Byron Bay, Sydney surrounds - Stein Travel
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Byron Bay

Nestled on the north coast of New South Wales and serving as the main town on Cape Byron, the holiday hub of Byron Bay occupies Australia's most easterly point. It is a haven of unspoilt beaches, laid-back pursuits, some quirky locals and, overall, a spiritual and cosmopolitan atmosphere which is making it burgeon as a desirable holiday resort. One of the greatest attractions of Byron Bay is that it's the best place on the coast for land-based whale watching (between June and September). The Cape Byron walking trail offers views of dolphins playing in the waves, and humpback whales breaching as they migrate to the north. It is also undoubtedly paradise for those into adventurous outdoor activities, from skydiving to surfing. The magnificent scenery, the proximity to the rainforest and the various nature reserves and sanctuaries make it a sought-after holiday destination for eco-tourists. Culturally, Byron Bay prides itself in being 'alternative', pervaded with spiritual retreats and health spas. Annual events like the International East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival at Easter, and the Byron Bay Writers' Festival in August, also draw the holiday crowds. Byron Bay can certainly be said to offer something for everyone, all year round.

Information & Facts

Activities

You name it, you can do it in and around Byron Bay, which is geared up to thrill those with an adventurous spirit. Soar off the lighthouse cliff on a hang-glider, paddle a kayak alongside the dolphins, scuba dive in the Julian Rocks Marine park reserve, have a go at surfing, or make a tandem parachute jump. Those intent on a more relaxing holiday can play a round of golf, take some yoga lessons, be pampered with a massage or Ayurvedic treatment, or even indulge in some singing or dance classes. The inner spirit is catered for by some resident psychics, gurus and astrologers. When all else palls, take off on a 4x4 excursion into the beautiful rainforest, or simply stroll along the spectacular coastline.

Language

English is the official language of Australia.

Money

The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

Negatives

Many of the beaches have strong currents and no lifeguards, and weaker swimmers should be careful.

Night Life

Being popular with the young crowd, and drawing many backpackers, Byron Bay has an increasing number of nightclub venues featuring international DJs, which keep up a frenetic tempo through the night. There are also plenty of atmospheric pubs, most with live music.

Restaurants

The village atmosphere of Byron Bay lends itself to a lively café society, and there are more than 100 establishments to suit all tastes, from rib-sticking breakfasts to rich coffees. There is dining for all budgets and lots of vegetarian options. Many eateries also have a sea view to make the most of the Byron Bay lifestyle.

Shopping

Byron Bay is the perfect spot for retail therapy, bristling with all manner of local markets, which sell everything from new age funk to crisp fresh produce. Interesting arts and crafts made by locals, most in natural materials, share stall space with bright and beautiful imports from Africa and Asia, while others offer natural hair and beauty products alongside massage tables where browsers can indulge in some stress-relief. Many of Byron Bay's 'home-grown' product lines have become nationally renowned. The Byron Arts and Industrial Estate where most of these originate is a great place for shopaholics to explore.

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