Cape Byron Lighthouse

The Cape Byron Lighthouse on a winter evening

Today’s travel photo is from one of our favourite spots in Australia: Byron Bay.

When Alex, my oldest daughter, was 11, I decided it was time to have a look at Australia. A partial incentive was half-priced children’s flight tickets and back in 1999, the cut-off age was 12. We flew to Sydney and after a week there hopped on the bus to Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast. Travelling with an 11-year-old means a few compromises and the amusement parks on the Gold Coast was one.

On the way to Surfer’s, the bus stopped in Byron Bay. Oddly, even though it’s one of the more famous towns in Oz, I had never heard of it. Sometimes it pays to have a look in a guide book. As the bus pulled into town, we both liked what we saw and decided to stay for a bit. We’ve been back in New South Wales many times since then, and always try to fit in a stop here.

Any connection to Lord Byron, you ask? Well, I asked, anyway. And yes, there is, thanks to the intrepid Captain Cook. He found a safe haven here and named the place after famous circumnavigator John Byron, grandfather of the romantic poet.

Hippy Byron

Byron Bay Community Centre Backpacker bus in Byron Bay

Saleswoman in Byron Bay Gorgeous dog by a shop sign in Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a hippy-ish, New Age kinda town. All sorts of fun fairs are on offer: music, films, writing, even the odd pagan festival. Add that to an active surfers’ scene and you’ve got a lively, yet laid-back and colourful place.


Hippies and surfers aside, to me nothing says Byron Bay quite so much as the 111-year-old lighthouse. It’s on the easternmost point of mainland Australia and it shines a mighty powerful light. I think it’s just beautiful.

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For more photo fun, head over to this week’s Travel Photo Thursday.

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  1. Natasha von Geldern 19 July 2012 at 0201 - Reply

    I’ve not been to Byron Bay yet… but the clouds look very pretty and I do like a good lighthouse 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1413 - Reply

      Right across the water from you… OK, I know it’s a 3-hour flight 🙂

  2. Nancie 19 July 2012 at 0808 - Reply

    Great shot, Sophie. I visited Australia in 1980 and I don’t think I made it to Byron Bay…next time!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1414 - Reply

      Thanks 🙂

  3. jade 19 July 2012 at 0829 - Reply

    We didn’t make it to Byron Bay while we were in Australia. Looks like a beautiful lighthouse and a quirky little city. Next time!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1415 - Reply

      Very quirky.

  4. Tracy 19 July 2012 at 0834 - Reply

    I grew up just south of Byron and spent many happy childhood days visiting the lighthouse and doing the walk down to all the little beaches near the headland that as kids we were sure were secret beaches! Back then there were goats all over the headland, it was a lot of fun. Glad you got to see it. It’s a lovely spot.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1416 - Reply

      Ooh, must have been a fab spot to grow up in.

  5. [email protected] 19 July 2012 at 1015 - Reply

    I haven’t been to Byron Bay for ages but this is how I remember it too. I’d love to go back!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1416 - Reply

      Me too. It’s been a few years…

  6. Laurel 19 July 2012 at 1055 - Reply

    I was just in Australia but didn’t make it to Byron Bay, it’s such a big country. I love lighthouses too, my favorite one is one in the very remote Flannen Isles, off the west coast of Scotland.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1417 - Reply

      Flannan Isles, that’s the Outer Hebrides, isn’t it? So on my list.

  7. ItalianNotes 19 July 2012 at 1101 - Reply

    I love lighthouses anywhere. Must be some kind of Virginia Woolf heritage.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1419 - Reply

      To the Lighthouse!

  8. walkingon travels 19 July 2012 at 1722 - Reply

    We are hoping to head to Australia in 2014. Will have to add this to our list! Thanks so much for the travel inspiration.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1419 - Reply

      You’re welcome 🙂

  9. InsideJourneys 19 July 2012 at 1859 - Reply

    I would never have pegged Byron Bay or Australia even as a hippie, New Agey king of place, though I’m not sure why.
    I love the lighthouse and the place looks quite beautiful.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1420 - Reply

      Byron Bay is full of surprises. Most of Australia is, in fact.

