I discovered Byron Bay during my campervan drive from Cairns to Sydney. The little seaside town is probably the most chilled out place I'd been to during my trip to Australia and there is a real "bohemian" feel to the whole place. Expect to see a real cross section of people here as it literally attracts people from all walks of life.
The town itself is just south of Brisbane on the east coast and just north of Grafton and the popular tourist spot of Coffs Harbour. Cape Byron forms mainland Australia's eastern most point and is a beautiful scenic area with white sandy beaches.
The town itself is a bit of a surf town with no shortage of surf shops and schools to teach you how to ride those big east coast waves. For the non surfers amongst you (you really should try it you know!) there are a wide selection of shops ranging from the boutique to the basic. There are also a whole host of cafes and restaurants with a thriving nightlife after hours.
There really is something for eveyone in Byron Bay which is probably why it is such a popular destination. There is ample parking in and around the town and its whole relaxed feel left me leaving moth invigorated and refreshed despite the lengthy drive I had just completed and had to continue.
Byron Bay nearly rocked Manly off the top spot of my time in Australia so far.
As we had a van going up the east coast we decided to camp on a site right next to the beach at the right end. The campsite was quiet with access to the beach in about 2 seconds! The toilets were clean and the staff were friendly.
We went up the light house road which was great because you can go to the most easterly point in australia, and we saw about 20 dolphins jumping through the waves which was incredible! We also saw rays and a turtle.
We had a surfing lesson with Black Dog surf school, we could already surf a bit so ended up getting a sort of private lesson. Our instructor was chilled out but organised and we got a lot of tips. We were standing up everytime even with a strong current it was great!
We also spent an afternoon just sunbathing and chilling out at the beach which was lovely. We went for dinner at the bistro in the beach hotel. The food was tasty and you got a huge portion! There was also a live band and they were very good.
Byron itself is lots of little boutique shops mixed with tourist shops and surf labels. All the main hostels pick you up from the greyhound which is in the town centre. There are some nice bakerys and some good bars as well.
Its a little paradise and I loved it even though we were only there for 2 days.
As my trip in Australia was coming to an end I wanted to visit the town of Byron Bay. I travelled down from Brisbane (a two hour bus ride) and was amazed by what I saw.
The high street is a collection of boutique shops that offer everything from souvenirs to ice cream. The beaches looked truly amazing but sadly I didn't have time to check out the waves.
Instead I headed for the Lighthouse, it was quite a trek and sadly there's no bus service for people who don't have cars. I was also walking on a boiling hot day and when I arrived I thought I was going to pass out and had to wait for the shop to open before I could get a drink.
Once there though the views were amazing and the scenary was spectacular. If you plan a visit I definately reccommend a car if it's a warm day. Especially if you have kids as they might suffer from the walk but it's definately worth the effort.
Ive been to Byron bay twice now, once in 2002 and once again in 2005. Both these trips have been during july and august.
Byron Bay is situated just under Brisbane, about a 2 hour plane journey or 10 hour car drive from Sydney, and a 2 hour drive to Brisbane. It is home to the most eastery point of Australia and is on the famous Gold Coast.
This is possibly the most famous landmark in Byron and is where the most easterly point is. It is a view point to see the whales migrating, and the original lighthouse is now a museum. There are also lighthouse keeper cottages which are available to rent out and stay in, something we did during out second stay. This is well worthwhile as you get spectacular views day and night out to sea, and its amazing just to be able to pop out the front door and see whales, turtles and dolphins. The houses are spatious, with 3 double bedrooms, lounge, huge kitchen, bathroom, back garden with patio and original features. Beware though, the TV signal is rubbish so bring some games and books! Also it can be a little scary up there at night as it is pitch black so bring a torch!
The beaches in my opinion are the highlight of Byron, my favourite being Wategoes. All the beaches are sandy and spatious, but most do not have lifeguards and have very strong currents so be careful when swimming. Often when in the sea dolphins can be seen nearby, seemingly undisturbed by swimmers and surfers! Also swimmers and surfers need to be aware or the safe swimming areas due to recent shark sightings etc, nothing to be scared about but should obviously be adheared to.
