Byron Bay was one of those places I'd heard of so many times in relation to Australia. In fact, it was pretty much one of the only places I'd really heard talked about, along with Uluru, Melbourne and Sydney.
I liked the sound of it - a bohemian, coastal town. I encountered Byron at first from a backpackers' point of view, staying at Arts Factory or Aquarius (both of which are good hostels), and going out to a couple of the discounted nights. Since then, I've visited with my boyfriend and stayed with his family in the area. Even during those early visits I tried to explore other 'styles' of Byron. I've fallen in love with its arts, its bookstores, its off the beaten track cafes. The sunrise surf trips to The Pass, Bangalow, hidden waterfalls and swimming holes, its markets and generally its locals' lifestyle.
You can be sceptical, you can say Byron is just going to be backpackers, you can say it can't be that great, or there's other places just as good... and I'm sure there are. But Byron is so much more than its backpackers' scene, It's its locals, its genuine calmness, the feeling we get when we pull up at the house after a 12 hour drive from Sydney, and the lifestyle it encompasses. It sucks you in, making you fall in love with somewhere that really does feel a little bit magical. There are so many other places for me to get to, but I just keep returning to Byron too. It is a lingering sense of a future home. You can find a full photo diary on the Visuals page. In the mean time, what should you do if you find yourself in this beautiful place...?
- Find its waterfalls and swimming holes
- Get takeaway from Topshop and head to Wategos for a picnic
- Have breakfast at Folk, explore the Arts & Industry Estate
- Drop in for a class at Creature Yoga
- Spend a morning in Bangalow - go to the bookstore and WOODS cafe
- Have an evening meal at The Treehouse on Belongil
- Compare the populated Main Beach/Wategos/The Pass, with the more rugged and natural beauty of Tallows Beach on the other side of the lighthouse
- Find the dirt track down near Suffolk Park and hunt out secluded beaches like Whites and Kings. (Their emptiness making them unofficially clothing optional!)
- Grab a sunny spot for delicious coffee & fresh foods from Leaf & Grain. Or do the same next door at Bayleaf
- At the right time of year spot whales from the Lighthouse walk / Australia's most Easterly Point / most of the beaches!
- Get up early for sunrise at The Pass, the Lighthouse, or similar
- Do the same come sunset, and some days even watch the moon rise on one side as the sun sets over the Hinterland on the other
- Explore the Hinterland !
- Drive through the tiny spot of Newrybar
- Drink The Brokenhead Company iced cacao and coconut milk, or iced coffee and coconut milk...you're welcome
- Stop by The Roadhouse (but my favourite is Folk!)
- Eat falafal from Orgasmic Food
- Listen to the talented buskers, and be sure to drop some coins in appreciation
- If you are looking for a hostel - Aquarius or Arts Factory
- Go to the Farmers' Market on Thursday morning at Butler Street Reserve