  10. Lisa 19 July 2012 at 1938 - Reply

    Haven’t been to Australia yet but will definitely keep Byron Bay in mind – love the lighthouse. I think my favourite lighthouse will always be the one in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1421 - Reply

      We missed Peggy’s Cove when we were in Nova Scotia. Hear it’s very pretty there, lighthouse and everything else.

  11. Jessica 19 July 2012 at 2138 - Reply

    I love how the clouds and the sky helped you out to make that amazing picture.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1421 - Reply

      Isn’t it great when nature cooperates so well? 🙂

  12. Sabrina 20 July 2012 at 0146 - Reply

    Looks like a fun town. And the lighthouse pic is beautiful!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1422 - Reply

      I think you’d like Byron, Sabrina.

  13. Jackie Smith 20 July 2012 at 0347 - Reply

    Loved the lighthouse and the town. The tales that old lighthouse could tell after a century of lighting the way for others! Nice photos and I love the way you add the map. I need to do that more often.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1422 - Reply

      The maps are useful. Also, I love maps.

  14. I love this photo!! The clouds look stunning behind the lighthouse too!!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1423 - Reply

      Thanks, Becca.

  15. Leigh 20 July 2012 at 0452 - Reply

    I spent two weeks in Byron Bay in 1979 – living the good life let me tell you. I have nothing but wonderful memories from that time – and it was sleepy with a hippy vibe back then.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1424 - Reply

      I would love to travel to Byron Bay of that time. Can easily picture living the good life there in the 70s.

  16. Cathy Sweeney 20 July 2012 at 0542 - Reply

    “Hippy” Byron looks like a fun place! Beautiful photo of the lighthouse, Sophie. Much enjoyed learning some of the history of Cape Byron, too.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1424 - Reply

      Thanks, Cathy.

  17. Dean 20 July 2012 at 1114 - Reply

    I love Byron Bay and living in Brisbane means that we visit often…in fact we just spent the day there earlier this week 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1424 - Reply

      Lucky you!

  18. maq203 20 July 2012 at 2038 - Reply

    Wow, what a funky town! I’ll definitely have to add it to my eventual trip to Australia. Very cool–I love finding out about unique places like this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1425 - Reply

      Funky, indeed.

  19. Turkey's For Life 21 July 2012 at 1008 - Reply

    This looks just like my kind of place and re your Facebook question: Well, there’s just something about lighthouses isn’t there? Love them! There’s a beautiful one here in Turkey that sits right on the edge of a rocky peninsula, dividing the the Mediterranean and the Aegean. Reallu wild and windy. The Brits don’t do a bad lighthouse, either. 😉

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1426 - Reply

      Haven’t seen that many in Turkey, sadly. Something to look out for. I agree about Britain, heaps of lovely and quirky lighthouses there.

  20. D.J. - The World of Deej 21 July 2012 at 1330 - Reply

    My great aunt lived and operated the lighthouse in Key West for many years. It’s my favorite as a result:)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1435 - Reply

      How cool! We were in Key West last year, but only for a day, so missed the lighthouse.

  21. Andrea 21 July 2012 at 1646 - Reply

    That lighthouse shot is great! I heard we have quite a few near us in Stavanger but haven’t explored yet (still working on that drivers licence)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1437 - Reply

      Yes, quite a few lighthouses in western Norway – and you can spend the night in some of them, too.