The people in Byron are so laid back im suprised they dont meet themselves coming the other way! Everone i met whilst over there was very kind and nice and were willing to do everything they could to make our stay memorable and make us feel at home.
The Shops and Restaurants:
There arnt a huge variety of shops in Byron but those that are there tend to be trinket, art and clothes stores. The main food store is called Woolworths and sells all your usual food and drink produce. There is a large selection of restaurants, my favourite being Earth and Sea, a pizza place which also does take out.
Day to Day Life:
Having family over there means we get to see the day to day life in Byron not just the holiday side. The pace of life over there is much calmer than here is the UK and the outlook on life is much more chilled out, people do their grocery shopping bare foot have dinner on the beach and there is more time spent as a family. There are several local primary schools, a few of which are catholic and also a high school.
All in all Byron Bay is a very nice place to visit for a relaxed holiday, with plently of opportunities for water sports, surfing, adventure and exploring. It is a place i will be visiting again in the future!
How did you spend Christmas this year? Mine was pretty usual. I went for a walk on the beach as I always do. I ate too much, again as per usual. I indulged in present giving and receiving. But this year I also went out for a pancake breakfast, did a little shopping, had a massage and a spell in a flotation tank and lazed by a pool until gone midnight, dressed only in bathers and a Santa hat. This year I was in Byron Bay on December 25th, a place where wonderful weather and places being open every day of the year are the least of the differences.
Byron Bay is a 2 hour drive from Brisbane, and is just over the state line in New South Wales, meaning that for 6 months of the year theres a time difference with Queensland. Its a popular destination for natives and foreigners, and has many different faces: chilled beach resort, hippy hang out, hip MTV socialite town, backpacker Mecca. Not bad for a place that is on the small side and doesnt have that an extensive range of attractions.
We were in Byron for 4 days and had planned for it to be our down time I met up with a few friends who had also been travelling Australia so we could celebrate together, and our plans stretched not much further than Find pool. Find beach. Unpack bathers. Enjoy but despite our best intentions we did end up fitting in a few activities.
Before Byron Id tried surfing once with little success. I put it down to the Sydney weather (raining), the water temperature (freezing), the gear (half wetsuits, pre-moistened for our (dis)pleasure) and the instructor (con man / pervert). My lesson in Byron, however, was much better. My friend Jen and I went with STYLE SURFING for a 3.5 hour lesson at Tallow Beach where we donned thin t-shirts, grabbed our boards and were soon riding the waves. Byron has several such schools, probably all similar, but this one was certainly good, with fun instructors who knew what they were talking about, a beautiful setting and perfect waves, plus an in-water photographer to capture our best moments quite a feat where I was involved as my surfing technique leaves a lot to be desired, and snapping me in the 2 seconds when my bum is not in the air, downward dog style, takes skill. Lessons cost $60, including pickup from accommodation in the town, and we had a fab time.
The most easterly place in Australia, Byron offers fantastic sunrises which, while beautiful, are also extremely early in the day. With this in mind, and realising correctly that few people are human at that time of the morning, our hostel took matters out of our hands, offering us a $5 fully organised trip. Leaving at 5.30am we drove up to the famous lighthouse, collapsed on the grass and waited for the sun to do its thing. An hour later we were back in bed. Perfect.
The beaches in Byron, of which there are several, are beautiful with soft sand and stinger free water meaning you can swim in the sea in peace, just keeping one eye open for sharks. The main beach is crowded at weekends but is the one with the best surf patrols so a good option for weak swimmers for those who have a tendency to drown. The waves are strong here, and though so is my swimming, there were a few times I was swept along against my will. It was here in Byron that, through necessity, I perfected the under-water-boob-check, glancing down to ensure everything supposed to be encased in my bikini still was before I stood up out of the water after a good thrashing. Good thing too as more often than not it wasnt, and the water was generally crowded so forgoing this check could have resulted in an embarrassment known forever more as Nipplegate 2005.
Byron has many spas and resorts dotted around although most of these are somewhat makeshift and cobbled together. We went to Relax Haven at the Belongil Beachhouse on Christmas day, and despite the rather unorthodox surroundings, the treatments were good, even if I did get my wrist slapped for gracing the massage table with sandy ankles by the English masseur who spoke with a fake sounding breathy voice.
