This beautiful, laidback town in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales is very popular, attracting almost two million visitors each year. During peak times, even nearby towns such as Lismore and Ballina will be booked out.
The Aboriginal people called this area “Cavvanba”, meaning “meeting place”, but when Captain James Cook sailed along in 1770 he named it after John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and, later on, grandfather of the poet, Lord Byron. The literary connection lives on in Byron Bay’s street names. When the town was set out in the 19th century, the streets were named after poets. There’s Keats Street, Marvell Street, Milton Street, Dryden Street and Scott Street, among others
The possibilities in Byron Bay are endless, from diving to hiking to even whale watching between June and November and dolphin watching all year round. Byron Bay offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, but it does have a definite ritzy side. However, one of the best things is free – taking to the Cape Byron Walking Track to see the sun rise. Cape Byron is the first part of Australia to feel the sun’s rays each morning.
Byron Bay’s climate is subtropical. Summers (December-February) are warm (and wetter than the winters) with temperatures that range between 20 to 28 C (68 to 82 F). Winters (June-August) are mild – the temperature ranges between 12 to 20 C (50 to 68 F). Spring and autumn are pleasant times to visit Byron Bay. Spring (September to November) temperatures hover between 14 to 25 C (58 to 77 F), while autumn (March, April and May) temperatures are in the 15 to 27 C (60 to 80 F) range.
This part of Australia is a four-season destination and there isn’t really a bad time to visit Byron Bay. The weather is great year-round and there are lots and lots of cultural events. Byron Bay is popular with Northern Hemisphere visitors who will be travelling during their winter to catch some sun.
There are some “peak” times such as “Schoolies week” in November and December, Christmas, New Year and Easter. June and July is when the Humpback whales make their annual migration from Antarctica to Northern Australia and they return during September and October. The East Coast Blues & Roots Festival around Easter time, the Underwater Festival in April, the Byron Bay Writers Festival in July and August, and the Byron Lighthouse Run in October are all peak times to visit.
The weeks following Christmas and New Year, are, in general, low season.
Regardless of which airport you fly into – Ballina Byron Gateway Airport or Gold Coast Airport – there are several ways of getting to Byron Bay. There are regular shuttle services, transfers and taxi services.
Driving is by far the most popular way of getting around, although Byron Bay itself is easily walkable. Blanch’s Bus Company operates regular bus and coach services in the Northern NSW area.