Byron Bay is known as the surfing capital of Australia- the land of surf, which means essentially, Byron Bay is at the forefront of the surfing community. Here, endless breaks pile on the calm beaches of Byron Bay, and unlike Bondi Beach, it doesn’t matter how well your surf, or what waves you conquer, but the attitude you bring to each wave. The relaxed atmosphere of the beach town encompasses all those that visit, no matter how young and untamed they are, Byron Bay is a way of life, not a destination. Each person who joins as a member of the Byron Bay community seems to get stuck here and lose track of time, becoming barefooted, free spirited and open minded.
Our trip to Byron was a brief one, unlike most of the backpackers whom visit here, but jam packed I would say. Starting our stay with my friend skydiving (I skydived before in England and couldn’t really afford a second go) meant that we missed the bus tour to Nimbin. Well every cloud has a silver lining… or your friend jumps through them? I have heard great things about Nimbin, this little hippie village that every member smokes marijuana and even has a museum dedicated to the stuff! However, I have also heard that this hippie town is not so free as it once was, becoming a place for drug fuelled ambushes and a dangerous place for backpackers to buy their herbs from. Although many backpackers visit Nimbin and spend their evenings back in Byron Bay in hammocks and creating jamming sessions with strangers, I advise to take caution when visiting Nimbin, whatever your purpose, as I have heard a fair share of horror stories of what Nimbin is like after dark.
Byron Bay, the town part is small, so it doesn’t take long to wander around the arty shops and chilled out bars. We even walked up to the Lighthouse to see the whole view of Byron Bay which was beautiful. However, the main purpose of our trip was a crash course to learn how to surf with Mojo Surf in just two days. All I have for these guys is praise and recommendations as they were so professional in instructing us, preparing us and giving us the confidence to finally tackle some waves. After frequent waves of sea smacking you in your face, you feel a little disheartened, but with their support I finally managed to SURF. And more than once!
We spent our first night in a hostel called Aquarius which I can’t recommend more, whilst we stayed the following nights in Nomad’s– a chain throughout Australia and New Zealand. Although a good hostel with great kitchen, nice staff, balcony’s and a HOT TUB, it didn’t have the same relaxed vibe as Byron Bay- probably as it was such a large and chain hostel, although we had a great time.
We were there for Halloween, which meant we were able to venture out and explore the fiery night life (despite our need to rise early to surf), after conjuring last minute costumes of our bed sheets turning us into “Greeks”, we headed to Cheeky Monkeys for a cheap meal. Cheeky Monkeys is a typical backpacker bar with games throughout the evening and similar wild behaviour. Don’t spend the whole night here, head to Woody’s Surfer Shack and La La Land to explore more of what Byron Bay has to offer.