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Byron Bay: A Beach Town with a Hippie Soul

Byron Bay isn’t just a laidback beach town with great surf and beautiful views. This coastal community at the northern tip of New South Wales is proud of its hippy soul, in contrast to the high rise developments right across the border in Queensland. You’ll find a small town vibe influenced both by surf culture and alternative trends, and don’t be surprised if you spot barefoot middle aged men with dreadlocks walking down the street. Travellers may soon find themselves at home in this soulful town, which hosts a number of holiday rentals, from flats in the town centre to entire villas with panoramic sea views.

On the Byron Bay Beachfront

Byron Bay is blessed with reliable surf, and locals and visitors aching to get on their boards can do so only a few steps from the town centre. Main Beach is patrolled in the summer, with a good surf break. This beach is also safe for children. In the summer, this is where you’ll find famous sand sculptor Steve Machell at work and can admire his gothic castles made only from sand and water. Main Beach turns into Clarks Beach. Walk along the white sand and you’ll hit The Pass, the ultimate surf spot in Byron Bay. If you’d rather take in the action without getting wet, hike up Watego’s Lookout to take in the surf action from up high.

Wildlife Observation and Nature Walks

Byron Bay is teeming with wildlife. In season, you can spot whales and take part in whale watching cruises, a great way to spend a day with the family. The town is also within proximity of Nightcap National Park, a subtropical rainforest home to numerous protected plants and animals. Visitors can spot lyrebirds, tree frogs and several species of endangered trees. Minyon Falls, a 100m waterfall surrounded by walking tracks, is also within the park. If you’re more interested in marine life, Cape Byron Marine Park, only a few minutes from Main Beach, provides ample snorkelling and diving opportunities.

Festivals and Events in Byron Bay

There’s always something going on in Byron Bay, with music and arts festivals held throughout the year. Every Easter, travellers flock to Byron Bay for the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival. In August, it’s time for Splendour in the Grass, an Indie rock music fest. Film and writers’ festivals also take place in Byron Bay, with international and Australian celebrities sometimes making an appearance and attendance increasing yearly.

Byron Bay Markets

Sometimes it’s difficult to come across fresh produce while on holiday, but not in Byron Bay. Each Thursday, the Butler Street Reserve is transformed into a large farmers’ market with over 70 stalls. Meanwhile, at Railway Park, an Artisan Market takes place each Saturday evening, starting in October and ending at Easter. Here, travellers can find unique, handcrafted souvenirs and mingle with locals. Finally, a beachside market is held three times a year, allowing visitors to shop as they overlook the waterfront. This market occurs once in September, January and at Easter. Clearly, Easter is a very eventful holiday in Byron Bay!

Visiting Byron Bay

Travellers come to Byron Bay to relax or spend time close to nature, and the weather is conducive to these activities year-round. Winters are relatively warm but it may be difficult to swim. Summers, on the other hand, average 27 degrees Celsius. Getting to Byron Bay is simple, with two airports in the region (the closest is Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, 30km away). Otherwise, a bus and train station can be found at the heart of town. Conveniently, Byron Bay is only 170km from Brisbane.

For more travel information on Byron Bay, read our guide on Things to do in Byron Bay.