THE BEST WAY TO BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA
From LAX, connecting service (change of plane) to Gold Coast, about 60 minutes north of Byron Bay, is offered on Qantas, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand and Delta. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $910, including taxes and fees. Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Budget, Europcar and Redspot all have kiosks opposite the airport's arrival area. Car rentals with unlimited miles are about $40 per day. An Electronic Travel Authority visa is mandatory for American visitors. The easiest way to apply is at http://www.immi.gov/au/visawizard. The cost is about $20
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 61 (country code for Australia), 2 (the regional code) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY
Byron Beach Resort, 25 Childe St., Byron Bay; 6685-7868, http://www.byronbeachresort.com.au. A lovely, affordable option across the street from the beach. Each spacious room has a distinctly bohemian vibe. Choose an eight-bed dorm room or opt for a private room with an ocean view and a balcony. Doubles from $69.
Byron Beachcomber Resort, 23-25 Shirley St., Byron Bay; 6639-6900, http://www.beachcomberbyron.com.au. Located off the main drag with a private walkway to the beach, this clean and modern hotel has a refreshing pool and a common area for grilling. Doubles from $114.
Byron Bay Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge, 1 Skinners Shoot Road, Byron Bay; 6685-7709, http://www.nomadsworld.com/arts-factory. Perhaps no accommodation best represents the whimsical nature of Byron Bay like this funky hostel on five acres of lush wilderness. With a pool, porches and hammocks for lounging, the Arts Factory offers camping, tepees, shared dorms and private rooms. Doubles from $59, dorms from $27.
WHERE TO EAT
The Top Shop, 65 Carlyle St., Byron Bay; 6685-6495, http://www.thetopshop.wordpress.com. The Top Shop is a casual, take-out place for breakfast and coffee. Get a delicious flat white, a free-range burger or a variety of fresh-baked muffins and pastries and nosh outside on the lawn. Most items $8-$12.
Belongil Bistro, 33 Childe St., Byron Bay; 6680-9007, http://www.belongilbistro.com.au. The ideal brunch, lunch or weekend dinner spot if you're staying next door at Byron Beach Resort, but it's also worth the trip from elsewhere in town. The locally sourced, veggie-heavy menu includes pan-fried house gnocchi with roasted beet root and Ezekiel bread and poached eggs with spinach, sprouts and relish. Entrees $10-$27.
Fish Heads, 1 Jonson St. at Main Beach, Byron Bay; 6680-7632, http://www.restaurantbyronbay.com.au. Delicious, fresh seafood and salads served on a breezy patio across from the main beach—so close to the ocean that you can taste the sea salt in the air. Entrees $15-$34.
TO LEARN MORE
Byron Bay Visitor Centre, http://www.visitbyronbay.com