Bay still magic for Ray and Nelda

HAPPY CAMPERS: Nelda and Ray Hugo have been visiting Byron for 60 years.
HAPPY CAMPERS: Nelda and Ray Hugo have been visiting Byron for 60 years. Gary Chigwidden

RAY and Nelda Hugo would make the perfect poster couple to promote Byron Bay around Australia and the world.

At 86 and 81, they aren't young backpackers, they don't surf and they don't party, party, party, but they have been holidaying regularly in the town for 60 years and they just love it.

They have seen plenty of changes in that time, but for them the same magical qualities they discovered on their first visit still exist today.

"When you think right back, it was a typical little seaside village that has grown a lot," said Ray, who retired as a purchasing supervisor for BHP 22 years ago.

"But to us, it still has the feel of that little seaside village. We love it."

The Newcastle couple first came to Byron Bay in 1952 and stayed with Nelda's brother, Les Beesley, who had a bakery in Lawson St.

In subsequent years, they stayed in holiday flats in Bay St and in more recent years at the Byron Motor Lodge - always Room 1 - and they have become firm friends with the motel's owners, Gerry and Liz Gleeson.

They have never owned a car and always travel to Byron Bay by train - steam, two-car diesel, motor rail and today, the XPT to Casino and then a bus to Byron Bay.

"We like to come up and get away from the rat race," Nelda said.

It's a nice relaxing holiday. You feel like a piece of jelly, you are so relaxed.


These days, Ray and Nelda don't go on to the beach "because it's too busy", but they do go to the beachfront every couple of days just to check it out.

They mostly spend their days relaxing in their room or walking around the town.

"We just wander around and make mental notes of what shops are still here and what has gone," Ray said.

Their 10-day stay ended last week, but they will be back next year.

Topics:  byron bay tourism

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