Why Byron Bay Should Be Part of Any East Coast Trip
The east coast of Australia is a notorious backpacking route; it is top of the list for any backpacking trip to Oz. Kieran Bennet spent a good few months travelling Australia with a friend on a working holiday visa and they had up to a year to travel in this popular country. Here he shares his experiences and reasons why Byron Bay needs to be added to your itinerary…
Arriving in Australia
Australia on the whole is very backpacker friendly, lots of hostels, transport between cities is good and lots of job opportunities too so you can make some money as you travel! We only intended to take around three weeks to travel from Sydney to Cairns. We used coaches to get from place to place originally but we met a group of people over there and decided it would be worth renting a campervan between us. We never really stayed anywhere longer than a few days as we were eager to see everything, looking back I wish we’d have spent longer doing the first half of the trip!
If you’re planning a trip up the east coast I think doing it in four weeks in the best option as it allows you time to see everything, I assume doing it in two weeks involves being on a coach or in a car for so long each day that you might not get to do everything. The longer you have to travel the east coast the better the experience will be.
Introduction to Byron
Byron bay is a little coastal town, not far from Brisbane (Australia is a huge country so when I say not far, I mean it’s the closest large city people will have heard of, it’s around two hours away). After one day there me and my friend decided we were going to be staying for longer than a few days. So after two days the rest of the ‘Campervan Clan’ (There were some very long drives, we named ourselves that on a boring two hour drive!) were heading up to Brisbane. Byron is a great place to settle for a few weeks if you’re tired of sitting in a car or on a coach for hours a day or just somewhere to base yourself for a while whilst working to top up your funds.
What to Expect
In some of the large cities people always seem in a hurry, Byron has a very distinct relaxed atmosphere. The people are very friendly and laid back. The beach is a great place to chill and soak up some sun. There’s BBQs right next to the beach, bars all along the front, it’s the perfect place for relaxing in the day.
There are a lot of things to do in Byron, fishing trips, swimming and sea kayaking are very popular. Other relaxing activities include yoga classes, art lessons and there is day spa.
The street art in the town is something worth looking at, it is very difficult to miss It’s everywhere! It’s not just some kids spray painting their name on a wall like it is in England, Its beautiful art. It gives the town a splash of colour, turning normal things like phone boxes or a run down wall into art.
For the more adventurous of you, there are many different activities you can do. The surfing there is one of the best in Australia I’ve been told. (Having never surfed before I lasted about three seconds stood up on the board and a minute under the water frantically trying to catch my breath whilst everyone laughed at me). There’s a place called Julian rock where you can dive with sharks, the sharks are very active in Byron. It’s quite scary at first but you’ll soon realise they seem to be misunderstood creatures when you see them peacefully gliding through the water. It is full of underwater life sharks, turtles and many kinds of amazing fishes! I urge anyone to try this when visiting.
For the adrenaline junkies among you can do a sky dive, it’s a great way to see the beauty of Byron. There’s a company that also offer mountain bike tours, guided rides through tropical rainforests and past golden beaches!
The nightlife is great in Byron, a bar called Cheeky Monkeys being the main spot. For anyone visiting Byron this is the place to go! Its open 6 days a week, each night has a theme. Its backpacker friendly as the meals are only $5 and the beer is cheap. Once all the plates have been cleared away you can dance on the tables! They do drinking games where you can win some great prizes. Definitely a must do when visiting Byron. Cocomangas is more of a club venue, it’s a bit more upmarket than Cheeky Monkeys. It has a balcony if you want to get out of the club and just relax and have a beer in the fresh air.
What are You Waiting For?
All in all this is one of the best towns I’ve visited in Australia, it’s got something for everybody. It’s great for nightlife and it’s a quiet and relaxed town during the day for you to nurse your hangover! Theres’s a wide range of activities to do so there’s something for everybody. All the locals I met were friendly and helpful. The place just oozes a relaxed and chilled atmosphere. It’s a place I urge everybody to stop at for a few days when travelling the east coast.
By Kieran Bennet