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Byron Bay

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New South Wales : Northern Rivers : Byron Bay
Revision as of 23:09, 4 February 2013 by 203.97.147.216 (Talk)

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Byron Bay [1] is a coastal town in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, located just off the Pacific Highway, approximately 800 km north of Sydney and 175 km south of Brisbane. Nearby Cape Byron is the easternmost point on the Australian mainland.

Understand

Byron Bay is famed worldwide for its surfing beaches, scuba diving, whale watching, rural beauty and a laid back lifestyle. It is a major tourist centre.

Byron Bay and its surrounding area have a population of about 30,000. The area has experienced a dramatic increase in tourism now standing at 1.7 million+ visitors per year. During summer time the western road in and out of town to the North can get crowded and slow. Entry via Ross Lane off the highway to the south might offer travellers a quicker solution in holiday periods.

The community of Suffolk Park lies a five minute drive south of Byron, along Tallows Beach.  It offers a quieter alternative to the heart of Byron, but for most services you will find yourself making the trip into Byron.

The towns of Bangalow and Nimbin lie inland, under an hours drive away. Lennox Head and Ballina are to the south.

There are many thriving home-based businesses focussed on alternative, holistic, cultural and knowledge industries, with a growing population of artists, writers and filmmakers.

Byron Bay is renowned for capturing the hearts of the people that visit. Many people end up staying. The community spirit in Byron Bay and the surrounding areas is strong. There are many people and groups doing their bit to help. For more information about the spirit of Byron and how to get involved with this work go to the real byron bay website and read the interviews [2]

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is Ballina/Byron Airport (BNK) around 30 minutes drive away at Ballina. There are flights from Sydney and Melbourne. There are regular shuttle services from the airport and most of them are door to door. Book online to save money[3]. Xcede Airport Transfers [4] and Steve's Tours Airport Express [5] offer shuttle services direct to your door.

Gold Coast Airport (OOL) is around 1 hour away at Coolangatta and has domestic flights and international flights from New Zealand, Malaysia, and Japan. It often has cheaper flights and cheaper car hire than Ballina. There are a number of transport operators from the airport to Byron Bay. For example, Byron Bay - Surfers Express [6] do pick-up and drop-off at the airport in their runs between Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise for $30. Xcede Airport Transfers [7] offer shuttle services direct to your door.

By bus

Regular coach services travel between Sydney and Brisbane via Byron Bay.

By car

Byron is around 9 hours drive from Sydney. A good days drive, with many possibilities to stop and rest. Traffic on the Pacific Highway gets busy during school holiday periods. Avoid traffic delays entering Byron from the Ewingsdale Pacific Highway exit. Take the Pacific Highway Lennox Head exit at Ross Lane and enter Byron from the south.

Byron is only just over an hour from the Gold Coast, and just over two hours from Brisbane.

By tour

Many surfing or backpacker tours along the east coast.

By train

Trains no longer stop next to the Railway Hotel. You can transfer to a coach from the train at Casino. You can buy a through ticket. Casino is located quite a distance from Byron Bay and it might often be best to get a bus directly to Byron, saving a lot of trouble. Or, if you are lucky enough most of the domestic airlines have sales on pretty consistently from most major cities to the Gold Coast, Brisbane and less frequently Ballina. All of these are closer than Casino and may be cheaper if you find the right sale.

Get around

There is limited regular public transport within Byron Bay, operated by Blanch's Bus Company - however most destinations within the bay are walkable, including The Lighthouse Walk. The Byron Shire Council has installed parking ticket machines, with the fee being $2 per hour.

See

Do

  • Byron Light House, 1 Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay. The walk from town along the walking track up to the light house is amazing and recommended to anyone that is visiting Byron. It is about 20 min from the parking at the base of the walk along the beach. Parking at the top is $7, but well worth it on a hot day. Cafe located near the top.

Surfing

Byron Bay has good surf with a variety of beaches within the town limits. It has occupied the imagination of Australians for many years for its climate, lifestyle and warm water.

  • Byron Main. the best-known beach in Byron, usually has smaller waves which break close to shore. At the southern end of Byron Main beach lies the Pass. The Pass can be very crowded, along with Byron Main on summer days but is perfect for long boarding with wide rollers that go forever.
  • Watego's Beach. is just around the corner from the Pass and Byron Main. It is somewhat hidden from view, lying on the north side of the Byron point. Watego's has a cult longboarder crowd because its waves generally don't have enough push as other breaks. It generally has smaller surf than the Pass. The surf runs west towards Byron Main and takes a bit more skill to paddle out to than the Pass or the main beach. The Pass is always crowded when the winds or swell are right, and because of the easy paddle it has a lot of beginners which can make it very dangerous with wayward boards.
  • Tallow's Beach. is the least known and least used Byron beach for those who don't surf. Tallow's Beach is on the south side of the Byron headland, is very long and has a variety of breaks along its length. The surf is generally larger as most swells go straight into it. It is very uncommon to see tourists along this beach because the only place from which it can be seen in Byron is the top of the Byron headland.

