Byron Bay

Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a town in the state of New South Wales on the eastern most point of the mainland of Australia. The town is the nucleus of Byron Shire, which has in excess of 30,000 people (ABS est. 2003). Captain James Cook named Cape Byron after circumnavigator John Byron, grandfather of English poet Lord Byron.


Byron Bay is located 600 km north of Sydney and 140 km south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the most easterly point of Australia. The Cape Byron lighthouse was opened in 1901, and has the most powerful beacon in Australia (2,200,000 cd, visible to a range of 27 nm).


The town has several beautiful beaches with fantastic surf and it is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast and the magnificent scenery attracts sky divers. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching industry a significant contributor to the local economy.

Byron Bay is the place where the temperate and tropical waters merge, making it one of the top spots to go scuba diving and snorkelling in Australia. Most diving happens at Julian Rocks, which is now part of the recently established Cape Byron Marine Park and only a few minutes boat ride from Main Beach.

The town is popular with visitors and residents from all socio-economic backgrounds and walks of life. It is famous for its laid back and alternative lifestyle, but also has a higher proportion of Baby Boomers (27%) than any other town in Australia.


Byron Bay is a small part of an ancient shield volcano, the Tweed Volcano, which erupted 23 million years ago. It formed as a result of the Indo-Australian Plate moving over the East Australia hotspot 23 million years ago, and is now part of the giant shield volcano's eroded caldera.


Before it became a renowned surfing and tourist spot, Byron Bay had a history of primary industrial production (dairy factory, abattoirs, whaling until 1963, fishing) and was a significant, but hazardous, sea port. The town was established in the 1870s and was originally known as Cavanbah. The lighthouse was built in 1901 and at that time was relatively inaccessible from the town. The beginning of Bryon Bay's modern shape occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s when surfers from Sydney 'discovered' the warm blue waters and good quality surf. In following years, the attractions of the area became more and more widely known, with an attendant increase in tourism. Progressively the notoriously smelly whaling station and abattoirs closed down, as did the Norco dairy factory, which was once the largest such facility in Australia.


Events such as yoga retreats, pagan gatherings and music festivals, including the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival and Splendour in the Grass, are based in Byron Bay.

Annual events links

* East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival (During Easter 'break')
* Splendour in the Grass
* The Byron Bay Writers Festival
* Byron Bay Film Festival
* Byron Underwater Festival (2008 - 30 April to 4 May)


* The Byron Shire Echo The Byron Shire Echo (Independent weekly A3)
* The Byron Shire News (APN weekly A3)
* The Northern Star (APN daily)
* The Saturday Star (Independent A5 monthly)

Radio Stations

* 2LM 900 AM (commercial)
* Triple Z FM 100.9 (commercial)
* Triple J 96.1 FM
* ABC Radio National 96.9 FM
* ABC Classic FM 95.3 FM
* ABC Northern Rivers 94.5 FM
* Bay FM, (community). (Credit: Wikipedia).

The Byron Shire, covering an area of 566 square kilometres, is located at Australia's eastern-most point, 180km south of Brisbane, 800km north of Sydney.

There are a number of towns and villages in the shire, which has a population of 30,724 (Source: ABS, 2004), 30% living in rural areas. The annual growth rate is 2%, with a rate base of 13,800.

Income is sourced largely from tourism and agriculture. An estimated 1.7 million tourists visit each year. Thriving home-based businesses focus on alternative, cultural and knowledge industries, with a growing population of artists, writers and filmmakers.

The area is famed for its rural beauty and its beaches. (Credit: Byron Shire Council).


Byron Shire Council



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