Byron Bay, northern New South Wales and the most easterly point of Australia. Where to begin on this eclectic little surf town? The hippies all fled Byron when Paul Hogan built the Beach Hotel. Descended upon by the thousands of backpackers on which it is a definitive destination, and Australians on their ends-of-season getaways, I sometimes think to myself that I should have stayed away.
While the Railways Bar is a peaceful, fun place with dreadlocks and free-range clothing and chicks with armpit hair, the pubs and clubs closer to the beach, while full to the hilt with hot chicks, are also shoulder-to-shoulder with rum-drunk and territorial blokes. And unless you’re planning to carve yourself a piece of that territory, maybe venture a bit further afield.
A couple of kilometres to the north of Byron is Belongil Beach which is a really nice spot with a couple of peaceful cafes, but generally, if peace is what you are after, you’re in the wrong place. Byron Bay is well equipped with hostels and all other backpacker necessities, but make sure you book ahead, and be aware, it doesn’t come cheap.
But it is a nice place. The beaches are stunning (though be careful of turf wars if you plan on surfing), and the cafes and stores manage to maintain a light atmosphere, while keeping McDonalds and KFC out of sight. And if you want to spend your days surfing the beaches, your evenings on the internet boasting to your friends back home, and your nights trying to score one of those hotly-contested backpacker sheilas, then this is, I guess, definitely the place to do it.