The annual Byron Bay Surf Festival is back. From Thursday, February 22 to Sunday, February 25, 2018, experience the best surf culture has to offer. From art, music, and film, to board shaping, fashion, and of course, surfing, get ready to celebrate the many facets of the surf lifestyle.
2018’s festival is set to be bigger and better than ever, with a whole host of brand-new events and Surf Fest favourites.
First up, the Surf Festival has been extended by one whole day. That means more opportunities to immerse yourself in surf culture, and get involved in the many free and paid-for events the festival has to offer.
Secondly, Friday will now host its own surf event. More details to come, so stay tuned.
Finally, the crowd-favourite ‘Surf Lit Lounge’ is getting an exciting makeover. Now titled the ‘Surf Legend Lounge,’ this event will kick off the festival in style. Taking place in the Byron Community Centre, the Surf Legend Lounge will give you the opportunity to mingle with some of the surfing world’s greatest icons, and soak up their inspirational insights on adventure, surfboards, arts, culture, and sustainability.
Early-birds will enjoy food and drink, plus live music. This event is a fantastic way to catch up with old friends, meet new friends, and feel inspired about the days to come.
Plus, all FEELGOOD and FREE events from the last Surf Festival will be back in action in 2018. That includes the iconic Sunset Cinema, the Art Show, the popular Surf Art Markets, Live Music, and much more.
Don’t forget to head to the beautiful Wategos beach, and get involved in the Freestyle & Stoke sessions.
Join over one million people from 130 countries world-wide this July, and choose to refuse single-use plastic. Plastic Free July is a global initiative that raises awareness about the environmental impact of disposable plastics, and encourages people to start making a difference.
In 2016, the Plastic Free July project inspired a group of committed locals to begin their own Plastic Free Byron campaign. Collaborating with individuals and organisations in the Byron Shire, Plastic Free Byron continues to work to reduce plastic waste, and keep our oceans and landfill clean.
To do this, Plastic Free Byron releases actionable tips and information that helps Byron Shire residents minimise the amount of single-use plastic they use on a day-to-day basis.
The Problem with Plastics
So what’s the problem with plastics? What is Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron against?
Plastic breaks up, not down. This means that plastic pollution is permanent.
Even when recycled, disposable plastic is usually down-cycled. This means it’s made into a low-grade product also designed for single use, or it’s sent straight to landfill.
Lightweight plastics tend to escape from bins and trucks, turning into accidental litter.
Importantly, disposable plastics end up in our waterways. It’s vital to keep Byron’s beautiful beaches clean, and marine life healthy and happy.
Plastic manufacturing makes up a huge 6% of the world’s fossil fuel footprint.
The Solution to Disposable Plastic
Initiatives like Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron show that refusing one-time-use plastics is fairly simple. Here are some tips:
Avoid buying products with plastic packaging. Instead, opt for alternatives – for example, buy loose rather than wrapped fruit and veg.
Say no to plastic that tends to become litter, such as straws, balloons, and takeaway cups.
Reduce waste where possible. Get refills, and don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!
Always recycle when refusal is not possible.
Sign up to Plastic Free July and join the #choosetorefuse challenge. Share with your friends and family, and encourage them to get involved, too.
Visiting Byron on a budget? There are plenty of free things to do in Byron Bay. Check out 7 of our favourites below.
1. Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse
Be one of the first in Australia to watch the sunrise – there really is no better way to start the day in Byron Bay. Walk from the Wategos car park up to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Byron Bay. As the sun rises over the water, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins playing in the day’s first light.
2. Wander through the Byron Bay Markets
On the first Sunday of each month, the Butler Street Reserve plays host to the popular Byron Bay Markets. With a range of local and imported arts and crafts, fashion, beauty, kids’ stuff and food, the unique Byron Markets are must for any visitor to the region. Entry is free, but you’ll probably be tempted to pick up a souvenir or two (or at least a Byron Bay Organic Doughnut)!
If you're not in Byron for the first Sunday of the month, chances are there are other markets on in the Byron region. Check out our upcoming markets calendar.
