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After living in the alternative, eco-friendly beach town of Byron Bay for just over 6 months, Kiara Godfrey (29) says she’s starting to understand the subtle undertow of anti-tourist sentiment across the district.
“They just don’t get it,” she says.
“Byron Bay isn’t just a holiday. It’s a lifestyle, a state of mind,”
Kiara is one of the many expatriated city youths that make up 60% percent of the Byron Bay population – and like most, she hasn’t relocated there for work.
Kiara believes the faux-hippy lifestyle of tourists has created a damaging sense of entitlement in the community.
She says it upsets her as a resident who know feels comfortable enough to call Byron home, after speaking to an Aboriginal man at the pub on Sunday.
While still looking for a job, Kiara is currently relying on help from her parents to set herself up. In the meanwhile she is renting a ‘understated little beach shack’ on the main street and spends her afternoons playing bongo drums on the front stoop.
“It’s such a unique culture here” she says.
“It’s such a shame that all these tourists come here with their coffee and surfboards,”
” It’s so pretentious that they think they can pull in from Brisbane and Sydney and just pretend to be like us,”
“They are so transient. They don’t get the real Byron, like I do.”