We ate out most nights, never at the same place, and never had a bad meal. Prices ranged from the usual to a little more than my regular haunts in Coogee, but were still cheap by English standards. The pizza place near Woolworths can be recommended, as can the ice cream place on Johnson St, though the Chocolate factory was disappointing. Byron had a mix of shops, selling everything from art to souvenirs, from beads to books. There were 2 supermarkets a large Woolworths and a smaller 5 Star supermarket, and a selection of bakers, so picnics on the beach were easy to throw together. Byron also has 2 cinemas, one showing new films on day of release, and numerous bars and pubs featuring live music.
Flying to Byron is cheap with the new budget airlines routes both Coolongatta and Ballina are within easy reach, and I flew from the latter to Sydney for £35 on boxing day my preference over the 13 hour bus trip my friends were doing. There is a Greyhound stop in time and Oz Experience also stop here on several tours.
I hadnt heard much about Byron before I got there and my knowledge was limited to the fact that it had a nice beach or two. What I didnt know, however, was how much of a hippy feel the town has, influenced by the pot capital of New South Wales, Nimbin, an hour and a bit away. However this impacts a stay in Byron as little or as much as you want it to, and you can have a normal, un-themed beach holiday here easily if thats what youre after. There is a good mix of accommodation including many self catering house and apartment rentals and upmarket (=expensive) hotels, and hostels are only a bit more in larger places I paid the same as normal but here it was for a 4 bedded dorm with the others rather than a room of my own. I might not rush back to Byron for the simple reason that theres not all that much to do here beyond chilling on the beach, but it was a beautiful town and a fantastic, unique place to spend Christmas. Definitely worth visiting once in your life, and if I lived close by say in Brisbane Id happily frequent it as my local beach in summer months.
Last Thursday, I was sitting in the office feeling a little bit fed up, a bit of bloke trouble and a lousy week at work were making me feel like getting away for a few days. Hmmm, where is a girl to go when she feels this way? I called my friend Lynn, who is currently travelling round Australia and asked her where she was. Coffs Harbour right now was the reply, But Ill be in Byron by Saturday So there it was, before you could say Tie me Kangaroo Down I was on the net looking for a flight up the coast.
Flights to Byron Bay from Sydney, (where Im based) are frequent and cheep, with both Virgin Blue and Quantas offering good deals. As I left it so late I paid a bit more, $330.00 or about £150, if you know further in advance I reckon you could pick a return flight up for about £80. I chose to fly to Ballina, which is a half hour drive from Byron and the transfer cost $15/£6.50 in an airport shuttle bus. Many people fly to Coolengatta, which is the Gold Coast airport and often the flights there are cheaper still although its about an hour away by road.
I arrived at 10.30am Saturday morning and walked in to the YHA where we were staying at exactly the same moment as my friend and partner in crime and we checked in to our dorm room, which was spotlessly clean and cost us a very reasonable $27/£10 a night. I must mention at this point that we were to be joined by another friend, she had left Sydney at 6am on the bus and was due to be with us at 8.30pm, just gives you some idea of the distances involved in this country.
We dumped our rucksacks and headed of towards the beach. Byron has a reputation for being Hippyish, slightly bohemian, and as you walk down the street you do notice a lot of dread locked individuals, lots of floaty skirts and long beards, and theyre just the ladies, boom, boom. We walked along Jonson Street, one of the main streets and we just couldnt stay out of the shops, loads of surf type shops selling beach ware and surfing paraphernalia, all good quality gear though, no cheap tat like in many other holiday towns. Then there were the New Age type shops selling crystals and advertising Yoga and Massages. My bank balance took a pounding as I bought those sunglasses I just had to have and the new flip flops, (or thongs as we call them here) I couldnt live without.
Finally, with an empty purse, we reached the beach and one of the main reasons I was so keen on going to Byron Bay. Its just beautiful, the sand is white and when the surf froths up on the shore you get the feeling that paradise is all around you. There wasnt a cloud in the pristine and intense blue sky, with Cape Byron lighthouse standing majestically over its charge at the far end of the beach I was simply awe struck. We lazed around all afternoon popping to the bar when we got so hot we just had to have a beer.
