On to Byron Bay – via Ulmarra

On to Byron Bay

Monday. We continued up the coast to Byron Bay. While there were many places we could have stopped for a break we chose – almost by accident – Ulmarra, only an hour or so north of Woolgoolga.

This quaint little village is a real gem. Picturesque and antiquated. it seems to be almost untouched by time. Everything is almost exactly how it was when the village was first built during the early 1900s. It was an important river port on the Clarence River at a time when river transportation was vital in the area.

Bookshop in Ulmarra
Art Galleries
Ulmarra Hotel/Pub
Main Street (such as there is one)

Across from the classic looking Ulmarra Hotel/Pub was a little bookshop packed floor to ceiling with second-hand books. I never found anything in the short time we were in there, but Dani and his mum did. After a quick refresher in the local hotel and with a few new books we were back on the road and soon in Byron Bay.

Byron Bay

We had booked a kid friendly caravan park a short drive out of the town. We had just enough daylight for a quick visit to the town centre. First impressions? It’s a nice small resort town. Smaller than I expected (I think) but enough of everything you would need for a holiday. Unfortunately there are still places that have not yet reopened after the “lockdown”. But the majority of businesses – despite the capacity restrictions in restaurants etc – are open.

Byron Bay has had many faces. It started off as a timber centre as many places did in the north with large red cedar trees. That industry almost stopped after the first world war when dairy farms sprang up in the areas cleared by logging. There was also a mini gold rush as people staked claims to search for gold among the lack sands of Tallow Beach. That too dried up as quickly as it started. That was followed by more dairy farming and more infamously the whaling industry which was centred in the area. The killing of whales lasted a couple of decades before laws made it illegal. Then in the 60s long board surfers discovered the beaches here and the town slowly began to become a tourist trap.

Byron Bay was also supposedly the place in Australia that hippies made their own. Or so I thought – because that is what many guide books tell us. More on this one later….

Tomorrow is a big day. It involves a trip in a small boat. Something I have wanted to do for many years. Not quite a ‘bucket list’ thing but… Then again…

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