The region known collectively as the Northern Rivers is growing in popularity as backpackers begin to discover the hippie charms of Byron Bay. Boasting great beaches and a laid back charm you won’t find anywhere else in the world, Byron Bay is an ideal stopping off point on your trip between Sydney and the Gold Coast.
Byron Bay is a veritable playground for those who came to Australia for its beaches. Scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, surfing, whale watching, fishing, and dolphin swims are all on a very tempting menu when it comes to water sports in the Bay.
As one of New South Wales’ hippie towns, Byron Bay also offers substinance for your mind and soul as well. Numerous yoga retreats and spas exist in the region, but for a real display of Byron’s color and distinct local flavor check out the monthly Byron Bay markets on the first Sunday of each month.
It’s not just Byron Bay though. Grafton lies a few hours inland and is situated close to Fortis Creek National Park. It’s also an excellent gateway to the numerous national parks of the NSW Northern Tablelands such as the Washpool, Gibraltar Range and Nymboida national parks.
Evans Head to the north plays host to excellent fishing and surfing, Lismore is surrounded by some beautiful sub-tropical rainforest, Murwillambah and Tweed Heads are the gateway to Queensland’s Gold Coast, and Casino plays host to an annual ‘Beef Week’ that gives travellers a chance to see the importance of cattle to Australia’s economy.
A special mention also needs to go to Yamba. Voted the ‘Best Town in Australia’ by Australian Traveller Magazine in 2009, it’s hard to see why more people aren’t aware of Yamba. A quaint beach town, Yamba possesses all of the regular beach appeal with the added bonus of being close to the visually amazing Yuraygir National Park with its isolated beaches, bleak sea cliffs, and dense sub-tropical forest.