Byron Bay: Wikis


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Byron Bay
New South Wales
Byron lighthouse.jpg
Byron Lighthouse
Byron Bay is located in New South Wales
Byron Bay
Population: 5,609 [1]
Postcode: 2481
Coordinates: 28°38′35.04″S 153°36′54.47″E / 28.6430667°S 153.6151306°E / -28.6430667; 153.6151306Coordinates: 28°38′35.04″S 153°36′54.47″E / 28.6430667°S 153.6151306°E / -28.6430667; 153.6151306
Elevation: 3 m (10 ft)
LGA: Byron Shire Council
State District: Ballina
Federal Division: Richmond
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
23.7 °C
75 °F
16.5 °C
62 °F
1,723.5 mm
67.9 in
Tallow Beach looking south from the lighthouse
Overlooking Wategos with Julian Rocks in the background

Byron Bay is a beachside town in the north of the state of New South Wales in Australia. It is located 759 kilometres north of Sydney and 140 kilometres south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. The town has a population of about 5,600 people and is the nucleus of Byron Shire, which has in excess of 28,000 residents.[2] Captain James Cook named Cape Byron after circumnavigator of the world John Byron, grandfather of the poet, Lord Byron.[3]



For thousands of years Aboriginal people came to the Bay to swap stories, find marriage partners and trade goods. They called it Cavvanbah.[citation needed]

European history began in 1770, when Captain James Cook found a safe anchorage and named Cape Byron after John Byron, who had circumnavigated the world and who was later the grandfather of English poet Lord Byron. In the 1880s, when Europeans settled more permanently, streets were named for other English writers and philosophers.[citation needed]

The first industry in Byron was cedar-getting, the "red center" from the Australian red cedar, Toona australis. The timber industry is the origin of the word "shoot" in many local names – Possum Shoot, Coopers Shoot and Skinners Shoot – where the timber-cutters would "shoot" the logs down the hills to be dragged to waiting ships.[citation needed]

Byron Bay has a history of primary industrial production (dairy factory,[4] abattoirs, whaling until 1963, fishing) and was a significant, but hazardous, sea port.

The first jetty was built in 1886, and the railway was connected in 1894, and Cavvanbah became Byron Bay in 1894.[5] Dairy farmers cleared more land and settled the area. In 1895, the Norco Co-operative was formed to provide cold storage and manage the dairy industry.[5][6] The introduction of paspalum improved production, and Byron Bay exported butter to the world. The Norco factory was the biggest in the southern hemisphere,[citation needed] expanding from dairy to bacon and other processed meat.

Byron Bay with sugar cane burning in the distance

The lighthouse was built in 1901 at the most easternly point on the Australian mainland.[5] In 1930, the first meatworks opened.[5]

Despite this success, Byron Bay struggled to become a viable community, and was always a poor working town. The smell from the meat and dairy works was, by all accounts, appalling,[citation needed] and the annual slaughter of whales in the 1950s and 1960s made matters worse. Sand mining between the World Wars damaged the environment further, and one by one all these industries declined.[citation needed]

After all the factories and industries closed, surfers discovered the wonderful natural breaks at The Pass, Wategos and Cosy Corner and the longboarders arrived in the 1960s. This was the beginning of Byron Bay as a tourist destination, and by 1973, when the Aquarius Festival was held in Nimbin, its reputation as a hippy, happy, alternative town was established.[citation needed]


Byron Bay is part of the erosion caldera of an ancient shield volcano, the Tweed Volcano, which erupted 23 million years ago. The volcano formed as a result of the Indo-Australian Plate moving over the East Australia hotspot.[citation needed]


Byron Bay is home to several schools and educational institutions. Schools include Byron Bay Public School, Byron Bay High School, St Finbarr's Primary School, Byron Bay Community School and Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School. Among these are a number of early childhood facilities including Byron Bay Preschool and Periwinkle Preschool. In the fields of adult education there are Global Village English Centres [3] and Byron Bay English Language School (both organisations providing English language tuition to international students), the Byron Region Community College, which is a registered training organisation and the SAE Institute Byron Bay which is a government-accredited, degree granting institution in the fields of audio engineering, digital film making, multimedia and animation.