It is not uncommon to surf among pods of common dolphins as the evening winds down in Byron, especially if you are surfing Watego's or the Pass.

If you visit Byron bay but don't have a surfboard with you, you can hire a surfboard online in the Bay for 20 USD a day and 120 USD a week at www.rentasurfboard.com

Beachgoing

  • Swimming. Byron Main Beach is patrolled all summer, with other beaches patrolled during the Chistmas School Holidays, including Wategoes. Clarkes beach is to the east of the main beach but before the Pass and its sheltered location means it is almost always good for kids. In winter, it can be a bit chilly to consider swimming at Byron with daytime temperatures on average only reaching around 20C.
  • Sunbake. Topless sunbathing is common and accepted in Byron.

A clothing optional beach called Belongil is situated north of the Byron Beach Club at Tyagarah. Access via Grays Lane and a walking track from the Pacific Highway.

Marine activities

  • Byron Bay Whale Watching, [8]. September and October are the best whale watching months.

Byron Bay has some of New South Wales's best scuba diving. Most diving is at Julian Rocks, only five minutes off shore. The depths around Julian Rocks are 5-25 meters, and it's suitable for snorkeling. You can dive with the following operators:

  • Byron Bay Dive Centre, 9 Marvell Street, 61-2-6685-8333 or 1800 243 483 (within Australia) (, fax: 61-2-6685-5750), [9]. Byron Bay Dive Centre runs diving and snorkeling trips to Julian Rocks. Certification is available. (-28.643387,153.612224)

Walking and cycling

  • Byron Bay Cycleway. There is a cycleway along the beach at Byron. Bicycle hire is available.
  • Circus arts, 17 Centennial Circuit. Always want to learn to do the flying trapeeze? Wish your kids would make good on their promise? Beautiful facilities.

Events

  • East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival [10]. Held each Easter.
  • Splendour in the Grass Music Festival [11]. Alternative to mainstream festival over 2 days each July.
  • Schoolies [12] in late November/early December celebrating school leavers from across Australia. (This may be a time to avoid, if it is not your scene.)

Find out about upcoming events in "The Bagg", a local publication out on Mondays.

Buy

  • Woolworths, 98 Jonson St, Byron Bay. The main grocery store, in the centre of Byron Bay. Several other shops surround it.

Eat

Budget

  • Railway Friendly Bar (The Rails), 86 Jonson Street, Byron Bay. kitchen open for lunch and reopens for supper - the pub stays open. Bands start early but don't go all night. A great indoor/outdoor space (limited indoor seating) to catch up with friends - popular with backpackers and locals. Fantastic food with large portions - great value for money. It shouldn't even be compared with pub food because it's so tasty. Has the typical burger with fries and battered fish and chips but also much more, including grilled Mediterranean salad, fish burgers, pastas + daily specials like peppered kangaroo fillet (truly brilliant!) $10-25.
  • Bayleaf Cafe, 87 Jonson St, Byron Bay, Australia, (02) 6685 8900. A cafe with good coffee to jump start your day.
  • Treehouse Pizza, 25 Childe St, Byron Bay, [13]. Out of main Byron, near Belongil Beach resides Treehouse Pizza. Very relaxed with outdoor tables. Dogs welcome on the outdoor tables. An amzing eatery - however it has just had a fire so is closed until further notice - look up Byrons local paper 'the northern star' for more details

Mid-range

  • Fish Mongers, 1 Bay Lane, Byron Bay, [14]. Yes, every beach town in Australia has a fish and chips shop. This is nothing like those. High end fish and chips await you here. Some even say best in Australia.
  • Great Northern, 35 Johnson St, Byron Bay, NSW. makes great pizzas from a real Italian pizza maker
  • Rae's, 6 Marine parade, Byron Bay, NSW (at Wategos), [15]. For a nice, and expensive, meal.
  • Red Hot and Green, 17 Lawson St, Byron Bay, NSW (behind the Beach Hotel). Thai food.
  • Cardamon, 7 Lawson St, Byron Bay, [16]. One of several restaurants catering to vegetarians.
  • Yellow Flower, 11 Clifford St, Suffolk Park, NSW (Suffolk Park). Indian food. Takeaway and dine in. You can occasionally chill out to the sounds of a musician
  • Fisheads, 1 Jonson Street Byron Bay‎ 2481 Australia, [17]. Seafood. Has the usual kids menu with fried things.
  • Fresh, 7 Jonson Street Byron Bay NSW, [18]. Upscale cafe food. $20 burgers and more. Makes a good cup of coffee. (-28.641715,153.612782)
  • Byron Beach Cafe, Clarkes Beach, Lawson St, Byron Bay, NSW, (02) 6685 8400. Rright on the beach. Offering everything from an egg sandwitch and coffee for brekkie to a complete brunch. Or modern Australian cuisine for dinner.
  • The Aztec, 32 Lawson St, Byron Bay. Middle of the road Mexican fare, but better than average atmosphere and drinks. The kids menu has more than average non-fried options. $18-$24 per main.

