Life Trading Places 2016 Australia’s best seachange towns No.5: Byron Bay
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Australia’s best seachange towns No.5: Byron Bay

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Byron Bay is a well-known hot spot for schoolies and backpackers, but talk to any of its residents and you’ll find it’s much more than a party destination.

The vibrant community is home to some of the most wonderful beaches and climates on offer around Australia and the world.

Located in New South Wales, approximately 75km south of the Queensland border, it is home to just under 5000 permanent residents and an array of internationally-renowned festivals and events.

byron bay trading places 2016 at a glanceIt also boasts brilliant surfing and reefs and underwater ecosystems begging to be explored by divers and snorkelers.

“The great thing about living in Byron is not only do you get the wonderful beaches and climate that is in the hinterland down the coast, you get an incredibly vibrant array of people that creates that sense of community,” mayor Simon Richardson says.

Before white settlement, its Aboriginal name was ‘Cavanbah’, or meeting place, so for 40,000 years it has welcomed people from far and wide.

Local real estate agent Chris Hanley, who founded the Byron Bay Writers Festival, came for the surfing in 1970 and then decided to stay for good.

“The beaches are still, for me and many of us, as beautiful as it gets,” he says.

“Byron is a travel destination, but increasingly it is becoming a place where young families are moving to.

“It’s this weird but functional joining up of people from all over the world, including all our visitors, and it just works. But it’s not planned.”

In town there is a wide selection of shopping, restaurants and boutiques to choose from, with a vast majority of them leaning on talented local makers and produce.

And if you’re into the arts, the yearly Falls Festival, Blues Festival, Splendour in the Grass and Writers Festival are perfect for you.

landing page link trading places TESTVideo: Byron Bay Blog
Photos: Destination NSW | Getty | AAP
Reporting: Anthony Colangelo