Byron has the propensity to convert the most urbane city-dwellers into crochet-clad nomads. I think that's what struck me the most. Salty shorelines, balcony bars and palm-tree pandemonium make it the perfect fuse between beach and social-scene. Waves from the main beach crawl up onto the nightlife of the bustling Hotel, the sand is sparsely illuminated by a panning beam from the nearby lighthouse, and the footpath spills onto the road to create a free-for-all walkway on the hazy pilgrimage home.
Within a few days of stepping into the questionably scented Byron air, I was convinced that purchasing a cross-body fringed bag and other UBE (Unnecessary Boho Ephemera) was 100% mandatory in order for complete immersion. So, I donned aforementioned loot and roamed around the most effortlessly cool and beachy patch of Oz for a good 7 days. I wasn't deceiving anyone, but had a lot of fun trying. Nobody can come here and resist The Byron Effect - aka the sudden urge to ravage dinky side-lane-boutiques, purchase stuff with tassels or pom poms, and condition yourself to believe that those polarised circular sunnies look ga-reat on you.
After endless hours of people-watching and careful observation, this is what I've learned:
- High heels are forbidden at all times, save yourself some packing space and chuck them back in your wardrobe already - If you don't believe this now, put on a pair of your favourite stilettos, head to The Beach Club and enjoy the bemused stares. I dare you. Despite many efforts to transition into a fully-fledged, bare-footed Byron Boho Babe, I ended up just opting for some flat sandals and birkenstocks.
- You are suddenly going to embrace the concept of tie-dye - crazy, I know. The Rainbow Shop in the heart of town is going to make you rethink your preconceptions regarding that singular, garish 70s trend that you swore you would never succumb to unless attending a Coachella themed party.
- The people are really, really great - this one's a no-brainer; the general Byron public are just innately lovely. From shopkeepers to Red Frogs and just about everyone in between, they have that whole laid-back Byron persona down pat. Even the entirety of the kebab store staff are enthusiastic to serve severely inebriated teenagers at 1am in the morning. Amazing.
- Speaking of kebabs, YOU WILL BUY ALL OF THEM - bring many $$$ and reserve half of these for kebab runs only. Truly iconic stuff.
- Lather yourself in SPF - Byron has some seriously mean UV. The temperature on some days is a seemingly bearable 27 degrees, yet a stroll in town feels like a hike through an active volcano site. Slip, slop, slap.
- Taxis are in high demand and ubers are a rare breed - Byron itself only has a handful of uber drivers, making it nearly impossible to nab one during peak schoolies season. Luckily, the gobyron taxi service has a fleet of maxi shuttles at the ready for all your transportation needs.
- Sleep as close to the town as you possibly can - alongside 10 other girls, I was getting my z's in a dreamy blue-washed weatherboard, complete with lighthouse views and a national park for a backyard. The only downside was the commute from said paradise to the main strip of town. If you're car-less like we were, it's best to stay as close to the heart of Byron to maximise your days. In saying all that, enjoy a good gawk at our beachy abode that we fell head over heels for...