Byron Bay, Australia
Areas in Byron Bay
When to go
During the warmer months (November to March), Byron Bay seethes with life and it’s best to avoid December and January when the area is bombarded by ‘schoolies’ (teenagers who have just finished Year 12) and families on holiday. It’s also peak wedding season in romantic Byron. Though the sea is a little chilly for swimming, winter here (June to August) is perfect: calm, sunny and warm – with far fewer tourists.
PlanesMost people fly into Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta (www.goldcoastairport.com.au) with Jetstar, Pacific Blue, Tiger Airways or Virgin Blue, then drive just over an hour south to Byron Bay. Nearer, though, is the smaller Ballina Airport (www.ncas.com.au), which handles flights from Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Rex, only 20 minutes away.
AutomobilesTo make the most of Byron Bay’s hinterland you’ll need a car, as taxis are a pricey way to get around. All the big hire car brands are represented at the airports, including Avis.
TaxisYou don’t really need a cab to get around the town itself (if you’re tired, hail a Cycle Rickshaw) but they can be handy if you want to head further out. To book, call Byron Bay Taxis (02 6685 5008).
Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef is a fantastic place to dive and snorkel. Your surfing ability will determine the best location to sample our wide variety of waves. Longboarding is well suited to Noosa, and Byron Bay and Crescent Head in New South Wales, but if you’re looking for a more challenging experience check out Margaret River in Western Australia (also an amazing wine region) and Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Drive Victoria’s scenic Great Ocean Road where infamous Bells Beach suits serious surfers and Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne and Fairhaven will appeal to beginners. Keep going to spot wild koalas near Kennett River, kayak with seals at Apollo Bay and see the awe-inspiring Twelve Apostles sea stacks and Loch Ard Gorge near Port Campbell.
Drive from Brisbane to Sydney, breaking for two nights at romantic Victoria’s at Wategos in bohemian Byron Bay (two hours to the south). Swim or surf at curvy Wategos or Little Wategos beaches, where you’ll compete with dolphins for the breaks. Enjoy ocean and bush views on the four-kilometre circuit walk around the Cape Byron Lighthouse, stopping off for coffee at Byron Beach Café on Clarkes Beach. Byron’s Julian Rocks Marine Reserve is great for snorkelling or diving with turtles and manta rays. Just over eight hours of driving brings you to New South Wales’ Central Coast, where boutique hotel Bells at Killcare combines delicious Italian dining, care of chef Stefano Manfredi, with serene seaside strolls. From there, it’s just an hour and a half on to Sydney.