Byron Bay is a testament to Australia’s laidback lifestyle,with its sunny beaches, great surf spots and fresh seafood. But during the holiday seasons, when people flock to this coastal hotspot, the traffic and people can drive you mad.
If you are looking for alternative places to sit back, relax and leave the crazy crowds behind, read on.
We have 13 equally beautiful beach towns within and beyond Australia that offer as much as Byron Bay in their own unique ways.
How much does Byron Bay cost?
Flight time from Australia: 1 hour and 20 minutes (from Sydney to Gold Coast Airport, non-stop plus 45 minute transfer)
Average flight price from Australia: $293 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $124 return)
Mission Beach is one of the closest mainland access points to the Great Barrier Reef, sitting halfway between Cairns and Townsville on the map. The quiet beachside village is home to an excellent reef, rainforests and untouched beaches. Mission Beach is also home to the endangered cassowary.
Flight time from Australia: 2 hours and 20 minutes (from, Brisbane to Cairns Airport, non-stop plus 1.5-3 hour transfer)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $290 return (cheapest flights are from Brisbane where the average fare is $184 return)
This town in Western Australia was known for its pearling industry. Today, the pristine waters, wide empty beaches and unique camel rides at sunset make it one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations.
Flight time from Australia: 2 hours and 35 minutes (from Perth, non-stop)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $644 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $369 return)
Merimbula is a mecca for all water activities with its wide range of lakes and beaches. Known as the Jewel of the Sapphire Coast, it draws visitors from all over with its breathtaking natural beauty. Be sure to visit the local wineries and taste locally grown oysters that showcase the fresh seafood of the region.
Flight time from Australia: 1 hour and 10 minutes (from Sydney, non-stop)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $537 return (cheapest flights are from Melbourne where the average fare is $329 return)
This Victorian beach town marks the start of the Surf Coast and the Great Ocean Road, one of the country’s most spectacular coastal drives. This area is lso one of the world’s most renowned surfing spots, with visitors flocking here to watch the world’s best compete in the famed Rip Curl Pro.
Flight time from Australia: 1 hour and 20 minutes (from Adelaide, non-stop)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $357 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $94)
Port Stephens is a large natural harbour located in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. Its wonderful beaches and sheltered bays make it the perfect spot for swimming, snorkelling and kayaking. The small towns in the area are also ideal places to stay and dine.
Flight time from Australia: 45 minutes (from Sydney to Newcastle Airport, non-stop plus 25-minute drive)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $255 return (cheapest flights are from Brisbane where the average fare is $148)
This swanky resort town is surrounded by beaches, national parks and a river. Noosa is perfect if you are looking for unspoilt coastlines and excellent water-based activities such as fishing or surfing.
Flight time from Australia: 1 hour and 35 minutes (from Sydney to Maroochydore Airport, non-stop plus 30-minute drive)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $357 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $191 return)
Isolated from the mainland and accessible only by boat, this tiny peninsula has sun, sea, lush jungles and limestone crags that cater to the adventurous. Railay is the ultimate jungle gym for rock climbing enthusiasts and is also the perfect place to lay back and relax in this tropical paradise with plenty of beachside eateries and seaside bars.
Flight time from Australia: 9 hours and 30 minutes (from Perth, 1+ stops)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $657 return (cheapest flights are from Perth where the average fare is $459 return)
The coastline of Goa stretches along the Arabian Sea with its golden, sandy beaches. The area’s known for a laid-back tropical vibe and nightlife, and has embedded itself in hippie backpacking culture. It’s also rich in history: you can still find evidence of Portuguese colonizations in its cavalcades of 16th century buildings.
Flight time from Australia: 30 hours and 5 minutes (from Perth, 1+ stops)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $884 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $810 return)
This Cambodian city lies halfway between Thailand and Vietnam on a coastline often explored by tourists on 100cc motorcycles. The beaches may not be Southeast Asia’s finest but the laid-back atmosphere, abundance of budget accommodation and seaside BBQ joints provide a great escape from your typical beach bum crowds.
Flight time from Australia: 8 hours and 25 minutes (from Perth, 1+ stops)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $791 return (cheapest flights are from Sydney where the average fare is $663 return)
The surf capital of Canada is a spot of stunning beauty and ecological diversity. If surfing the waves is not your cup of tea, explore the ancient rainforest trails and come face to face with natural wonders that are over 1,500 years in age. You cans also browse the locally owned shops for hidden gems - you won’t find any chain stores here.
Flight time from Australia: 14 hours and 15 minutes (from Sydney to Vancouver, non-stop plus 5.5 hour drive or an additional 45 minute flight)
Average flight price from Australia/price range: $1106 return (cheapest flights are from Melbourne where the average fare is $1000 return)
Ready to fly? Book using these travel coupons and deals:
Father's Day sale: $30 off site-wide with code
Valid for use on driving experiences, flying experiences, water sports and more. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and more. Minimum spend of $149 applies. T&Cs apply.
Valid for travel from 8 July 2019 - 31 January 2020, including over Christmas. Destinations include Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific Islands, China, Thailand, Singapore, Maldives and more. T&Cs apply.
Valid for travel on select dates until May 2020 with Avis, Budget, Sixt, Europcar and more. Destinations close from Gold Coast include Brisbane, Toowoomba, Lamington National Park and more. T&Cs apply.
Up to 50% off Father's Day experiences and activities
Valid until 1 September 2019 for activities like hot air ballooning, skydiving, horse riding, surf lessons, scuba diving, theme parks and more. Destinations are Sydney, Perth, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Melbourne. T&Cs apply.
$500 off 16-day Canada & Alaska cruises with flights
Valid for travel between May - September 2020. Destinations include Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Vancouver, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria BC and Seattle. Includes return flights from Sydney or Melbourne, cruising on Celebrity Solstice, daily meals, hotel accommodation and more. T&Cs apply.
Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Vancouver, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria BC, Seattle, Las Vegas and more. Includes return flights from Sydney or Melbourne, daily meals, hotel transfers, cruises and more. T&Cs apply.
Australia flights for ski holidays from $155 each way
Valid for travel on select dates. Sample fare is Sydney-Canberra with Virgin Australia. Other nearby ski resorts include Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Jindabyne, Snowy Mountains, Perisher and Selwyn Snowfields.
Valid for travel on select dates between August - December 2019 until sold out. Destinations include Laos, Borneo, Indochina, Myanmar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Japan, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.
Food, drink and hotel costs sourced from: Numbeo.com and Hotel Finder. Hotel price based on a per-night price in January 2019 quoted on 30 December 2019. Prices are based on a per-night rate for a 5-night stay at a 3-star hotel in the above destinations. We used the dates 17-21 January 2019 as a guide.
Alex Keshen is the global travel publisher at Finder and has been living, breathing and, of course, writing about all things travel for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada and has appeared in Travel Weekly and the Huffington Post. A master of maximising her annual leave and finding the best bargains around, she can’t remember the last time her backpack weighed more than 10kg and is happy to share her tips and tricks to help you travel better.
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