Hotels in Byron Bay, Australia
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Slowdown in beachy Byron Bay
Locals in the relaxed coastal town of Byron Bay have made a big effort to preserve the beach-side way of life, and have managed to keep multinational hotels and fast-food chains like McDonalds out. The result is a carefree town like no other, where surf culture, a thriving food scene and long lazy days reign supreme – and a genuine local experience is guaranteed.
Sun, surf and sea creatures
The beach is the heart of everything in Byron Bay, and has led the town to becoming a popular holiday destination with numerous hotels to choose from. Miles of coast frame the bay, where visitors swim, play and stroll with a view of the Cape Byron Lighthouse to one end and endless stretches of white sand with a background of tree-covered mountains to the other.
From June to September, swimmers might be lucky enough to spot whales as they migrate, and if not there’s always a chance of spying a playful dolphin or two taking their turn on the waves that make Byron Bay a popular spot to take up surfing.
Aside from surfing there are plenty of other water sports to try, including sea kayaking, kite surfing and stand up paddling. With temperatures that rarely drop below 20 degrees Celsius and most hotels in Byron Bay only a stone’s throw from the waterfront, there could hardly be a better beach holiday destination.
Local food and boutique shopping
Away from the picturesque beach numerous unique and most-often local cafes, restaurants and take-away food shops sit alongside boutique stores, organic food markets and the occasional pub or bar.
The local government have made a serious effort to maintain the laidback feel of the town, which means few recognisable chain stores and food shops, and no high-rise hotels in Byron Bay. Increased popularity as a tourist destination for both locals and international travellers has changed the vibe a little, but the relaxed character and feeling that time moves slower here remains.
The quiet streets that comprise the town centre are filled with stores brimming with individual character, which offer hours of retail therapy between them – though Byron Bay is small enough that you will never have to wander too far from your hotel.
Fish and chips by the sea
Byron Bay offers a wide variety of dining options, whether you fancy sushi or Thai, pizza or pub food, Mexican or modern Australian – for such a small town the diverse food options are quite remarkable.
One must-do for anyone visiting the beachside town is to pick up some takeaway fish and chips, freshly caught and prepared, and find a spot in the grassy parks overlooking the water to enjoy them – while fending off the hungry seagulls.
Start the month with Community Markets
On the first Sunday of the month the Byron Bay Community Market takes place, where hundreds of stalls populate sunny aisles, and all produce and freshly-prepared food is sold to the beat of drums and guitar strums. The market offers everything from the best local honey to organic, raw sweets, second-hand books to sustainable clothing, and handcrafted jewellery to homewares.
Blues & Roots and Splendour in the Grass
Byron Bay plays host to a number of events on an annual basis, and one of the most well-known is the Byron Bay Blues Festival, or Bluesfest, which takes place on the Easter long weekend every year. The Festival showcases more than 200 performances from the best blues, roots, folk, soul and world artists, while also offering food and market stalls and licensed bars.
Splendour in the Grass is the other major Byron event, and is considered the biggest winter festival in Australia. The festival began as a one-day affair, but now stretches over three days and boasts performances from the biggest and most prominent rising music talents in the country.
Other festivals to feature on your itinerary include the Byron Bay Surf Festival, a non-competitive event focused on surf culture itself, the Lighthouse Run, and the Billy Cart Derby in nearby Bangalow.
Escape for a day
There is plenty to entertain in Byron Bay, but if you ever tire of your hotel in paradise, Byron is surrounded by towns, tourist attractions and other interesting points of interest.
Inland the town is surrounded by hinterland offering numerous trails ideal for hiking. The Tweed Range lies just over an hour’s drive, with Mount Warning the most popular drawcard. Mount Warning’s positioning near the most easterly point of the Australian mainland, Cape Byron itself, means its peak catches the first light of the day, which makes it a popular option for hikers brave enough to rise before the sun.
Towns in the area worth a drive through the tranquil countryside include Bangalow and Mullumbimby, or explore along the coast to Lennox Head, Cabarita Beach and more.