happy me before the journey started..all excited for the trip

That’s happy me before the journey started..all excited for the trip

Queue for dinner in the train..yes I kind of liked this whole new experience after taking so many flights recently :)

Queue for dinner in the train..yes I kind of liked this whole new experience after taking so many flights recently 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a long train journey and got worse when couldn’t get comfortable to get enough sleep. Yes, right I didn’t sleep all night to make sure I get down at the Casino to catch a bus to Byron Bay, even asked the guy working in the train to wake me up just in case. And good thing that it’s their job to wake people up otherwise in the night trains it might be chaos if people who board can’t get the seat because other people have forgotten to get down. I was able to get 1 hour nap and caught the bus to Byron Bay. And then I decided to watch a movie as the journey was only for 3 hours. So I started a dance movie that was downloaded on my phone. I watched some of it but then sitting in a bus where everyone was sleeping and there was not enough light at this time of the night so I felt a bit sleepy. I took a nap and put an alarm to wake me up as I was supposed to get down at Byron Bay around 5:55 AM. My alarm ran off and I realized its 4:55 AM and felt like having a 5 minutes nap which I do at home sometimes before going to work. I heard someone mentioning Byron Bay but I felt I was dreaming.

Suddenly I woke up and looked at my phone. It was 6:15 AM and I was supposed to be going Hot Air Ballooning before 6 AM (a guy was waiting in Byron Bay to pick me up). Shit! That was my exact expression. I ran to the driver and asked how far Byron Bay is. He looked at me in surprise and told me that Byron Bay station already passed. What? I didn’t sleep all night for this. What…I didn’t have words for few minutes and I asked him how far it is? It was 20-25 minutes away and I wanted to jump out of bus to catch a ride back but at this hour it was neither safe nor a very good option. The driver realized I was travelling by myself so he tried to help me out by dropping me in a safe place (it was the next town) and called the other bus driver from the same company who was supposed to go to Byron Bay via this place. I waited for one hour near this beautiful little town called Brunswick Head from about 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM.

Yes, that's me sad and cold in the morning when I missed my station :(

Yes, that’s me sad and cold in the morning when I missed my station 😦

It was cold but I managed to walk to the nearby river and get some nice shots before I realized that my shoes were wet with the dew on the grass. I looked at the sky and asked – What’s next? Hit me with a lightning now. I was angry at myself to miss the Ballooning today not knowing how the weather would be the next day. I was angry at myself to stand in this cold weather where not many options were available in the town even to get some hot coffee at this hour. But an hour passed quickly now that I think about it and I caught the bus while the driver knew me as the girl who slept and missed her station. Yes, that makes me a little famous now. But you know what I wasn’t wrong when I was thinking everything happens for a reason, and you will find out soon why.

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I got to my hostel which was way too far and even after getting lost on the way (as the road on which the hostel was located was not in the map I had with me), I managed to get there before 8: 30 AM with the help of some really nice locals. And after getting there I found the reception is closed and many people are waiting there including a couple whom I saw in the bus with me. I wished if they could have waked me up in Byron Bay station but of course they might not have known my station. Finally the manager of the hostel came and told everyone that he is still hung over and just found out that there is no one at the reception. When it was my turn to check in, I end up having a decent conversation with him as he felt a little bit embarrassed with the whole situation at the reception with so many people waiting to check in. He felt relaxed and I felt better after talking to someone in a light manner in spite of having a really bad morning. What happens next? How the day gets better and better? Yes, I am still writing that and want you to have this first part till then. I will be back with the awesome day after this soon my lovely friend.