A weekend in Byron Bay

I talk regularly about finding inspiration for travel. For me, I always find inspiration from a bunch of different sources. Sometimes it’s seeing a destination in a guidebook. Other times, it comes down to ticking something off my ever growing bucket list. It can also be seeing pictures from a friends’ vacation. The list goes on an on. Sometimes though, it comes down to nothing more than a little spontaneity and finding a really cheap flight and clicking that “Book Now” button. I am a HUGE fan of really cheap flights.

So why Byron? Well, I’d always heard good things about Byron Bay. Nothing specific really, just a lot of “Oh, you have to go there” or “I love Byron”… When I saw roundtrip flights for $100 I just clicked that little “Book Now” button and left the rest to fate and some haphazard planning. Thankfully, my buddy Rob was a willing partner in crime so I had some company.

About Byron:

Byron is a sleepy little surf town a few hours north by plane from Sydney. Situated on the coast, it’s known for surf life, backpackers, organic food, and also has a large hippy influence. Just like how the hippies left San Francisco to Seattle and Portland – the same goes for the exodus from larger town in Aus to Byron.

Since this was just a plan-as-you go weekend jaunt I’ll stick to the highlights.

Cape Byron Walking Track

I enjoyed the coastal walk so much I did it twice over the three day visit. Starting from Main Beach, it leads you east along the waterfront. All in, budget about 2 hours. 3-4 if you’re like me and take a million photos.

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Starting the walk

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Lookout points along the track allow you to take in the panoramic views back towards the city

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Past more rocky beaches with crystal clear water.

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The trail is very well taken care of and allows you to focus on the sights

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With the occasional sets of stairs for some added fitness

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A lookout from the summit

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Once you near the end of the track, you are taken to an observation area marking the Most easterly point of the Aussie mainland. I can’t think of another time I was at the edge of a continent… Well, check that box off. Although now I may need to travel to the edges of continents more often. Is that even a “thing”?

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Even though we got most of our photos, my buddy Rob (im)patiently waited for the area to clear so I could use the fotopol.

What’s a fotopol? I’m glad you asked!

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It’s only the most awesome thing this (usually) solo traveller had ever seen. You attach your camera, set the timer and go. This is far better, and more level, than my usual method of stacking rocks, positioning my camera, and hoping I catch the shot without my camera taking a header into the ground.

Ok – It’s only me with the fotopol obsession. Moving on.

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Coming back, there was another lookout point and I wanted to get a shot before we lost light

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You have the chance to see amazing sunsets – just like this one

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Cape Byron Light House 

Another attraction is the Cape Byron Light House. It’s a fully functional light house warning passing ships of the peninsula. Although if you run aground – at least you hit “The most easterly point of the Aussie mainland”…

From any angle – it’s a stunner

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The colour scheme reminds me of those iconic buildings in Greece

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Selfie

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Goofing off – waiting for the sun to set

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Truly, a sight to be seen

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Don’t forget to sign into the guestbook – some really famous people have been here…

Wildlife

I had no idea the amount of unique wildlife I would see during my visit. This was an unexpected surprise.

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A migrating humpback whale making its way from Antarctic waters to the tropics. Since the coast juts out, the whales swim much closer to shore allowing glimpses as they breach.

I saw at least 10 over an hour period just sitting on the shore.

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Don’t worry – that’s not a shark. A local pod of about 200 bottle-nose dolphins call Julian Rocks near Byron home. They regularly swim near the surfers and occasionally can be seen catching waves themselves.

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I was more than excited when I saw this little fella walking around. It’s a juvenile echidna. This one was super clumsy and was looking in every nook and cranny for some lunch (bugs).

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It entertained me for the better part of a half hour

Main Beach

Not to be left out. The aptly named Main Beach lies at the end of the main drag of shops, cafes, pubs, and art galleries. It’s a great place to catch some sun, watch some surfers, and get a feel for the chill vibe of Byron.

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I found it’s also a nice spot to relax while enjoying the “best fish and chips from” Fishmongers Cafe. They didn’t disappoint. Get the takeaway option – it’s far cheaper than eating in.

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Not to be left out, the grassy area above the beach if frequented by the local hippy scene. Music pumps from a converted campervan with concert speakers, people yoga, hula-hoop, and the faint scent of the local “herbal remedies” linger in the air.

Special Mention

A few items by themselves garner special mention from the trip.

Saturday Markets

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If you’re searching for organic food or quirky art – the Byron Saturday markets are where it’s at.

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The brekkie is also really good. Whether you’re after a fry up or something sweet.

Sea Kayaking

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A great way to spend a few hours on the water. We didn’t see anything – which was weird – but as a bonus they had a “guarantee” so I get to go again for free.

The Railway Friendly Bar

railwayIf you like live music, cheap drinks, doing the “Byron Bay boogie”, and dancing with women more than twice your age – you are in luck. We had a great time here hanging with the locals.

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If for no other reason than it made me laugh every time we walked by

Finally, one last piece of wisdom from Byron:

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JJ

2 thoughts on “A weekend in Byron Bay”

  1. Byron looks like a kick ass location. Wish it wasn’t a world away. Is there a forest near Perth with ancient huge trees of some sort? I thought i remember seeing pictures of a guy looking so small next to this tree it looked fake. Pretty sure it was near Perth, if im thinking of the right city. Perth is the biggest city on the west side of the continent, right?

    1. Byron was awesome. I think there are some big trees in the southern part. I’m planning on heading to Perth once it warms up after summer. I’ll let you know! You’re right – Perth is all by itself on the west.

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