Famous for the Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay is on the easternmost tip of the Australian mainland. With stunning beaches popular with sandy-haired surfers, Byron Bay is a far cry from its past as a port and a whaling station that took its name from circumnavigator John Byron, grandpa to poet Lord Byron. in the 1970’s hippies, along with local and international artists gathered here, setting the tone for the spirit of modern Byron Bay; and during the 1980’s an internationally recognized rock and roll scene flourished here.
Travelers from around the world crowd this coastal bohemia, and many never leave. It’s an especially popular getaway for gay people looking for fun in the sun, creating a dense gay concentration around here, and in the nearby towns of Lismore and Nimbin.
Ballina Airport is the closest domestic connection to Byron Bay. International flights land at Brisbane International Airport, which is about two hours away by car. Rex, the low-cost regional airline, flies into both Ballina and Lismore airports from major cities, and between the two.
You’ll want to get to the beaches, so a car is a good ideas for visitors. For an overview of local public transportation services, see GoingPlaces.com
Currency and Money
The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.
DNA is a national glossy magazine with some very impressive photography.
Resources and things to do
Byron Bay Now is a good local resource for accommodations, food, healing, spritualism, surfing, nightlife and personals.
The Byron Community Centre (69 Jonson St) is a multi-purpose venue that includes the Byron Theatre, with music, dance, theatre, art, film events, school productions and conferences.
While Byron Bay is packed with beaches (such as The Wreck, Clarks Beach, The Pass, Wategos, and Tallow Beach), the most special one is down a well-traipsed rainforest trail (at the Broken Head Nature Reserve), Kings Beach. This gay nudist beach is a great place to spend the day with old friends, meet new people, or do the trails behind the sand.
Kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and whale watching are all available in the area. Byron Bay Dive Centre (9 Marvel St) is the leading dive and snorkel specialist in town. Sundive will take you scuba diving at the Julian Rocks to see the amazing diversity and abundance of aquatic life there.
Skydive Byron Bay (Tyagarah Airport) staff, members of the Australian Parachute Federation, cater to both dare devils and those who need a nudge, for breathtaking aerial views of Mount Warning, Cape Byron, and beaches as far as the eye can see. Whale Watching Byron Bay has small personalised tours with a 12-visitor maximum per vessel, daily during the June to November season. Whales in Paradise, is another option, on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane, to see the marine mammals and take eco-tours.
Big queer parties take place in the town of Lismore, to the west of Byron. For Tropical Fruits dances, pool parties, and the end of December Queer Fruits film festival, folk from Brisbane to Sydney and beyond come for good times. Events usually happen during holidays like New Year's, Easter, the Queen's Birthday, and for special gay benefits. The OZ Faeries, the local Radical Faerie group, sponsors queer events from time to time, usually in Lismore. Also here, the Lismore City Hall and Star Court Theatre present year-round performances of dance, music and theater, plus film screenings - see Norpa for events listings.
A bit of old alternative culture times survive at the Funky Workshops of the Arts Factory, (1 Skinners Shoot Rd), now primarily a backpackers' lodge. Activities here include: didgeridoo making and playing lessons; crystal healing, Reiki and massage; African drumming; and yoga. The musically inclined can record songs at Buzz Studio, their own recording studio facility.
Threeworlds Byron Bay (7 Marvell St) provides play space in a huge backyard with "room to groove." The old-house store has earthy instruments, high ceilings, room to juggle and twirl, drumming courses, and fire twirling nights. Music movement meditation is their mantra, and they sell all sorts of fun things to make people happy.
For whats going on in the Bryon Bay leather/sm community, swing into S(A)X (6/10 Brigantine St), SM, bondage and fetish shop, and check out the merchandise.
Where to perch and such
Byron Bay offers it all from humble backpacker tents to super-luxurious digs.
