Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Byron bay is one of the most visited and touristic places in Australia. It is one of the designated locations to go when traveling through the east coast. Average temperatures of 21°C-28°C in summer and 15°C-21°C in winter makes this beach town an outdoor activities place to enjoy, both for locals and visitors. The most magical aspect of Byron Bay is not its wonderful beaches, the surf culture, festivals, restaurants, nightlife, among others. What makes Byron Bay so special is its people and the singular vibe of the town itself, a relaxed lifestyle in which children, youth, adults and old people live together. This last thing is what makes this town interesting for me and one of my favorite destinations in Australia.

Getting to know Byron

Byron Bay beaches are among the best in Australia, over 30 km of beaches, from the most busy ones near the town, to less busy ones within 15 minutes drive. Clean and undeveloped, the beaches are free from buildings in their surroundings. Surfing is one of the most common activities to practice in this town. The surf culture is one of the things that brings many visitors at any time of the year. No matter the weather, you will always find a wave. Byron Bay main beach, Brunswick Heads, Lennox Head, The Pass, Ballina, Clarks Beach, are some of the beaches for lazing, spending time with the family, surfing and enjoying a good swim.

Cape Byron Lighthouse

In addition to the beaches this town has to offer there are many other things this place is known for, like watching the sunrise at the lighthouse, do some kayaking with dolphins, walk through the town centre in a relaxed atmosphere, have some good food, experience the monthly Byron Bay Community Markets and visit Nimbin a town that is stuck in the ‘60s.

A lot of people is attracted to Byron Bay because of hosting a bunch of different festivals, The East Coast and Roots Festival, Splendour in the Grass music festival, Byron Bay Writers Festival, Byron Bay Triathlon and Ocean Swim, Byron Bay Malibu Classic, among others. To sum up, today visitors come to Byron’s beaches for meditation, massage, hang gliding,nightlife, festivals, walks and swimming as much as looking to ride some waves.

The next link is a video that shows a little bit of Byron lifestyle:

Byron Bay throughout history

Byron Bay’s aboriginals where the Arakwal people, who are part of the Bundjalung group. Byron Bay was first called “Cavvanba” by the Arakwal referring to a meeting place. This name changed to Cape Byron as a tribute to the admiral Byron by Captain Cook, until 1894 when it became Byron Bay.

For most of its history Byron Bay was considered as a working class port town. By the late 1930’s Byron saw the beginning of sand mining which extracted zircon, rutile, and other minerals from the deposits in the beaches.

Byron Bay Whaling Station that operated from 1954 to 1962

In the 1960’s it was famous for three things: Whaling, meat and surfing. There was a whaling station located on the main beach that started capturing and killing whales for their oil and blubber, later turned into a meat work until it closed in 1962. Nowadays tourists can see whales during their migration time.

Surfers and the settlers coming from the cities changed Byron Bay into a holiday destination when they discover it, since then lifestyle changed, new generation of Australians and international backpackers see this town as a place to go.

Discovery Parks

Since the factories have closed, over the past years Byron has become a place of holidays, pleasure, healing, nature, retirement, new businesses opportunities, a place with alternative lifestyles.

The original inhabitants, the Budjalung people, now are in charge of the management of Arakwal National Park and other areas that returned to them under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

The essence of Cavvanba

As I mentioned above the thing that makes this town special, is both the locals and the visitors that live in it and the vibe the town itself transmit. Using this as the principal point preserving the essential small-town soul and taking advantage of the other things Byron has to offer, if I had  to create and develop an event I would like everyone: children, young people, backpackers, adults and old people be part of. All this people gathered in one place for the same reason, interacting with each other. This event should make everyone remember historic events that made Byron Bay the “Cavvanba” that it is today.

Cavvanba Day

Cavvanba Day would be a date that would integrate Byron’s most famous activities like markets, festivals and others, and reunite people to see whales during the migration time, remembering that not so long ago this animals were captured and killed by the Whaling Station. I think a lot of people nowadays go whale watching just for fun without knowing the backup story. So Cavvanba day would be this time in which every people in Byron is invited to come together and have a great time, enjoying a good meal, live music, meanwhile the whales are migrating.

The name of this day comes as a tribute to the Arakwal people, the traditional owners, in the way Byron, the meeting place, was first called.



