Byron Bay is a beachside town located in the far-northeastern corner of the state of New South Wales. It is located 772km north of Sydney and 165km south of Brisbane. Cape Byron, a headland adjacent to the town, is the easternmost point of mainland Australia.
The local aboriginal name for the area is Cavvanbah. The history of Europeans in Byron Bay began in 1770, when Captain James Cook found a safe anchorage and named Cape Byron after John Byron. In the 1880s, when Europeans settled more permanently, streets were named for other English writers and philosophers.
Longboard surfers arrived in the 1960s and used natural breaks at The Pass, Wategos, and Cosy Corner. This was the beginning of Byron Bay as a tourist destination, and by 1973, when the Aquarius Festival was held in Nimbin, its reputation as a hippy, happy, alternative town was established.
The town has several beaches which are popular for surfing. It is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast, and the scenery attracts sky divers. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching industry a significant contributor to the local economy.
Temperate and tropical waters merge at Byron Bay, making it a popular area for scuba diving and snorkelling. Most diving is done at Julian Rocks which is part of the recently established Cape Byron Marine Park and only a few minutes boat ride from Main Beach.
Byron Bay also lies close to subtropical rainforests, and areas such as the Nightcap National Park with the Minyon Falls are all within easy reach of the town.