Splurge

  • Beach Hotel (Pacific Dining Room), (corner Jonson St and Bay St, Byron Bay), (02) 6680 7055.. Excellent restaurant in the Beach Hotel.

Drink

Byron Bay has a very vibrant social scene for a town of its size. Bands play most nights at the Beach Hotel (on the beach) and the Railway Friendly Bar. The Great Northern hosts the more important bands. The Buddha Bar serves backpackers from the Piggery Backpackers and has a very chilled out bar and attached restaurant and cinema.

Nightclubs are Cocomangas (get a Jam Jar), La La Land (Lawson St), Play (Woolworths Plaza) and the backpackers' favourite, Cheeky Monkeys (dancing on tables ahoy!). This can also be a good place to go out on Mondays and Tuesdays when everywhere else is quiet.

Find out what to do about town by picking up a copy of 'The Bagg', a gig and entertainment guide out every Monday.

  • Byron Bay Brewery, Restaurant (Buddha Bar), 1 Skinners Shoot Road, Byron Bay NSW Australia 2481, [19]. Good micro brewery.
  • Balcony Bar, Lawson and Johnson St, Byron Bay, [20]. Great drinks and good view. Dinner too.
  • Cheeky Monkeys Restaurant & Party Bar, 115 Jonson Street, Byron Bay‎ 2481 Australia. Popular with backpackers. A great value night out.
  • The Railway Friendly Bar. Best value for money.

Sleep

Byron Bay is a well established destination for backpackers, schoolies, families and couples, and there are choice of accommodation styles catering to all of them.

Most local real estate agents handle holiday house rentals, and there are many in the beach areas, and even further into suburban Byron. Some bed-and-breakfasts have been created by building additions to once suburban Byron houses.

  • Byron Bay Visitor Centre - Official non-profit tourist information (Byron Bay Accommodation | Book Compare online by phone or in person), Old Stationmaster's Cottage at 80 Jonson Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481 (in the centre of town between the main bus stop and the old railway station), +61-2-6680-8558 (, fax: +61-2-6685 5351), [21]. They offer a wide range of Byron Bay accommodation from budget backpackers to luxury apartments. You can also get a free Byron Bay map.

Budget

  • Aquarius Backpackers Motel, 16 Lawson Street Byron Bay NSW 2481, 61-1800-028-909, [22]. Backpackers.
  • Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge provides accommodation from teepees, camping, to dorm rooms and private rooms. [23] Ph: 02 66857709
  • Nomads Byron Bay Backpackers, 1 Lawson Lane (behind the Great Northern Hotel on Jonson St), Freecall: 1800 NOMADS (666237) (), [24]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Accommodation ranging from king rooms with plasma TVs and fridges to shared backpacker accommodation.
  • Byron Bay YHA, 7 Carlyle Street, +61-2-6685-8853 (, fax: +61-2-6685-6766), [25]. A hostel with a barbecue, swimming pool and television room. Dorm beds from $27 to $35, private rooms from $70 per room, add $3.50 per night if you are not a member of Hostelling International.
  • Cape Byron YHA, corner of Middleton Street and Byron Street, +61-2-6685-8788 or 1800 652 627 (within Australia) (, fax: +61-2-6685-8814), [26]. A hostel with a barbecue, swimming pool and television room. Dorm beds from $26 per night, add $3.50 per night if you are not a member of Hostelling International.
  • Broken Head Holiday Park, Beach Road, Broken Head, +61-2-6685-3245 (, fax: +61-2-6685-4810), [27]. Surrounded by National Park rainforest, and situated next to Broken Head beach. Suits those who prefer to stay a little further out from the township of Byron Bay. Body board and surf board hire available. Reception 7.30am-7.30pm. Unpowered sites $25/night. Powered sites and cabins also available.

