Anyone who has heard of Byron Bay, or has had the good fortune of visiting, knows that this coastal town is a well-known haven for those who are a little left of centre.

Located on the north coast of New South Wales, Byron Bay is an easy and enjoyable two-hour drive down from the Queensland capital, Brisbane, and definitely will not disappoint even the most hard-to-please traveller.

The area is renowned for its unique cast of characters, which has led to a number of equally unique attractions to match.

Here we count down the top 5 most curious Byron Bay attractions, and why they have to be seen to be believed.

5. Nimbin

Okay, okay. We know it is 70km west of Byron Bay, but nevertheless, Nimbin is actually promoted heavily as a spot to check out in the Byron Bay district.

If you think Byron is a tad on the eclectic side – wait until you check out the township of Nimbin, a place where things not accepted elsewhere as normal or mainstream are welcomed with open arms. Notorious for its love of cannabis culture (they have a “Mardi Grass” festival), it’s normal to feel as though you are stepping into a parallel universe when you arrive in Nimbin. Check out its peculiar array of museums, galleries, and shops, or dare to try one of their local delicacies.

4. Sunday Markets

If you think Byron Bay’s Sunday markets will be anything like your local arts and crafts market back home – think again. Each and every stall has a touch of the eclectic to it – from tarot readings galore or hemp handmade soaps to make-your-own candles. The local markets are also a great spot to kick back, eat some great food and people-watch to your heart’s content. It’s unlike people-watching anywhere else in Australia.

3. World Naked Bike Ride

If you are travelling through Byron Bay in the month of May, you won’t miss the annual World Naked Bike Ride even if you try. Each year, dozens of Byron Bay residents strip down and ride their bikes naked through the town to raise awareness of cyclist safety. The way they see it, they have to get naked to be noticed by motorists who should be more aware of the vulnerability of cyclists on the road. If nudity isn’t your thing, it may be best to avoid the area on the day the event falls each year.

2. The Crystal Castle

Only a breezy 30-minute drive from the centre of Byron, this secluded area of hinterland feels like a world away. The Crystal Castle is a tranquil escape with beautiful landscapes and serene rainforest walks. It’s a great spot for tourists to take in some local flora and fauna, walk the labyrinth and partake in some self-reflection, buy some energy-recharging crystals or enjoy some healthy food whilst overlooking the breathtaking valley views of the district.

1. Byron Bay itself

You don’t necessarily need to look for activities to keep yourself busy in Byron Bay. The super-alternative vibe of the town means that no matter where you look, you’ll see something that interests or amazes you. Check out the local hippie shops and buy yourself some “happy pants”, take a surfing lesson with a dreadlocked beach lover or simply sit by and watch the world go by. You won’t be disappointed.

Pick up your Thrifty car rental in Ballina and head off on your spiritual quest today.