That evening we collected our friend Sharon and her huge suitcase from the bus stop. It appears that no one told Sharon the basic rules about backpacking, like er having a backpack. We dumped her stuff then sauntered of to check out Byrons nightlife. We ate at a pub, The Great Northern, which had an impressive and good value specials board and live music most nights, this was a great pub, we moved on to the Beach Hotel, which, as the name suggests is facing the beach. This is a more upmarket joint than the Great Northern and as you would expect its also more expensive. As the views really are something to behold I think its worth it. There are couple of night clubs which kick on till all hours with Cheeky Monkeys being popular with the younger backpackers, we gave it a miss preferring the pubs and outdoor terraces to a sweaty, noisy room. (Am I getting old?)
On Sunday we walked off the hangover, going down to the beach and walking right along, doing the Byron coastal walk and carrying on up to Cape Byron light house, which the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. The walk was quite hard work, being very steep and when you leave the beach you have two kilometres all up hill. I enjoyed it very much but one of my friends gave up half way and went back to the beach. The views on the way up there were of course stunning and there are a number of lookouts on the way up, where, if youre lucky you can see Dolphins and Turtles. In May and November you might even spot the mighty Hump Back Whale on its way through, doing its migration thing.
That evening we again dined in the Great Northern, over a Pizza and a bottle of Cab Sav we all agreed wed had a great time in Byron and that wed all probably be back. I sauntered back to the YHA about midnight feeling all chilled out and glad Id come and tried not to think about getting up at 5am to catch my flight back to Sydney and reality
Head north of Sydney for about 800km and you'll come across one of Australia's most unique places - Byron Bay. With stunning beaches and a laid-back attitude that'll make you want to pack in your daytime desk job for ever, its somewhere every visitor to New South Wales really must visit. For many years the area has attracted people who are escaping the city rat race in search of a more relaxed pace of life. The area is full of creative people (and quite a few nutters who have gone 'bush') who find inspiration in the gorgeous coastline and scenery. The town itself is set close to Australia?s most easterly point - Cape Byron. You can walk to the lighthouse at the top of the Cape for a great view of the area and continue down the windy path right to the water's edge if you really want to get face to face with the Ocean. ===Getting there=== Byron Bay is serviced by two airports. There are regular flights from the major Australian cities to Ballina and Coolangatta, which are both less than an hour away. There are also plenty of McCafferty's and Greyhound buses passing through every day. There are, however, much more fun ways to head up from Sydney if you have the time. There are several multi-day trips available which show you parts of News South Wales which are easily missed. I took one called the Pioneering Spirit, run by Byron Bay local Ivan. For just under £100 (including meals and two nights of accommodation in a homestead and a local pub) Ivan will take you to some of the best beaches, rainforests and vineyards on the southern east coast and introduce you to some lovely locals on the way. There are many other similar trips including the very popular Surfaris which, as the name suggests, involves surfing your way up the coast's beaches. If you have the time, I highly recommend taking a trip like one of these, rather than simply jumping on the Greyhound. They'
re a great way to meet people continue your travels with and you'll see some great sights and wildlife on the way. ===Things to do=== The miles of beaches in the area make Byron Bay a perfect place to relax and unwind. However the powerful waves also makes it a great place to learn to surf. There's plenty of competition among local surf schools who offer a wide range of lesson packages and rental deals. Other popular water sports in the area include diving and sea kayaking. I took a three hour dolphin safari sea kayaking trip which was exhausting but amazing. Having battled our way through the waves out into the open sea, we were quickly surrounded by schools of curious dolphins. Bring a disposable camera to the beach if you do a trip like this as you can get some great pictures of the coastline and sealife. Bryon Bay has lots of great shops and is the perfect place to pick up some Aussie surf gear. There are loads of surfy style shops selling all the usually labels like Quicksilver, Mambo and Billabong and it's all much cheaper than in the UK. Given the area's hippy reputation, there are lots of yoga and massage schools offering courses and chill-out sessions. These too are all much cheaper than similar courses and classes in the big cities. If you're feeling energetic you could also take one of the organised dawn climbs up to the peak of nearby Mount Warning - the first place in Australia to receive sunlight every day. Quite a few companies organise these trips (which include breakfast) very day for just a few dollars. You can pick up leaflets about all these trips at local hostels and travel agents. ===Going out=== Byron Bay is a really fun place to go out. The locals tend to hang out in the large pub by the sea the Beach Hotel. We also met lots of friendly Aussies as the aptly named Railway Friendly Bar which used to be the railway station. The bigg
