The plus side to the massive low pressure storm cell is that it produced arguably the best swell to hit the East coast in a decade. In some areas further South, particularly Sydney, it was touted as the biggest in 50 years and wreaked havoc on the prime ocean front real estate between North Narrabeen and Collaroy. Flooding homes and businesses and even washing pools onto the beach.
We arrived at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park in Byron Bay at the peak of that swell and after setting up I went to check the surf at Lennox Head. It was totally out of control at about 15-18ft. Still, an impressive sight to say the least, as evidenced by the 30 or 40 people watching from the cliff. Unsurprisingly there was nobody out, although a couple of crazies had tried to venture out from the rocks only to be washed back in. I did hear later that Rasta and his mates did some tow in earlier that day.
The next morning we headed back to Lennox and it was pumping! Solid 12ft and howling offshore. There was only about dozen guys out in the water but I could tell it would be no cakewalk. I said to Loreta that if I could get two waves I would be happy. While Loreta took the kids for a walk I made my way down to the rock strewn shoreline and spent a good deal of time making the perfect rock jump. It was heavy! One small stuff up there could’ve been the end of the day or worse. I took my time sussing out the line up and conditions, and eventually got my two waves. But there was a third to follow, probably the best wave of my life. A set wave with a never ending drop which opened up to a massive barrel. I came out clean and rode it to the end of the point! One to remember for a long time to come.
I surfed Lennox for the rest of that week, it got smaller as the week went on but that just made it seem easier and because of that incredible fun. It was still 3-4ft at the end of the week. There’s plenty of other waves around Byron but I couldn’t tear myself away from Lennox.
In between the surf sessions we checked out Byron Bay, caught up with some friends of Loreta’s and even had a kid free lunch thanks to Nick and Tracey. We repayed in kind of course. Nick and Tracy’s little girl Sasha turned three and the four kids had a great “little” birthday party.
Suffolk Park was a great place to stay, close enough to Byron and Lennox but far enough away to be peaceful and right on the beach. It felt a bit like we were off the grid. Byron Bay (or Suffolk Park) would be a great spot to call home however not a lot of career opportunities unless your selling mung beans or tie dyed sarongs.
We could have spent a lot more time here but we had booked a site at Kirra Beach Tourist Park as it was school holidays so we had to move on. I was itching to surf the “Superbank” or Snapper Rocks as its also called and my run of good luck and good swells kept on coming. I scored a nice little swell about 3ft and had a great session at Snapper, got some great barrels, some serious floggings trying to take off behind the rock, and got dropped in a heap also.
Loreta had dropped me off so when I was done I caught waves from behind the rock at Snapper, through Rainbow Bay, and then from Greenmount to the beach. From there a 50 metre walk to the Big groyne at Kirra where I caught one to the beach and walked back to the caravan. All in all about a three kilometre “surf” home. Its an incredible series of waves really and you can see why the “Cooly Kids” – Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and crew, rip as well as they do.
The Hinterland is simply stunning. Mt Warning sits atop an area formed by an ancient calderra and is the first place on the mainland to receive the suns warming rays. It cuts an imposing figure that can be seen from as far away as Byron Bay. We couldn’t resist the challenge and together with Nick and Tracey and the four kids we decided to try for the summit. It wasn’t to long after we set off that the waterworks started and we had to carry Dane and piggyback Thomas the rest of the way up. It took us an hour and a half to get to the halfway point where we decided enough was enough. I figured we probably wouldn’t reach the top with the kids but the view from halfway was spectacular none the less.
On the way back to the van we took a detour to Nimbin. One of those iconic Aussie towns that we just had to see. Its a cool little place but really there’s nothing remarkable about it apart from being asked every 10 minutes if we were all good for weed.
We spent about two and a half weeks in Kirra all up and the kids had a ball catching up with their new friends who were there for almost as long as us. After they left we bought end of season three park passes to Movieworld, Seaworld and Wet n Wild. 20 years ago I had been to Seaworld and Movieworld with the folks and loved them both. I have to admit I was a bit excited to be going back.
All of us loved Seaworld, the Dolphin show is awesome and there’s plenty of other great animal exhibits and rides, however we were all a bit disappointed with Movieworld. It didn’t have the same interaction with the characters that it used to, and the Warner Bros. cartoon characters we grew up with such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck seemed irrelevant in today’s world of animated legends like Shrek, and Alex and Marty from Madagascar. Dreamworld would definitely be the better option for anyone with young kids. Still, we had a great time and ended up going back to Seaworld again.
We took another trip into the Hinterland. This time to check out the Natural Bridge, in the Springbrook National Park, formed by the force of the waterfall over the erosive basalt cave. Apparently 20 years ago you could jump in from the top, that is if you didn’t mind swimming with the eels at the bottom.
The rest of the time we stayed in Kirra was spent hanging around Coolangatta and Tweed Heads. I spent a fair bit of time surfing D-Bah but after a week or so the crowds and drop ins were starting to get to me. It was time to get out of dodge, chase the sun, and enjoy some more remote waves and towns. Plus we were sick of the bloody bats crapping all over our car and van…
Till next time Caio, TLTD