- PRICES LIST
- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
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- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- THINGS TO DO
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
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Info Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales,Australia. It is located 772 kilometres (480 mi) north of Sydney and 165 kilometres (103 mi) south of Brisbane.Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. At the 2011 census, the town had a permanent population of 4,959. The town is in turn the nucleus of Byron Shire, which had 29,209 residents.
The local Arakwal Aboriginal people's name for the area is Cavvanbah, meaning "meeting place". Lieutenant James Cook named Cape Byron after Naval officer John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and grandfather of the poet Lord Byron.
Byron Bay is famed worldwide for its surfing beaches, scuba diving, whale watching, rural beauty and a laid back lifestyle. It is a major tourist centre.
Byron Bay and its surrounding area have a population of about 30,000. The area has experienced a dramatic increase in tourism now standing at 1.7 million+ visitors per year. During summer time the western road in and out of town to the North can get crowded and slow. Entry via Ross Lane off the highway to the south might offer travellers a quicker solution in holiday periods.
The town has several beaches which are popular for surfing. It is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast; the scenery also attracts skydivers. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching industry a significant contributor to the local economy.
An oceanway runs from the centre of town to the Cape Byron lighthouse. This allows visitors to walk and cycle to the lighthouse.
Temperate and tropical waters merge at Byron Bay, making it a popular area for scuba diving and snorkelling. Most diving is done at Julian Rocks which is part of the recently established Cape Byron Marine Park and only a few minutes boat ride from Main Beach.
Byron Bay also lies close to subtropical rainforests, and areas such as the Nightcap National Parkwith the Minyon Falls are all within easy reach of the town.
Byron Bay is now also a popular destination for Schoolies week during late November and early December.
The history of Europeans in Byron Bay began in 1770, when Lieutenant James Cook found a safe anchorage and named Cape Byron after a fellow sailor John Byron.
The first industry in Byron was cedar logging from the Australian red cedar (Toona ciliata). The timber industry is the origin of the word "shoot" in many local names – Possum Shoot, Coopers Shoot and Skinners Shoot – where the timber-cutters would "shoot" the logs down the hills to be dragged to waiting ships.
Gold mining of the beaches was the next industry to occur. Up to 20 mining leases set up on Tallow Beach to extract gold from the black sands around the 1870s.
Byron Bay has a history of primary industrial production (dairy factory, abattoirs, fishing, and whaling until 1963) and was a significant, but hazardous, sea port. The poet Brunton Stephens spoke of cattle grazing on the "mossy plains" of Cape Byron in a poem he penned in 1876.
The first jetty was built in 1886, and the railway was connected in 1894, and Cavvanbah became Byron Bay in 1894. Dairy farmers cleared more land and settled the area. In 1895, the Norco Co-operative was formed to provide cold storage and manage the dairy industry. The introduction of paspalum improved production, and Byron Bay exported butter to the world. The Norco factory was the biggest in the southern hemisphere, expanding from dairy to bacon and other processed meat.
The lighthouse was built in 1901 at the most easterly point on the Australian mainland. In 1930, the first meatworks opened. The smell from the meat and dairy works was, by all accounts, appalling, and the annual slaughter of migrating whales in the 1950s and 1960s made matters worse. Sand mining between the World Wars damaged the environment further, and one by one, all these industries declined.
Longboard surfers arrived in the 1960s and used natural breaks at The Pass, Wategos, and Cosy Corner. This was the beginning of Byron Bay as a tourist destination, and by 1973, when the Aquarius Festival was held in Nimbin, its reputation as a hippy, happy, alternative town was established.
Shipwrecks litter the bay and surrounding areas.
Byron Bay has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Winters are not cold with daily maximums usually reaching a pleasant 19.4 °C and a minimum of 11 °C. Summer can be hot, with a daily average of 27 °C. Summer evenings can be wet, cooling the day down making for a comfortable overnight temperature.
Climate data for Byron Bay
|Record high °C (°F)||34.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||27.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||21.1|
|Record low °C (°F)||16.5|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Byron Bay is part of the erosion caldera of an ancient shield volcano, the Tweed Volcano, which had erupted 23 million years ago. The volcano formed as a result of the Indo-Australian Plate moving over the East Australia hotspot.
Prices in Byron Bay
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$3.50|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$14.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$6.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$6.00|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$|
Transportation - Get In
The nearest airport is Ballina/Byron Airport (BNK) around 30 minutes drive away at Ballina. There are flights from Sydney and Melbourne. There are regular shuttle services from the airport and most of them are door to door. Book online to save money [www]. Xcede Airport Transfers [www] and Steve's Tours Airport Express [www] offer shuttle services direct to your door.
Gold Coast Airport (OOL) is around 1 hour away at Coolangatta and has domestic flights and international flights from New Zealand, Malaysia, andJapan. It often has cheaper flights and cheaper car hire than Ballina. There are a number of transport operators from the airport to Byron Bay. For example, Byron Bay - Surfers Express [www] do pick-up and drop-off at the airport in their runs between Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise for $27. Xcede Airport Transfers [www] offer shuttle services direct to your door.
