5 reasons why Evans Head is better than Byron Bay
BYRON Bay may have a lighthouse at the most easterly point in Australia, but if Byron is the flamboyant star of the coast, Evans Head is the quiet beauty.
A place where people come for the coastal serenity, to fish, surf, swim and relax and who find themselves coming back, time and time again.
There are no fire twirlers on the beach or people wearing 50 shades of linen for their Instagram profile. There aren't any penis-shaped sculptures or long queues for ice-cream.
Evans Head is about family. About catching a fish and cooking it the same day on the barbie. It's a place where people unwind, and children play in the tidal flats of the river while greedy pelicans scour their next feed.
Chris Gulaptis MP was quoted in The Northern Star on April 30 in a story about the new $1 million ecofriendly cabins at Reflections Holiday Park. The cabins will help Evans Head become the "new Byron Bay", he said.
Not all the residents were thrilled. They like Evans Head just how it is, thank you very much.
Here are five reasons Evans Head is better than Byron Bay.
As you turn into the main drag at Evans Head, there's usually a car park close by. And it's free. Yes, you heard right. At Byron Bay it will costs you $4 an hour and capped at $20 for all-day parking to get your ice-cream and fish wrap. And that's if you can find a park.
2. Everything is cheaper
A double scoop gelati ice cream cone is the staple of a visit to the beach. At Muzza's Milkbar in Evans Head the ice cream cost $4.
At In the Pink in Byron Bay, after queuing, a double scoop cost $7. Both tasted great, but $3 is big price difference. if you have a few keen kiddies with you.
A fish wrap from the Evans Head Beach Kiosk cost $9, which seemed steep. When the wrap arrived at my beachside table (no queue) it was huge and filled with fish, coleslaw, lettuce and copious amounts of beetroot. The wrap could have easily been shared between two people.
At Fish Heads in Byron with a view of a busy car park, they didn't have a wrap so we had a fish burger. It cost $13. The fish was tasty and there was lettuce and tomato and cheese inside.
It wasn't a patch on the Kiosk wrap.
Holiday stay prices vary at both places. At Evans Head a standard un-powered site cost $44 a night during school holidays. A powered site costs $621. The new fancy cabins at Reflections Holiday park in Evans Head cost an eye-watering $411 a night during peak times. The economy cabin which sleeps four is $144. There are sections of the park you can bring your dog.
It is never cheap to stay on the coast of NSW.
At Byron's Reflections equivalent at Clarkes Beach, no dogs are allowed. A powered site for two adults, two children is $581 for a minimum seven-day stay. A cabin is $275 a night with the deluxe cabins $327 a night.
It looks like going up market in Evans Head Reflections is more expensive which may account for why many new cabins were empty during the school holidays.
Living in Evans Head, rentals average $380 a week for a three-bedroom home, according to LJ Hooker.
The most expensive house sold in Evans Head was $2.4 million.
Compare that to the $18 million home sold at Wategoes Beach in Byron in 2018.
When it comes to renting, the Byron Bay median unit rental price a week is $600 which makes renting more expensive than the state average of $495.
3. Take your dog
There is a wonderful dog beach at Belongil in Byron Bay but it is a lot more crowded than Airforce Beach in Evans Head. Walk the entire stretch of Airforce Beach with your pooch. And getting around Evans with a dog in tow is a hell of a lot easier than Byron.
4. Cycle your way
You can cycle easily around the town, (less traffic) and along the river and breakwater. If you're feeling fit, ride to the lookout at Evans Head.
Without making a big song and dance about it, Evans Head is bike-friendly, skateboard and roller-skate friendly too.
Cycle up to Dirawong Reserve and then walk to the beach. Nature is on your doorstep in Evans Head.
5. Thanks for all the fish
There are so many places to fish in Evans Head. From secluded beach spots to the tidal flats near the river mouth. There are always boats heading out to sea.
At the recent Fishing Classic, families fished together and as the tide turned, a fisherman said that was the best time to catch whiting. Who doesn't love whiting?
And if you miss out on a catch, head to the Fisherman's Co-op for fresh fish and prawns to take home and pretend you caught them yourself. Plenty of parking at the co-op as well.