Byron Bay is one of the ‘must visit’ places on the backpacker trail along the Australian east coast, but you’ll find visitors of any age enjoying this popular destination. The attraction is the beautiful beaches, the mild temperatures in the winter months, fantastic summers and of course it’s great a place to surf. Byron’s not just a fun place to hang out and soak up the Aussie beach culture, it’s lighthouse area marks the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.
If you are looking for a bucket list tick than you should add Byron Bay to your travel list.
It had been a while since Ian & I had gone to Byron Bay, although we have been there a few times in the past. The reason for not visiting recently is a bit hard to explain. After all, we have a circle of friends who live up there full time! So when another friend mentioned they were going to the world renown Bluesfest over Easter, we couldn’t help but quickly grab our tickets!
So armed with a 3 day pass each, we booked our flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, looking forward to a sunny beach holiday with a good deal of fantastic music thrown in.
Byron Bay’s Bluesfest is probably the biggest event on the town’s calendar and as such the whole area is heaving with people. The site itself is situated a short drive or bus trip north of Byron at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm.
A lot of the attendees just camp at the site for the duration of the festival. But if you don’t want to camp, there is accommodation for all budgets back in town but you need to get in quick. The best places get booked out early and I mean early! Tickets for the next year’s event go on sale immediately once the festival finishes, so people often start to book their accomodation at the same time.
We were really lucky to be able to stay with our local friends. Thank you so much – we really appreciated it!
The line up for the festival is always a great mix of overseas and Australian music acts. Here is a taste of the 2017 line up:
Santana Doobie Bros Patti Smith
Jimmy Buffett Mary J Bligh Buddy Guy
Madness Gallant Neil Finn
Here is the offical site if you are interested in the full lineup or would just like to get more information about the festival.
Concert photography can be tricky when using just an iPhone but these shots of Booker T and Buddy Guy came out pretty well, I thought!
Having a three day pass meant that we saw a total of 22 hours of music and some of the artists were outstanding. The event is extremely well run with plenty of places to eat, although the bars were getting a bit low towards the end! Not surprising with a large Aussie audience!
Once of the great delights of Byron is it’s beautiful sandy beaches. While Ian love, love, loves the water and swimming in the ocean, I usually don’t get as excited. This year was a complete about face for me.
The water was a magnificent 23 degrees celsius (74 F) so I swam almost every day! No actual photo proof of it but I do have some great shots of the beaches themselves.
There are numerous beaches to choose from within an easy walk from the town centre. As you can imagine, the further you venture from the bustling town area, the less people there are to compete with for the sand and the waves.
Around a 35 minute stroll west along the beach will bring you to Belongi Beach. This area is quiet, even at one of the busiest time of the year and the white sand is hard to resist.
You do need to be careful in this area as there aren’t any lifeguards on duty along this part of the coast and the rips can be quite dangerous.
As some of our friends were staying in the area in a fabulous villa with direct beach access, we spent a few days up here away from the crowds!
Byron also has a huge array of outdoor sporting activities. You can skydive, kayak with the dolphins or hike through the hinterlands. One of the most popular things to do is to learn to surf. Most times of the day you can see groups of tourists from different nations learning how to surf. I think my surfing days may be behind me but everyone I know who lives in the area does!
One of the things on our to do list was to visit the lighthouse. We’d been up there a couple of times before but it always worth doing again and the best way to get there is to walk up.
We started from our accommodation for the approximately 2 hour hike via the Cape Byron 3.7 km loop walking track.
It’s not an easy climb but the views on the way up are absolutely glorious so pick a fine day. It goes without saying you need a certain level of fitness to do this but there is a road and a car parking area further up if you’d prefer doing that.
The track from town goes past beaches, through rainforest and along craggy clifftops with magnificent views in all directions.
Once at the top, there is of course the lighthouse with a visitor centre, a cafe and a souvenir shop. If you are really lucky you can see dolphins frolicking in the water and ‘surfing’ along the cliff area. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any dolphins this trip but have been rewarded in the past.
While Easter is out of season, if you are in the area from mid June onwards you will be able to witness the Humpback whale migration.
We had a fantastic holiday in Byron Bay this year. The weather was perfect, the beaches were great, the music was inspiring and the food was delicious. Spending time with friends both local and those who also travelled to the Bluesfest made it a holiday to remember.
If you are in this part of the world but sure to add this to you list of places to visit.