For better or worse, Byron Bay has entirely completed its transformation from hippy town to boho-luxe northern outpost of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. While Byron Bay’s town centre has succumbed to a backpackers-meet-the-one-per-cent influx, the lifetime fire twirlers and queer communes haven’t been completely expunged from the Byron Bay region. You just need to visit another village to find them.
The presence of three major music festivals (Bluesfest in April; Splendour in the Grass in July; and Falls Festival over the New Year), and a year-round holiday feel have encouraged enterprising locals from all over the region to set up side-gigs as AirBnB hosts. So whether you want a full-frontal surf beach bungalow in Lennox Head (20 minutes South of Byron) or to stay in a shed in the back of a crystal-dotted fairy garden in Mullumbimby – about 20 minutes northwest – your needs will be catered to.
Casual dining standards in the region have also hit the stratosphere, spearheaded mostly by established players in the Sydney hospitality scene heading north for sea and tree changes. For their efforts alone, the region is worth a visit.
While the infrastructure has changed, the natural environment remains pristine. The view of the sparkling blue ocean and just-yellow stretches of beach from Byron Bay’s old fashioned lighthouse remains entirely arresting, while adventures through sub-tropical rainforests are easily accessible.