Pete Seaward

Byron Bay

When it comes to Byron these days, cries of 'Paradise lost' echo in the surrounding hills, while nearby unassuming beach towns puff out their chests in pride of being dubbed 'the new Byron'. Sure, this is a place suffering under the weight of its intense popularity – traffic-choked streets, no car spaces and lengthy cafe queues – but while it might not be what it used to be, it's still pretty special.

The local Arakwal people know it as Cavanbah, which translates to 'meeting place', a fitting name when you consider its wonderful mishmash of young international backpackers, holidaying families, ageing hippies, boho-clad seachangers, property developers, models and musicians. Come here to surf epic breaks at dawn and sigh at the enchanting sunsets, refine your yoga moves and hang with beach buskers, idle at cafes, gorge on good food, then kick on at the pub. Wake up, hit repeat.