While traveling around the east coast of Australia, one quickly discovers that backpackers tend to flock to certain areas. While there are amazing beach towns all up and down the coast, it seems that some destinations are more popular than others. With the seemingly endless list of possible destinations is ever-growing, one thing is for certain; backpackers will inevitably end up in Byron Bay.
Located in New South Wales, Byron Bay is a small coastal town offering big fun. Along with a beautiful coastline backed by grassy parks, Byron is a traveler’s hot bed. The town is laced with great places to dine, ranging from budget to top-end. Hippie clothing stores line the street, and for the creative type, art, music, and writing stores, workshops, and impromptu session seem to pop up all over the town. The weather is good, the people are nice and the atmosphere is definitely inviting.
For backpackers, Byron Bay is packed with cheap places to stay, and fun things to do. While I personally stayed at the Art Factory located outside of town, there are a number dorm rooms and cheap privates closer to the coast. One of the most famous chains around Australia is Nomads, and they are located directly across from the main beach.
Along with cheap hostels, great bars and clubs are sprinkled throughout the town. For those looking for a younger party crowd and a cheap meal, Cheeky Monkey offers $5 dinners (which actually aren’t bad) as well as cheap drinks. To ensure all-night happy hour, find one of the nice young ladies passing out cheeky monkey wristbands. For a calmer evening that still involves frothies (cold beer) and good live music, head over to the Rail Station Bar. Located in the former Byron Bay Train Station, Rail Station offers cheap drinks and delicious meals every night of the week. From Friday through Sunday, they also up their stock by adding great live music. While most artists are locals, larger touring acts stop by from time to time.
With the town being a bit small, a few side trips may be in order. For the hiking type, a long three-hour trek to the lighthouse isn’t a bad way to spend a day. The walk is almost completely costal, and the beautiful views from lighthouse are unmatched. Byron is also a bus ride away from the mountains, so a trip to the hippie town of Nimbin is easily arranged. Be ready for a barrage of weed culture and stoner jokes, though, if you head that way!
If you are planning a trip to the east coast of Australia, make sure to spend some time in Byron Bay. Although you may think you are just going to spend a few days, blocking out a few weeks may be the best bet.