Whale Watching Excursion

Students from Germany, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Mexico, Thailand at the lighthouse. (Thanks to Julika for the photo).

It’s whale watching season here in Byron Bay! We love this time of year. From July till early November Humpback Whales swim past Cape Byron during their northern migration to Queensland. We are so lucky here because Byron Bay is one of the best locations in Australia to see the whales. Great viewing spots are at the lighthouse and Main Beach.


At Australia’s most eastern point. This is one of the best places to see whales.

This week our Intermediate class spent a couple of hours watching and counting the whales from the Byron Bay lighthouse. They had a beautiful morning in the winter sunshine and saw quite a lot of whales close to the shore. We love providing our students with the opportunity to study together in the outdoors. It encourages learning in a natural context and helps them understand a little more about the local culture.

It’s not too late to join us here during the whale watching season. If you would like to know more about our courses please contact us at info@bbels.com.au or visit our website.



Meet the Staff: Max the Activities Manager


In our latest instalment of Meet the Staff we are happy to introduce you to Max. Max is a positive force at BBELS, tirelessly organising sport and cultural activities for the students after class and at the weekends. It is often during these activities that our students get to know each other in a relaxed and fun environment.

Max, tell us a little bit about yourself. Are you originally from Byron Bay?

No, I grew up in Sydney. I came to Byron with a band I was playing with at the time. And then I decided to stay 🙂

How long have you been working at BBELS? I started in August 2003 and was only meant to be here for 2 months.  It’s been a long and exciting 2 months 😉

What other fields did you work in before you started working at BBELS?  Before I started my job here at BBELS I worked as a Drama teacher at one of the local High Schools. Before that I worked as an actor for 10 years


Why would you recommend a student to come to our school?

Because there is no other place in the world like Byron. Your experience at BBELS will change your life forever and for the better.

As the activities manager, tell us a little bit about the activities and parties at school.

Well where to start … we have got a wide range of activities here at BBELS. Surfing of course has to be the No.1.  Byron is one of the surfing capitals of the world and for beginners it’s a very safe place to learn surfing . We love the beach and we have many activities that are beach and ocean related. Scuba diving is amazing and even comparable to the Great Barrier Reef. Kayaking on a sunny morning with the dolphins is wonderful and some Beach Volleyball in the afternoon always goes down well. Basically Byron Bay is a very sporty and cultural town, so there are many activities to take part in. As for our School Parties, well they are world famous (!!!) with live music where students get to showcase their talents and unwind with new friends from all over the world!!!


What are some things you’d recommend students to do while they are here in the Byron Bay Region?

Take a bus trip into the hills in the hinterland. Visit the local markets, especially early in the morning. Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron. If you like it, go mountain-biking in the rainforest. Talk to the locals in town. And last but not least be open-minded and speak English as much as you can!

Byron Bay from the air

Byron from South

Looking north to Cape Byron, Australia’s most eastern point.

How lucky we are to live in Byron Bay! With its beautiful beaches, warm climate, small population and healthy lifestyle Byron Bay really is the best place to live, work and study.

This week our school Director took some photos of Byron Bay and its neighbouring regions as he flew over the town in a gyrocopter. The photos show you how our little town is surrounded by long stretches of coastal forest and heathland, and let’s not forget our uncrowded surfing beaches.

P1000234Looking south to Broken Head Nature Reserve and the nearby neighbourhood of Suffolk Park.

Many of our homestay families live in Suffolk Park, just a short bike ride to Byron Bay. The surfing along this beach can be quite good for more experienced surfers and is a perfect place to watch the sunrise.


Broken Head Nature Reserve

Teachers at Byron Bay English Language School often take their students to Broken Head to study the local environment and the Indigenous history of the area. We believe that our students become happier living in Byron Bay when they learn more about its social, environmental and historical context.


Wategos Beach and Cape Byron Lighthouse

One of the best ways to start the day is to walk along Wategos Beach up to Cape Byron. Here you can catch the first sun to reach Australia each morning. You can also see spectacular sunsets from this point. Our teachers regularly take their students to watch whales, dolphins and stingrays swimming through the clear blue water. It’s always a magical experience for both the students and teachers.

These photos only show a small part of this picturesque region, there is still so much more to see here. It really is a perfect place to balance study with travel.

Byron Bay English Language School: Student Interviews, part one.

heiko and maria
Maria and Heiko at BBELS.

This week Caroline’s Upper-intermediate class interviewed each other as a way to practise reported speech. Caroline was so impressed with the students’ work that we have posted a selection of it on our blog. The interviews reflect the experiences of the students who come to study at our school in Byron Bay.

