Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 772 kilometres (480 mi) north of Sydney and 165 kilometres (103 mi) south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia. Byron Bay is the heart of the Byron Shire and the ‘Northern Rivers’.
The local Arakwal Aboriginal people’s name for the area is Cavvanbah, meaning “meeting place”. Lieutenant James Cook named Cape Byron after Naval officer John Byron, circumnavigator of the world and grandfather of the poet Lord Byron.
The town has several beaches which are popular for surfing. Byron Bay is popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast; the scenery also attracts skydivers. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching a highlight for visitors to the region.
Temperate and tropical waters merge at Byron Bay, making it a popular area for scuba diving and snorkelling. Most diving is done at Julian Rocks which is part of the recently established Cape Byron Marine Park and only a few minutes boat ride from Main Beach.
Byron Bay also lies close to subtropical rainforests, and areas such as the Nightcap National Park with the Minyon Falls are all within easy reach of the town.
Byron Bay is now also a popular destination for Schoolies week during late November and early December.
Events held at Byron Bay include yoga retreats, major national music festivals such as the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival at Easter, Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass, the Byron Bay Writers Festival, the Byron Bay Film Festival, Mullum Music Festival and the Byron Spirit Festival. The vibrant musical community has produced internationally renowned bands such as Blue King Brown, Parkway Drive and 50 Lions.
The Byron Bay Triathlon is held on the second Saturday in May every year. 1,300 competitors from many different countries enter this Olympic Distance event.
Byron Bay also has a number of regular markets including the weekly Byron Farmers’ Market at the Butler Street Reserve every Thursday with over 70 local farmers selling fresh produce. There is also a Byron Community Market held on the same site on the first Sunday of each month and the Artisan Market held on Saturday evenings at Railway Park from October to Easter. There are three annual specialist Beachside Markets held in January, Easter and September.