Byron Bay is bursting at the seams: Coastal town struggles with influx of celebrities and tourists

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Byron Bay is increasingly becoming a hotspot for tourists and celebrities alike due to its laid-back culture, beautiful beaches and A-list locals.

But it appears the coastal town in northern New South Wales is struggling to keep up with the influx of newcomers arriving from big cities.

Locals tell Daily Mail Australia that a combination of factors – including poor infrastructure, COVID-19 and the Hollywood spotlight – has made Byron Bay a less desirable place to live. 

Byron Bay is bursting at the seams: How the coastal town is struggling to cope with the influx of celebrities, tourists and wannabe locals looking for real estate

Byron Bay is bursting at the seams: How the coastal town is struggling to cope with the influx of celebrities, tourists and wannabe locals looking for real estate

Byron Shire has a population of close to 30,000, while the town of Byron Bay has a population of about 9,000.

With limited facilities in the area for its usual population, many services and businesses are busier than ever before.

Some gyms are no longer signing on new clients, in part due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions, but also due to overwhelming demand from new arrivals.

Locals say they are now waiting much longer for appointments at hair and beauty salons as locals and visitors compete for bookings.

Get in quick: Restaurant walk-ins at Byron's most popular eateries are also virtually impossible, and bookings are now required in advance. Pictured: Byron Bay's Treehouse restaurant

Get in quick: Restaurant walk-ins at Byron’s most popular eateries are also virtually impossible, and bookings are now required in advance. Pictured: Byron Bay’s Treehouse restaurant

Place to be: Byron Bay is increasingly becoming a hotspot for tourists and celebrities alike due to its laid-back culture and beautiful beaches. Pictured: Byron's newest resident Zac Efron

Place to be: Byron Bay is increasingly becoming a hotspot for tourists and celebrities alike due to its laid-back culture and beautiful beaches. Pictured: Byron’s newest resident Zac Efron

Restaurant walk-ins at Byron’s most popular eateries are also virtually impossible, and bookings are now required in advance.

Traffic has also become progressively busier.

A taxi driver told Daily Mail Australia last week there were less than 20 cabbies in town, and the phone lines often have to be turned off when it’s too busy.

Locals say there are just a handful of Uber drivers in the area, resulting in delays and inflated fares.

In the past, Uber drivers from the Gold Coast would work in the area, but Queensland’s border closure put a stop to that.

Getting around: A taxi driver told Daily Mail Australia last week there were less than 20 cabbies in town, and only a limited amount of Ubers

Getting around: A taxi driver told Daily Mail Australia last week there were less than 20 cabbies in town, and only a limited amount of Ubers

Ray White real estate agent Matthew McCormack says the market is the strongest and most competitive it has been in five years.

‘It’s cut-throat at the moment, you’ve got to have your cash ready to go,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

With interstate and international buyers focusing on Byron, properties are apparently being snapped up sight unseen or via Zoom inspections. 

‘The council is not very proactive with developments, and that’s preventing people from building here,’ Mr McCormack added.

'It's cut-throat at the moment': Ray White real estate agent Matthew McCormack says the market is the strongest and most competitive it has been in five years. Pictured: Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth at their mega-mansion in Brokens Head

 ‘It’s cut-throat at the moment’: Ray White real estate agent Matthew McCormack says the market is the strongest and most competitive it has been in five years. Pictured: Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth at their mega-mansion in Brokens Head

'The council is not very proactive with developments, and that's preventing people from building here': With interstate and international buyers focusing on Byron, properties are apparently being snapped up sight unseen or via Zoom inspections

‘The council is not very proactive with developments, and that’s preventing people from building here’: With interstate and international buyers focusing on Byron, properties are apparently being snapped up sight unseen or via Zoom inspections

Making the move: With more people wanting to move to Byron, Matthew said the demand for long-and short-term rentals has increased and outstripped the number of available properties

Making the move: With more people wanting to move to Byron, Matthew said the demand for long-and short-term rentals has increased and outstripped the number of available properties

With more people wanting to move to Byron, Matthew said the demand for long-and short-term rentals has increased and outstripped the number of available properties.

Nicole Kidman’s latest TV project has also taken 60 holiday homes and rentals off the market for six months, he added.

The Oscar winner is filming Nine Perfect Strangers in the region, and the production is expected to inject millions into the local economy and create hundreds of jobs.

There are three separate productions underway in Byron at the moment, attracting further cast and crew to the region.

Hollywood, Down Under! Nicole Kidman's latest TV project has also taken 60 holiday homes and rentals off the market for six months, he added. The production is expected to inject millions into the local economy and create hundreds of jobs

Hollywood, Down Under! Nicole Kidman’s latest TV project has also taken 60 holiday homes and rentals off the market for six months, he added. The production is expected to inject millions into the local economy and create hundreds of jobs

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