If there was one place that I wanted to visit in Australia on my road trip then it was Byron Bay, New South Wales. Call me an ignorant traveler, but I just had to see the place famously depicted in the Inbetweeners 2 movie as some kind of hippy sex fest. Well here I am, to confirm or deny that image, after spending 5 days in the backpacker magnet of Arts Factory Lodge.
First off, lets delve into Byron Bay.
By all accounts, Byron Bay is an outstanding area of natural beauty. This small town has white sands and waves for as far as the eye can see, with two of the main beaches stretching for miles. Main Beach is where all of the activity is at, and Tallows Beach is a hard to find coast line fronted by nothing but dense protected forest, which made me think of Mexico without the crowds and people.
I’ll touch on Tallows first.
It’s the height of summer.
Byron Bay is a cornerstone of the East Coast backpacking trail.
Yet, the place is absolutely empty!
You can’t really tell in the last photo, but the sand was so white on this beach that it made it near impossible to photograph because it was reflecting the sunlight, which made it seem like there was wind picking sand up. There wasn’t. The sand was so hard to look at with the naked eye that I could barely stand to look at it.
Not a great place to try and get a new Facebook profile photo.
Tallows Beach was beautiful, but with the walk taking an hour from the beach back to our hostel we decided to not spend too long there because of the sunburn risk.
The next day we decided to head to Main Beach, which was much more lively. There was surfers, an abundance of cute dogs, and fancy houses to look at (The Hemsworth’s have houses here; I don’t condone stalking, but…).
Like Tallows, Main Beach was one of the best beaches that I had ever been to. HOWEVER, we did not take a camera.
We returned the next day with a camera, hoping to get beautiful photos…and then the storm happened. Three days of flooding, and the beach looked nothing like the calm, carefree beach it had been.
Well, what can you do.
Despite the weather, the beach was still fantastic for lusting over Pinterest worthy properties, finding amazing shells, and playing with strange dogs.
Unfortunately the storm didn’t allow me to take any more photos of Byron Bay after we left, and the sheer downpour wasn’t good for my DSLR, and it never let up until we moved on to Noosa.
Byron Bay is a small town; there is a main high street with interesting shops, and fabulous restaurants across the beach front. The residents are great – an older generation who don’t give a f**k about what you think of them. No shoes, wearing what they want, and doing what they want.
Now let me jump into the backpacker community. I’m not here to judge anyone’s life choices, by all means. But let me just give you a mental image. Tie dye, public nudity, drawing peace symbols on pavements, playing bongo drums for money, listening to ABBA, white people with dreadlocks. I think you get the message. At times, it was more than a little uncomfortable.
Byron Bay Travel Advice
Byron Bay is the place to be if you want to visit the proper hippy commune of Nimbin, and you can get reasonable bus returns using public transport.
Main Beach and Tallows are not the only beaches worth a visit in Byron Bay, Wategos (if you can find it!) is a small, very famous, beach which an amazing tropical atmosphere.
You cannot miss this frozen yogurt bar which I spent far too much money in. Load a tub with as much ice cream and fruit as you can and you’re in for the best treat on the East Coast (not sponsored.)
The Lighthouse walk, is a great trek as an outdoors activity with fantastic views, although we thought that it would be unwise in a storm.
Some of the motels and hotels are a pure instagram dream, just look at how lust worthy Rae’s, Azabu Boutique and The Lord Byron are. I saw some amazing blogger photos at Rae’s and was dying to stay there, but budget wouldn’t allow it.
Greyhound Australia do unbelievably cheap transport from Brisbane and Sydney to Byron Bay , and I can’t think of any other way that you would want to get there.
Overall, Byron Bay is an unmissable stop on your Australia adventure, however could I say the same for my stay at Arts Factory Lodge? Find out in my next blog post!