A beautiful Australian beach town in the far northeastern corner of New South Wales—and only 90 miles from Brisbane—the city of Byron Bay boasts more than 20 miles of coastline and some 300 places to stay, a result of its discovery by surf aficionados and beach bums from around the world. Accommodations range from luxurious resorts to Byron Bay cheap hotels and small cottages that are only a stone's throw away from the sand. On a visit to this out-of-the-way destination, you're likely to also encounter backpackers traveling the Australian coast and sky divers who come for the always blue skies.
Founded as site for whale hunting, timber harvesting, and farming, the skyline has been eclipsed by Bryon Bay hotels of all shapes and sizes. An oceanway road runs from the center of town to its most iconic structure—the Cape Byron Lighthouse—so getting around is a snap. The waters around Julian Rocks are immensely popular with scuba divers and snorkelers, leading to the designation of the area as the Cape Byron Marine Park. In town, there's some great shopping opportunities, a wide array of restaurants, and a bar scene that rocks away until the wee hours.
Ride the Wave
Of course, the majority of visitors come for the surf, a phenomenon that began in the 1960s when the factories closed and the city sunk into a depression. With names like the Pass, Wategos, and Cosy Corner, the breaks are now legendary among long boarders. In keeping with its quirky surf character, hotels in Byron Bay cater to yoga enthusiasts, pagan gatherings, and annual events such as the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival, Splendour in the Grass, the Byron Bay Writers Festival, the Byron Bay Film Festival, and the Byron Underwater Festival.