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BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO AUSTRALIA
BYRON BAY
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Byron Bay 
Cape Byron 
Nimbin            
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Youth Hostels 
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Getting There & Away 
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Byron Bay JJJ (population 22,000) 

Since the 1960s Byron Bay has been a surfers and hippies paradise. Today it is still very popular for people out for a good relaxing time away. It is a major stop over on the backpacker circuit. Many backpackers stay a while in Byron Bay taking life at an easy pace. The beaches are great. 
 

Lots of people go whale watching from the rocky Cape Byron just out of town. The Cape Byron Lighthouse designates the most easterly point of mainland Australia. Numerous restaurants and cafes line the main street of Byron Bay, Jonson St. Increasingly Byron Bay is becoming more up market as its popularity grows, but the alternative culture still pervades the town and even influences other coastal towns south to Coffs Harbour. Alternative therapists, massage parlours, clairvoyants and interesting, crafts and curios are available. Despite tourist pressure Byron Bay has been spared any high rise apartments and has a unique charm. Nimbin, inland from Byron Bay, is home to many alternative permaculture communes, die-hard 1960s hippies, and enthusiastic hemp supporters. This influence has rubbed off strongly on Byron Bay.

CAPE BYRON 

Lots of people go whale watching from rocky Cape Byron just out of town (lighthouse pictured). Humpback whales migrate north past the cape in June/July and south in September to November. 

Cape Byron Lighthouse (pictured) designates the most easterly point of mainland Australia. 

Byron Bay Whale Centre is near the lighthouse. Open daily 9am to 4.30pm.

 

NIMBIN 

Nimbin is a town inland from Byron Bay. The surrounding area is home to many alternative permaculture communes, die-hard 1960s hippies, enthusiastic hemp supporters and get back to nature types. What you will experience is different to mainstream society. Byron Bay is a very mild version. Tours go to the Nimbin communities from Byron Bay. A day trip might be worth while, or stay longer if you are into that sort of thing. 


SURFING 

Most hostels have free surf boards for guests. 

There are a few shops around that hire out surfboards, wetsuits and boogie boards. Expect to pay $25 per day. Lessons are also available for $20-$30.

 

DIVING 

Diving is popular at Julian Rocks, 3 km off shore where warm and cold currents merge supporting a profusion of fish. 

Dive Centre. 111 Jonson St Phone 66857149. 

Sundive Inside Cape Byron Hostel on Middleton St. Phone 66857755. 

Bayside Scuba Corner Fletcher and Lawson Streets. Phone 66858333.


YOUTH HOSTELS 

Book around Christmas and New Year. Prices rise above those quoted below in summer. All hostels listed below are clean, relaxed and friendly places. 

Backpackers Holiday Village Hostel is clean and friendly with pool and spa. 116 Jonson St. Phone 02 6685 8888. Dorm $14, double $36. Free bike, surfboard and boogie board hire. 

Backpackers Inn 29 Shirley St. Phone 02 6685 8231. Dorm $15, double $45. Pool. Free bike and boogie boards hire. 

Cape Byron Lodge. 78 Bangalow Road. Phone 6685 6445. Dorm $10, double $30. Pool. Free bike hire. 

Cape Byron Hostel is YHA affiliated. Corner Byron and Middleton Streets. Phone 02 6685 8788. Dorm $14, double/twin $36 ($60 with bathroom, TV and fridge). 

Jís Bay Hostel is YHA affiliated. Corner of Carlyle and Middleton Streets. Phone 1800 678195 for prices. Friendly laid back atmosphere. Pool, kitchen and excellent communal areas. Bikes and Boogie boards for hire. 

Belongil Beachouse Just off Childe Street, west of town. Phone 02 6685 7868. Dorm $13, single $33, double $38. Cafe, garden. Free bike and boogie board hire. 

Aquarius Backpacker Resort Lawson St. Phone 1800 028909. Dorm $16 each with bathroom, TV and fridge. Doubles $45. 

Nomads Byron Bay Lawson St. Phone 02 6685 8695. Dorm $15, double $40. 

Arts Factory Lodge has an alternative culture. It has permaculture gardens, teepees, free bike hire, weird furnishings, cafe and teepee accommodation. More convention dorm accommodation is $16, doubles $35. Staff meet bus arrivals in Byron Bay. 

 Major National Youth Hostel Chains 

YHA - Youth Hostels Australia (Hostelling International) http://www.yha.org.au 
VIP Backpackers http://www.vip-backpackers.com 
Nomads Backpackers. Phone 1800 819883 or http://www.nomads-backpackers.com 
 


ENTERTAINMENT 

Many of the pubs in Byron Bay have live music. Try the Railway Friendly Bar, Beach Hotel, or Great Northern Hotel. Nightclubs are Cocomangas on Jonson St and the techno Carpark in the Plaza Shopping Centre. Both are open 11pm to 3am. Some nights the Epicentre on Border St is alive with the reincarnated hippies who come down from Nimbin in the hinterland. Check out whatís going on in Phat magazine or the Tuesday entertainment liftout in Echo. Jonson St is the main street and has numerous restaurants and cafes. 
 


GETTING THERE AND AWAY 

Long distance coaches operate on the Pacific Highway between Queensland and Sydney. These stop at Byron Bay. Fares are Sydney $62, Brisbane $21, Gold Coast $19, Coffs Harbour $33. Country Link trains run north from Sydney to Byron Bay. Byron Bay is 80 km south of Coolangatta airport on the Gold Coast and 190 km south of Brisbane airport. 
 


WHERE TO GO NEXT 

North to the Gold Coast and Brisbane. (100 km and 190 km away respectively) 

Travel south to Sydney (800 km away) 

  • Along the coastal Pacific Highway through Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Forster, Port Stephens and Newcastle.
  • A scenic diversion inland up the Great Dividing Range is Waterfall Way to historic Armidale on the Tablelands which leaves the coast near Coffs harbour. 
  • The Hunter Valley wineries up from Newcastle are Australiaís best. A detour to them may be worth while.

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    Copyright (c) 2000 Graham Warren. Backpackers Guide to Australia (TM) is a trademark.
     

    Page Index: [Byron Bay] [Cape Byron] [Nimbin] [Diving] [Surfing] [Youth Hostels] [Entertainment] [Getting There and Away] [Where to go Next]
     
     

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