Byron bay is one of the most visited and touristic places in Australia. It is one of the designated locations to go when traveling through the east coast. Average temperatures of 21°C-28°C in summer and 15°C-21°C in winter makes this beach town an outdoor activities place to enjoy, both for locals and visitors. The most magical aspect of Byron Bay is not its wonderful beaches, the surf culture, festivals, restaurants, nightlife, among others. What makes Byron Bay so special is its people and the singular vibe of the town itself, a relaxed lifestyle in which children, youth, adults and old people live together. This last thing is what makes this town interesting for me and one of my favorite destinations in Australia.
Getting to know Byron
Byron Bay beaches are among the best in Australia, over 30 km of beaches, from the most busy ones near the town, to less busy ones within 15 minutes drive. Clean and undeveloped, the beaches are free from buildings in their surroundings. Surfing is one of the most common activities to practice in this town. The surf culture is one of the things that brings many visitors at any time of the year. No matter the weather, you will always find a wave. Byron Bay main beach, Brunswick Heads, Lennox Head, The Pass, Ballina, Clarks Beach, are some of the beaches for lazing, spending time with the family, surfing and enjoying a good swim.
In addition to the beaches this town has to offer there are many other things this place is known for, like watching the sunrise at the lighthouse, do some kayaking with dolphins, walk through the town centre in a relaxed atmosphere, have some good food, experience the monthly Byron Bay Community Markets and visit Nimbin a town that is stuck in the ‘60s.
A lot of people is attracted to Byron Bay because of hosting a bunch of different festivals, The East Coast and Roots Festival, Splendour in the Grass music festival, Byron Bay Writers Festival, Byron Bay Triathlon and Ocean Swim, Byron Bay Malibu Classic, among others. To sum up, today visitors come to Byron’s beaches for meditation, massage, hang gliding,nightlife, festivals, walks and swimming as much as looking to ride some waves.
The next link is a video that shows a little bit of Byron lifestyle:
Byron Bay throughout history
Byron Bay’s aboriginals where the Arakwal people, who are part of the Bundjalung group. Byron Bay was first called “Cavvanba” by the Arakwal referring to a meeting place. This name changed to Cape Byron as a tribute to the admiral Byron by Captain Cook, until 1894 when it became Byron Bay.
For most of its history Byron Bay was considered as a working class port town. By the late 1930’s Byron saw the beginning of sand mining which extracted zircon, rutile, and other minerals from the deposits in the beaches.
In the 1960’s it was famous for three things: Whaling, meat and surfing. There was a whaling station located on the main beach that started capturing and killing whales for their oil and blubber, later turned into a meat work until it closed in 1962. Nowadays tourists can see whales during their migration time.
Surfers and the settlers coming from the cities changed Byron Bay into a holiday destination when they discover it, since then lifestyle changed, new generation of Australians and international backpackers see this town as a place to go.
Since the factories have closed, over the past years Byron has become a place of holidays, pleasure, healing, nature, retirement, new businesses opportunities, a place with alternative lifestyles.
The original inhabitants, the Budjalung people, now are in charge of the management of Arakwal National Park and other areas that returned to them under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement.
The essence of Cavvanba
As I mentioned above the thing that makes this town special, is both the locals and the visitors that live in it and the vibe the town itself transmit. Using this as the principal point preserving the essential small-town soul and taking advantage of the other things Byron has to offer, if I had to create and develop an event I would like everyone: children, young people, backpackers, adults and old people be part of. All this people gathered in one place for the same reason, interacting with each other. This event should make everyone remember historic events that made Byron Bay the “Cavvanba” that it is today.
Cavvanba Day would be a date that would integrate Byron’s most famous activities like markets, festivals and others, and reunite people to see whales during the migration time, remembering that not so long ago this animals were captured and killed by the Whaling Station. I think a lot of people nowadays go whale watching just for fun without knowing the backup story. So Cavvanba day would be this time in which every people in Byron is invited to come together and have a great time, enjoying a good meal, live music, meanwhile the whales are migrating.
The name of this day comes as a tribute to the Arakwal people, the traditional owners, in the way Byron, the meeting place, was first called.