est backpackers haunt is Cheeky Monkeys. It has cheap food, drinking games and enough cheesy tunes to have you dancing on the tables into the early hours. Cocomangas across the road tends to attract a trendier crowd and often has well-known Sydney DJs up to play. There is also a wide selection of restaurants and cafes. There are several award-winning seafood restaurants and plenty of cheap beach cafes selling fab salads, sandwiches and smoothies. ===Where to stay=== Byron Bay has the usual assortment of hostels, hotels and apartments but there?s one spot I can recommend in particular - the Arts Factory. I was told about this place by my Australian flatmate and it really does seem as popular with Australians as international visitors. The Arts Factory is more of a community than a hostel. I'd heard it was a pretty hippy kind of place and wasn't sure if I'd like it. Having spent a week there (I was only supposed to stay a couple of days!) I defy anyone not to have a great time. The Arts Factory has many kinds of accommodation and a camp site. They have traditional dorms and rooms - all very clean and funkily painted. There are also teepees, a bus, the 'surfshack', the female-only house 'The Nunnery' and individual romantic huts for two on a little island in the middle of the complex. There's a large, well equipped kitchen, a pool, beach volleyball court, travel agent, shop and café. With fantastic entertainment laid on at night too, it really is an effort to leave the place some times. Barbeque night is usually accompanied by a fire-dancing show by the staff. The talent contest is extremely humbling - there are some very gifted people living and staying at the Arts Factory. Dayside activities include fire-dancing lessons (beginners are given tennis balls on string to practise with!), didgeridoo-making lessons, volleyball tournaments and day trips to local t
owns and markets. There are also bicycles available for rental very cheaply. We spent a day cycling along the coast and up to the Cape Byron lighthouse - very tiring but lots of fun. Staying at the Arts Factory costs only a few pounds a night and gets cheaper the longer you stay there. If you're eager to meet new people and experience a lifestyle you won?t find anywhere else on the east-coast backpacker trail, then I highly recommend dropping in for a few days. ===Nimbin=== No trip to Byron Bay is complete without a visit to Nimbin - possibly one of the weirdest places on earth. To explain, the story goes that a bunch of students from an Australian city (I think Sydney) were looking for somewhere to hold an Age of Aquarius music festival in 1973. The asked the local people of Nimbin, then a dying farming community. Spying a bit of cash to be made, the locals welcomed them with open arms. So the students descended, painted the high street shops with suitable hippy, trippy murals and celebrated, and, erm, stayed. Nimbin is now known as the drug capital of Australia. The police turn a blind eye to the massive cannabis farms in the area (they say they'd have to arrest everyone of they tried to clamp down). A quick walk down Nimbin's high street will involve someone asking you every couple of paces if you'd like some hash cookies, fruitcake or fudge. It's potent stuff. There are some pretty amusing cannabis-themes shops and museums but generally, Nimbin is a fairly depressing place though and you probably won't want to hang around very long. Many of the local dealers have turned to hard drugs like heroin and are a little intimidating. The best way to see Nimbin is to take a $25 day trip from Byron Bay with either Jim or Wayne's alternative tours. They'll show you some of the area's lovely countryside, tell you a bit of history about the area, ensure you're safely back
in Byron Bay by sunset and turn a blind eye to any illicit purchases you might have made in Nimbin. Watch out for the Mardi Grass Festival, held every May in Nimbin. It usually attracts international news coverage with its joint rolling contests and other cannabis-related events! ===Useful websites=== http://www.artsfactory.com.au http://www.pioneeringspirit.com.au http://www.byronbaynow.com http://www.nimbinaustralia.com http://www.waynes-nimbin-tours.com
