What are your favourite things to do in both the Byron Bay and Melbourne areas?
May 28, 2009 4:02 PM   Subscribe

What are your favourite things to do in both the Byron Bay and Melbourne areas?

I've been living in New Zealand for the past year, and am now making my next move to Australia. I've got a trip planned at the beginning of July with two of my best friends from NZ. It's the last time I'll see them for a while so I want to make this a really great and memorable trip!

Another travelling friend of ours had a very romantic view of Byron Bay, it was her favourite place in the world -- so we're planning on spending a week there, then flying to Melbourne and spending another week.

I'm in my late 20s, my friends are in their early 20s, and they haven't travelled overseas without their families before. What are some really fun and memorable things we can do in both these places?

posted by Flying Squirrel to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven't been to Melbourne yet, but the last time I was in Byron Bay I stayed at the Arts Factory and had an amazing time. It's a hostel, and I had a great time sleeping in the tepee and the magic bus, but if shared housing is not your thing there's also single and double rooms and these amazing bungalows along a little river path.
They have art classes, a movie theater and a restaurant on the premises. It's also only about a 10 minute walk to the beach and the cute little downtown where there is shopping and more restaurants. The walk up to the lighthouse is also a nice one, depending on the time of year.
I could easily fill up a week in Byron by hanging on the beach and doing some activities at the Arts Factory. It's very relaxing.
posted by KissesGalore at 4:40 PM on May 28, 2009

I'm not sure when you're planning on arriving in Byron, but keep in mind it could be quite busy during the lead-up to the Splendour in the Grass festival (link) during the 25th and 26th of July. A lot of festival goers head up there a week or more earlier and everything books out real fast.

As for things to do there, beaches are the obvious choice however there are much nicer ones if you travel a little north.

I'll be travelling to Melbourne shortly as well and everyone raves on about how nice St. Kilda is (although it obviously won't be as beachy in July).

Good luck with your trip!
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 4:46 PM on May 28, 2009

Take a trip into the Byron Bay hinterland to see some beautiful rainforests and valleys. Avoid Nimbin, but drop in to one of the other 'alternative lifestyle' towns like Uki, Tuntable Falls or The Channon. Bangalow is also a nice little town to visit and has a great pub to have a quiet afternoon beer in.

Climb Mount Warning in the dark and be the first person in Australia to see the sunrise.

The beaches at Byron are beautiful, but those at Lennox Head (south) and Brunswick Heads (north) are also beautiful.

I also did an ultralight aircraft trip over Byron Bay one time and that was awesome. There's also paragliding and hanggliding if you're into that sort of thing
posted by girlgenius at 4:53 PM on May 28, 2009

For clarity: all those things in my first answer were for Byron Bay.
posted by girlgenius at 4:54 PM on May 28, 2009

The Beach bar (I think that's what is called) seemed to be playing pretty great live music the entire time I was in Byron. Could have lucked out, but probably worth checking out anyhow. I hear you can see dolphins at one of the beaches (not the main beach, but around the bend below the lighthouse). I biked up to the lighthouse - which was great. Coming back downhill with no brakes was a little less great.

Melbourne - Great Ocean Road/Grampions is most definitely worth doing. You can see Little Penguins in St. Kilda at night, I'm told.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:01 PM on May 28, 2009

Make sure you travel inland from Byron to have a look around, the Gold Coast/ Northern NSW hinterland is god's own country.

Melbourne- Williamstown, Camberwell markets on a Sunday morning, Victoria Markets on Saturday morning, The John Brack exhibition at the NGV (fed square) is good, the NGV itslef is good for a look, Southbank on Saturday afternoon is good, see a game of football at the MCG is good, viatnamese noodle soup in Footstcay or Victoria street is good, wool museum in geelong is surprisingly good, antique shops in Ballarat are cool, Bendigo is worth a visit. Ricket's sancturary in the dandenongs is cool, and really different. It will be snowing, so drive up to Donna Buang, snow in the Australian bush is something else. On the way stop at Warburton- pretty mountain town, on the way back stop at Healsaville, another pretty town with grat pubs with big fireplaces.

Heaps to do
posted by mattoxic at 6:50 PM on May 28, 2009

Melbourne in your 20s for a week in July? It's going to be a bit dark and cold, though no colder than wundy wullington or ChCh.

Go out and get drunk, see some live music. Espy in St Kilda, or Brunswick St in Fitzroy.

See a footy match at the MCG?

You like art? Fed Square's got the Ian Potter gallery (free entry) and just down the road is the NGV for international stuff.

Some people like shopping and reckon Melbourne's really good for it, but I don't really know what they're on about.

The multicultural food is pretty good here, unquestionably better than Auckland (though not that much better than Wellington.

Arrange a MeFi meetup?
posted by wilful at 9:05 PM on May 28, 2009

wilful is on the money

the 112 tram goes from brunswick st, through the city and out to st kilda.

brunswick street and st kilda are the most fun places to be at night. There are great places in the city too, but you're probably better off to get talking to some locals who can show you round.

some people like the nightclubs on king st, i'm not one of them.
but I really like the laneways. It's fun to find your way to the croft institute late at night just for the 'is there really any thing down this wierd creepy laneway - are we lost? - experience'

if you're on public transport or taxi, victoria st richmond, is probably easier to get to for great viet food than footscray.
If you're doing things on the cheap, its hard to beat shanghai dumpling on tatterstalls lane - careful though, there's another place with a similar name further down the hill, opposite gaylord restaurant.
posted by compound eye at 10:25 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

The three posts above me are pretty much on the money. Check out Three Thousand for anything else that may appeal.

The Age can also point you in the direction of decent places to eat and general goings on about town.

That's Melbourne can probably help you out too.

Definitely the NGV - incredibly inspiring and explore the laneways in the city. You never know what you'll come across. And a night at the Espy is highly recommended, if live music is your thing.

Weather wise - it isn't awesome in winter. Your best friend will be an umbrella.
posted by WayOutWest at 2:27 AM on May 29, 2009

I can second the Art's Factory as an awesome place to stay in Byron Bay, very nice, clean, and unique hostel. This isn't actually in Byron, but Jim's Alternative Tours are a fun way to check out Nimbin and some of the surrounding beautiful landscape. Jim is a pretty funny guy, and he has a great soundtrack for the trip on his bus. Definitely a step above your normal "touristy" tour. Nimbin is almost a must see, whether you're going to sample some of the local flavor or not, its like no where else I've ever been. Minyon falls is very beautiful, and the crazy hippy's estate is beautiful, albeit more than a little bizarre. Overall, it's a very memorable and fun way to spend a day.
posted by KilgoreTrout at 11:00 AM on May 29, 2009

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne are beautiful for a picnic or a stroll, they have guided tours and sometimes Shakespear performances etc, check "what's on"

A lot of visitors really like the restaurants on Southbank (city) because it's a nice view at night.
posted by Chrysalis at 3:48 PM on May 29, 2009

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