Byron Bay is one of those towns that’s hard to leave. I was lucky enough to spend my first three days with one of my best friends, so I got to explore the city and hang out at the beach with some of my favourite company, but even after she left, Byron continued to be a great experience and I kept booking another night at a time to stay just a little longer and here’s why:
1. The Laid-back Atmosphere
I felt the positive vibes of the Byron within the fist 5 minutes of walking down the street. There was a magician doing card tricks on the side of the road to a group of happy, laughing, and mostly barefoot spectators. The street buskers that are out on Friday and Saturday nights playing live music create a lively and welcoming atmosphere, and the background of colourful street art and Volkswagon vans emphasize the relaxed feel. Since Byron is known as a chilled-out, easy-going town, it seems to attract those with the same mindset, which can be seen by the smiling faces on every street corner. So if you’re looking for a happy/hippy town to visit, Byron’s the place to go.
2. The Beautiful Beaches
Main Beach and Wreck Beach are the closest to the main street, with Belongil Beach to the left and Clarke Beach to the right. Main beach and Wreck Beach are the busiest, so if you feel like people watching, it’s the place to be. My friend and I soaked up the sun and swam in the big, warm waves and were grateful for every moment of it.
Belongil Beach on the other hand is very quiet, and just as stunning. I stayed at a lovely hostel right across the road from the beach called Byron Beach Resort and would highly recommend it!
Clarke Beach is to the right of Main Beach and closest to the lighthouse. There is a fantastic viewing spot called Fisherman’s Lookout that provides sweeping views of all of Byron’s beaches. It’s about a 20 min walk from Byron beach on the soft, seashell-spotted sand to get to the lookout. As I walked along, I paused to take photos of anything interesting I saw in the sand, one thing in particular was a grouping of shells that a little girl had collected. I also came across what might have been a crab – you judge!
What is this?
3. Delicious food options
There is a wide assortment of food options for every palette and budget. While I was there, I ate Greek, Mexican, Italian, Indian and Japanese food, and each meal was very affordable (under $8). On my last day, I dined on some lush $7 banana bread at a modern and quirky café for a special treat. There are also two grocery stores in town if you are looking for cheaper options or prefer to cook your own meals, along with many places that serve or sell organic food for the health-conscious.
4. Unique Shopping Experience
Although Byron is a small town, there is no shortage of high-end, specialty, surf, local, and budget shops. I spent about three days wandering the streets popping in and out of boutiques and found some unique jewellery and gifts along the way. Be careful though, because it could break the budget!
Every night of the week you will find the bars in Byron full of people. My friend and I were there for the weekend, so we decided to try a couple places out.
“The Railway Friendly bar” is the official name, and it really suits it. This bar is right beside the historic railway station and has live music every night of the week with a very relaxed feel. We enjoyed a schooner (425 mL) of Aussie beer while watching people of all ages dance their hearts out to some loud bluesy rock.
The Beach Hotel
This classy hotel has a pub with an ocean view. The outdoor and indoor areas are fairly large but they never feel empty because it’s always so busy. On the Saturday night we were there, a pair of female DJs were playing some energizing electronic dance music that got the dance floor packed, but be warned, the music stops around 1:30… and that’s where Cheeky Monkey and The Northern Hotel come in.
This bar serves up some very tasty cheap meals before the night gets started. I had a voucher for a free meal with one of the tours I booked and it was a delicious veggie pasta. After about 10:00 p.m. this bar gets packed and the steel picnic tables that were once the dining area turn into a stage for competitions and a dancefloor after that. It stays open until 3:00 a.m., but be sure to get there before lockout time (when it stops letting people in) at 1:30 a.m.
The Northern Hotel
From the outside, this place looks pretty small, but there is a huge backroom that opens up as the night goes on. We only stopped in for a few minutes on a Saturday night and were surprised by the amount of people and space this place had. There was dance music playing that night, but I have heard that it’s also a great live music venue, so be sure to check out the schedule to see who’s playing while you’re there. Unfortunately I was about 2 months too early for a great punk rock show, so try to plan accordingly!
These are just a few of the reasons that make Byron Bay so incredible. If you go there, be sure to give yourself an extra few days, it will be worth it!