Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay was named by Captain James Cook on 15 May 1770, after John Byron, a navigator and the grandfather of the poet Lord Byron. Byron Bay is situated on the east coast of Australia 11/2 hours drive south of Brisbane and 40 minutes south of the Gold Coast and its many Theme Parks. Take a look at a selection of Byron Bay maps. Once a former whaling station, Byron Bay is now a very popular holiday resort renowned for its magnificent surfing beaches. The lush and beautiful hinterland and countryside surrounding the town was opened up by cedar-cutters in the late 1800s and is now devoted to dairying, cattle, tropical fruit and nut plantations and tourist accommodation. Byron has a year round subtropical climate with summer temperatures dominated by a cooling onshore breeze. Byron's beaches are like a dream come true, which sounds like a cliche until you experience them. If Australia does one thing really well, it has to be the beaches, and Byron's are among the best in Australia. Stretching between the headlands of the northern New South Wales coast, many are sheltered from the southerlies and offer great surf breaks. Clean and undeveloped, the beaches are not overcrowded with high-rises, or in fact with buildings of any sort.

The town is partly protected from the sea by Cape Byron, a rocky promontory 107m high and the continent's most easterly point. One of the most attractive and powerful lighthouses in Australia stands on the cape, beaming its light more than 40km out to sea. A walking trail leads to the tip of the cape, on the way visiting the lighthouse and providing fine coastal views. A ramp on the southern side of the cape is used by hang gliders that often soar overhead. n the appropriate seasons, Cape Byron is one of the best vantage points for whale-watching. From the end of June to August, the huge mammals migrate northwards to calve in the warm northern waters. Then, in September and October, they return with their new babies, sometimes stopping in the Bay for some whale R&R and to teach the young ones 'breaching' and 'slapping'. Most whale sightings are of humpbacks, distinctive by their spinal shape, but it's also possible to see other species. So next time you visit Australia, take the time out to include Byron Bay in your itinerary!

Scenic Highlights:

Julian Rocks Marine Park: One of the top snorkeling spots in Australia, the marine park is popular not only for its crystal clear waters but also the many sights it offers - nurse sharks, turtles, rays, cuttlefish and many other natural wonders under the waves.

Cape Byron Headland: There are plenty of walking tracks around the cape to take in the stunning nature that Cape Byron has to offer, 5kms in total. It boasts rainforest, rugged cliff faces, breathtaking views of the hinterland and ocean, and outstanding vantage points for watching whales and dolphins from the headland. The area is also steeped in Aboriginal and European heritage. Start from the Lighthouse or down on the beach.

The Lighthouse at Cape Byron: Standing on a bald rocky headland with a precipitous cliff on the east side, and a sheer drop of approximately 100 metres, Cape Byron Lighthouse is the most easterly light in Australia, and one of the most powerful. Construction began in 1899, and it was opened in 1901. It is still maintained and in service today. There are tours you can participate in if you want to visit the Lighthouse proper, otherwise if you come to the cape you can walk around freely for the spectacular views.

Activities:

- Enjoy swimming or surfing at the beautiful local beaches Byron Bay has on offer
- Try out surfing with one of the local surf schools
- Enjoy the colourful marine life by snorkeling at Julian Rocks Marine Park
- Located just past the Byron Bay lighthouse is a rock cliff that is geographically the eastern most place in all of Australia.
- Take a stroll along any of the wonderful beaches. Wake up early and watch the sun rise
- Charter a boat and spend the day on the ocean
- Fishing is a great past time, whether your choice is fly, deep sea or off the rocks, there is something for you.
- Experience Byron Bay on a bicycle, bike tours are a fun way to see the area
- Sample some of the regions finest at the local wineries
- See Byron Bay from the sky, give sky diving a go!
- Experience a whale watching tour
- Enjoy a scenic walk or trek, guided or independent, it’s up to you
- Experience the local culture at the Byron Bay Markets
- Or just sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery!