Gay Byron Bay
Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Australian border measures are in place with very limited flights available. Entry is restricted to Australian citizens, residents and their immediate family members only, and Australians may not travel internationally at this time. All travellers, including Australian citizens, must quarantine for 14 days at a designated facility. See the Home Affairs website.
Australian states had begun to relax some restrictions in May, with restaurants,cafes and pubs reopening with restrictions. Travel within states was also allowed, but after a new outbreak in Victoria, strict lockdown measures were reimposed in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city and Victoria's capital. As of August 1, all travellers to Queensland from greater Sydney are required to hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Except for anyone who has been within a COVID-19 hotspot during the previous 14 days, people could enter Queensland after obtaining a Border Declaration Pass. But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has now announced that from August 8, all people from NSW and the ACT will be banned from entering Queensland (located just to the north of Byron Bay). NSW has announced that all residents returning from Victoria will have to go into 14-day hotel quarantines.
See the BNE Covid-19 Brisbane, NSW Government, Byron Shire Council, and Byron Community Centre websites for updates.
Famous for the Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay is at the northeast tip of New South Wales, just south of the Queensland Gold Coast. With stunning beaches popular with sandy-haired surfers, Byron Bay is a far cry from its past as a port and a whaling station that took its name from circumnavigator John Byron, grandpa to poet Lord Byron. in the 1970’s hippies, along with local and international artists gathered here, setting the tone for the spirit of modern Byron Bay; and during the 1980’s an internationally recognized rock and roll scene flourished here.
Travelers from around the world crowd this coastal bohemia, and many never leave. It’s an especially popular getaway for gay people looking for fun in the sun, creating a dense gay concentration around here, and in the nearby towns of Lismore and Nimbin.
Ballina Airport is the closest domestic connection to Byron Bay. International flights land at Brisbane International Airport, which is about two hours away by car. Rex, the low-cost regional airline, flies into both Ballina and Lismore airports from major cities.
You’ll want to get to the beaches, so a car is a good ideas for visitors. For an overview of local public transportation services, see GoingPlaces.com
Currency and Money
The local currency is the Australian dollar. You shouldn’t have trouble finding ATMs in most urban areas.
Media & Resources
DNA is a national glossy magazine with some very impressive photography.
Gay and Lesbian tourist tips can be found at GALTA. For general Australia-wide info consult Tourism Australia and Nomads World/ Australia.
The Byron Community Centre (69 Jonson St) is a multi-purpose venue that includes the Byron Theatre, with music, dance, theatre, art, film events, school productions and conferences.
While Byron Bay is packed with beaches (such as The Wreck, Clarks Beach, The Pass, Wategos, and Tallow Beach), the most special one is down a well-traipsed rainforest trail (at the Broken Head Nature Reserve), Kings Beach. This gay nudist beach is a great place to spend the day with old friends, meet new people, or do the trails behind the sand.
Kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and whale watching are all available in the area. Byron Bay Dive Centre (9 Marvell St) is the leading dive and snorkel specialist in town. Sundive will take you scuba diving at the Julian Rocks to see the amazing diversity and abundance of aquatic life there.
Skydive Byron Bay (Tyagarah Airport) staff, members of the Australian Parachute Federation, cater to both dare devils and those who need a nudge, for breathtaking aerial views of Mount Warning, Cape Byron, and beaches as far as the eye can see. Whale Watching Byron Bay has small personalised tours with a 12-visitor maximum per vessel, daily during the June to November season. Whales in Paradise, is another option, on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane, to see the marine mammals and take eco-tours.
Folks from Brisbane to Sydney and beyond come for good times at the big queer parties taking place in the town of Lismore, west of Byron, for Tropical Fruits dances and pool parties throughout the year, particularly during holidays such as New Year's, Easter, the Queen's Birthday, and special gay benefits. The OZ Faeries, the local Radical Faerie group, sponsors queer events from time to time too. Also here, the Lismore City Hall and Star Court Theatre present year-round performances of dance, music and theater, plus film screenings - see Norpa for events listings.
A bit of old times alternative culture survives at the Funky Workshops of the Arts Factory, (1 Skinners Shoot Rd), now primarily a backpackers' lodge. Activities here include: didgeridoo making and playing lessons; crystal healing, Reiki and massage; African drumming; and yoga. The musically inclined can record songs at Byron Hive, their own recording studio facility.