Amber Gardens Guest House (66 Plantation Drive, Ewingsdale; 61-2-6684-8215), gay-owned, straight-friendly chic B&B on acre of secluded all creature comforts, sumptuous breakfasts, wide verandahs overlook manicured lawns.
Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge (1 Skinners Shoot Rd; 61-2-6685-7709), 5 acre, subtropical haven, heated pool, swinging hammocks, friendly backpacker atmosphere, ten minute walk to beach, wide range of budget accommodations includes jungle camping.
BreakFree Eco Beach Resort (35-37 Shirley Street; 61-2-6639-5700), resort complex, studio and one-bedroom apartments, near town center and beaches.
Byron at Byron Resort & Spa (77-97 Broken Head Road, Suffolk Park 61-2-6639-2000), in stunning 45-acre lush rainforest near Tallow Beach, tennis court, pool, gym, restaurant, bar, spa, yoga studio.
Coolamon Gaystay (600 Coolamon Scenic Dr; 61-40-374-8370) luxury Coorabell gay and lesbian guesthouse/ sub-tropical oasis, clothing-optional salt-water pool and sun deck, garden, mountain and ocean vistas.
Friday on the Beach (45 Lawson Street; 61-2-6685-5513), luxury boutique property right on the beach, prides itself on personal touches.
Gaia Retreat & Spa (Gaiaretreat.com.au), set amid green valleys and hills near Bangalow. Elegant accommodations, nourishing cuisine, day-spa pampering, tennis courts, sparkling pool, breathtaking views.
Oasis Resort (24 Scott Street; 61-2-6685-7390), at edge of Arakwal National Park, Tallow Beach a stroll away, self-contained resort apartments, contemporary style tree top holiday houses, heated pool, outdoor spa/sauna, tennis courts, gym, in-house beauty spa.
Planula B&B (Lot 1 Mclalenca Dr; 61-2-6680-9134), tranquil tropical oasis on 50 acres, 3 km from the center; large decks overlook frog pond in lush gardens, BBQ nights, large music and games collections, spacious guest lounge, free WiFi in each room.
Rae's on Wategos (8 Marine Parade, Watego's Beach; 61-2-6685-5366), exquisite experiences, seven-room boutique retreat, opulent private spaces popular with discreet lovers and celebrities. High-caliber spa, 60-seat al fresco dining overlooking ocean, Aussie/Thai fusion cuisine.
Revelwood Rainforest Retreat (Revelwoodretreat.com.au), 15 secluded acres, five minutes drive from Bangalow, clothing-optional, exclusively gay get-away, pool, crystal clear creek, home to platypus, fish, turtles and water dragons.
Tallow Beach Hotel (108 Alcorn Street; 61-2-6685-3369), a few meters from beach, a bit south of Byron Bay in Suffolk Park, seven self-contained rooms (some with sun room), kitchenette, all amenities.
Villas of Byron Bay (19-23 Gordon Street; 61-2-6685-5390), fine, luxury high-walled villas, each with heated pool, spa, and tropical Zen garden. Private outdoor shower, many creature comforts include hand-crafted Balinese furniture, day spa facilities.
Visitors with kitchen facilities will appreciate Green Garage (63 Tennyson St), not your everyday supermarket, with fresh local food. Or for time off, have their in-house chef cook dinner while they shop. On first and third summertime Sundays the Byron Bay Market at Butler Street Reserve is another source of fresh produce, also with arts, crafts and entertainment.
Most all of Byron Bay clubs and restaurants are gay-friendly. There are no specifically gay clubs in town but these two make most lists. See our maps and listings tab above for some popular local restaurants.
Buddha Bar (1 Skinners Shoot Rd), at the Arts Factory, micro-brewery bar, coffeehouse and restaurant, curries, burgers and full course meals, live entertainment, alternative crowd.
Suffolk Park Hotel Hotel (223 Broken Head Rd), accommodations, food, bar, gaming, pool, beergarden and deck, liquor store and live entertainment just south of Byron Bay.
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