The sounds of a thousand stoned native birds are inaudible over the roar of a chap’s Blower Bentley at 110 mph, but they’re probably rather pleasant. The road into Byron Bay’s a gentle winding affair, and a chap may motor down it in a pleasant mood… Be sure to tootle those klaxons at the profusion of gaily painted clattering Volkswagen Kombi vans, that’ll make the hippies inside spill their mull bowls all over their Inspiral Carpets! “Not cool man…”
Caravanners- there’s the real fun! Terrorise all those bearded Bernards and mildewy old Margarets! If you haven’t forced them into a hedge or better still, a roadside lake, then you’re slipping, old boy! Show those limpid sods what a real scallywag is, eh? A pirate of the road wot! Avast!
There’s no gutters- grassy verges with pleasant-ish sixties houses, a few bells and crystals hanging in trees glinting in the sunlight, the odd kaleidoscopically painted garage hither and thither. Only mild hints of dreadlock and lip-ring culture at this early stage old chap, nothing to get too excited about. Don’t pull out that shotgun just yet!
Soaring into the blueness ten miles to your North you’ll see Mount Warning, a 3000 foot peak, the first part of Australia to see the sun peak his head over the horizon. Watch the sun rise before anyone else in Australia! Mt. Warning was a shield volcano, originally 6200 feet high, which erupted 23 million years ago, leaving merely a giant cone…Appropriate, yes?
Entering Byron township you’ll pass a cafe in an old train carriage- that’s the spirit! And a few A-frame houses, cafes of a hippy-ish persuasion…An array of bright clothing, some wooden shop fronts, a purple-cloaked Iridologist on the footpath seated at a table with a tablecloth covered in mystical designs… Delightful!
Stop at a cafe a block from the beach and loudly extol the virtues of eating red meat. There goes a naked chap on a skateboard, dreadlocks aflutter in the wind! A hint of the Byronic freedom! People are cheering and clapping in a low key way- all is as it should be!
Your Blower Bentley’s attracting a spot of attention- should have arrived on an elephant, old chap! Whip out the old snuff box and take a snort, before they mistake you for a member of the aristocracy- can’t have that now, old fellow! And push your lady’s face down into your lap- now you blend in! They’ve taken you for an eccentric- egad, what a colossal jape, parodying an English Lord in this manner! Why, you certainly are the devil of a fellow- even got the mannerisms and accent down pat! Tally ho indeed, wot!
Keep driving and you’ll reach the glorious beach- it stretches for several kilometres, there’s a nice rusty old wrecked ship- or part thereof- barely a hundred feet from the beach, which gives swimmers something interesting to explore, since it’s only in fifteen feet of water.
It was a smuggler’s ship, the SS Wollongbar bringing in New Zealand Whiskey under cover of darkness, and it was blown in 1922 up by one of my ancestors with three sticks of gelignite rigged with a Audemars Piguet pocket watch- trying to smuggle inferior whiskey into the country, the cads!- you’d have blown it up too.
Naturally there’s a rainbow of fishies swirling about it- they certainly like wrecked ships! Voyeurs, the lot of them. I’ve oft wondered at the sense of schadenfreude that attracts fish to sailors’ misfortunes…
A stroll through the grassy park by Main Beach at evening yields the sleepy aroma of mary jane, fire twirlers prance about everywhere, their fiery circles brilliant against the darkness, and you’ll hear many renditions of Wonderwall accompanied by acoustic guitar. Sit upon your cane furniture beneath the Norfolk Island pines in your lightweight tropical worsted suit sipping gin and tonic, and soak in the quaint atmosphere and peculiar rituals of the proletariot at play, whilst your servants prepare tea from a tea trolley. Simply enchanting!
You are sipping from Staffordshire bone china? Excellent. Be sure to let the hippies know that it’s made from 45% cattle bone ash, vegans and vegetarians are appreciative of these little details, it makes them happy.
A mere five minute stroll up the hill, you’ll find Cape Byron lighthouse, a lovely, classical squat old white-painted stone thumb raised skyward- all lighthouses are lovely, and as always, I rather fancy living in this one. To stand upon the iron railing feeling the heat from the pulsing light upon one’s back, to see its graceful beam circling the horizon -was anything ever more pleasant?
A truly spectacular walking track stretches- well, forever, really- up and down the undulating and torn coastline- and from this height it’s perfectly normal to look down into the clear blue water and see a dozen hammerhead sharks spaced at fifty yard intervals, nosing at the rocks where the waves pound- presumably they like their fish well grounded/washed. You’ll also spot several pacific turtles- over a yard across, these, the Aborigines like the taste, and have occasionally used their shells as small boats.
But that’s not all! Naturally there’s dolphins galore to be seen, and then there’s the humpbacks- not the German girls getting out of the Kombi, no, these are genuine twenty-four carat humpback whales! Leaping and crashing back into the waves with a grand plume of white spray, to the delight of all the chappies and chappettes watching! Look at that fine specimen with the calf- the sleek knobbly contours of her back, the way she tapers towards the hips (whales have the remnants of a pelvis, you know!), the barnacles on her nose, the seaweed hanging from her lower lip…Now there’s an elegant lady. And now her calf breaches, the clever tich- egad, what a show!
Break out a cigar and watch the more aviation-minded hippies hang gliding from a platform nearby cosy corner… It was my grandfather who discovered the hippies’ aerial abilities, when he tossed a couple from the bomb bay doors of his Lancaster during a night flight over Berlin…
A mile to the South you’ll find the Tea Tree lake- a glorious pool of shallow mud, three hundred yards across, and surrounded by a forest of tea trees. I was taken there by a couple of lovely ladies a few years ago- Claire and Portia were their names-and they decided it would be the devil of a jape to remove their tops and cover their breasts with mere mud. A capital idea, since their nipples were so clearly visible! And as the mud dried it thinned out delightfully…but that’s enough detail for you, perverted sod that you are!
Take a jaunt to Watego’s beach, the most Easterly beach in Australia. It’s small, strewn with glorious ocean-smoothed little rocks the size of cannonballs, it truly is for the discerning gentleman who’s not about to patronise just any old beach. You’ll find the most magnificent miniature walls of grey stone poking up through the knee-deep water- great rugged miniature cliffs a few feet high, as grey as a storm-hewed sky, and just about as romantic a sight as you’ll ever see. Knife thin vertical slivers and blades of all sizes, torn and hacked by nature- splendid!
A whiskey and a cigar here, with the world’s loveliest Japanese lady… well, old chap, even if you visit the rings of Saturn, as I often have, you’ll not see more beauty.
Well, that’s my pleasant memories of Byron Bay, I heartily recommend a visit. Toodle pip!
-His Lordship, Max George Barrelguts Buglefarts von Blunderbus Flynn, 6th Earl of Shaftsbury