To Sydneysiders, Byron Bay is in the far north of their state in the Northern Rivers District. To residents of Brisbane in Queensland, it’s a couple of hours drive south and just over the border into New South Wales.
For decades now, Byron Bay has held a certain cachet and conjures a sense of the distant and exotic. Frequented by a heady mix of backpackers, hinterland “ferals”, surfers and glamorous celebrities, it is an exciting place to see, be seen and experience.
Named by Lt James Cook in 1770 after Lord Byron – grandfather of the more famous poet – Cape Byron is the most easterly point on mainland Australia. And from the lighthouse atop the cape, you can frequently see dolphins surfing and turtles in the clear waters below. In the winter months, migrating humpback whales come close to shore.
The beaches are fabulous – from the wild surf and long stretch of clean sand which makes Tallow Beach so spectacular to the cosy friendliness of Wategos where Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman stayed at Rae’s on Wategos – before she came to her senses and married Aussie Boy, Keith Urban.
Known for its laid-back and alternative culture, Byron Bay is also the acknowledged yoga capital of Australia where you can participate in every type of class imaginable. There also appears to be a massage therapist on nearly every corner amongst the funky café’s, boutiques and galleries.
At Easter, Byron Bay pulses to the sounds of the annual Bluesfest, billed as “Australia’s Premier Blues and Roots Music Festival”.