The main beach in 2006
Byron Bay Lighthouse

The town has several beaches which are popular for surfing. It is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast, and the scenery attracts sky divers. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching industry a significant contributor to the local economy.[citation needed]

An oceanway runs from the centre of town to the Cape Byron lighthouse. Visitors are encouraged to use sustainable options for moving around town like walking and cycling.[citation needed]

Temperate and tropical waters merge at Byron Bay, making it a popular area for scuba diving and snorkelling. Most diving is done at Julian Rocks which is part of the recently established Cape Byron Marine Park and only a few minutes boat ride from Main Beach.[citation needed]

National Estate

The following places are listed on the Register of the National Estate:[7]

  • Cape Byron Lighthouse
  • Broken Head Nature Reserve (south of Byron Bay)
  • Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve (north of Byron Bay)
  • Julian Rocks Nature Reserve
  • Two Sisters Rocks (south of Byron Bay)
  • Mateship and Honour


Events held at Byron Bay include yoga retreats, pagan gatherings,[citation needed] music festivals such as the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival at Easter and Splendour in the Grass, the Byron Bay Writers' Festival,[8] the Byron Bay Film Festival and the Byron Underwater Festival.[9] The area is famed for its hardcore punk scene, producing the internationally famed bands Parkway Drive and 50 Lions. Byron Bay also has a number of regular markets including a weekly farmers' market[10] at the Butler Street Reserve every Thursday with over 70 local farmers selling fresh produce. There is also a craft market held on the same site on the first Sunday of each month and an artisan market[11] held on Saturday evenings at Railway Park.


The Byron Bay area has a number of newspapers:

  • The Byron Shire Echo (Independent weekly A3)
  • The Byron Shire News (APN weekly A3)
  • The Northern Star (APN daily)
  • The Saturday Star (Independent A5 monthly)
  • The Bagg (Independent weekly A3 gig guide)

Radio stations in Byron area:


Byron Bay is the headquarters and primary manufacturing location for Wicked Weasel, a globally recognized manufacturer of micro swimwear[12]

Filming location

East of Everything is an ABC series filmed in Byron Bay and released on 30 March 2008.

Notable residents

See also


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Byron Bay [1] is a coastal town in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, located just off the Pacific Highway, approximately 800 km north of Sydney and 175 km south of Brisbane. Nearby Cape Byron is the easternmost point on the Australian mainland.


Byron Bay is famed worldwide for its surfing beaches, scuba diving, whale watching, rural beauty and a laid back lifestyle. It is a major tourist centre.

Byron Bay and its surrounding area have a population of about 30,000. The area has experienced a dramatic increase in tourism now standing at 1.7 million+ visitors per year. A small town that has always prided itself on having no traffic lights now has traffic jams at the roundabout during the summer.

There are many thriving home-based businesses focussed on alternative, cultural and knowledge industries, with a growing population of artists, writers and filmmakers.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is Ballina/Byron Airport around 30 minutes drive away at Ballina. There are flights from Sydney and Melbourne. There is a bus service from the airport.

Gold Coast airport is around 1 hour away at Coolangatta and has domestic flights and international flights from New Zealand, Malaysia, and Japan. It often has cheaper flights and cheaper car hire than Ballina. There are a number of transport operators from the airport to Byron Bay. For example, Brisbane2Byron[2] and J & B Coaches[3] do pick-up and drop-off at the airport in their runs between Byron Bay and Brisbane and Surfers Paradise for $25.

By bus

Regular coach services travel between Sydney and Brisbane via Byron Bay.

By car

Byron is around 9 hours drive from Sydney. A good days drive, with many possibilities to stop and rest. Traffic on the Pacific Highway gets busy during school holiday periods.

Byron is only just over an hour from the Gold Coast, and just over two hours from Brisbane.

By tour

Many surfing or backpacker tours along the east coast.

By train

Trains no longer stop next to the Railway Hotel. You can transfer to a coach from the train at Casino. You can buy a through ticket.

Get around

There is limited regular public transport within Byron Bay, operated by Blanch's Bus Company - however most destinations within the bay are walkable, including The Lighthouse Walk. The Byron Shire Council has installed parking ticket machines, with the fee being $2 per hour.

  • East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival [4]. Held at Byron Bay each Easter.
  • Splendour in the Grass Music Festival [5]. Alternative to mainstream festival over 2 days in July (winter) each year.
  • Schoolies [6] in Late November/Early December celebrating school leavers from across Australia. (This can be a time to avoid, if this is not your scene)

Find out about upcoming events in "The Bagg', a local publication out Mondays



Byron Bay has good surf with a variety of beaches within the town limits. It has occupied the imagination of Australians for many years for its climate, lifestyle and warm water.

