Byron Bay- Relaxed New South Wales Coastline

Byron Bay's ascent into the revered realms of Australian 'must-see' destinations is a completely justified one. This once sleepy community is riding the peak of a large wave of tourism, and it's riding it well.

Despite the soaring property prices and the large numbers of visitors each year, Byron has still retained the small town feel and relaxed atmosphere that attracted people in the first place. Strict development laws mean the town blends in with its green surrounds, and there are no high rise eyesores to spoil the view. And what a view it is, for Byron and its northern New South Wales surrounds are some of the most picturesque in the whole country.

The atmosphere of the town has become one of its chief selling points. It was a stronghold of the alternative culture movement in the 70's, and has maintained many of the laid back principles of that era. There is a definite bohemian edge to the town, with many of it's residents being artists, musicians or simply travellers who decided not to go any further!

This, combined with the strong Aboriginal heritage of the region, creates a powerful sense of culture in Byron Bay that international visitors find especially attractive.

This culture becomes eminent at the roving markets that take place in Byron and its surrounds on the weekends. The outdoor stalls are where local artists and craftsmen can sell their wares and farmers can sell their fresh produce.

There is a new age funkiness and a fun atmosphere to these markets, and they are a great place to pick up a souvenir of Australia or to stock up your picnic basket. Traditionally made goods such as didgeridoos and boomerangs are popular, as is local indigenous art.

Another of the premier attractions in Byron is of course the beaches. There are over 37 kilometres of beachfront in the shire, so if you want a bit of solitude all it takes is a short drive or walk and you have large sections of the beach to yourself.

Main Beach is the closest to town and therefore the most crowded, although the golden sands and the beautiful blue water means you hardly notice the people at all. Just to the south of the headland is the long Tallows Beach, which is not as protected from the wind as Main Beach, but is still a popular option.

Byron is something of a mecca for surfers, and come rain or shine the rising swells breaking into waves are dotted with their dark shapes. Its a great place to learn to surf because of the regular and consistent waves, so if thats one of your ambitions then prepare to pursue it in Byron!

The view from Main Beach is dominated by Cape Byron, the large headland that extends out into the water and marks the most easterly point of Australia. Perched atop the headland is the instantly recognisable lighthouse, subject of many a kodak moment and travel picture! A short drive gets you to the top of the headland, where you are able to take tours of the lighthouse. The most amazing thing about being up here though is the view- on one side is the magnificent bay with the green rainforest stretching away from the white sands to the mountains in the distance. On the other side lies the blue ocean extending as far as the eye can see, broken only by the white topped waves, or if you are lucky a surfacing whale or loggerhead turtle.

Towards the outer edge of the bay the peaks of Julian Rocks are visible breaking through the ocean's surface. These rocks are renowned as one of the premier dive sites in the world, forming a marine reserve where more than 500 tropical and temperate fish species live. Its a safe sanctuary for the endangered Grey Nurse Shark, so expect to bump into a few of them on your underwater excursion!

If you dont want to get wet you can still explore the bay at your leisure if you hire a kayak or a canoe and paddle around it. You are likely to see inquisitive dolphins and large turtles breaking the surface, amongst other fish close to the surface.

Byron is an outdoor holiday-makers dream- whether it be exploring the pristine coastline, the rich underwater world or the thick rainforest in the hinterland there is plenty to fill your visit to these parts. The friendly and accommodating locals will welcome you with open arms and make your stay a pleasure, and the laid back ambience means you cannot help but leave relaxed and refreshed.

The comfort and style of a hirecar from Rent New Cars is your ticket to exploring the town and its beautiful surrounds, and we can help make your holiday here completely stress free. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your holiday to Byron Bay!

Gavin Wyatt

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