I’ve been in Byron Bay a week now. It’s the tourist Mecca of the Southern Hemisphere. Such a beautiful stretch of coast with a magical green-clad hinterland.
They call this the Rainbow Region and here you really can ‘catch a rainbow’. They’ve got this tourist train with carriages painted in bright rainbow colours. It’s called ‘The Rainbow’ and takes people through to the inland towns and villages. They’ve got quaint little stations at places like Booyong, Eltham and Bexhill with great cafes and gift shops.
Apparently the local community got tired of waiting on the government to repair the lines and bring back the trains so they organised to do it for themselves, formed a company, sold shares, secured loans, leased the line, used lots of volunteer labour to repair it section by section and then acquired a few old heritage steam trains. They run these on compressed macadamia shells grown locally.
You can even put your bike on the back carriage and ride out from any station along the way. They’ve got scenic trails everywhere along the tracks. The Rainbow takes people to some of the best Festival sites – Bluesfest, Splendour and the Lantern Parade in Lismore.
Every day it leaves Byron full of sightseers from all over the world. I even had to wait a few days to get a seat. The Rainbow Region Rail Company must be doing very well for itself. I’ve heard it pays handsome dividends to its local community member shareholders. What a great ride it is!
Garth Kindred, Rosebank