Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A couple of days in Byron Bay

On my way to Sydney from Bundaberg I stopped at Australia Zoo and Surfers Paradise - which I've already told you about - But I also made a pit stop in Byron Bay. It was over a month ago now and I'm  only just writing about 3 days in the must go place for any East Coast backpacker. Oops!

byron bay kookaburra

Byron Bay - Known for it's laid back hippy vibe and loved by pretty much every backpacker (and human) to ever pass through it. It's a small place known for it's awesome surf, chilled out lifestyle and all round awesomeness.

We rocked up on the Greyhound bus after a disastrous 3 days in Surfers Paradise and really hoped that everything we had heard about Byron Bay was true. And guess what? We pulled into grey clouds and a threat of rain. Just our luck.

I was a little bit worried that Byron Bay would be overran by backpackers trying to live the backpackers dream in this cute little town - And there was a hell of a lot of them (us included) but with the beautiful beaches and the quirky shops you couldn't help but fall in love with the place...Even when it was wrapped in gloom. 

aquarius backpackers

Image from Aquarius backpackers website.

Anyway, we stayed at Aquarius backpackers in a private room within a dorm. It was $79 each a night totaling £237 for 3 nights ($118.50 each). It was a bit of a splurge but after spending the last few weeks in dorms we needed space from other travelers.

Aquarius was really nice and clean, with a great bar and food menu (Try the pulled pork sliders!). The dorms all had private CLEAN bathrooms which was a major bonus after the dingy, smelly toilets of our Bundaberg backpackers. Located outside is the pretty kick-ass mural of a kookaburra and surf which I had seen on Instagram many a times but have now seen IRL.

byron bay cliffs

For 2 days we didn't really have a lot to do thanks to the odd torrential downpour and bank accounts that were slowly getting emptier and emptier. Our dreams of sea-kayaking with dolphins seemed impossible thanks to a pretty gloomy forecast.

Then low and behold, on the morning of our final day, the sun peeked out to say hi.

As sea-kayaking requires you to pre-book we were devastated that we hadn't just taken the risk and booked the kayaking regardless of what the weatherman says but you may or may not know, we Brits are obsessed by the weather and what the weatherman says, goes.

Instead of being upset over missing out, we got ourselves outside and tackled the Cape Byron walking trail - Four kms of ocean views, coastal cliffs and a great viewing point for dolphins and whales.

There are loads of opportunities to lay on the beach or take a dip in the ocean along the track but our goal was to get to the Cape Byron lighthouse.

byron bay lighthouse
The walk itself was pretty sweet but I definitely wouldn't recommend it to the seriously unfit or people with pushchairs/wheelchairs. Neither do the NSW parks department! BUT we did see people of all ages doing the walk so I guess it just depends on how fit you are.

I'm not gunna lie, on parts of the walk I thought I was going to die. It was Bluff Knoll all over again. Super steep steps! If you're fitter than me (which isn't hard) you will be okay, just take it easy and make sure you take water aswell as it can get pretty hot on a nice day. There are vans selling juices and a cafe near the lighthouse though if you do forget.

For those with pushchairs or people who aren't as mobile as others, there is a car park by the light house and a road leading up to it so fear not!

easterly point of byron bay

Part of the Cape Byron track is the most Easterly point of the Australian mainland which I was pretty chuffed about. It's hard getting a picture of the sign without some random tourist in because of course everyone wants a photo at the end of Australia.

On route we saw a load of dolphins playing and doing tricks which was really cool. Seeing dolphins in the wild is one thing that will never grow old! We also saw the sea kayaking expedition that we would have been part of getting pretty close to some dolphins - it's something I try not to think about.

 cape byron lighthouse
Eventually we got to the light house despite the heat and a bit of moaning (by me obviously). The lighthouse has been there since 1901 and has a huge light inside which is one of Australia's most powerful.
Just as we got up a tour guide was due to start a tour and had two free, extra tickets that he was trying to give people before he started and who did he see looking at the light house wondering if they could go up?
Jody and I of course.
detail of byron bay lighthouse

We learned about the lighthouses history - none of which I can remember now - and the guide (who was a volunteer) was really informative and managed to make a boring, old light house sound pretty interesting.

We went up to the top of a lighthouse and were allowed out of a little door to see the 360 degree view that it offered.

Byron By Lighthouse view

Pretty sweet right?

From our viewing point we could make out a momma whale and her calf as well meaning we had had a very successful whale watching season without having to step foot on a boat (we saw some in Bremer Bay and Fitzgerald River Park in Western Australia the month before).

If you are into combining good views with a bit of exercise and fresh air then I can't recommend the Cape Byron Walking track more. We spent a good few hours out of the hostel catching tans and best of all, it was all free!

But don't worry, even if you aren't into pretty but long coastal walks there's a viewing platform near the start of the walk where you can see dolphins playing before relaxing on the golden sand.

We may have been rained on in Byron Bay but our last day made up for that. Byron Bay is catered nearly completely for backpackers but it still has an underlying charm to it that will be hard to shake no matter how many hostels open up.

What do you guys think of Byron? Beautiful haven or backpacker playground?



  1. Byron does look awesome! We're off to Brisbane early next year so hoping to make a little detour for a night :)

    we are dannah | australian lifestyle and travel blog


    1. It's really nice, you will love it especially as you are such a big fan of the ocean! Definitely worth the detour!