The first interview was between Maria and Heiko.


Today I’m here at Byron Bay English School (BBELS) in Byron Bay meeting Maria from Barcelona.
I began by asking her how long she is staying in Byron Bay. Maria expained that she will stay for seven months. She arrived in Australia on the 15th of September and began her studies at this time.

Her travel plan sounds fantastic – she is going to take a break from her studies on the 11th of December to travel around Australia for two months. In February she will continue her studies at BBELS for another month before she departs Australia at the end of March.

I wanted to know where she is living in Byron. She told me that she used to live in a share house before she bought her campervan. Now she is living in the van and loves to go and visit the stunning places around Byron in her free time and at the weekend.

At this moment I realised I was speaking to a real expert who finds out all the awesome places to visit here on the East Coast of Australia so my next question to her was, “What have you seen in Byron and this region?”
Maria recommended that a “must do” is to go to the lighthouse and have a walk on the walking track there. She explained that there are amazing views of the ocean, the beaches, The Arakwal National Park and Byron Bay itself.
Other terrific things are to walk to the top of Mt Warning, which is the highest mountain in the region and the point where the first rays of the sun meet the Australian mainland every morning. Also breathtaking are the abundant waterfalls in the region, for example “Minyon Falls” near Federal.

Maria looks very sporty so I asked her which sports activities she recommends here. Her suggestions came promptly. She said that everyone should try dolphin kayaking, surfing and local sports like cricket. I also wanted to know where I could meet other students or local people. Maria answered that it is really easy to get to know other people. Everywhere you go people want to help you or talk to you. She added that it was easy to meet other students at the school and learn about other cultures.

Byron Bay also has plenty of international restaurants and I wanted to know which kinds of food Maria liked the most. Maria explained that restaurants were too expensive for her however she loved local tropical fruit, especially mangoes.

Finally I had a last question to Maria. I asked her where you can find the best music in town. Maria said that it would be dependent on what kind of music you like. There are so many places where you can find excellent musicians playing their own songs. She advised me not to miss all the music festivals too.
I’m absolutely impressed by the variety of fabulous information I received. I’m very grateful as I say goodbye to the enchanting Maria from Spain.

(Heiko from Germany)

In our next post we will introduce you to two more students from this class. We hope that you can come here and enjoy the same experiences that Maria has described in this interview.

BBELS Travel Desk

Our travel expert Reuben talks about his job here at BBELS and how he can help you plan the perfect trip…

1. How long have you been working at BBELS?
I’ve been working here for 9 months now. I started in October last year.

2. What are your tasks at BBELS?
My main job here is to organise student travel. But I also help Max, our activity coordinator, with the activities and bikes.

3. What makes your job special? Why do you love it?
Definitely the people! Meeting people from all over the world is really special for me. I see our students every day, so I get to know them really well. That’s why I always want to make sure that they are happy and I put together the right trip for them.

4. Which tours do the students like the most? Which ones are the most booked?
The East Coast tours are definitely the most popular tours with Fraser Island, the Whitsunday Islands, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. But also city trips to Sydney and Melbourne and trips to Uluru are very popular.

5. What advantages do students get if they book through you?
We provide a total travel service. We are able to book every aspect of your trip: your flights, buses, transfer, and activities. I think many of our students are surprised how cheap we can offer these things. We are only here to help our students. That’s why we can offer everything at better prices.
Furthermore, I am here every day, so I’m always available to answer questions, make changes etc.
In general we have the principal that we never book anything that our students could book for themselves. Our students can be sure that they are not paying too much when they book with us!
6. Do you enjoy helping students to book their travel dreams, after their studies at BBELS? Do students thank you for your support (e.g. postcards)?
I get lots of nice emails and postcards which is a lovely feeling. I also get to see many students when they return to Byron Bay after their travels. It is always great to hear that they had a fantastic time and everything worked perfectly.
Being able to provide a quality service is very important to me. That’s why it is very special for me to know that they really enjoyed their time in Australia.

7. Is there something you would recommend to all BBELS students?
There are really so many interesting places to see in Australia. My personal favourite is the East Coast, especially the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
But everybody is different and that is what makes my job so much fun!

Reuben Travel 2

Dolphin Spotting

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Intermediate Class did a bit of dolphin spotting last week at Ballina.

Caroline, their wonderful teacher, took them on a tour of Ballina and it’s lovely beaches.

Having a school van means students can see more of the Byron Shire than just Byron Bay.

Ballina is a great place for shopping and it also has some great surfing spots..

Just another day in Byron Bay in winter!!!