Trains no longer stop next to the Railway Hotel. You can transfer to a coach from the train at Casino. You can buy a through ticket. Casino is located quite a distance from Byron Bay and it might often be best to get a bus directly to Byron, saving a lot of trouble. Or, if you are lucky enough most of the domestic airlines have sales on pretty consistently from most major cities to the Gold Coast, Brisbane and less frequently Ballina. All of these are closer than Casino and may be cheaper if you find the right sale.
Regular coach services travel between Sydney and Brisbane via Byron Bay.
Byron is around 9 hours drive from Sydney. A good days drive, with many possibilities to stop and rest. Traffic on the Pacific Highway gets busy during school holiday periods. Avoid traffic delays entering Byron from the Ewingsdale Pacific Highway exit. Take the Pacific Highway Lennox Head exit at Ross Lane and enter Byron from the south.
Byron is only just over an hour from the Gold Coast, and just over two hours from Brisbane.
Many surfing or backpacker tours along the east coast.
Transportation - Get Around
There is limited regular public transport within Byron Bay, operated by Blanch's Bus Company - however most destinations within the bay are walkable, including The Lighthouse Walk. The Byron Shire Council has installed parking ticket machines, with the fee being $2 per hour.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- Woolworths, 98 Jonson St, Byron Bay. The main grocery store, in the centre of Byron Bay. Several other shops surround it.
- Wicked Weasel, 156 Jonson Street, Byron Bay, .Famous Australian manufacturer of "risque" swimwear and lingerie for women.
- Railway Friendly Bar (The Rails) (address=). kitchen open for lunch and reopens for supper - the pub stays open. Bands start early but don't go all night. A great indoor/outdoor space (limited indoor seating) to catch up with friends - popular with backpackers and locals. Fantastic food with large portions - great value for money. It shouldn't even be compared with pub food because it's so tasty. Has the typical burger with fries and battered fish and chips but also much more, including grilled Mediterranean salad, fish burgers, pastas + daily specials like peppered kangaroo fillet (truly brilliant!) $10-25.
- Bayleaf Cafe, 87 Jonson St, Byron Bay, Australia, . A cafe with good coffee to jump start your day.
- Treehouse Pizza, 25 Childe St, Byron Bay. Out of main Byron, near Belongil Beach resides Treehouse Pizza. Very relaxed with outdoor tables. Dogs welcome on the outdoor tables. An amzing eatery - however it has just had a fire so is closed until further notice - look up Byrons local paper 'the northern star' for more details
- Fish Mongers, 1 Bay Lane, Byron Bay. Yes, every beach town in Australia has a fish and chips shop. This is nothing like those. High end fish and chips await you here. Some even say best in Australia.
- Great Northern, 35 Johnson St, Byron Bay, NSW. makes great pizzas from a real Italian pizza maker
- Rae's, 6 Marine parade, Byron Bay, NSW (at Wategos). For a nice, and expensive, meal.
- Red Hot and Green, 17 Lawson St, Byron Bay, NSW (behind the Beach Hotel).Thai food.
- Cardamon, 7 Lawson St, Byron Bay. One of several restaurants catering to vegetarians.
- Yellow Flower, 11 Clifford St, Suffolk Park, NSW (Suffolk Park). Indian food. Takeaway and dine in. You can occasionally chill out to the sounds of a musician
- Fisheads, 1 Jonson Street Byron Bay 2481 Australia. Seafood. Has the usual kids menu with fried things.
- Fresh, 7 Jonson Street Byron Bay NSW. Upscale cafe food. $20 burgers and more. Makes a good cup of coffee.
- Byron Beach Cafe, Clarkes Beach, Lawson St, Byron Bay, NSW, . Rright on the beach. Offering everything from an egg sandwich and coffee for brekkie to a complete brunch. Or modern Australian cuisine for dinner.
- The Aztec, 32 Lawson St, Byron Bay. Middle of the road Mexican fare, but better than average atmosphere and drinks. The kids menu has more than average non-fried options. $18-24 per main.
- Beach Hotel (Pacific Dining Room) (corner Jonson St and Bay St, Byron Bay), . Excellent restaurant in the Beach Hotel.
Sights & Landmarks
- Cape Byron - European history began in 1770 when Captain James Cook found a safe anchorage and named the cape after John Byron, grandfather of the poet Lord Byron. It is mainland Australia's easternmost point.
Things to do
- Byron Light House, 1 Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay. The walk from town along the walking track up to the light house is amazing and recommended to anyone that is visiting Byron. It is about 20 min from the parking at the base of the walk along the beach. Parking at the top is $7, but well worth it on a hot day. Cafe located near the top.
