Byron Bay offers an eclectic mix of longtime locals and fresh famous faces
While you might not run into Paul Hogan or Chris Hemsworth in Byron Bay, this area is a well-known haunt of the rich and famous. However, there’s more to Byron Bay and its surrounding towns of Ballina and Lennox Head than its links with celebrities.
Byron Bay is the most easterly point in Australia and the home of the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse, which sees thousands of visitors every year. However, away from the tourist attractions, the Byron Shire offers so much more to people who call this region home.
Here you’ll find seemingly endless sandy beaches, beautiful coastal forests to explore and some of the country’s best locally grown produce and eateries that take advantage of this wealth of fresh and diverse food production.
The traditional owners of this region are the Bundjalung people, with the Arakwal people residing in what’s now the Byron shire. Aboriginal people called Cape Byron ‘Walgun’, which means ‘the shoulder’.
Relaxed lifestyle with plenty of sunshine
It’s all about enjoying life and nature when you live anywhere in the Byron or Ballina Shires. Blessed with a temperate climate all year round, this area encompasses everything to do with enjoying the great outdoors.
Much of the coastline around Byron Bay is a national park with many conservation areas that you can explore. There are also several nature reserves and national parks around Ballina.
Of course, this area is well known for its long stretches of pristine beaches. Along this coastline, you can still find spots where you feel like you’re the only one on the planet. Sitting on the sand and listening to the waves as you watch the sunset really helps to calm your mind and soul.
Once rejuvenated, you can head into town and enjoy all the vibrancy of a coastal community with many restaurants, bars, and venues with live music.
In Byron Bay and its surrounds, you really can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Who lives in Byron Bay?
Byron Bay itself has a population of around 11,769, while around 35,773 people live in the Byron Shire. Lennox Head, just 15 km south of Byron, has a population of around 8,475 people while a little further south, the Ballina shire boasts a population of around 41,790 people.
In this region, there’s a good mix of families, younger singles and retirees, with a higher proportion of retirees in the Ballina Shire than the Byron Shire. According to the 2016 Census, there was a high rate of employment in both Shires, with a high proportion of professionals.
Byron Bay and Ballina for living
As both Byron Bay and Ballina are well-established and have a varied population mix, there are plenty of amenities in both Byron Bay and Ballina. We’re lucky to have several primary and secondary schools, hospitals including the regional Lismore Base Hospital; Byron Central Hospital and Ballina District Hospital; and many different sports facilities.
As you would imagine, there’s also no shortage of other amenities such as doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeries, hairdressers and beauty salons.
Your shopping needs are covered, with shopping centres and shopping streets that have an eclectic mix of different shops to keep you browsing for hours. While you’re out, look for the best regional produce and arts and crafts at one of the popular local markets.
Of particular interest to lovers of historical architecture is the historic Ballina Court House that was built back in 1867. It sits between the Post Office and the Police Station in River Street and is a central feature in the main street. You’ll also find several other historical buildings around the town.
Food lovers’ paradise
We’re proud of the superb local produce you’ll find served at the many different cafés, restaurants and pubs in the Byron Shire.
Apart from the ubiquitous macadamia nuts, the climate around Byron Bay and Ballina is perfect for growing all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables. When you’re in the area, check out Boon Luck Farm in Tyagarah, where you might be lucky enough to meet owner Palisa Anderson (whom you might know from her SBS food show, Water Heart Food). Another Byron highlight is Picone Exotic Fruit Farm just south of Byron, whose owners grow over 400 varieties of tropical and subtropical fruits. These are just two examples of the many farms throughout the region that provide the local restaurant trade with scrumptious seasonal produce all year round.
The enduring appeal of Byron Bay
While you might not end up rubbing shoulders with a celebrity, the Byron Bay region has plenty to offer, from long stretches of beach to charming villages and robust community spirit. You’ll never feel alone in this wonderful neck of the woods.
Add to that the amazing array of fresh, local produce and the vibrant shopping scene and you’ll agree that this region really does have it all.
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