Byron Bay isn’t the only place to find Byron (if you catch our drift) – tree-changers have brought the town’s quirky, luxe touches to personality-filled pockets all over the NSW North Coast hinterland. Get there before the masses do.
Cafés churning out tasty organic goods, pristine beaches lined with vitamin-D-soaking day trippers, Quirky shops that smell of cheap incense and expensive candles. If you’re joining the tens of thousands making the annual pilgrimage up the east coast to Byron Bay this summer, don’t rush – there are several pockets of equally personable (and surprisingly stylish) diversions to be uncovered along the way. Click on these top five to see what our ‘alternative Byrons’ offer.
1. The hippie hub: Bellingen – like Byron in the 70s
2. The natural wonder: Dorrigo – away from the beach and into the rainforest
3. The secret beaches:Emerald Beach and Woolgoolga
4. The summer escape: funky Yamba
5. Escaping the crowds at Byron’s neighbour: Lennox Head
PLUS: All you ever need to know about Byron Bay
Getting there: Virgin Australia flies to Coffs Harbour from Sydney daily and from Melbourne on weekends. From Coffs airport, it’s approximately a 30-minute drive to Bellingen. See pacificcoast.com.au
Staying there: Take your pick when it comes to accommodation on this stretch of the east coast. From caravan parks and hostels, to five-star hotels and luxury B&Bs, all tastes are catered for. See visitnsw.com
Need to know: The coastal towns will fill up quickly come summertime, so book accommodation early.