We stopped at Byron Bay, which is roughly halfway to Grafton.

Before it was “discovered” by the cultural elite, Byron Bay used to be a hippy town, where tie-dye and dread-locks were the norm. Now it’s a thriving artists’ center, a mecca for tourists seeking some cultural input and a real-estate-agent’s dream location.

The last time David and I were in Byron, it was in 1997, and the town has changed so much. I was astounded and offended at the strict parking rules. We had to pay $7 to park and visit the lighthouse. Crazy!

Byron Bay, Freedom Truck trip, December 2008
As the easternmost point of the Australian mainland, Cape Byron features a lighthouse.

When David asked if I was keen to take a walk to the look-outs along the craggy bluff, I was determined to make our visit worth $7. It wasn’t easy to take the pram down the flights of stairs, but I could see the final look-out point, and I knew it was manageable. David walked ahead with the girls, and I bumped poor Calista down the stairs.

However, at the look-out, we could see an inviting beach further along the boardwalk track. Still intent on getting our money’s worth from that precious carpark, I acceded to David’s request, and we headed on down. Again I bumped the pram down the steps, but the boardwalk appeared to be flat further on.

Byron Bay, Freedom Truck trip, December 2008
These were the steps that determined the point-of-no-return for me. I looked at these and thought, yes, I can take the pram down them. Little did I know -- there were many more steps, steeper than these, and winding through little rainforest areas.

Because David went ahead with the girls, I was left on my own to as-gently-as-possible lift the pram down every step. A nice tourist (American/Canadian?) helped me down great lengths of very steep steps until I was finally at the beach and reunited with David and the girls.

Once on the beach, David just wanted to go for a swim, but I was desperate to find another way off the beach that didn’t involve climbing back up those thousands of steps with the baby in the pram. I could push the pram quite easily on the packed sand, and we rounded a rocky outcrop to discover that the beach continued to a park with road access. Yay!

Now I could relax. As we didn’t have our swimmers on, we stripped off (well, the litle girls did) and swam in the shallow parts of the ocean in between great boulders. The water was cool and clear, not too rough and the sun not too hot.

It was a lovely time, and when it was time to go, David ran all the way back up the stairs and along the boardwalk to retrieve the truck and drive around to pick us up. What a hero!

Byron Bay, Freedom Truck trip, December 2008
After our swim at the beach, the sky turned dark and a storm whipped up as we drove away.

We arrived in Grafton in time for a nice dinner. It’s good to be here. The girls and I swam in the pool after dinner. (We wanted to test out the girls’ new floatsuits — they’re wonderful.)

All three girls are sharing the same room tonight, so we’ll probably be up early tomorrow. David’s starting to relax properly, so I hope this will be a terrific time out for him — away from the business and from the house renovations. As for me, with Rosie willing and happy to look after the girls, I’ve brought a stack of books. What more could I want from a holiday?