Bay: The Beauty and the Bohemia by Gavin Wyatt
It is not easy to try and
pinpoint the appeal of Byron Bay, or to explain in a few words why this
quaint and rustic little town has exploded onto the international tourist
scene in such a big way, and is now the third most popular place in Australia
to visit. Many similar towns exist, peacefully located in exotic surrounds
with perfect climate conditions, but none carry off the charm, atmosphere
and general funky vibe quite like Byron does.
What is it that places this
little town with a population of 9000 head and shoulders above other tourist
destinations in Australia? The answer lies in the richness of diversity,
not only within the tourist attractions on offer, but also within the town
itself and within the Byron shire as a whole. The rich variety of flora
and fauna is complemented by an equally rich variety of different types
of people that have taken up residence in Byron. Famed as one of the leading
alternative lifestyle regions in Australia, the bohemian feel of the area
is enhanced by colourful locals that include artists, surfers, musicians
and of course the traveler types that just never felt the need to move
on. Throw into this mix established farmers, businessmen and young professionals
trying to escape the city life and you start to form a true impression
|Diversity also exists in
the landscape and geographical features of the Byron Shire. The lush, green
hinterland is separated from the deep turquoise blue of the Pacific Ocean
by over thirty kilometres of sparkling beaches. The numerous national parks
in the area are home to large hills and mountains which provide the outdoor
types with an abundance of opportunities for camping and walking. The rainforests
are interspersed with macadamia farms, state forests and undulating fields,
and throughout the region are dotted small towns and communities where
you can purchase local arts and crafts or produce, or stop and meet some
very interesting people.
For many the absolute highlight
of Byron Bay is the beaches. Clean and unsullied, they are devoid of any
building development, which allows you to fully appreciate their natural
tranquility. The horse shoe shaped beach surrounding the bay itself is
normally the most popular due to its ease of accessibility from the town.
The flat waters of the bay make it perfect for swimming, and when the tide
is in the large areas of shallow water mean this is the ideal playground
for little kids. On the other side of Cape Byron is Tallows Beach,
which is long and straight and popular amongst surfers, kite boarders and
kayakers. Unprotected by the headland, the waves on this beach are bigger
and more challenging, making for more adventurous swimming or watersports.
Dominating the Byron skyline
is the tall headland which marks the most easterly point of Australia.
It is topped by the infamous lighthouse that is the subject of many a postcard
and Kodak moment and known as one of the most powerful beacons in the country.
A short drive up a windy road will get you to the lighthouse, and you are
rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the bay on one side and Tallows
Beach on the other, with the Pacific Ocean stretching as far as the eye
can see in front of you. Behind you lies the dark green forests of the
hinterland, with the higher hills and mountains of the region silhouetted
against the skyline.
While watching the waves
swell, rise and then crash into the rocks a hundred metres below you are
likely to see pods of dolphins glide their way through the azure water,
or the dark outline of a sea turtle or manta ray coming up to the surface.
This spot is recognized as the best land based whale watching in the country,
so if the seasons are right you may be lucky enough to see some of these
graceful mammals breaking the surface. In July and August they are moving
north to the warmer waters, and in September and October they are migrating
back down south with their new offspring.
When looking out to sea from
the lighthouse, you can't help but notice Julian Rocks rising out of the
water a few kilometres from the coast. Part of the Cape Byron Marine Park,
these rocks mark the point where warm and cold waters meet and these conditions
have encouraged a multitude of marine species, nearly 900 in total, to
reside in the rocks under the surface. Julian rocks cater to all levels
of diver, from snorkelers through to experienced scuba dives.
These places just scratch
the surface of the myriad of attractions and activities in Byron Bay. If
fishing is what rocks your boat then you can head out on a deep sea charter
and see if you are any match for the ferocious kingfish, or else stick
to the coast and fish the secluded coves and inlets that are found up the
shore. Take a surfing lesson, or hire a kayak and head out to deeper waters
where you may bump into a friendly pod of dolphins. If you're tired of
the ocean then head inland for a bushwalk or a guided rainforest tour.
Horse riding excursions are also available. Tandem skydiving will appeal
to the extremely adventurous who want to get the best possible view of
Byron and its surrounds, and if this doesn't satisfy your desire for excitement
then you can enroll in Australia's only flying trapeze college!
