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Introducing Byron Bay

The reputation of this famous beach town precedes it to such an extent that first impressions may leave you wondering what all the fuss is about. The beaches are great, but then again there are spectacular beaches all along this coast. What makes Byron special is the singular vibe of the town itself. It's here that coastal surf culture flows into the hippie tide washing down from the hinterland, creating one great barefooted, alternative-lifestyle mash-up.

The town centre is low-rise, funky and relaxed – in short, everything that the overdeveloped towns across the border in Queensland are not. Developers would cheerfully turn Byron into a Surfers Paradise given the chance, but locals are dedicated to preserving its essential small-town soul.

Of course Byron does get crowded and it also attracts its fair share of off-the-leash teens and drug casualties. Yet its unique vibe has a way of converting even the most cynical with its long, balmy days, endless beaches, reliable surf breaks, fine food, raucous nightlife and ambling milieu. A weekend turns into a week, a week into a month…Before you know it, dreadlocks are a serious consideration.