With its laid-back way of life, Byron Bay is a tourist hotspot for sun, sand and sea lovers but despite the crowds, the township retains its charm. Located on the North Coast of NSW (about 800km north of Sydney), Byron Bay is the perfect place to unwind for those who prefer bikinis, sarongs and a sense of the bohemian. It is well-known for its relaxed alternative lifestyle, spectacular beaches (for surfers and swimmers) and beautiful scenery. Byron Bay is also a popular place for festivals and large scale events. Some of these include the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, the Writers Festival and Splendour in the Grass.
The East Coast Blues and Roots Festival is held annually and spans 5 days over Easter commencing on Good Friday eve and concluding on Easter Monday. This year more than 100 international and local artists performed at the spectacular event. Some of the big name performers include Sinead O’Conner, Keith Urban, John Fogerty, KT Tunstall and too many more to name. The Byron Bay East Coast Blues and Roots Music Festival attract around 70,000 people each year, so if you are planning to visit during that time you must book your accommodation early.
Another huge music event is Splendour in the Grass. This music festival is held at Belongil Fields annually between July and August over 2 days. The site includes an area for camping. The festival began in 2001 and has been growing ever since and now attracts over 17,000 people over the 2 days. Some of the recent performers include Powder Finger, Grinspoon, Hoodoo Gurus, Wolfmother and many more big names.
Byron Bay is fast becoming one of the most popular diving and snorkelling destinations in Australia. Julian Rocks, just off Byron Bay is a popular spot for snorkelling. There are several diving and snorkelling operators to choose from.
Whale watching is also very popular in Byron. Every year thousands of Humpback whales leave their summer feeding grounds in Antarctica and head north towards their winter breeding grounds in the tropical waters of the Southern Hemisphere. This journey not only takes these whales past Australia’s most eastern point but also concentrates the migrating whales to within a few kilometers of Cape Byron. For this reason, Byron Bay is one of Australia’s premier whale watching locations.
Other great things to do in Byron Bay include the Circus Arts Trapeze School, Mountain Bike Tours, Skydiving or learning to surf.
If you are not the active outdoor type, you may wish to just wine and dine in this great seaside town. There are many places to eat out at from casual dining to fine dining or maybe just have some drinks at the Byron Bay Beach Hotel where you can relax and enjoy the bands while looking out at the spectacular ocean views.
If you plan on staying in Byron Bay during the busy summer months you will need to organize your accommodation early as the town experiences a huge number of national and international visitors during this period. Accommodation options vary greatly from campsites to backpacker accommodation to 5 star luxury apartments.
Magical as it is, Byron Bay is surrounded by World Heritage rainforests and national parks, so the scenery only gets better as you head out of town.