3. Check out the Lone Goat Gallery
Byron Bay and surrounding regions are home to some of Australia’s most talented visual artists, so check out what’s on at the Lone Goat Gallery next time you’re in town. Located on the corner of Lawson and Middleton Street, this vibrant exhibition space is within walking distance from the centre of town.
4. Explore waterfalls near Byron Bay
Just a short drive from Byron Bay you’ll find two stunning waterfalls: Minyon Falls (about 45-minute drive) and Killen Falls (about 30-minute drive). Take the whole day to visit both. Stop for lunch at a hinterland eatery, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the scenic surrounds.
5. Sit on the beach
Byron has a lot to offer, but one of the very best ways to soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of Byron Bay is to sit on the beach and do nothing. With white sand, picturesque headlands, and crystal clear water, Byron is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Swim, surf, read, sleep, or people-watch, a visit to Byron Bay is not complete without a trip to at least one of the area’s beautiful beaches.
6. Catch some live music
Byron Bay has a thriving nightlife, including venues that offer free live music everyday of the year. The Railway Friendly Bar (known as The Rails) is one such place. Located on Johnson Street, The Rails is the perfect place to meet with friends and check out the local talent.
7. Watch a free movie
Once a month, the Beach Hotel puts on a free movie night. With outdoor seating, blankets to keep you warm, and a range of movie snacks on offer, it’s the ultimate movie experience in Byron Bay. Check their Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the next monthly movie night.
Byron Bay Triathlon is like no other - 13 May 2017! One of the most popular triathlons in Australia it has a race for you! Kids through to Pros, Tempta, Sprint Olympic.
Byron Bay Triathlon has been a magical calendar event for 22 years now. It’s been The Triathlon to mark the end of each year’s triathlon season. That has made BBT a great Party Weekend in one of the world’s most idyllic locations.
Don’t want to go the race alone? Register in one of our team divisions and finish the Byron Bay Tri together! The race kicks off at midday so you can sleep all morning and hit the beach in the afternoon with your mates.
The Byron Bay Tri is sanctioned and run under Triathlon Australia guidelines.
Internationally acclaimed photographer, Craig Parry, opens Byron Bay gallery
Byron Bay’s dynamic arts scene is abuzz with the opening of a new gallery by internationally acclaimed nature photographer and local boy, Craig Parry.
Located on Fletcher Street, the gallery showcases Craig’s signature marine, aerial and landscape imagery. Each photograph presents everyday moments from unique perspectives with the focus primarily upon exhibiting images captured in the Byron Bay area.
The gallery has been a long-term project for Craig who has spent years capturing and curating content that would appeal to both a local and international market.
"My greatest inspiration is to connect humanity to nature through photography", says Craig. "I’m incredibly excited to share this passion with everyone and hope my images can act as a focal point to raise awareness for conservation and the beauty which can be found right on our doorstep".
To celebrate the gallery’s opening, this Friday (20th January) Craig will be launching an exhibition featuring some of his top images and unveiling a limited edition Migaloo print which has never been seen before!
Offering a wide variety of printing and framing options and finishes in addition to custom pieces there’s something on offer for all tastes and budgets. Head on down and check it out -
The Byron Bay Surf Festival is back and better than ever. The event will take place this summer, between February 24 and 26, 2017.
As the recipient of the 2015 Surf Culture Award, the festival is known internationally for its contribution to the surf world.
Jam-packed with over 25 ticketed and free events, the non-competitive festival celebrates culture, innovation, and sustainability. As well as surfing, events include music, art, film, yoga, surfboard design, fashion, literature, history, food, and health. The festival comes to its climax on the final day, with the spectacular Freestyle and Stoke surf session at stunning Wategos beach.
The Byron Surf Festival is set to open at the Lone Goat Art Gallery with an art exhibition. Festivities will move to the foreshore of Main Beach, where the opening ceremony and popular outdoor cinema will take place. The celebration will continue with live music at the Beach Hotel.
