About 800 km north of Sydney lies the magical Byron Bay. This hippie hamlet perches on the easternmost tip of mainland Australia, the closest piece of land to the States. It’s worlds away, and it feels like it.
The pristine beaches with rolling waves, see-through water, and brilliant sunshine draw both tourists and locals year-long. The food is spectacular, the shopping is unmatched, and the people are easygoing. I first visited this lovely spot a year ago and promised myself that I would make it back. Little did I know I’d return 365 days later.
An hour flight from Sydney transports you to my favorite beach town. This year my friends and I upgraded from a hostel to an Airbnb and it was well worth the extra bucks. Our tropical two-story bungalow was in an ideal location, a few blocks from the beach and the shopping and restaurant precinct.
We spent our days enjoying long brekkie’s at local cafes, wandering the headlands, lounging on the beach, swimming in the warm waters, and cruising around trendy boutiques. Regrettably, most items for sale stretched out of my price range.
Byron’s beaches are spotless and expansive. The turquoise water glistens in the beaming sun. It’s surfers paradise. Novice surfers can test out the waters on Main Beach whereas more experienced ones may travel farther south, past Cape Byron, to Tallow Beach.
Cape Byron is a stunning reserve to walk around, especially at dusk. The trail rests on the edge of rocky cliffs and provides stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean. It’s easy to see heaps of dolphins, stingrays, sharks, and turtles in the crystal clear water below. Also, don’t be surprised to cross paths with lizards, snakes, scrub turkeys and wallabies during your stroll to the infamous lighthouse.
When you’ve had enough of the sea and sand, you can take a break by grabbing a bite to eat at one of the delicious neighborhood eateries. Many of Byron’s restaurants highlight organic and locally-grown foods.
Some of my favorite spots include Byron Fresh Cafe and The Roadhouse. I ate at Byron Fresh Cafe multiple times within my past two visits and each meal was delightful. Located directly across the beach, this casual, but beautifully decorated cafe is a great choice for breakfast or lunch. Enjoy fresh egg dishes and house-made pastries while people watching and jamming out to live music.
The Roadhouse is situated 3 km outside of the main streets of Byron Bay. This chic and rustic cafe offers innovative, organic, paleo brunch dishes and nourishing elixirs. The Roadhouse defines the mantra of Byron Bay: slow down, chill out, cheer up. My tasty, healthy meal was not the only aspect that cheered me up after the sweaty 30 minute walk. We sat at a table directly across from Chris Hemsworth. Yes, THE CHRIS HEMSWORTH. He’s just as handsome in person. And I thought Byron couldn’t get any better....
At night, the streets of Byron Bay come alive. Musicians, dancers, and artisans fill the streets, sharing their talents and good vibes. A sign on a footpath noted “encouraging diversity, vitality, amenity and ambience into the street environment, busking can provoke thought, interest, and curiosity”. It’s impossible not to smile as you pass vastly different, yet equally gifted performers. This lively street culture truly leads to a vibrant environment, one that’s unique to Byron Bay.
Above the streets, the sky comes alive as well. Byron boasts surreal sunrises and sunsets. Additionally, the distance of Byron Bay from larger towns allows for an uncompromised view of the night sky. The southern hemisphere has exclusive views of constellations, galaxies, and nebulae that are visible to the naked eye, and are undeniably incredible and mind-blowing.
Byron Bay is a prime example of the Aussie natural beauty and lifestyle that I fell in love with over a year ago. If you get the chance to travel down under, make sure you check out this gem on the North Coast of NSW.