Byron Bay, New South Wales

With stunning beaches and rainforests, world-class entertainment events and fine weather year-round, Byron Bay deserves its place as an Australian tourist mecca.

Byron is about 800 kilometres north of Sydney, in the Northern Rivers region, and attracted nearly 1.2 million visitors in 2012.

The beaches at Byron Bay are famous all over the wave riding world, with Byron Main, Wategos Beach and Tallow Beach all offering excellent surf. The main beach is patrolled all summer long. Whale watching is popular among visitors, and the best times for this are the months of September and October. For those interested in scuba diving, Julian Rocks has some of the best underwater scenery in NSW. Other ocean-oriented activities include bicycle riding (hire is available) along the beach’s cycleway, and visiting the Cape Byron Lighthouse, a 22 metre high concrete structure at Australia’s easternmost point. Its 2,200,000-candlepower beam is the country’s most powerful, also. Arakwal National Park is 183 hectares in area and extends two kilometres south alongside Tallow Beach from the lighthouse.

Byron Bay has excellent dining and drinking options, and a vibrant cafe culture, with many of its restaurants featuring on Johnson Street, Bay Lane and Lawson Street. The annual Taste of Byron food festival is held in September. Also of interest to food lovers is the Byron Community Market, taking place on the first Sunday of the month, from 8 am to 3 pm, at Butler Street Reserve.

In terms of entertainment events, highlights include the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival held in Easter is world-class, and was attended by 80,000 festival-goers in 2012, and the two-day Splendour In The Grass festival, held every July. The town enjoys live music performances most nights, with the local publications the Echo or Bagg listing most gigs.

Byron enjoys fine weather the whole year, with summer averages of 21-28 degrees Celsius, and winter averages of 15-21.

Flights and Accommodation

The nearest airport is Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, roughly 30 minutes’ drive away. The carriers are Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Rex, and flights are to and from Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle (Rex only). Regular shuttle services operate from the airport.

Check out the range of Byron Bay accommoadtion.