“Travel brings power and love back to your life” – Rumi
Byron Bay, Australia
On the most eastern point of Australia’s mainland, lies beautiful and bewitching Byron Bay. This place is a must-stop destination in any Aussie itinerary. Whether you love the beach, food, art or exercise, Byron has the most unique feel and a very cool vibe. It’s the type of place you visit when you want to escape reality or renew your senses. Sit back, relax and let’s get to know Byron Bay.
I would recommend spending at least three nights in this destination if you want to have enough time to really feel the lifestyle. If you can stay forever, do that! Byron Bay is accessible by car or bus. Gold Coast Airport is a 50 minute drive away where you can hire a vehicle if you don’t have one of your own. Alternatively, many buses and coaches such as Greyhound Australia assist travellers without wheels getting here. Personally, I recommend hiring a camper or car and including this destination in an east coast road trip. When compared to other beachside locations nearby, Byron is a little pricey. Parking is metered around the town centre, unlike most small towns in Australia, but don’t bother paying for this. Simply park outside the central roads where the signs announce the beginning of the meter zone, then walk a few minutes back on yourself into town. Easy as that!
My Byron Bay highlight was yoga. Byron is a very hippie, laid-back, coastal town and the spiritual essence of this place is strong. I chose Beachside Yoga but you are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to yoga classes in the main centre and beyond. Google away and find the one that’s right for you. Beachside Yoga offered a single class for 20 AUD. The class was 1.5 hours and the studio overlooks Main Beach. With the door open on a warm summer day, you can hear the waves crashing rhythmically as you practise the breathing exercises of class. Wow. Instructors are knowledgable and gentle and I left feeling both physically challenged and totally relaxed.
Byron advocates locally sourced products and supports small businesses. This makes the food options in this town absolutely perfect for anyone who has a passion for those two things, or anyone else in my opinion. Personally, I was in my element. My favourite food stop was Combi for lunch. Combi serves raw food including breakfast bowls, salad bowls, raw pad Thai and a veggie burger. Combi even make their own nut milk and serve their drinks without plastic straws. Try the impressive smoothie list or treat yourself to a raw cake or donut. With friendly staff and a bohemian feel, it’s the ideal place to go for great tasting, ethical and nutritious food. There are many other great options for eating out in Byron Bay and you can also buy a wonderful variety of fresh and local produce to cook up yourself.
The areas surrounding Byron Bay hold a number of Ti Tree lakes. We stayed at Broken Head so visited this one but you could also try the more popular Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. We visited in the morning and had the lake to ourselves. From Broken Head beach, we attempted to walk along the sand to find the lake but the tide was up, so we walked as far as we could, then followed the road until we met a small lane for walking only. This lane soon became a less well-trodden path through the trees with a chorus of wildlife above and around us. Be brave and continue on toward the Ti Tree lake, where you begin to smell the oil in the air. Ti tree is antiseptic and medicinal and bathing in the blackish-orange water is said to have many health benefits. Aboriginals consider the lakes sacred and swimming in them is for women only in their culture. Please observe this, as well as respecting the land you are visiting and the people who own it.
If you love the ocean, there are endless ways to explore here. For scuba diving, head out to Julian Rocks to visit Cod Hole, a world famous and very unique dive spot. Here you can see turtles, grey nurse sharks and Bull rays. For surfing, the waves all along the coast are perfect and you will see many locals start or end their work day with a surf, which I think is pretty cool. You can also kayak with dolphins, paddle board or jump in and swim. Walking the beaches is one of my favourite pastimes, with the gigantic waves roaring beside me and the soft sand under my feet.
For accommodation, Byron offers quaint hotels, backpacker hostels and a variety of campsites. We can highly recommend Broken Head Holiday Park for campers, tents or caravans. The park also offers Beach Cabins for those without camping gear. The facilities are kept spotless and the doors to the shower blocks gated with a code which helps keep the bugs out. The staff are welcoming and knowledgable and the beach is a stone’s throw away. Byron Bay town centre is about a 7 minute drive from Broken Head so this location is best for people with access to a vehicle. If you stay here, ask for pitch 7, the one closest to the beach.
Sunsets in Australia are pretty awesome but there’s something magical about Byron at this hour. If you are fortunate enough to be in town on the first Sunday of the month, experience sunset with the Drumming Circle on Main Beach. If you don’t happen to be travelling at this time, take in a more relaxing sunset on one of the many beaches that line the coast. Grab someone you like a lot or go alone, and watch the sky change mesmerising colours. You can look one way and see pale pinks and purples, and then the opposite direction can seem alight with bright orange and yellow flames.
I would also highly recommend a daytime walk up to Cape Byron Lighthouse, where you can claim to have stood at the most easterly point of Australia. You can walk all the way or drive up and park slightly closer and just complete the last few steps. The walk is well designed and a great thing to do at leisure or as a workout. Snap the lighthouse from the top and marvel at the 360 degree views of Byron and beyond. From up here you can look down upon the waves and watch them churn over the sand, making the sea breaking at the rocks look almost tie-dye, very apt for Byron bay.
There are so many other wonderful things to do in this area if you have longer to stay. If you love music, check out the festivals and gigs hosted here. Byron is also an ideal location for shopping with a variety of high street stores, small boutiques and numerous markets too. Again, if your stay coincides with the first Sunday of a month, spend it getting lost in the Byron Community Market. We fell in love with Byron instantly and consider it our favourite Aussie destination so far. You should visit to relax, take it easy and let the organic culture seep into your mind, heart and soul. Get sun-kissed skin and walk barefoot. There’s no stress here, so it’s the perfect place to leave yours at home.
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Our MUST-SEE destination in Australia: Byron Bay