Just south of Brisbane lies Byron Bay, a place to hang out, enjoy a beer and take in the surf. Its temperate water makes it a haven for snorkelers and surfers alike. The bay itself is the most easterly shoulder of land on Australia's east coast. If you stand at sunset at the far end of the beach, you might think you've fallen through a gap in the universe and landed in paradise.
Byron Bay is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Visit a spa or yoga retreat and eat fresh seafood and home-grown greens, sold directly by the people who grow it.
You can learn to surf and scuba dive or go snorkelling around Julian Rocks – one of Australia's top dive locations. If diving isn't your thing, try mountain biking along the country lanes that snake up into the hills, or pick up a sea kayak to tame the waves. If you prefer a gentler sport, try golf – the courses around Byron Bay aren't expensive.
See in the evening with excellent live music. The pubs and clubs are legendary and include the famous Beach Hotel on the waterfront, Byron Bay Premium Brewery and the ever-glam Buddha Bar.
The environmental ethos of Noosa, a shire on the Sunshine Coast, has allowed its beaches, national parklands, state forests and reservoirs to remain protected and pristine.
With a large push toward ecotourism, it draws about 250,000 visitors, many of whom come to enjoy the sparkling Noosa River each year. More than one million people tread the well-kept walking trails within Noosa National Park annually to see its unique coastal vegetation and rugged cliff-top views. With sheltered bays and coves along the Noosa Headland, it is an extraordinary sight.
The seaside haven hosts a handful of events – The Noosa Jazz Festival, Noosa Food and Wine Festival and Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival – without compromising this precious environment. Careful planning with local businesses and groups ensure the festivals make as little impact on the environment as possible. It's an ethos that can be reflected in Noosaville's award-winning restaurants and cafés in more ways than one.