Everybody loves Byron Bay. Don't they? It was recommended by our friends and family, and the guidebook. We decided to skip a few towns on the way, mostly due to the brisk weather down south. Leaving Taree at 21.30 on the train after a few hours on the coach from Tea Gardens, near Port Stephens, the journey took all night. We alighted at 'Casino' at 04:10 for a subsequent coach journey to Byron Bay, finally arriving approx 06:15 in the rain. Finding a good early morning cafe, especially with free wifi, was very fortunate and we settled in to plan our stay.
The weather didn't hold for more than one day, during which we had a fantastic walk around the coastline and up to the lighthouse, with great views and migratory whales visible from the coastal path. Finishing up with fish and chips, we had a great day out.
The accommodation at Main Beach Backpackers was typically low class, although the main reason we were there was for the free wifi just like all the other backpackers - it's the most laptops we've ever seen in one hostel. It was a clique place with a high proportion of backpacker cleaners/front desk workers thinking they were all great for living in Byron Bay, whilst also adding a touch of snobbery toward the short-term tourist crowd.
The town centre held an odd mix of people - if the hostel contained the highest concentration of laptops, the streets outside held the highest concentration of bare-foot people. The ambiance was good with a slightly boutique, hippie, coffee and foodie culture, but we were priced out of a full experience in those circles, frequented by the locals and fabulously wealthy. Somewhere in the middle were the surfing crowd, although there was not much evidence of this at the time of our visit, apart from a few backpackers 'giving it go'.
Unfortunately we found Byron Bay to be over-hyped, and were happy to leave it to the 'we think we're great' crowd. We only stayed 3 nights, which was probably one too many at this time of year.