Byron Bay, NSW
The wave-rich North Coast is the Yin to the Gold Coast’s Yang. Less developed, it’s a nostalgic throwback to simple “soul surfing” on retro equipment for fun rather than career advancement. Byron Bay is where the first generation of counter-culture surfers fled from the city in the late ’60s and early ’70s, renting old farmhouses for a pittance and shaping boards in semi-derelict dairy sheds. These days it’s a stop on the backpacker circuit where salty old surfing legends mix with surf-school learners and supermodels at Byron’s packed point breaks.