Byron Bay is the bohemian and hippy heartland of Australia and many people’s all time favourite holiday spot. The Byron Bay experience is more than the sum of its parts; it is more of an experience than a collection of tourist attractions. If you are feeling tightly wound and stressed, then there are few places on earth that are better at reinvigorating your soul than Byron Bay. Serious relaxation and focusing on your well being is the order of the day here, so get ready for the tension to well and truly melt away.
The bay is all about the beautiful beaches
and you are going to start your day there with a relaxing stroll watching the sunrise. You can even begin the day with a personal yoga class held on the beach or in your hotel room by booking in advance with Sue Hawkins of Byron Bay Yoga. After such a refreshing start to the day, the sea breeze is sure to have sparked your appetite. Breakfast at local icon The Byron Beach Café is about the best you can get. It has been feeding hungry locals and visitors for more than 30 years from its location the sand dunes gazing out over Main Beach.
Take a stroll from the lighthouse
through 47 ha of remnant vegetation down to the old whaling station at the coast. During July and September, you can watch the humpback whales migrating off the coast. The Julian Rocks Marine Park is an underwater wonderland for divers to explore. It is where temperate and tropical currents meet. This area became part of Cape Byron Marine Park in 2002.
With the range of north, east and southward facing Byron Bay beaches in the area, there is never a shortage of surf breaks available. If you are already and experienced surfer, then check out the local conditions and head to the beach that is pumping on any given day. Popular breaks include: Watego’s, Broken Head, the Pass, Cosy Corner, Belongil, The Wreck or Tallow Beach. For newbies, there are surf classes and short courses that will teach you all the techniques you need to know to get up on a short or long board. Book your class in advance for the morning when the waves tend to be at their cleanest and the sun less piercing.
With a freshly filled tummy, you are going to discover the Belongil Estuary by kayaking along the creek through native wetlands and mangroves. Check out the tides before you go, but this is one of those memorable and yet largely hidden local gems that the bay residents tend to keep to themselves. Alternatively, you can hire bicycles and head out to the Arakwal National Park, which is only two kilometres from town.
Upon your return seek out sustenance at one of the local cafes,
or stock up on picnic items ready to visit some of Australia’s most spectacular rainforest. There are very few places in the world where there is rainforest that meets the sea. Byron Bay can offer one such location at the Broken Head Nature Reserve. Exploring the reserves
is intensely peaceful (and if you are with the right person – romantic) with windswept beaches that are totally isolated apart from hoards of local birdlife.
Head back into the town in the afternoon and explore the Byron Bay shopping
and galleries that are scattered throughout the area. There is a strong contingent of local artisans in the bay and visiting Retrospect Galleries is one of the best places to head. The gallery displays cutting edge contemporary art from Australian artists and sculptors with constantly updated exhibitions. The Arts and Industry Estate located only four kilometres from the centre of town is a diverting place to wander through browsing a wide range of locally produced handicrafts. Wandering around town is an interesting experience in itself with plenty of cool shops featuring all manner of unique and beautiful items for purchase and a health dose of people watching too.
To fill your belly in the evening, there are a wide range of choices offering international cuisine and plenty of organic and vegetarian choices too. A local favourite is Cheeky Monkeys, where the ambiance is just as much a feature as the menu. You will find live entertainment offered six nights a week. If you venture out onto the beach on any given night you can usually find fire twirlers and other impromptu performances happenin