10 reasons why Byron Bay is better than, well, anywhere

Byron Bay lighthouse
Byron Bay lighthouse David Nielsen

GOOD on you little Yamba for having a go at standing up for yourself. You're wrong, with your little list of 10 reasons why Yamba is better than Byron, but well done for trying.

In case you missed it, The Northern Star's sister paper, the Daily Examiner, has published a brave little list of 10 reasons they think Yamba is better than Byron Bay.

Some of those reasons don't even qualify as reasons. Things such as supporting local businesses and not having to travel apply to anyone wherever they are. We're just going to take those as read and not even bother with them in our list.

So here we are - 10 reasons why Byron Bay is better than Yamba (and, when you get down to it, most of the world's beach communities):

The Pass
The Pass

1. Beaches: Yamba says it offers more choice than Byron Bay, listing five in walking distance plus the "surfing Mecca of Angourie just down the road".

Under the "walking distance" rule, Byron Bay can claim Belongil Beach, Main Beach, Clarkes Beach, The Pass, Little Wategos, Wategos, and Cozy Corner/Tallow Beach in pretty much a continuous stretch of beauty.

The stretch between Main Beach and The Pass would surely have to qualify as one of the single best stretches of sand on the planet.

Surfers at Tallow Beach Byron Bay
Surfers at Tallow Beach Byron Bay David Nielsen

2. Surfing: Those same beaches include four first-rate surf breaks, plus an okay baby break at Belongil Beach, at the site of the historic Wollongbar wreck.

This, of course, does not including the surf break at Broken Head and, of course, the world famous surfing reserve at Lennox Head.

A new draft plan of management seeks to create a joint management arrangement for the Julian Rocks reserve between the NPWS and the Arakwal people.
A new draft plan of management seeks to create a joint management arrangement for the Julian Rocks reserve between the NPWS and the Arakwal people.

3. Swimming: There are few things in the world better than going for a swim in Byron Bay on one of its calm "mill pond" days, when the waves lap gently at the shore and the Bay itself feels like the world's biggest marine aquarium.

You can walk into the water equipped with a pair of fins and a snorkel and, within minutes, be gliding over two separate shipwrecks and admiring an array of marine life so stunningly diverse you would usually have to fork out big dollars and don a SCUBA tank to see. Speaking of which, Julian Rocks. If you've dived or snorkelled there you'll know what I mean.

4. Walks: Walking along any of the beaches is a wonderful experience. However, if you really want to be stunned by beauty, try the walk between The Pass and Wategos, or the beach-side Lighthouse walk, or, if you want something really special, try the bush walk running the back way to the Byron lighthouse.

If you can handle sitting in a car for 10 minutes, head down to Broken Head and try some of the walks around the headland. Sitting above one of the rock platforms at dawn, watching the sun rise and humpback whales cruise park is so peaceful aand beautiful it may well bring tears to your eyes.

5. Secret spots: We have them. We're not going to tell you about them because they're, you know, secret. Some of them have scary-looking nude men at them.


Sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse. Adam C Ryan

6. Views: The views from the Cape Byron lighthouse are so good they're worth walking up what, at times, feels like a near vertical incline or spending half an hour battling for a park in the small lighthouse carpark.

Really, they are that good.

However, if you can't manage the effort required to reach the Cape, the view of the mountains from Main Beach is also pretty amazing. Then there are all the views you get while driving around the area.

There's nothing like the feeling you get rolling over the top of St Helena after a long trip south, seeing the Bay spread out before you and knowing you are home (it'll be nicer once the highway upgrade's done and the other scary vehicles gotten rid of).

There are many other smaller roads that offer incredible views of the hills and the Bay, but the people who live on them would probably prefer we didn't mention them.

Byron Bay lighthouse
Byron Bay lighthouse

7. Byron lighthouse: We're not saying it's the absolute prettiest lighthouse in the world, but it would have to be somewhere in the top 10 or 20.

8. Byron people: Byron has changed a lot over the years but remains home to some of the most interesting, polite, and clever people you're ever likely to meet. It has some of the other type too, but that's all part of the rich tapestry of life.

9. Food and drink: Whether you're talking about meals from restaurants and cafes, products made for sale in shops or produce sold at markets, Byron food will keep your belly and your palate happy.

Byron Bay Lighthouse walk to see the sunrise - a must do.
Byron Bay Lighthouse walk to see the sunrise - a must do. Serena Tomkins

10. Families: There's this idea that Byron is over-run by drunk teenagers and about 10pm on a Friday night it can sometimes feel that way.

However, during the hours kept by your average family with kids, Byron is a great place. The beach is gentle, there's a great playground on the beach and an okay-ish one at Railway Park, there are all aforementioned views and walks, there are free barbecues where you can prepare a meal for the kids while enjoying the beauty around you.

Byron's great for families.

NO VACANCY: Waiting outside the toilets at Main Beach Byron Bay.
NO VACANCY: Waiting outside the toilets at Main Beach Byron Bay. Christian Morrow

11. Public toilets: Byron Bay has two sets of state-of-art, self cleaning, talking and singing public toilets complete with brightly-lit buttons that are the pride of … gah. Just kidding. We all hate them. We're annoyed by the parking too.

Topics:  byron bay editors picks tourism travel-australia yamba

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