A place full of people who never made it home
The name alone packs a serious punch – Byron Bay is one of the most famous beaches in the world. A crazy 20,000 people per day flog to the bay to discover and explore what all the fuss is about. So just like them, we wanted to find out for ourselves – What’s so special about Byron Bay?
♦ The culture and atmosphere. These are the first two distinct aspects of Byron Bay that’ll hit you upon arrival – It’s got character! During the day, surf culture is in full flow. Every man, woman and child takes their board down to the beach in order to hit the waves.
Once the sun goes below the horizon a very different Byron Bay reveals itself – The Hippie side. Buskers occupy every street corner, many a guitar is played and people gather in there hundreds in order to sit on the green and soak it all up.
♦ Cape Byron Lighthouse. The Lighthouse Trail is a must when in Byron Bay. Get it done early before the mid-day heat, as it’s a 45-minute walk stretching 1.5kms and many flights of stairs (or you can take a drive).
Before you reach the lighthouse you will be greeted by the most easterly point of Australia. A photo by the sign is a must, and it’s an awesome spot to take in some fantastic views.
Continuing up another 5 minutes will take you to the foot of the lighthouse. An $8 AUD entry fee will allow you the access to the top, however, we opted to enjoy the views from the look out 20 meters away instead.
♦ The Beaches. Byron Bay’s main beach is huge and although thousands of tourists flog there daily you’ll find ample space for a couple of towels. We preferred the eastern end of the beach where a small lagoon can be found, the sun heats it up all day long so if you want to chill out in the water after your lighthouse walk head here to avoid the seas current and waves. There are many other less populated beaches however Byron’s main beach was our choice of the lot.
♦ The Town. The Town of Byron Bay is catered towards tourists, primarily backpackers. The streets are filled with surf shops, pubs, restaurants and of course several token tourist shops. The town reveals its true colours at night, the streets come alive with music and the hippies come out to dance and sing the night away. Byron has a lovely relaxing vibe once the sun goes down.
♦ The Surf. If you visit Byron Bay you have got to surf! If you haven’t surfed before, you with out a doubt, have to have your first surf lesson here. If you’re a little more experienced, hiring a board is super easy too.
We grabbed our 7ft something board and swam into the waves. We didn’t surf the big waves but certainly enjoyed the little ones, which went on for ever- It was awesome!
We spent two days in Byron Bay, with half of the second day on a trip to Nimbin (a cheeky hippie town, an hour drive from Byron Bay).
♦ Go to the Apex park in the evening with a 6 pack of beers from the local bottle store. Take a seat on the green and have a drink, it’s the best way to absorb the atmosphere (dancing is encouraged!).
♦ To avoid paying for parking, park on residential streets a block or two back from the beach. It’ll be a 10 – 15 minute walk but it’ll save you $4 AUD per hour that the metered areas charge.
♦ Keep you valuables locked away and if you take a bag to the beach leave it near a trusting looking family while you surf. The crime rate in Byron Bay is higher than any of the surrounding areas due to the number of tourists.