  22. Emme Rogers @ Roamancing 22 July 2012 at 0445 - Reply

    Looks like a great festival town!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1439 - Reply

      It is 🙂

  23. Erica Price 22 July 2012 at 1015 - Reply

    I love that lighthouse shot – looks completely stunning. The rest of the town looks fun too.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1440 - Reply


  24. Laurence 22 July 2012 at 1106 - Reply

    I lived in Byron for a couple of months, and the lighthouse was one of those places that I kept meaning to visit. I finally did, and it was entirely brilliant. Plus there was an ice cream stall very close to it, which had some fantastic hokey pokey ice cream! Which made the whole experience even better 😀

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1438 - Reply

      Hokey Pokey ice cream! Haven’t tried that since we lived in New Zealand 9 years ago. Memories…

  25. Jess @UsedYorkCity 23 July 2012 at 1334 - Reply

    Gorgeous photos, looks like a fun place to travel! I visited Maine for the first time last summer, and was taken away by their iconic lighthouses…just like a postcard!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 July 2012 at 1439 - Reply

      Oh yes, Maine has some nice ones. And some that look a little spooky. Or maybe I’ve read too many Stephen King novels…

  26. Christy @ Technosyncratic 23 July 2012 at 2002 - Reply

    I have a soft spot for new-age, hippyish towns… but the real gem seems to be the 100+ lighthouse. Gorgeous photo!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 July 2012 at 1006 - Reply

      Yeah, me too. Very interesting, these alternative towns.

  27. Escaping Abroad 25 July 2012 at 0110 - Reply

    This photo feels dark and cold.. not your first thoughts of Aus.. the dark sky and clouds really set the mood. I like it! If it were darker it would have made a great silhouette shot too!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 July 2012 at 1008 - Reply

      Agreed – dark and cold isn’t the first that comes to mind when thinking of Australia.

  28. Drake 25 July 2012 at 0145 - Reply

    Ok this is a fantastic picture Anne-Sophie! You should make a poster out of it. Would love to see this place by myself sometime.Seems like a great location.


    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 July 2012 at 1008 - Reply

      Maybe I will 🙂

  29. Doc Wends 4 August 2012 at 0917 - Reply

    I love this photos! It is great way to see Australia on the lens. Super love this post.

    Cheers from the Philippines 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 August 2012 at 2103 - Reply

      Thanks, Doc 🙂

  30. Turtle 6 August 2012 at 1821 - Reply

    Great photos! Byron Bay is a fantastic place but unfortunately it has become a bit touristy over the years. The locals are always complaining about the visitors… quite a few residents who want a bit of peace and quiet have moved to other spots along the coast (which, incidentally, are also worth visiting if you’re in the area).

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 August 2012 at 2105 - Reply

      Happens to all great places, doesn’t it.. The world is becoming too small.

  31. Katie Martin 7 August 2012 at 1845 - Reply

    That sounds like a really fun place to stumble upon with your daughter, and it sounds like you are happy you did. I actually think Byron Bay sounds pretty similar in feeling to a small town outside of Hilo, HI on the Big Island called Pahoa. That small town, hippy vibe where everyone just seems to be relaxed all day- it is so interesting, but definitely not somewhere I could live forever. The lighthouse in Byron Bay is surely beautiful- is it easily found or close to the actual city?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 August 2012 at 2107 - Reply

      Easily found in Byron Bay. Hawaii is still unexplored territory to me. One day…

  32. Louise 9 August 2012 at 1041 - Reply

    This is a beautiful photo. And Byron Bay has always been a dream of mine.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 9 August 2012 at 1043 - Reply

      Thanks, Louise. Yes, Byron is one of the legendary places in Australia.

  33. [email protected] tours 3 September 2012 at 0516 - Reply

    Nice photos. I like the photo of the lighthouse. What year were the photos taken?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 September 2012 at 1602 - Reply

      Oh, that would be about 10 years ago. Looking forward to return in not too long (fingers crossed 🙂 )

  34. Christian 6 April 2013 at 1014 - Reply

    Really great photo of the lighthouse. I live near a lighthouse in Denmark, so it’s something homey and safe about them.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 April 2013 at 1048 - Reply

      Lots of lovely light houses in Denmark 🙂

  35. Erich 8 April 2013 at 0915 - Reply

    This hippy corner of Australia is on my list for sure. Then, there’s an even more hippyish place nearby, I’ve heard, supposed to be all counter-culture and radical and … A little like Christiania in Copenhagen. I’ve forgotten the name.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 8 April 2013 at 1049 - Reply

      You might be thinking of Nimbin.

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