Coff’s Harbour and A Change of Plan in Byron Bay

The rain had started and did not look set to stop anytime soon. We packed up, said goodbye to Janet and family and drove through the rain to Coff’s Harbour.

There isn’t a huge amount to do in Coff’s Harbour and I had always thought I would skip it out if I came back to do the East Coast but we figured it might be better to wait out the bad weather somewhere where there wasn’t a lot going on than head to Byron Bay with the great beaches we just wouldn’t be able to enjoy. So we booked into the YHA and cosied down for the evening.

It turned out to be an interesting evening. I woke in the middle of the night to giggling and the person below me seemed to not be in her bunk and there were two people on the bottom bunk opposite Joey’s. I assumed one of the girls had got back from a night out and was having a catch up with the other girl who was on my bottom bunk. I groggily stumbled out of bed to the bathroom but when I came back to the room, thanks to the bedside light that was perfectly highlighting the activities going on on the bottom bunk despite the privacy sheet they had hung up, I realised these two girls were definitely doing more than just catching up! I scurried up to my bunk, plugged my headphones in and grabbed my phone to see the disbelieving messages from Joey who had unfortunately gotten woken up by their fun times a lot earlier in the night. This hasn’t been my first experience of this but hopefully it will be the last!

While we had been driving the day before I had commented to Joey how much the weather reminded me of rainy old England. I then flipped through my Instagram stories only to see a similar comment on a video of the rain by an old friend, Sienna, I worked with at Nando’s. After seeing a few more pics I realised she must be on the same route as us up the East Coast and dropped her a message. I suggested if she was passing through Coff’s Harbour we have a catch up so we met for lunch at SOMETHING down the road from our hostel.

It was really nice to share our travel experiences with someone I knew from home. She has also had some incredible adventures through Africa, Bali and more on her way to Australia and was very much at the beginning of her trip but already had some awesome stuff planned. We shared our experiences so far and swapped stories about camping and road tripping as this is how she was traveling the East Coast.

After lunch we said our goodbyes and wondered whether we would cross paths again at another point on the East Coast. The rain was easing off so we headed to the boardwalk for a look out to sea and were rewarded by spotting a pod of dolphins swimming and playing in the bay. It must have been quite a big group and some with youngster, popping up out of the water here there and everywhere. We even saw some turtles surfacing too. So glad we decided not to hide out in our hostel all day.

On our way out of Coff’s Harbour we passed the famous Big Banana there but as the weather was still not great we only snapped a quick pic from the car and continued on our way to Byron Bay.

I was excited to see Byron Bay again and whether it was as lovely as I remember it being. The sky was overcast but a little sun was peaking through so as soon as we arrived and got checked into a beachside hostel, Wake Up, we went for a walk on the sand, revelling in the beach time we would be sure to enjoy here.

While checking in I had noticed something else, a sign at Peterpans travel shop saying Staff Wanted. I had joked about us finding work to wait out the rain and we knew we needed to find work soon enough anyway that after speaking to the manager I decided to apply.

We didn’t have any plans for how long we would spend in Byron Bay, we thought we might stay long enough to enjoy some sunny days then continue up the coast. Within a day of applying I had an interview, got a call to confirm I had the role that evening and by the end of the week I was in training. It was exciting to have such a quick turn around and also to be doing something I had been doing back in the UK and enjoyed so much there.

The only downside was going back to working so soon into a travelling portion of our trip, but being on the East Coast means we can easily plan side trips to other areas and do lots of exploring in our free time. There was also a lot of worry and stress in the first couple of weeks of me getting the job that, as great as it was I had found work so quickly, it appeared there weren’t many jobs going for Joey. Byron Bay is such a popular place for people to stop and work that many businesses, especially in the low season, prefer to hire residents who will be there permantly rather than moving on after a month or so. Our accommodation was also not the cheapest and with only one wage coming in we had doubts about making this work, were we just stuck here now, too scared to risk giving up a job to find work elsewhere but slowly draining our money if we stayed?

Luckily things turned around pretty quickly. Joey found a job as a housekeeper for 28 Degrees, a luxury high end holiday guesthouse. Though it seemed he would only get a few hours to start with he has already ended up working more shifts than planned so it finally started to look like living in Byron Bay was realistic for us.

And so far we are loving it. I’ll talk more about living here in my next post but it is great being so close to the beach, having the time to go to yoga every other day, a cute hippy town full of interesting shops and great restaurants. Byron Bay was just as awesome as I remembered it being. It wasn’t part of the plan to end up staying here, but that is part of this up and down journey through Australia, everything is constantly changing and sometimes it all works out for the best.

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