On a recent visit to Sydney we decided it would be nice to have a few days somewhere just to veg out and lie on the beach. Everyone we spoke to, backpackers and holiday-makers, reccommended Byron Bay. So we decided to have 3 nights there. To get to Byron there are a few choices: Hire a car in Brisbane (or Sydney) and drive there, get on the bus or fly to one of 2 local airports which are within 30 minutes of the place. We chose the latter and flew to Ballina and caught a minibus cab (which you can book to pick you up and drop you off for a reasonable cost). The good thing about the drive into Byron is the view. You drive along a beautiful coastline of bays, beaches, hills and lots of greenery with one or two small towns along the way. When you get to Byron Bay the first thing you may notice is the lack of tall buildings - the building regs in Byron state that you can't build over 2 stories, to try and maintain a traditional look to the place. We stayed at the Lord Byron resort which had a nice pool and tennis courts and the rooms were nice and clean with TV, air-con, satellite TV, a balcony and large bathroom. At the time it worked out at £40 a night, which split between two is not a lot. The good thing about Byron is you don't have to stay in a hotel, there are loads of homestays and B&B's, apartments for rent or hostels (which are always full of British backpackers!!). Virtually everything you need in the town is on the main street (or no further than 100 yards from it). There are numerous restaurants (veggie, sushi, Subway, kebabs) but the best value are the ones that target backpackers - always good, cheap food lots of beer and entertainment thrown in to boot! When I say cheap I'm talking a plateful of steak, salad and jacket spud for about £3..!! You'll find plenty of souvenir shops, surf shops, clothes shops, a supermarket, video shops, and loads of internet cafe's (which ar
e very handy if it rains, or if you are trying to keep in touch with friends at home). You 'll also find plenty of activities going on like Kayaking, Whale-watching, mountain-biking, walking etc... The place can get quite warm and you will need plenty of sun-block and probably a hat to be safe. In tradition I leave the best till last...... The beach. It is miles long, white sand, clean and never more than a 5 minute walk away. The sea is clean, warm(ish) and suitable for surfing and swimming (and I didn't see a single shark!!). All this in one place, and all the locals are friendly (most look like they just stepped out of a time machine from Woodstock). Definately worth a visit.
When you hear someone mention Byron Bay-Australia, what usually springs to mind ?? Hmm..well usually most people conjure up twisted images of tree-hugging, pot choofing, tied died wearing, dread-lock ridden hippies chanting about peace love and mung-beans baby (no offence guys)…so if you think this…then your kinda right !!! Ok ok ok…before I loose your attention bear with me, my hyper-active brain is racing ahead of me (whoo choo-cracking of whip sounds). So kick back, release the grip on that mouse and let me briefly take you on a whiz-bang trip down under to (drum roll)… Byron Bay-Australia. Byron Bay or more specifically know, Cape Byron happens to be the most eastern point of Australia, located on the North Coast of New South Wales (yes…that’s Australia for those of you who have been under a rock) lying 800km north of Sydney and 170km south of Brisbane. Byron is a hugely popular tourist destination for international visitors, and native Aussies alike. This groovy little town boasts miles of glorious untouched surfing beaches with a magnificent backdrop of plush hinterland. It is well hyped for it’s hippy central, lentil burgers, mediation, crystal gazing, incense burning (not to mention other things…arhem) and aromatherapy, however be prepared you Brit’s, there is not a fast food chain outlet in sight (oh no…I can practically hear your cholesterol levels screaming with horror…just jokes guys). Anyway with the onset of so many people blowing in and out of Byron, none of this has damaged the miraculous beauty and funky vibe of this purring little town. The almost never ending stretch of Byron’s coast line can be dotted with people during summer, but if your adventurous enough and know a few knowledgeable locals, they may just point you in the direction of some secluded waterfalls, and crystal clear swimming lakes, to get that camera sna
