It was our last full day in Queensland before heading home next day, and we decided to drive down to Byron Bay and see the lighthouse, and visit the Crystal Castle. Set in the hinterlands above Byron Bay the Crystal Castle are Shambhala Gardens and rainforest with massive crystals brought across from South America.
We woke to beautiful sunshine… at around 5am again…. had breakfast on the balcony and read for a while before heading off towards Byron Bay at around 8.00am. Its only 90 mins from the Gold Coast and we were there by about 9.30am. Arriving in Byron Bay I couldn’t get over how busy it was… there were people out and about and heavy traffic everywhere. Dont people sleep in Queensland? Heading up to the lighthouse…… again… people out walking, pushing prams, jogging… I have never, ever, seen such activity at a lighthouse. It was like it was the central meeting point for everyone in Byron Bay. And it was only 9.30am! The lighthouse has around 3 car parks, each one higher and close to the lighthouse than the last.. we drove up to the top one.. the parking attendant!? directed us to an empty spot, we got out, donned hats, grabbed cameras and joined the throng to walk up to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse itself is beautiful… little castle like building at the base with battlements overlooking a turquoise and blue sea. We wandered around and down the other side to get shots from the lower vantage point.
From the lighthouse we stopped for morning tea, then headed up into the hinterlands, just 20 mins from Byron Bay is the Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens. Entry is $25 and totally worth it.. Just inside the gates is a memorial gate to Tori Johnson, donated by his family. Tori was tragically killed in the Lindt Cafe Siege in 2015.
I would have liked more time here to take in some of the daily events… we missed the music of the plants as by the time we had walked around the gardens, it was quite warm, and we wanted a chair and cold drink 🙂
The gardens are quite large, and to be done properly, you really need a full day here…… we stopped at the Peace Stupa and availed ourselves of the umbrellas dotted around for protection from the rain or sun while we enjoyed the music emanating from the Stupa…
with our walk around finished… we enjoyed a delicious lunch in the cafe before enjoying some retail therapy in the crystal shop. From there it was back to the car… and back to the apartment.
Our last night on the balcony we finally took some night shots of the city lights. Next morning it was pouring with rain… and all the next week too…but we were home by then 🙂