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Is Byron Bay really such a hot spot??

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Is Byron Bay really such a hot spot??

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1. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 10y

I note that Byron Bay is a 'must see' in a lot of the TP posts. I have passed through and dropped in to the town a few time, but not in the last 13 years. What has changed that it seems to get such a regular mention - is it really that good?

Of course it is on the main route between Sydney & Brisbane, it's the most Easterly point of the Aust. mainland and the National Park & beaches in the area a good.

But it seems that all the 'Backpackers' are heading there or want to go there or are advised not to miss it. There have been mentions of nearby Nimbin's alternative lifestyle and the 'Mardi Grass' (the spelling is correct) as an attraction. We have had news reports of the council charging for vehicle entry into the town!

Maybe some of you can enlighten me & others on what you believe the attractions are and the reasons for staying a while in Byron Bay & vicinity. No other locations seem to get a mention and the North Coast is full of great places.

Consider these type of travellers - Single travellers, a young couples, a family & the older couple (Grey Nomads) what does Byron offer them? ;)

2. Posted by maba (Inactive 227 posts) 10y

Oops probably better in the Oz/NZ/Pacific forum.

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 10y

I agree - so this thread has been moved! ;)

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 10y

I generally recommend Byron as I know it's a place where backpackers will have a good time and because I lived in Lismore for 6 months and spent a good few weekends in Byron. A lot of backpackers head to Oz in search of certain things and Byron offers a few of them (sun, surf, laid back, good vibe etc.).

For me it was the vibe that did it (although I have to say that the kebabs at Bay kebabs were a major hit :) ), but that also has to do with my being there with fellow students each time. I haven't been in the last 6/7 years and I hear that vibe might have changed some, but it's still as popular as ever (well, probably more popular than ever).

I'm not a big fan of Nimbin (kids selling you drugs just isn't my thing and the whole weed thing is overblown if you're from the Netherlands anyway), but for quite a lot of backpackers that seems to be a big attraction and since staying in Nimbin might be taking it one step too far, Byron is a kind of base. There's tons of day tours to Nimbin from Byron nowadays I understand (wasn't the case 7 years ago).

I am sure there are other great places along that coast that are wicked too, but I've never had the time to travel up slowly (oddly enough). I'd still really love to do that and get a feel for the different places. I've also heard there are a few other places along that coast that are a lot less known than Byron but actually are starting to attract the 'original' crowd... usually a sign that they will become a lot more popular in the next 10 years or so.

I think it mainly has to do with a good grassroots type marketing by other travellers that Byron gets the kudo's it does (similar to places like Koh Pha Ngan). The whole 'founded by surfers and hippies' does it for a lot of travellers to Oz And it is a nice place to kick back, have a few beers and enjoy a relatively small town with a good surf and nice beach. Then again, if you've driven along the Great Ocean road you'll find a town like that every so many kms.... Personally, my best memory would be sleeping on the beach with a mate of mine because we couldn't afford the 15 dollar hostel across the road. The most beautiful pink sunrise at 5 was just the perfect way to start a day!

In short, if you look at just what it has to offer in terms of things to see, well then I guess it doesn't really offer more than a lot of other places along that stretch of coast. But Byron just has something that lures travellers ...

ps. for families and older couples I am not sure Byron would be the place as there is a lot of nightlife that might not be everyone's thing... I'd take my wife and baby there though without hesitations. Then again, I'd take them pretty much everywhere without hesitations ;)

5. Posted by majito (Respected Member 442 posts) 10y

Byron is the Bondi of the North; too popular for its own good.

6. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 10y

Byron Bay off-season....Not so hot (IMO) Having heard how great it supposedly was, I went in "winter") mid-august last year.

Its a nice town, and the beach and the headland where the lighthouse is are beautiful. But for a lone traveller, off season I have to say I didn't enjoy it at all.

Admittedly was unlucky with the weather- It pissed it, mostly cold and rainy. But also I found that most of the only people around were hardcore surfers. I stopped fancying surfers at this point. They seemed really cliquey, and as though they were loads cooler than everyone else just cos they could surf. They didn't have the time of day for anyone else. W8nkers!

I expect its totally different in high season, but I daresay its not best place to be in winter!!!

7. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 10y


I must add, While I was there I did see some dolphins, and a whale, just from the beach and lighthouse, which was one cool thing about being there that time of year.....

8. Posted by rborzillo (Budding Member 84 posts) 9y

so would you say a stop in Byron Bay in late May is not a good time to visit?

9. Posted by dannyboy7 (Full Member 167 posts) 9y

I loved the place just for the vibe....such a chilled out place during the day and a good lively night out for the under 30's......good food and great people.....but you've gotta have the weather otherwise the place is a little quiet....... check out the arts factory hostel..

10. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Quoting Clarabell


I must add, While I was there I did see some dolphins, and a whale, just from the beach and lighthouse, which was one cool thing about being there that time of year.....

In Summer, there are also plenty of whales to be seen. The difference is that these ones wear bikinis and lie on the sand.