pping faster than any paparazzi. Residents can be quite protective of their town and it’s understandably so, however if you treat it with nothing but respect, you will earn theirs, as well as some extra tips on secret (or at least they won’t be after they have told you) picturesque beaches. Once your in Byron, the beauty is that there is little need for transport, although a car is a handy idea if your keen on exploring the rainforest within the hills behind Bryon town and checking out the surrounding towns (does Nimbin ring a bell anyone?) Bikes are another Einstein idea, and they can be hired from any local bike shop, the town is amazingly easy to get around on foot or bike. The last time we went was April 2000 (this being our 5th time) for my partners birthday. We spent 4 days at Byron Bay Beach Club, and keeping in mind we were there during Autumn, the streets were still alive and kicking with fire throwers, markets, live bands, and tattooists. Byron has a unique range of restaurants, bars and health food cafes suited for all tastes (bar junk food addicts) and budgets. The big entertainment spots are in the town centre on Jonson Street, although there isn’t too many ultra ritzy high class clubs (so girlie girls, don’t go packing any neck breaking silly stilettos, you will be the towns entertainment for the evening, this place is casual with a capital C) !! lol Byron has more along the lines of open top/air cruisy bars, restaurants and back-packer hangouts. So in between all this eating and beaching, you may be wondering what gargoylie tourist toys to take home…well you will find no shortage of interesting items downtown, with it’s colourful array of surfie/hippy/new age/ tourist-shops to keep you oohing and arhing !! You may also have heard of Byron for it’s nationally famous East Coast Blues and Roots Music Festival, held at Red Devil Park, located on Broken Head Roa
d, only 2.5km from the centre of …you guessed it ….Byron. This crazy festival is on every year over the Easter Break from 13th-16th April. There is always a classic line-up of talented musicians from big regulars like Ben Harper to Midnight Oil to Joe Camilleri. Many camp for the entire weekend, but if *roughing it* just isn’t in your vocabulary range, never fear, the town has enough accommodation to host an A list of celeb’s from Hollywood, fitting every budget from camping sites, back-packers, bungalows, hotel/motels to high class beach front apartments. So if your ready to get back to work now I’ll leave it here…..but if your heading down under and feel like getting away from the usual herd of tourists who make a bee-line for the big cities e.g Sydney and Melbourne..why not *exit stage left* and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul in Byron Bay !!
Conveniently situated on the coastal route between Brisbane and Sydney, this lively little town has got to be one of my favourite places on the planet. Gorgeous beaches, friendly people, a great night-life... what more could a girl ask for? The main landmark in Byron Bay is the lighthouse that can be seen from most parts of the town - there is a pleasant walk from here to the 'Most Easterly Part of Australia'. This is quite a good spot for nature-lovers to catch the whale migration during spring or autumn. Accommodation remains affordable, despite the influx of tourists in recent years. My advice is to avoid the hostels in the town centre and opt for one a little further out of town - these tend to be a lot cheaper (usually around $15/£6 per night depending on the season) and have a free mini-bus into town every half hour or so. You shouldn't have a problem finding one of these hostels as they usually have a tout waiting at the bus stop every time an inter-city bus comes through. For the more intrepid traveller, there are at least two campsites that are within walking distance from the bus stop (around $10/£4 per person per night). As for entertainment, the Railway Hotel has reasonably priced beer and food (the hamburgers are great) and usually has a band playing in the evenings, generally blues or alternative folk. If that's not your style, there are several other bars spanning the range from pub to wine bar, as well as a nightclub that is open until 5am (don't ask me its name, I could barely remember my own last time I went there!) Other recommended activities: tours to Nimbin (Australia's 'alternative' heart - the place to go for bizarre clothing, solar panels and cookies that will make you hallucinate), jam sessions in the park (bring your own instrument or just hum along) or just chilling out on the beach (which, by the way, is infinitely better than that of the Gold Coast or Bondi and far
less polluted). Also watch out for the annual 'Jazz and Blues Festival'. Just one word of warning though: last time I was there, I met a guy who said he'd come to Byron for a two week holiday? and was still there eight years later! See you on the beach!!! For more info on Byron Bay check out www.byronbay-online.com
Byron Bay is a town in the state of New South Wales on the eastern most point of the mainland of Australia. The town is the nucleus of Byron Shire, which has in excess of 30,000 people (ABS est. 2003). Captain James Cook named the area Byron after John Byron. Byron Bay is located about 800 km north of Sydney and 200 km south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the eastern-most point of the continent of Australia, and is part of a giant volcanic crater. The Cape Byron lighthouse was opened in 1901, and has the most powerful beacon in Australia. The town has several beautiful beaches and it is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast.