Counter Culture of Byron Bay

Beach Essentials

When: Starts heating up in November
Happenings: Great winds make surfing and hang-gliding the in-sports
Remember to Bring: Take your pick – hippie dress or surf board

Australia has an incredible 23,000 miles of coastline, so it’s not surprising that much of Australian life revolves around sun, sea and surf. 465 miles north of Sydney, Byron Bay is a cluster of beaches gathered around a promontory called Cape Byron. Byron Bay, both alternative lifestyle mecca and millionaires’ playground, is situated at the northern end of the NSW coast. The most easterly point of Australia is here, so the area is a favourite spot to watch the sun rise, especially on New Years Day.

Surfers of all abilities congregate in the legendary waves, frequently accompanied by dolphins and migrating whales. Conscientious campaigning has prevented any fast-food chain from rearing its ugly head here, so the range of vegetarian & organic food on offer is vast and mouth-watering. The beautiful golden beaches are thronged with just as beautiful golden bodies, but if you get sick of lying around in the glorious sun and taking in the view, you’ll find plenty of activities to enhance the feel-good factor that is so evident here. Try hang-gliding from the cliffs, scuba diving 2 miles off shore at the Julian Rocks marine park, or delving into the countless alternative treatments and therapies on offer.

When To Go?

November is late spring in Australia, so when the western hemisphere’s settling in for a long, cold winter, the Aussie beach action is just hotting up.


See Byron from above by taking a 25-minute hang-gliding trip, accompanied by an instructor.

Learn to surf

Byron’s gentle tides make it an ideal place to learn the age-old art of surfing. There’s a plethora of places to learn in Byron Bay.

Byron counter culture
The laid-back, funky town has become well known for its alternative lifestyle. Artsy, crafty shops are the place to purchase unusual souvenirs, and there’s a great many health food shops and alternative places to stay.

More Information 
A comprehensive user-friendly guide to the Bay and its environs. 
A window onto the bay. Byron’s own internet channel.

By Jess Halliday