Thousands of teenagers have kicked off the start of their Schoolies week in style with Byron Bay packed with Year 12 leavers keen to let their hair down after a school year blighted by Covid.
The northerntown was buzzing with graduating Victorian Year 12 students on Saturday night, who began their celebrations as their counterparts wrapped up their week of partying on the .
With the Queensland border still shut tohotspots, students from Victoria have chosen Byron as their ideal location to let loose.
NSW’s departing Year 12 students will get their own chance to let their hair down in the tourist town next weekend.
One group of young revellers cooled off with a dip in the ocean to get their week-long party started, while others took some time out on the grass near the town’s famous beach.
Making a splash! Schoolies in Byron Bay has well and truly kicked off as revellers jump into the ocean to celebrate the end of school
Time out: A group of girls are seen looking after their mate during the first night of Schoolies in Byron Bay this weekend
Party time! Thousands of teenagers have descended onto the beach town for the start of a week of revelry
The town was buzzing with graduating Victorian Year 12 students on Saturday night, the first day of the second week of the end of year celebrations
Midnight swim? Some Schoolies decided to take a midnight swim in the ocean as the gear up for a week of partying
A group of friends are seen enjoying a swim in the ocean and joke around in the surf in Byron Bay on Saturday night
Schoolies revellers were earlier seen wheeling packed trolleys down the street as they gear up for a week of celebrations.
A queue spilling down the street was seen outside a popular beachfront pub on Saturday night while police on horseback kept a watchful eye.
The young teens dressed to impress as they headed out for the night to celebrate an end to a year most would rather forget.
School was disrupted for many Year 12 students around the country this year thanks to the outbreak of the Covid Delta strain and subsequent lockdowns.
But not even the pandemic was enough to dampen their spirits.
Strike a pose! A group of Schoolies are seen smiling for the camera together as they head out for the night in Byron Bay
The spirits were high for these three revellers on Saturday night as thousands headed out into the town in Byron
Anyone for pizza? One young woman is seen picking up five boxes of pizzas during a week of Schoolies in Byron
Stocking up: Many were seen collecting some groceries on Saturday. A woman in blue is pictured wheeling a trolley with a Vodka Crusier box inside
A group of mates are seen walking along the pavement in Byron Bay wheeling packed trolleys filled with drinks and supplies for the week ahead
Police are seen speaking to some Schoolies participants as they enjoy their night in Byron Bay on Saturday night
Schoolies madness: A large queue outside the popular Byron Beach hotel was seen from early on Saturday evening
Security guards are seen checking the IDs of teenagers visiting the popular Byron Bay pub in front of the ocean on Saturday night
Last week saw Schoolies officially kick off in the Gold Coast, which police said was the best year on record in terms of arrests.
During the seven days, 28 school leavers and 88 non-school leavers otherwise known as ‘Toolies’ were arrested – half as many as in previous years.
The celebrations in Byron, however got off to a miserable start for some after it was revealed on Wednesday night a positive Covid case had been working at the Aquarius backpackers hostel.
A total of 81 guests and staff have been locked down in the hostel with police guarding the premises to ensure nobody leaves.
Police officers riding on horseback were seen patrolling the streets of Byron Bay’s main centre on Saturday night
Time to kill: Lines to get into various clubs and pubs around the town filled up early on Saturday
Some Schoolies revellers are seen chatting to some police officers on horseback
Snack break: A group of girls are seen enjoying a snack as they celebrate the end of their schooling years
Schoolies came after a horror year where students were forced to home-school due to Covid
Thousands of teens will spend the next week partying in Byron Bay
Smile for the camera! Schoolies marks the end of a horror year filled with Covid lockdowns
Let the celebrations begin! A trio of girls are seen heading out for the night in Byron
It’s believed the unvaccinated positive case had possibly entered every room in the hostel.
Police have sealed off the building with no-one allowed out after all guests and staff were deemed close contacts by NSW Health which has escalated the crisis.
Everyone in the hostel could now face at least 14 days in isolation there if they have not been vaccinated, and will be repeatedly tested throughout the lockdown.
Even double-jabbed guests and staff will need to stay at the hostel for seven days without leaving while they are monitored and tested, before being able to walk free if they test negative on day six.
It was all smiles out in Byron Bay in northern NSW tonight with hundreds taking to the streets
Rejoice! Many celebrated an end to a horror year amid the pandemic but spirits were high
Boys night: A group of Schoolies look ready for the night ahead as the week kicks off in style
Schoolies attracts thousands of leaving high schoolers every year
Hang on! Two friends are seen trying to coordinate riding a swing together as Schoolies kicks off
Oops! One man laughs as he stumbles to the ground with a can in his hand as Schoolies week begins for many
The unvaccinated employee who sparked the alert is believed to have come to Byron from Victoria to work at the hostel.
One guest from North Queensland told the ABC: ‘She has probably been in every room, so, yeah…’
‘I don’t want it, it’s pretty scary, pretty serious,’ one Melbourne man shouted from his balcony at the hostel.
Police have mounted an armed guard on backpackers’ hostel Aquarius in Byron Bay (pictured) to lock down 81 guests after an employee tested positive to Covid
More than 80 backpackers at a Byron Bay hostel on the NSW north coast have been placed into a week-long lockdown after a guest tested positive to Covid-19
Guests were delivered pizza for dinner from the local Dominos on Wednesday night before a truck delivered breakfast boxes – including apple juice, corn flakes, milk, fruit cups and water – for the trapped guests on Thursday morning.
NSW Health confirmed to Daily Mail Australia the lockdown was initially for 48 hours but has since been upgraded after investigations revealed the possible serious extent of the infection.
Some 80.9 per cent of residents in the Byron Bay local government area are fully vaccinated.
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