There’s no other beach town in Australia more iconic than Byron Bay. Located on New South Wales’ northern coast, this famous surf spot is loved for its beautiful weather year-round, pristine beaches and chilled, laid-back vibe. With chic accommodation options aplenty and a buzzing food scene, it really is the perfect beach destination. There’s such a hype around Byron Bay that I often wondered what all the fuss could be about. It wasn’t until I finally went there myself that I realised why it was so special. Discover all the highlights of this famed spot with our guide to Byron Bay, guaranteed to make you fall in love with this place as much as we have.
A quick guide to Byron Bay: Where to eat, stay and play
The most direct way to reach Byron Bay is by flying into nearby Ballina Airport. From here, jump on a shuttle bus or rent a car and drive 30 minutes north. The other main gateway to Byron Bay is from Queensland via the Gold Coast Airport. The drive from here will take you about 50 minutes.
If you love food, frankly, you’re going to want to marry Byron Bay. The food scene here is next-level, with a strong focus on wholesome ingredients, local and seasonal produce and sustainability. Here, clean eating is less of a trend and more a way of life. Cafés like Folk and Bayleaf take brunch to another level and you’ll get the best smoothie bowl of your life at Combi. Be sure to check out our Foodie’s Guide to Byron Bay for all our top recommendations.
Hit the beach
With water this pristine, Byron Bay is every beach bum’s paradise. Although this is one of Australia’s favourite beach destinations, there is more than enough coastline to go around for everyone. Surfers love hitting up The Pass (ranked one of the 15 best surf beaches in Australia), Clarkes Beach and Tallow Beach, while families can choose from beautiful Wategos Beach, Little Wategos Beach and Clarkes Beach. Hit up a new beach every day of the week!
Walk the Cape Byron walking track
The Cape Byron walking track is a pilgrimage that everyone must do when in Byron Bay. Set aside two hours for this gorgeous coastal walk (3.7km return) which takes you through lush rainforest, meanders along rocky clifftops and delivers you to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Cool off with a cold drink at the café here before heading back down. If you’re here between May and October, you might even glimpse the sight of a migrating whale in the ocean below!
Stand on the most easterly point of mainland Australia
The Cape Byron walking track is certainly a sweaty climb so take a rest at the most easterly point of mainland Australia, which is just a few hundred metres from the Byron Bay Lighthouse. In a country as big as Australia, it’s quite the novelty to stand on this point and gaze out to the shimmering South Pacific Ocean. You won’t miss the site – there is a large sign to remind you of where you stand.
Shop your little boho heart out
Byron Bay is every bohemian dreamer’s paradise. You’ll find plenty of little boutiques that will channel the inner gypsy in you. You could easily set aside an entire morning to shop but make sure you hit up our favourites Spell & The Gypsy Collective, Arnhem Clothing, Auguste The Label and Rowie The Label.
Drive into the hinterland
Drive 15 minutes inland from Byron Bay and you’ll find yourself in the lush hinterland. This whole area is stunning. The roads weave their way through lush rainforest and between green, rolling hills of farmland. If you’ve got time up your sleeve and you’re keen to discover the beauty of the region, consider a day trip to Mount Warning, go hiking in the Nightcap National Park or cool off at Minyon Falls.
Time your visit with the Byron Bay Bluesfest
One of Australia’s most acclaimed music festivals, the Byron Bay Bluesfest is the region’s most popular annual event. Attracting thousands of people every year, it’s held just 10 minutes out of town on a tea tree plantation. The artist lineups are fantastic and always attract a lot of press. Throughout the duration of the festival (and the entire Easter weekend for that matter) the whole town is buzzing. Tip: if you plan on visiting Byron Bay during this time, book your accommodation and tickets as early as possible!
Explore the nearby towns
If you just confine yourself to Byron Bay, you’ll sorely be missing out. There are a host of other nearby towns that are definitely worth checking out. Within a 30 minute drive you can find Mullumbimby, Newrybar, Brunswick Heads and Bangalow and, if you journey further afield, Nimbin is also much-loved for its hippie vibes. I loved Bangalow in particular, with its palm-tree lined streets and hip artist collective vibe. Be sure to have brunch at Woods (sister to Byron’s Folk) and browse the cute boutiques afterwards.
The Atlantic Byron Bay
Skip the hotels and opt for a boutique coastal guesthouse experience instead and book a room at The Atlantic Byron Bay. Three unique, plantation-style cottages have been lovingly restored and converted into individually styled guestrooms. Each bright, open-plan cottage has its own communal space with gourmet kitchens and BBQs. Be sure to grab a glass of wine and find a cosy spot by the bonfire lit each night too.
Looking for more inspiration on Australia’s coastal towns? Read these posts next:
- A Foodie’s Guide to Byron Bay
- The Best of Port Macquarie: Where to Eat, Play and Stay
- The ULTIMATE Far North Queensland Bucket List: 68 Things to Do
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