Having heard all about Byron Bay from people we’ve met so far on our travels and hearing only good things there was no question we had to stop there. Finding ourselves in Gold Coast with a month to spare we decided to travel down the East Coast to Sydney and our first stop just had to be Byron Bay, no question about it.
Travelling as a couple means that in order to be in a room together and still saving money staying in hostels we go for the ‘Mixed Dorm’ option. However this proved a popular choice and booking only a week in advance many of the hostels in Byron were either booked up or only had one bed left in the rooms we wanted. We then found the Cape Byron YHA which had beds left in the room we wanted, in this case it was 5 bed share mixed dorm. When we arrived at Cape Byron YHA the guy at reception was great, he filled us in on where all the facilities, toilets/showers and kitchen, at the hostel were. He even recommended a walking trail to The Most Easternly point of Australia’s mainland and the Cape Byron Lighthouse, he gave us a little map showing us how to get there too. Our accommodation was located around 200m from the beach, if not closer. You could see the entrance to the beach from our hostels reception. Right around the corner was the centre of Byron, a perfect location. Cape Byron YHA also offered the free use of the hostels bikes and bodyboards. We ran out of time to make the most of the bikes but we took full advantage of the bodyboards on our day at the beach. We really enjoyed our stay here, all the staff were super friendly and the hostel was well equipped and well maintained; clean! If it’s a hostel you’re looking for I would say look no further. However there are plenty of alternatives such as holiday apartments/hotels and camping and campervan sites in the area too.
Things to do; During the day.
As I mentioned before a member of staff from the hostel had recommended a walking trail to us, so on our first full day there we took the opportunity to go on a little adventure. The walk was a 4.4km round trip which may sound like a lot and at times it felt like a lot but it was well worth it. The views were spectacular and there was the cool factor of having visited The Most Easternly point of Australia. I would highly recommend anyone in Byron Bay to do this walking trail, just be prepared for stairs, stairs, stairs. Like I said though totally worth it.
Possibly the most obvious thing to do and I probably don’t even need to tell you this but, the beach! It was great and it was huge! As I mentioned before we took advantage of the free bodyboards from our hostel and spent an afternoon in the waves, just being silly.
The centre of town was filled with some quirky little shops that are definitely worth exploring, including a cheap second-hand book shop located just behind our hostel. Depending on what you’re looking for the centre of town has something for everyone with all kinds of shops/restaurants/bars to enjoy. There was also some markets on in the town centre ,during our stay there was a market near the bus stop on Friday and Saturday, there was also one on the beachfront on Saturday, all these markets were on all day with the ones in the centre still going at around 9 at night. You can find a full list of markets in and around Byron and when they’re being held here http://www.byron-bay.com/byronbay/market.html.
Things to do; At night.
We were much more in to the siteseeing and exploring aspect of Byron than we were the nightlife so our evenings consisted of a couple of beers on the beach while enjoying the acts put on by street performers on the beachfront, there was music one night and a fantastic fire show another night. These acts were completely free to watch and if you wished you could donate afterwards. These acts were definitely worth the few dollars donation to the performers and worth taking a walk down to the beachfront between 8pm and 10pm to enjoy. Somewhere most people at our hostel did mention was Cheeky Monkeys, the local backpackers bar. We never made it there but plenty of people we spoke to gave it a good reviews.
Places to eat.
The thing with backpacking is most of us are doing it on a budget. What do we do, eat in or eat out? The clear winner is of course eat in, which we did for most of our meals in Byron. A little tip for any backpackers headed to Byron there is an Aldi and Woolworths supermarket there, which will help you to eat in, again they’re both in the centre of town near to almost all of the hostels/backpackers accommodation. Although if you are feeling a bit flush or you just want to treat yourself there are some lovely places to eat out. There are a lot of independent restaurants/cafes that often included free music at peak meal times as an added extra to make your experience that bit more special. There are also a couple of chain restaurants such as Hogs Breath Café and Guzman y Gomez, you know what you’re getting and they tend to be slightly cheaper than independents. The one place we did eat out and I would highly recommend to you all is the markets. After our walk on the Saturday of our visit we took a walk through the beachfront market and decided to get some lunch. Niall went for some Spicy Beef Nachos from Nacho Wagon at $11 and I opted for a Super Spud from Spuds in Space at $10. Although the nachos were good, the Super Spud was insanely good and much better value for money. There were plenty of other options to chose from, such as wood fired oven pizzas, sushi and Thai food.
We only spent the weekend in Byron Bay but it was such a cool little place, so relaxed and lively at the same time. There was always something going on or something to see with lots of people performing music in the streets, you could always hear music coming from somewhere. Whether it be for a few days or just a day trip I’d recommend it to everyone solo travellers, friends/couples travelling together and families too. It’s one of the first things to make it on to my MUST SEE/DO IN AUSTRALIA list. If you’d like to follow the rest of our adventure around Australia you can follow our blog at https://naptours.wordpress.com/.