Byron Bay has good surf with a variety of beaches within the town limits. It has occupied the imagination of Australians for many years for its climate, lifestyle and warm water.
- Byron Main. the best-known beach in Byron, usually has smaller waves which break close to shore. At the southern end of Byron Main beach lies the Pass. The Pass can be very crowded, along with Byron Main on summer days but is perfect for long boarding with wide rollers that go forever.
- Watego's Beach. is just around the corner from the Pass and Byron Main. It is somewhat hidden from view, lying on the north side of the Byron point. Watego's has a cult longboarder crowd because its waves generally don't have enough push as other breaks. It generally has smaller surf than the Pass. The surf runs west towards Byron Main and takes a bit more skill to paddle out to than the Pass or the main beach. The Pass is always crowded when the winds or swell are right, and because of the easy paddle it has a lot of beginners which can make it very dangerous with wayward boards.
- Tallow's Beach. is the least known and least used Byron beach for those who don't surf. Tallow's Beach is on the south side of the Byron headland, is very long and has a variety of breaks along its length. The surf is generally larger as most swells go straight into it. It is very uncommon to see tourists along this beach because the only place from which it can be seen in Byron is the top of the Byron headland.
It is not uncommon to surf among pods of common dolphins as the evening winds down in Byron, especially if you are surfing Watego's or the Pass.
If you visit Byron bay but don't have a surfboard with you, you can hire a surfboard online in the Bay for 20 USD a day and 120 USD a week at www.rentasurfboard.com
- Swimming. Byron Main Beach is patrolled all summer, with other beaches patrolled during the Chistmas School Holidays, including Wategoes. Clarkes beach is to the east of the main beach but before the Pass and its sheltered location means it is almost always good for kids. In winter, it can be a bit chilly to consider swimming at Byron with daytime temperatures on average only reaching around 20C.
- Sunbake. Topless sunbathing is common and accepted in Byron.
A clothing optional beach called Belongil is situated north of the Byron Beach Club at Tyagarah. Access via Grays Lane and a walking track from the Pacific Highway.
- Byron Bay Whale Watching. September and October are the best whale watching months.
Byron Bay has some of New South Wales's best scuba diving. Most diving is at Julian Rocks, only five minutes off shore. The depths around Julian Rocks are 5–25 meters, and it's suitable for snorkeling. You can dive with the following operators:
Walking and cycling
- Byron Bay Cycleway. There is a cycleway along the beach at Byron. Bicycle hire is available.
- Circus arts, 17 Centennial Circuit. Always want to learn to do the flying trapeeze? Wish your kids would make good on their promise? Beautiful facilities.
Festivals and events
- East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival. Held each Easter.
- Splendour in the Grass Music Festival. Alternative to mainstream festival over 2 days each July.
- Schoolies. In late November/early December celebrating school leavers from across Australia. (This may be a time to avoid, if it is not your scene.)
Find out about upcoming events in "The Bagg", a local publication out on Mondays.
If you see the free hug guy around in Byron. Be sure to give him a hug and a few dollars so he can move out of his parents home and live in Byron Bay one day
Byron Bay has a very vibrant social scene for a town of its size. Bands play most nights at the Beach Hotel (on the beach) and the Railway Friendly Bar. The Great Northern hosts the more important bands. The Buddha Bar serves backpackers from the Piggery Backpackers and has a very chilled out bar and attached restaurant and cinema.
Nightclubs are Cocomangas (get a Jam Jar), La La Land (Lawson St), Play (Woolworths Plaza) and the backpackers' favourite, Cheeky Monkeys (dancing on tables ahoy!). This can also be a good place to go out on Mondays and Tuesdays when everywhere else is quiet.
Find out what to do about town by picking up a copy of 'The Bagg', a gig and entertainment guide out every Monday.
- Byron Bay Brewery, Restaurant (Buddha Bar), 1 Skinners Shoot Road, Byron Bay NSW Australia 2481. Good micro brewery.
- Balcony Bar, Lawson and Johnson St, Byron Bay. Great drinks and good view. Dinner too.
- Cheeky Monkeys Restaurant & Party Bar, 115 Jonson Street, Byron Bay 2481 Australia. Popular with backpackers. A great value night out.
- The Railway Friendly Bar. Best value for money.
Safety in Byron Bay
Be careful of drink spiking - always keep your drink in view and don't accept drinks from strangers. If a stranger does shout you a drink make sure it is the drink you want and watch the drink being poured and handed over to you without it leaving your sight. Never get a stranger to buy a drink on your behalf with your money. They could buy something else and drink it themselves. If you are refused a drink by the bar there is a good reason why.
Swimming - always swim between the flags. Avoid swimming at night especially on your own. Follow all instructions issued by lifeguards
North Coast Medical Centre, 24 Shirley St, Byron Bay, . M-F 9AM-6PM. Need a doctor? You'll find both traditional and alternative ones at the North Coast Medical Centre.