Only two hours south of Brisbane
and forty minutes south of the Gold Coast and Coolangatta airport, the
town is easily accessible via a pleasant drive through rolling countryside.
The ultimate place for relaxation, any age group will feel welcome and
find something that appeals to them in Byron. This is why it is such a
recommended place to visit, and why you should seriously consider booking
your next holiday in Byron Bay.
Bay Hotels / Top
About the Author - Gavin
Wyatt is a journalist with a passion for travel. originally from Zambia
he has traveled around the world to end up on the sunny shores of Australia.
and the Blue Mountains by Jenny Brewer
Famous for the Three Sisters,
Katoomba Scenic Railway and breathtaking scenery, the Blue Mountains National
Park needs to be visited at least once in a lifetime. It is a fantastic
option for the driving holiday for so many reasons.
Accessible via Katoomba and
only two hours from the harbour city of Sydney, the Blue Mountains are
a paradise for those yearning to escape the hustle and bustle of the city
life. With dense rainforest, waterfalls, deep gorges and world class bushwalking
trails, it is a haven for the seasoned traveller, with great accessibility
by road and plenty of accommodation to suit all tastes.
|Springtime is one of the
best times to visit Katoomba and the surrounding mountains as the dazzling
colours and beauty are a photographers delight. The temperatures are on
average a lot lower than Sydney, but most of the year the climate is moderate
in the mid teens. Make sure you come prepared with warm clothing especially
on the long walks as mountain weather can change quickly.
There are plenty of camping
grounds available, one of the most popular is the Euroka campground at
Glenbrook. Only 4km from the entrance gate, the sites have excellent amenities
and kangaroos at your doorstep.
Located on over one million
hectares of pristine wilderness, the Blue Mountains comprise of eight conservation
reserves, such as the Gardens of Stone and the famous Jenolan Caves. There
is something here for everyone. The massive cliffs and canyons are an adventurers
paradise, with abseiling, rock climbing and mountain biking some of the
popular sports available.
For those who do not wish
to risk life and limb on their holiday, there are plenty of alternatives.
Birdwatchers will be close to heaven as the canopy is filled with the sounds
of birdlife, as well as native animals. However, the extensive range of
trails and walks available are what draw people year after year, and there
really are walks for every type of fitness level. Young and old, fit and.not
So, where do you start? Firstly,
you need to be prepared with a good map of the area, sturdy walking shoes
and plenty of water. Echo Point is one of the most famous lookouts to see
the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley. The Princes Rock Walk only takes
half an hour to reach one of the most scenic lookouts over Kings Tableland.
This is great for the whole family. Spectacular Kanangra Falls is located,
not surprisingly, in the Kanangra Boyd National Park. With its reputation
as being one of the best in Australia make sure you put this on your 'must
One popular attraction is
Katoomba Falls.Pack a picnic lunch, and be prepared for paradise as you
venture through the rainforest paths into a beautiful gully set off by
the falls. With rock pools and majestic trees you might want to set some
time aside here. Another famous attraction is the Katoomba Scenic Railway,
which is the steepest railway in the world, so for firsts you will have
to get on board and hang on tight!
Needing a challenge? There
are walks for you in the Grand Canyon and Sassafras Gully, with wilderness
trails that take you to incredible rainforest and breathtaking scenery.
Why not try the Wollemi National Park which feature magnificent rock formations
and the famous glow worm tunnels. The Grand Canyon Track is another popular
walk, which stretches for 5kms deep into the Canyon.
Govetts Leap is a famous
trail which takes you to the stunning views from Evans Lookout. Its great
for the adventurous, but you may have to think twice if you are not too
keen on heights. There are also many walks to choose from around Hazelbrook,
most popular being the Valley of the Waters walk which basically follows
the path of the falls down the valley.
Most visitors just want to
see the raw beauty of the Blue Mountains, and that is why this magnificent
wonder is internationally popular. No matter what type of traveller you
are, it will take your breath away.
Mountains Hotels / Top
About the Author - Jenny
Brewer is a travel agent whose passion is writing. After spending her leisure
time writing time writing childrens stories, she now enjoys writing about