  • Byron Main, the best-known beach in Byron, usually has smaller waves which break close to shore. At the southern end of Byron Main beach lies the Pass. The Pass can be very crowded, along with Byron Main on summer days but is perfect for long boarding with wide rollers that go forever.
  • Watego's Beach is just around the corner from the Pass and Byron Main. It is somewhat hidden from view, lying on the north side of the Byron point. Watego's has a cult longboarder crowd because its waves generally don't have enough push as other breaks. It generally has smaller surf than the Pass. The surf runs west towards Byron Main and takes a bit more skill to paddle out to than the Pass or the main beach. The Pass is always crowded when the winds or swell are right, and because of the easy paddle it has a lot of beginners which can make it very dangerous with wayward boards.
  • Tallow's Beach is the least known and least used Byron beach for those who don't surf. Tallow's Beach is on the south side of the Byron headland, is very long and has a variety of breaks along its length. The surf is generally larger as most swells go straight into it. It is very uncommon to see tourists along this beach because the only place from which it can be seen in Byron is the top of the Byron headland.

It is not uncommon to surf among pods of common dolphins as the evening winds down in Byron, especially if you are surfing Watego's or the Pass.

  • Swimming. Byron Main Beach is patrolled all summer, with other beaches patrolled during the Chistmas School Holidays, including Wategoes. In winter, it can be a bit chilly to consider swimming at Byron with daytime temperatures on average only reaching around 20C.
  • Sunbake. Topless sunbathing is common and accepted in Byron.

A clothing optional beach is situated north of the Byron Beach Club at Tyagarah. Access via Grays Lane and a walking track from the Pacific Highway.

  • [7] Byron bay whale watching.

Diving and snorkeling

Byron Bay has some of New South Wales's best scuba diving. Most diving is at Julian Rocks, only five minutes off shore. The depths around Julian Rocks are 5-25 meters, and it's suitable for snorkeling. You can dive with the following operators:

  • Byron Bay Dive Centre, 9 Marvel Street, +61-2-6685-8333 or 1800 243 483 (within Australia) (, fax: +61-2-6685-5750), [8]. Byron Bay Dive Centre runs diving and snorkeling trips to Julian Rocks. Certification is available through PADI, SSI and NAUI. Non-certified dives are available after taking a short SSI Passport Diver course.  edit
  • Sundive, 8 Middleton Street, +61-2-6685-7755 or 1800 008 755 (within Australia) (, fax: +61-2-6685-8361), [9]. Weekday trips depart 10am and 1:15pm, weekend trips depart 8:30am, 11am and 2pm. Sundive has multiple daily trips to Julian Rocks, and offers PADI dive certification. $45 per dive without gear hire or if snorkeling, $50 for the first dive if tank and weights are required, $80 for the first dive if all gear is required and $70 for subsequent dives with all gear hired. Introductory dives for untrained divers are $150, and Open Water certification costs $350.  edit
  • Mt Warning Summit Track. The summit of Mt Warning sees the first light to hit the mainland of Australia. It takes around 2-3 hours to walk to the top. It is possible to start the climb in order to reach the top for first light. You will need torches, water etc. It is not recommended by the National Parks people to walk the track in the dark. Steep, with LOTS of steps.
  • Byron Bay Cycleway. There is a cycleway along the beach at Byron. Bicycle hire is available.
  • Popular with backpackers, Cheeky Monkeys Restaurant & Party Bar is a great value night out.
  • The best value for money is The Railway Friendly Bar
  • The Great Northern makes great pizzas from a real Italian pizza maker
  • The Buddha Bar has some good meals and a relaxed atmosphere
  • For the top end of the market is Rae's at Wategos
  • For Thai, there is Thai Lucy in Bay Lane behind the Beach Hotel.
  • For Indian there is Yellow Flower in Suffolk Park where you can occasionally chill out to the sounds of a musician


Byron Bay has a very vibrant social scene for a town of its size. Bands play most nights at the Beach Hotel (on the beach) and the Railway Friendly Bar. The Great Northern hosts the more important bands. The Buddha Bar serves backpackers from the Piggery Backpackers and has a very chilled out bar and attached restaurant and cinema.

Nightclubs are Cocomangas (get a Jam Jar), La La Land (Lawson St), Play (Woolworths Plaza) and the backpackers' favourite, Cheeky Monkeys (dancing on tables ahoy!). This can also be a good place to go out on Mondays and Tuesdays when everywhere else is quiet.

Find out what to do about town by picking up a copy of 'The Bagg', a gig and entertainment guide out every Monday.