Saturday, February 25
Saturday begins with the free Surf Art Market along Main Beach. The tipi markets attract all sorts of people, whether or not they’re into surf culture. Later in the day, the ticketed events will take place. The program includes live music, a surf film competition, and yet-to-be-announced surprises.
Sunday, February 26
On Sunday, the Byron Bay Surf Festival goers head to Wategos beach to check out (or participate in) the action both in and out of the water. The foreshore will be dotted with a diverse array of handmade surf crafts. In the water, surfers will showcase their joy and creativity in a non-competitive environment. To finish, the Surf Festival will host a casual, ticketed closing party.
Time for a Luxurious and ultra modern Summer break? Experience style and space by the beach in these fully equipped holiday houses featuring designer furnishings, state of the art fixtures and a shared pool. Sleep 8 with 4 bathrooms.
With its relaxed holiday atmosphere, modern facilities and stunning natural scenery, Discovery Holiday Parks – Byron Bay is an idyllic escape. Set amongst picturesque tropical gardens and lakes, and just 2km from the Byron Bay town centre. Come and enjoy the BRAND new Byron’s Barrel waterpark.
A perfect getaway for a relaxed Xmas break for a family or group of friends. Situated in the most sort after residential area of Byron in a quiet community. The large playing fields opposite give loads of space for children to safely play. Short easy flat walk to beach and town and all cafes ( Top shop around the corner), no need for a car. With a beachy modern interior there is everything you need for a home away from home. With 2 large outside decks there is plenty of space for lazing, reading, dining or having a G&T and watching the sun go down. An outside shower complements the 2 bathrooms , and allows after beach showers with no sand to clean up!
Every morning, whatever the weather, a group of dedicated individuals make their way to the deck of the Byron Bay Surf Club and prepare for their morning ocean swim. They are known as the Stingrays.
At 8am sharp, the group take the 20-minute stroll down to the Pass. Some run, and others walk. Some come with snorkels and goggles, and others with nothing more than a swimming cap. Some are young, and others well over seventy. The diversity of the group is one thing that makes the swim so appealing.
Once at the pass, the swimmers dive into the ocean. They swim back to the Surf Club regardless of whether the water is warm and pristine, or cold and choppy. The Stingrays often spot sea turtles and tropical fish. And, whale sightings are common June through November.
While some have done the approximately 2.5km swim every morning for decades, newbies are always welcomed. The organised ocean swim is free, and provides a unique opportunity to experience another side of Byron Bay together with competent swimmers.
If you become tired mid-way through the swim, you can make your way to the beach and walk back to the Surf Club. The swim is not competitive. For the Stingrays, the experience is about connecting to the ocean, and soaking up that blissful sense of joy, freedom, and accomplishment.
For many locals, the ocean swim is a celebration of living in Byron Bay, one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
Byron Bay is one of Australia’s best destinations to spot the majestic humpback whale on its annual migration from cold Antarctic waters to warmer breeding grounds off the coast of Queensland.
Every year between May and November, an estimated average of 17,000 whales migrate north past the east coast of Australia. Humpback whales are believed to use landmarks to navigate their migration route, causing them to swim close to the coastline. As the country’s most easterly point, Byron Bay is spoilt with up-close views of these incredible creatures.
The International Whale Census Day, held on the last Sunday of June, sees dedicated volunteer whale enthusiasts and visitors count the humpbacks as they pass Cape Byron. In 2016, the count was expected to reach 25,000. However, humpbacks remain listed as vulnerable in New South Wales.
The best vantage point for whale watching on land is the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which stands over the Cape Byron Marine Park. Built over 200 years ago, the lighthouse is accessible by car or by foot, and offers unparalleled panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
Whale Watching Byron Bay can get you even closer to the humpbacks with a number of ocean tours available in Byron Bay. Witness the whales breaching off the coast with a 2.5-hour Whale Watching Cruise. The tour, which departs everyday June through November, accommodates a maximum of 12 people. In addition to whales, customers often see turtles, dolphins, and ocean birds.
Cape Byron Kayaks tours taken during whale season are an exciting way to glimpse the humpbacks from the water. There’s nothing quite like seeing such a huge animal so close up!