Yes it’s true! For less than $20 you can experience the eastern most point of Australia, Cape Byron and Byron Bay to the most westerly point of the continent at Steep Point in WA. And you can do it from the comfort of wherever you are in Australia, in your favourite chair. All you have to do is pick up a copy of the June / July edition of Australian Caravan + RV Magazine and the July / August edition of On The Road Magazine and settle in to read about both of these destinations.
I have two stories in print at the moment and they show the incredible diversity of this beautiful country. Hopefully they inspire you to visit one or both.
In AC+RV magazine I write about the beautiful Byron Bay, it was the first time I’d ever been there but it definitely won’t be the last. Byron is one of those places in Australia that is known by everyone and has a reputation for being quite diverse. You hear of it because its known as a holiday playground, and home to quite a few Aussie singers, actors, musicians, television personalities etc…but for years has also been a mecca for surfers, backpackers, world travellers and almost a right of passage for Aussie twenty somethings to head to and experience the sun, surf and freedom.
For me, it had been on my must see list for a long time and for many reasons. There was the drawcard of being able to stand at the most easterly point of Australia at Cape Byron with its iconic lighthouse and see a sunrise. It’s a pretty steep climb but worth the effort and you won’t be alone, there are photographers, tourists, fitness fanatics running by and everyone in between all up early and mesmerised by the moment.
Byron has a beautiful relaxed and laid back vibe and the beach is the main hub of activity. Staying at the First Sun Holiday Park overlooking the beach is ideal because you are entertained from sun up to sun down with surfers, the ones that know what they are doing and an endless stream of beginners getting lessons. There are people out walking, jogging, doing yoga on the beach, walking the dog all making the most of the clean air and stunning blue Pacific Ocean.
I absolutely loved everything we experienced in Byron from the markets, to the bars, restaurants and shops and all the friendly locals that help make the holiday so memorable. Byron has always had the reputation of being for the ‘alternative lifestyle’ followers and it certainly still feels that way, no more so than at Crystal Castle in the hinterland where, as the name suggests, the power of crystals feature heavily along with the largest stone Blessing Buddha in Australia and the most peaceful gardens and nature walks I’ve seen. Whatever your beliefs this has to be experienced just for the sheer sense of tranquillity you have as you wander through the various settings in this park-like little piece of heaven.
At the complete opposite side of the country and on the Indian Ocean, the story of getting to Steep Point in Western Australia is in the July / August edition of On The Road magazine. This was another landmark I’ve always wanted to get to but be prepared if you are going to attempt it! This is not a trip for the faint hearted or the unprepared, whatever you do read about the journey before you plan to go, listen to people that have done the trip and have your high clearance 4wd in good order before you go.
We set off before sunrise to make the trip because although it doesn’t seem many kilometres to travel, the terrain you will be driving through will force you down to a very slow pace at times. This journey was incredible with every sort of road condition from bitumen to corrugated dirt, sand dunes to rocky roads, salt pan to sandy beach. Every step of the way something new is thrown at you, sometimes daunting, sometimes fun but all breathtakingly beautiful.
If you had to sum up everything that Australia has to offer for 4wd enthusiasts this would be one trip you’d have to do. Reaching the final destination, the most westerly point of Australia and standing at Steep Point gives you such a sense of achievement. Straight after having done it I thought to myself that I probably wouldn’t need to do that again, it really has some bone rattling, teeth jarring sections, but in hindsight I definitely would go again. Next time though it will involve staying in the National Park for a few days to savour the incredible natural beauty and enjoy the fishing and sea life that abounds.
I think that’s what makes Australia so unique and special, you have to travel some incredibly long kilometres in harsh conditions and sometimes oppressive heat and humidity. On the way you’ll experience a multitude of wildlife out there that can bite, sting, annoy, bounce, slither and dare I say kill you if you don’t have your wits about you. But when the pay off is views like no other and hardly any crowds to speak of or in some cases no one around at all, then all the bumps and bruises are well worth it. Kind of makes you want to hitch up the van and go doesn’t it?