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           Byron Bay    

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 Byron Bay is a fantastic place to spend vacations. It has become a must see place in Australia and no Aussie travel is complete without a trip to "Byron". Byron was a Hippie City during the 60's & 70's and still maintains this image to a degree. Today surfers, intellectuals, painters, sculptors, artists, naturalist and many other exotic people make Byron their home. 


Byron Bay is located on the North Coast of New South Wales, about one hour by car south of the Gold Coast. The place relies mostly on tourism and its attraction is a mixture of the relaxed atmosphere as well as the beauty of its beach and surroundings. It is a happy, cool place with many restaurants serving the best seafood caught in the region and great parties in the night clubs happen all the time. The town is beach front, with small blocks and streets that make the place so attractive. Due to the huge number of tourists, mostly young backpackers, the streets get really crowded with people from all over the world, and cars run as slow as life there is. In the city centre, many restaurants (some with Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin pictures adorning the walls) place tables on the pavement so that you can enjoy a cold beer and people watch. All specialties and cuisines are offered, including organic and natural. 

 The beach in front of the town has white sands and crystal clear water which is a definite invitation to swim or surf. Byron Bay Lighthouse sits on a hill above Byron, and if you choose to do the walk, you can go to the most Eastern point in Australia! The lighthouse is still operating and is open for public visits. From the top you have a 360 degrees view of all the surroundings and also of the town and adjacent mountains. It is also possible from the top to spot Wales and Dolphins (certain times of the year). Surfers were partly responsible for Byron Bay's growth and relaxed, alternative lifestyle. The waves in Byron Bay are considered World Class Surf with 3 right point breaks with perfect waves. (When there is swell!) The waves are tubular and fast when the swell is big and breaks slow and mellow when small - good for long boards.


 The beach is not only beautiful, but has many sunbathers trying to get a tan. Topless sunbaking is not OFFICIALLY permitted but every time I have been there, I have had a great time "people watching"! But beware, the sun is strong, so be careful to protect your assets with sun cream.... With the Surfers, many alternative people migrated to the region, living in farms up in the hills and planting natural orchards. These radical lifestyle combinations make Byron an exclusive place in Australia. During the summer months and holliday periods Byron Bay can get really crowded with Australians and people from all over the world.


 The beach located at the other side of the lighthouse (photo) is long and open, and rarely crowded. The waves are bigger than in the bay and provide good surf when waves are small. At the end of this beach, the next point is called Broken Heads, which is also very quiet and beautiful. There are trails and bush walks to be done starting from this point that follow the water line. Accommodation in Broken Heads is limited to a camping/caravan park and there are no shops around. By comparison, Byron has plenty of accommodation to fit any budget, from camping grounds to luxury resorts. 


The new freeway (border with the Gold Coast) has a 110 km speed limit which makes the distance from Surfers Paradise to Byron possible to complete in a little over an hour. Driving South from Byron, there are other very nice small towns such as Lennox Heads (photo) and Ballina. The road crosses a state park with beautiful plants, trees and beaches, most of them offering great waves for surfing. Another road leaves Byron going to the Mountains, passing by farms and rural areas where great bush walks can be found and beautiful waterfalls for a refreshing dip. It is a great place for eco-tourism. 

Byron Bay just can not be missed during your visit to Australia, and don't forget to spend some time shopping for great arts and crafts produced in the region.

More about Byron Bay...

Blues Festival Broken Heads - point
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