Byron Bay is now a well established destination for backpackets, schoolies, families and couples, and there are choice of accommodation styles catering to all of them.

Most local real estate agents handle holiday house rentals, and there are many in the beach areas, and even further into suburban Byron. There are several backpacker lodges to choose from. Motels, and bed and breakfasts. Some bed-and-breakfasts have been created by building additions to once suburban Byron houses.

  • Aquarius Backpackers Motel, 16 Lawson Street Byron Bay NSW 2481, 61-1800-028-909, [10]. Backpackers  edit
  • The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge provides accommodation from teepees, camping, to dorm rooms and private rooms. The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge Ph: 02 66857709
  • Nomads Byron Bay Backpackers provides accommodation ranging from King Rooms with Plasma TV's and fridges to shared backpacker accommodation. Nomads Byron Bay Backpackers & Budget Accommodation email:
  • Byron Bay YHA, 7 Carlyle Street, +61-2-6685-8853 (, fax: +61-2-6685-6766), [11]. A hostel with a barbecue, swimming pool and television room. Dorm beds from $27 to $35, private rooms from $70 per room, add $3.50 per night if you are not a member of Hostelling International.  edit
  • Cape Byron YHA, corner of Middleton Street and Byron Street, +61-2-6685-8788 or 1800 652 627 (within Australia) (, fax: +61-2-6685-8814), [12]. A hostel with a barbecue, swimming pool and television room. Dorm beds from $26 per night, add $3.50 per night if you are not a member of Hostelling International.  edit
  • Planula, Lot 1, Melaleuca Drive, +61-2-6680-9134 (), [13]. Planula is a bed and breakfast 3km from Byron Bay's town. It focusses on scuba diving; both the hosts are divers. Twin rooms $185 during peak seasons, $135 during high season and $115 in winter. Joint diving and accommodation deals available.  edit
  • Gaia Retreat and Spa, 933 Fernleigh Road, Brooklet, +61-2-6687-1216 (, fax: +61-2-6687-1310), [14]. 3 night packages from $995 per person for twin or double or $1195 for a single person.  edit
  • Broken Head Holiday Park, Beach Road, Broken Head, +61-2-6685-3245 (, fax: +61-2-6685-4810), [15]. Surrounded by National Park rainforest, and situated next to Broken Head beach. Suits those who prefer to stay a little further out from the township of Byron Bay. Body board and surf board hire available. Reception 7.30am-7.30pm. Unpowered sites $25/night. Powered sites and cabins also available.  edit
  • Tallow Beach Motel, [16]. Located 5 minutes south of Byron Bay township right across the road from the beach. From $75 per night.  edit
  • Byron Bay Holidays, Sommerset Court, 5-9 Sommerset Street, Byron Bay, +61-427-847-057, [17]. Fully self contained, self catered accommodation. From $150 per night.  edit
  • Byron Bathers, 2 Fletcher Lane, Byron Bay (Fletcher Lane runs off the southern end of Fletcher St approx. 50m from Marvel St)), 61 2 6680 7775, [18]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 10am. Byron Bathers is a quality bed & breakfast. An oasis located in the hub of Byron Bay. Three "king bed" bedrooms each with an ensuite (suitable for adults over 21 only). Tariff $260 per night per room includes breakfast (excludes peak season $330).  edit

Stay safe

Be careful of drink spiking - always keep your drink in view and don't accept drinks from strangers.

Get out

Explore the 'Rainbow Region' - rural towns and sleepy villages, set in lush and particularly scenic countryside. The area is famed as a haven for alternative culture. Nimbin and the Channon are the favourite towns to visit in this region. There is a popular market in the Channon once a month. There are many scenic wonders in the area. Byron area has many rainforests & parks. The ever present volcanic plug of Mt.Warning (Wollumbin - the cloud cathcher) is a favourite tour. It can be reached by driving into Murwillumbah and following the roads to the small village of Uki. There are many waterfalls like Minyon Falls (direction Federal-Rosebank), Protester Falls (the Channon area) and Wanaganui Falls (Wilsons Creek). The drive to these falls is very scenic as it follows the creek and a narrow valley a some nice rainforest.

Brunswick Heads is also a nice day trip. The pub is a good place to relax for a meal by the river and it has some quieter beaches. Between Byron Bay and Ballina there is a nice coastal drive which passes through the quiet coastal town of Lennox Head. If you stick to the coastal roads you can see a lot more beaches.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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