The diving and snorkelling from Byron Bay is done around the Cape Byron Marine Park and the Julian Rocks Marine Reserve, which is voted one of the top 10 dive sites in Australia. With around 8 great sites to choose from, catering for all levels, it's no wonder the area is New South Wales' diving hot spot.
There is some fabulous marine life in the area, with several species of turles and rays, a variety of hard and soft corals, around 500 different species of fish, eels and maybe even a wobbegong, grey nurse or leopard shark. Julian Rocks isn't too far from shore, but this trip can be as equally exciting as the diving, maybe you'll come across dolphins or the amazing Humpback Whale (season from May-November).
Dive sites around Julian Rocks include The Nursery; a great shallow dive for beginners with lots of fish and an anchor from the wreck of The Volunteer. Cray Cave has a nice swim through and you can look out for nurse sharks, turtles and rays, or the great sea life around Cod Hole and Hugos Trench. Hunt for Leopard Sharks around the bommies at Split Bommie or The Needles, where large schools of fish also like to hang out.
Spend a good few days diving off Byron Bay, you're sure to see some great stuff, both above and below the water.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Byron Bay used to be one of Australia’s best kept secrets but now the secret is out, the small town has become very popular for the many tourists looking to get away from the big surrounding cities. There’s a great mix of people that venture through, from surfers and divers to musicians and acrobats, hippies, travellers and businessmen escaping for the weekend. The place is full of people looking to chill out and have a great alternative experience in this little gem of a town.
The closest airports to Byron are Ballina or the Gold Coast but it’s easy to fly into Brisbane and drive the couple of hours down the coast. There are also buses from these cities but with the amazing places to stop along the way such as the Springbrook National Park, you might want to find a couple of people to share the cost with and hire a car.
There are a ton of accommodation options to choose from, with over 300 places to stay in the area, it depends on your budget as to what is right for you. A dorm bed starts at $25 a night, a private room in a hostel for about $50 up to beachfront luxury resorts for $300-$400 a night. There are also many camping and caravan park options if this is more your style.
Byron is a musician’s dream. If you can catch the Blues and Roots festival at Easter time or Splendor in the Grass festival in July then you’re in for a treat. Be sure to book early as these would have to be some of the most popular festivals in the country. Jamming on the beach or in the bars is a common thing so site back and enjoy the show or grab an instrument and join in!
This is the place to try your first surfing lesson or explore the underwater world with a diving or snorkelling trip. Go horse riding or bush walking, take a tandem sky dive to get a different view of the area or relax on the beach with a book. Take relaxing to the next level with a massage, beauty treatment or yoga class. Learn to paint, draw or even juggling and circus acts for a different experience.
The town is full of fabulous restaurants to choose from, from seafood delights to home made pizzas and bread, you’ll love the culinary experiences available here. Spend the evening in one of the funky bars, with people from all over the world and play the night away until the sun comes up. You’ll leave with some new friends that you’ll probably meet the next day for a drink and jam as well.
You’ll have a wonderful stay in Byron Bay. Be sure to check out the markets for the local crafts on your walk around the town.
(By Kelly Luckman)