Mid-range

  • Byron Beach Resort (formerly Belongil Beach House), 25 Chide Street, (02) 66808313, [28]. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. The "100% Real Byron" experience that doesn't break the bank with a range of accommodation options from Dorms, twins/double, studios to self contained family cottages. Set on 5600 sq2 of landscaped greenery only a frisbee throw from the beach. This great beachside location has all round inclusive facilities including free (bike) hire, large communal kitchen & common room. The higher end rooms enjoy pay TV and wi fi internet. The Tree House cafe located at the front of the property is a local institution. $30 to $250.
  • Tallow Beach Motel, (5 minutes south of Byron Bay township right across the road from the beach), [29]. From $75 per night.
  • Garden Burees Luxury Retreat, 17 Gordon St, (02) 6685 5390 (), [30]. Balinese inspired accommodation all set in lush tropical surrounds. Buddha Gardens Day Spa located on site. Garden Burées sleeps up to two people $260, Grand Burée sleeps up to six people $650, Chalet Kitchen sleeps up to people $225, Chalet Bathroom & Studio sleeps up to two people $175, three Bedroom Chalet sleeps up to six people $400.
  • Planula, Lot 1, Melaleuca Drive, +61-2-6680-9134 (), [31]. Planula is a bed and breakfast 3km from Byron Bay's town. It focusses on scuba diving; both the hosts are divers. Twin rooms $185 during peak seasons, $135 during high season and $115 in winter. Joint diving and accommodation deals available.
  • Byron Bay Holidays, Sommerset Court, 5-9 Sommerset Street, Byron Bay, +61-427-847-057, [32]. Fully self contained, self catered accommodation. From $150 per night.
  • Byron Bathers, 2 Fletcher Lane, Byron Bay (Fletcher Lane runs off the southern end of Fletcher St 50m from Marvell St), 61 2 6680 7775, [33]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. A quality bed & breakfast. Three king bed bedrooms each with an ensuite (suitable for adults over 21 only). $265 including breakfast, peak season $330-350.
  • Byron Bay Beachfront Apartments (Beachfront Apartments), 39-41 Lawson Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481 (200m from centre of town, on Main Beach), 02 6619 0301, [34]. checkin: 1400; checkout: 1000. Located on Denning Park, on Main Beach. This is the perfect family holiday in Byron Bay, self contained 2 & 3 bedroom apartments. $200+. (28.642728,153.616036)
  • Byron Beachside Accommodation (the Old Butter Factory), 14 Jonson Street, Byron Bay, NSW 2481 (main street of Byron Bay), 02 6619 0300, [35]. checkin: 1400; checkout: 1000. Sleek & Spacey, Gorgeous Light-filled & inovative Warehouse apartments. Located on the fringe of Byron Bay Village, an easy stroll to the ecletic mix of shops & restaurants on offer. Walk to Main Beach and many of the attractions around Byron Bay, or enjoy the comforts of the Butter Factory pool, garden courtyard & BBQ area. $200+. (28.642728,153.616036)
  • Gaia Retreat and Spa, 933 Fernleigh Road, Brooklet, +61-2-6687-1216 (, fax: +61-2-6687-1310), [36]. 3 night packages from $995 per person for twin or double or $1195 for a single person.

Stay safe

Be careful of drink spiking - always keep your drink in view and don't accept drinks from strangers.

Swimming - always swim between the flags

North Coast Medical Centre, 24 Shirley St, Byron Bay, (02) 6685 8666, [37]. M-F 9am - 6pm. Need a doctor?  You'll find both traditional and alternative ones at the  North Coast Medical Centre.

Get out

Explore the 'Rainbow Region' - rural towns and sleepy villages, set in lush and particularly scenic countryside. The area is famed as a haven for alternative culture. Nimbin and the Channon are the favourite towns to visit in this region. There is a popular market in the Channon once a month, well on the tourist trail. Bangalow features a nice relaxed old-town main street.

There are many scenic wonders in the area. Byron area has many rainforests & parks. The volcanic plug of Mount Warning is a favourite tour. It can be reached by driving into Murwillumbah and following the roads to the small village of Uki. There are many waterfalls like Minyon Falls (direction Federal-Rosebank), Protester Falls (the Channon area) and Wanaganui Falls (Wilsons Creek). The drive to these falls is very scenic as it follows the creek and a narrow valley a some nice rainforest.

Brunswick Heads is a nice day trip. The pub is a good place to relax for a meal by the river and it has some quieter beaches. Between Byron Bay and Ballina there is a nice coastal drive which passes through the quiet coastal town of Lennox Head. If you stick to the coastal roads you will see many more beaches and coastal scenery than the highway.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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