Threeworlds Byron Bay (7 Marvell St) provides play space in a huge backyard with "room to groove." The old-house store has earthy instruments, high ceilings, room to juggle and twirl, drumming courses, and fire twirling nights. Music movement meditation is their mantra, and they sell all sorts of fun things to make people happy.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Byron Bay listings pages.
Where to perch and such
Byron Bay offers it all from humble backpacker tents to super-luxurious digs.
Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge (1 Skinners Shoot Rd; 61-2-6685-7709), 5 acre, subtropical haven, heated pool, swinging hammocks, friendly backpacker atmosphere, ten minute walk to beach, wide range of budget accommodations includes jungle camping.
BreakFree Eco Beach Resort (35-37 Shirley Street; 61-2-6639-5700), resort complex, studio and one-bedroom apartments, near town center and beaches.
Byron at Byron Resort & Spa (77-97 Broken Head Road, Suffolk Park 61-2-6639-2000), in stunning 45-acre lush rainforest near Tallow Beach, tennis court, pool, gym, restaurant, bar, spa, yoga studio.
Cavvanbah Beach House Byron (28 Cavvanbah St; 61-2-6685-6625), quiet, secluded street, private entrance ensuite rooms/terraces; salt water pool, lush gardens.
Gaia Retreat & Spa (Gaiaretreat.com.au), set amid green valleys and hills near Bangalow. Elegant accommodations, nourishing cuisine, day-spa pampering, tennis courts, sparkling pool, breathtaking views.
Oasis Resort (24 Scott Street; 61-2-6685-7390), at edge of Arakwal National Park, Tallow Beach a stroll away, "family-friendly" self-contained resort apartments, contemporary style tree top holiday houses, heated pool, outdoor spa/sauna, tennis courts, gym, in-house beauty spa.
Planula B&B (Lot 1 Mclalenca Dr; 61-2-6680-9134), tranquil tropical oasis on 50 acres, 3 km from the center; large decks overlook frog pond in lush gardens, BBQ nights, large music and games collections, spacious guest lounge, free WiFi in each room.
Rae's on Wategos (8 Marine Parade, Watego's Beach; 61-2-6685-5366), exquisite experiences, seven-room boutique retreat, opulent private spaces popular with discreet lovers and celebrities. High-caliber spa, 60-seat al fresco dining overlooking ocean, Aussie/Thai fusion cuisine.
Revelwood Rainforest Retreat (Revelwoodretreat.com.au) - CLOSED - 15 secluded acres, five minutes drive from Bangalow, clothing-optional, exclusively gay get-away, pool, crystal clear creek canoeing, home to platypus, fish, turtles and water dragons.
Tallow Beach Hotel (108 Alcorn Street; 61-2-6685-3369), a few meters from beach, a bit south of Byron Bay in Suffolk Park, seven self-contained rooms (some with sun room), kitchenette, all amenities.
Villas of Byron Bay (19-23 Gordon Street; 61-2-6685-5390), fine, luxury high-walled villas, each with heated pool, spa, and tropical Zen garden. Private outdoor shower, many creature comforts include hand-crafted Balinese furniture, day spa facilities.
Visitors with kitchen facilities will appreciate Green Garage (63 Tennyson St), not your everyday supermarket, with fresh local food and an in-house chef to cook dinner while they shop. Santos (105 Jonson St), is a local organic and bulk food store. On Thursday mornings the Byron Farmers' Market at Butler Street Reserve is another source of fresh produce, also with arts, crafts and entertainment.
Most all of Byron Bay clubs and restaurants are gay-friendly. There are no specifically gay clubs in town but these two make most lists. See our maps and listings tab above for some popular local restaurants and cafes.
Byon Bay Brewery (1 Skinners Shoot Rd), at the Arts Factory, micro-brewery bar, coffeehouse and restaurant with large and small share plates, burgers and desserts, live entertainment, alternative crowd. The Pighouse Flicks cinema is here too, showing five films a day, mainstream to art house and classics.
The Byron Community & Cultural Centre (69 Jonson St), home to Byron Theatre, has live music concerts, film screenings, a speakers' series, artisan and community markets, and various community services.
Suffolk Park Hotel Hotel (223 Broken Head Rd), accommodations, all-day every day restaurant, bar, gaming, pool, beergarden and deck, liquor store and live entertainment, just south of Byron Bay.