Melbourne Sprawl

Melbourne Sprawl

I wanted to understand Melbourne as a global city, but to do so first I needed to see how it has changed throughout its history. Through the mapping of the city in its different periods I got to know how the sprawl took place.

Collins Street, Melbourne, 1839. Watercolour by W. Knight

Melbourne potencial growth started in the mid 1830’s when people rushing south cleared the land of trees to make way for new housing. Concentration of huts, brick houses and some double-storey buildings filled up the streets. Government made half-acre lots available in Melbourne for low price, buyers subdivide their lands and sell it in a higher price (60 times what they paid) and economy started to grow. By 1842 city investors overextended themselves, land prices began to fall, workers not getting paid. This lead to a depression.



In 1843 business began to recover but nearly all land was privately owned. The massive boom arrived in the 1880’s following into a traffic congestion. People aspired to own a house (not an apartment) that is when they decided to move to the suburbs, as a result some parts of the city were abandoned.

Degreaves Street, Melbourne

Urbanists came with a plan to avoid decentralization, they decided to use the skeleton of the city and make interventions such as public spaces, plazas, “livable alleys”, among others to fix the city one step at a time.



Nowadays CBD is the hearth of the city, jobs, shops, education, restaurants and more activities concentrate in this area, people that live in suburbs drive or use public transport every day to get to the center.

Melbourne is a city that fits to every people, life in each suburb its unique, there is always a place to go and to be discovered.

To conclude, I leave the next link to a video that explains Melbourne urban growth in the next years:

Melbourne 2050 urban sprawl





Indigenous art

Indigenous art

This week I went to the National Gallery of Victoria, where I was able to appreciate some of Australia’s Indigenous Art.

This is very important because Indigenous art hasn’t been always able in museums or galleries, its since 1950’s that Australia’s state and national galleries fall into Indigenous art, but it is not until 1980’s and 1990’s that this art gain more strength so galleries and museums decided to increase its presence in  their exhibitions.

Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia “Beyond the pale” Sandra Hill

“Beyond the pale” by Sandra Hill was the painting that caught my eye. I am used to see different paints (size, colors, techniques,etc) but I had never seen a frame that interacts with the painting before. That is what happens in this work, the relationship between the canvas and the frame gives the complete meaning to what Sandra is trying to express. Through this fence you can observe two different scenarios, the first one took place in the way of living in the fields and you can see a man preparing to do some gardening more in contact with the land.On the other canvas you have this lady doing laundry living in what seems to be the city, there is no tree or even color green. In this work you can see open space in urban and rural way of living.

Its impressive when you realize all the information you can get from looking at a painting. I usually like to take a look without knowing anything about the piece of art, trying to do my own interpretation. Then I read about what the author wants to communicate through his work and see if I get the same message or I made a completely different interpretation. This part its very interesting because things that you get from the painting could turn out to be totally different to the ones another person got, and I think that is what makes art so especial, it tells distinct stories. The are to many ways to read a painting and none of them has to be right or wrong.


Aboriginal people

Aboriginal people

As an exchange student living in Australia I wanted to know more about the country that would become my home for the next six months, that’s why I decided to enroll in Australian Society course.

To get to know a place you have to take a look at the past, what happened before that make Australia the country we know nowadays. Browsing through the internet I found this video:


Aboriginal People Respond To “Australia Day”

This made me want to know more about aboriginal people and why this people feel this way.

Indigenous people have a strong connection with the Land,  for them the land is not just soil or rocks, its something much more bigger than that, is the territory from which they made their living. Knowledge comes in many forms. Landforms, waterways, skies, seasons, plants and animals together form the “Country”. Aboriginals learned to read the signs and listen the Country from a very early age. They’ve been passing all this knowledge from generation to generation, leaving a track for the next generations to follow.

Life changed for them when Europeans arrived as described in the next image.

First People Exhibition, Melbourne Museum

Learning from the past, people are trying to change thoughts about this people, and all of the immigrant that form Australia’s community. Government is developing new laws regarding aboriginal rights. Museums are showing, through exhibitions, the importance of Aboriginals in Australian Culture. As we can see in the video, when celebrating Australia you have to think all of the different people that create and unify this diverse nation.