DOWNLOAD AND PRINT YOUR FREE BYRON BAY TRAVEL GUIDE!
“Cheer up. Slow down. Chill out.” This is the very sign that welcomes you to Byron Bay. And there truly is no other subtropical coastal town in Australia quite like Byron Bay. Known for its hippie, laid back approach to life and its outstanding natural beauty, Byron Bay also happens to be Australia’s most easterly point; perfect to catch those first rays of sunlight each morning.
Whether it’s the glassy waves rolling in set after set, the burgeoning foodie scene, the year round perfect weather conditions, the organic food available at the fresh farmers markets, or the ‘out of towners’ setting up shop and opening cool little boutiques, Byron Bay has been attracting sea changers, celebrities, holidaymakers, new locals, backpackers and festival-goers for years. And set against lush green tropical volcanic hills, its no surprise Byron Bay is one of my favourite destinations in Australia.
I recently went on a relaxed, no fuss road trip from Sydney in New South Wales (NSW), to my new home on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland (QLD), and stopped in Byron Bay for several days along the way. What I love most about Byron Bay is that it’s the perfect holiday destination for anyone – young couples, groups of friends, families and solo travellers. Additionally, what draws most people to Byron Bay isn’t necessarily what’s happening in town, but in the surrounding beaches and hinterland area. With that in mind, I’ve written your ultimate Byron Bay travel guide, which you can also download for free, print and take with you on your next road trip to this gorgeous region.
WHERE TO STAY
If there one thing you don’t have to worry about in Byron Bay, it’s where to stay. But that’s if you book early. No matter what your budget, there is lots of accommodation to choose from, however it can be a little overwhelming.
My best advice would be to decide whether or not you want to stay in the town of Byron Bay, or at one of the surrounding laid back coastal towns, such as Brunswick Heads, Lennox Heads, Suffolk Park, Broken Head or Tallows Beach. You also have the option to stay in the hinterland and wake up to rolling green hills and dairy farms.
When I was in Byron, I stayed at Villas of Byron Bay and booked my accommodation through luxury boutique accommodation booking website Alluxia.com. I always use Alluxia when I am looking for accommodation that is a little more special, such as a villa, lodge or cabin. And if this is a little out of your budget, Alluxia has plenty of other gorgeous places to stay in Byron Bay and the surrounding areas. Tip: Book early! If you don’t, you run the risk of paying ‘through the roof’ prices or accommodation completely selling out.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Cape Byron Bay Start your day by enjoying a morning hike from Clark’s Beach, over to Wategos and up to the iconic lighthouse at Cape Byron Bay for incredible vistas of the coast. If you’re an early morning person like me, start your walk 30 minutes before sunrise so you can enjoy a spectacular sun light show along the way.
Wategos Beach Back in the day, Wategos was my favourite beach in Byron but now I tend to favour the vastness of Tallows Beach. However, if you’re looking to spot a celeb or want a bit more atmosphere, definitely spend a day swimming in the water and laying underneath the sun at Wategos.
The Pass Be like every other tourist in Byron Bay and learn to surf at The Pass. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who can surf, so hire a foamy and give it a go. If you’re a touch nervous of the waves, there are plenty of Surf Schools to choose from. Also, everyone is super chilled out at The Pass, so you shouldn’t run into any overprotective locals getting angry at learners dropping in on their waves.
Clarks Beach This is the main beach in Byron Bay and probably the one most frequented by visitors for its central location. I actually avoid this beach, however if you’re lucky, you may catch one very friendly local marking out a sculpture in the sand in the early hours of the morning. Entirely weather dependent and how the artist feels each morning, this sand sculpture is not always on show. So don’t be disappointed if you don’t see it over the course of a few days. Keep going back to try your luck, and hopefully you’ll get to see it!
Tallows Beach This is by far my favourite little beach break in Byron Bay. It’s secluded, quiet and is also my favourite spot for watching the moonrise on sunset. Organise a group of friends or your loved ones, grab a few blankets and pull a cheese platter together (with obligatory bubbles of course) to enjoy sunset. During summer, NSW has daylight savings – lucky! This means the sun is up for an hour longer than QLD, which is great as it makes the days last even longer and sunset even more beautiful as it’s later in the evening.
Bangalow and Mullumbimby Skip the intense crowds that Byron Bay is known for on weekends and holidays, jump in the car and do a day trip around Bangalow and Mullumbimby in the hinterland region. My best advice? Have no destination in mind, just drive up and down the rolling hills and enjoy the beautiful views. Pack a picnic or enjoy lunch at some of the places I’ve listed below.
Brunswick Heads This little coastal town is somewhat of a local secret; so don’t expect to see many tourists here. And that’s its charm. If you’re getting tired of the crowds in Byron, definitely jump in the car and spend a day exploring Brunswick Heads, swimming in the creek and grab some grub at Yami.
Protestors Waterfall This is a little secret spot of mine and I am totally happy to share it with you. If you want to get your nature hit, make sure you head out to Protestors Waterfall. I won’t spoil it for you…but you will LOVE it.
PLACES TO SHOP
Church Farm General Store www.churchfarmgeneralstore.com One of my favourite spots in the Byron Bay region, the Church Farm General Store started out as a vegetable farm and now sells its homegrown produce and handmade products.
Driftlab www.driftlab.com.au If you’re looking to make a holiday wardrobe purchase without dropping ridiculous amounts of cash, Driftlab will have what you need. Personally it’s a bit of a hit and miss, but I have found the occasional treasure.
Mullumbimby Farmers Markets www.mullumfarmersmarket.org.au The Byron Bay region has some of the best local organic produce I’ve ever seen, and if you’re a foodie like me, a morning at the Mullumbimby Markets is a morning well spent.
Jumanji www.jumanji.com.au Calling all green, and not so green thumbs! If you’re looking to buy a lush green potted friend, look no further than Jumanji, located right in the heart of Byron Bay. They grow and source a variety of indoor potted plants, so if you’re a hipster from Sydney looking for a Fiddle leaf Fig, these are the guys you need to speak to. The website is average but their Instagram (@jumanjidesignerplantsco) is stunning, so head there first to get an idea of their amazing offering!
Spell & The Gypsy Collective www.shop.spelldesigns.com.au Pretty much a boho chic institution, I am pretty sure every girl who holidays in Byron Bay will leave with a piece from Spell packed in their suitcase. Over the last year or so, I’ve personally shied away from Spell as I prefer a more minimalist look. However if you’re looking for an intrinsic Byron Bay wardrobe experience, Spell is a must visit!
Mr Simple www.mrsimple.com.au I have to admit it; I like guys clothes better than girls clothes. And Mr Simple knows how to make very good guys clothes, especially for the guy who like to adventure, hike and explore. I bought an oversized white knitted jumper from Mr Simple and it was my staple all winter!
Hope & May www.hopeandmay.com My favourite shop in the Byron Bay region! I could spend hours, and lots of cash, here – and I do. Preferring to spend more money on my home interiors than clothes at the moment, I never walk about of Hope & May empty handed. Make sure you check out their Instagram (@hopeandmay) too, it’s wanderlust envy in the palm of your hand!
Afends www.afends.com Cool clothes without the price tag. What more could you want! And I’m sure you’re not surprised, but I love the mens fashion best here!
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Folk www.instagram.com/folkbyronbay This is the place in Byron Bay to get breakfast. And like many people on Instagram, you haven’t eaten it if you haven’t Instagrammed it. So yes, you can guess the food is pretty and delicious as it sounds. To make sure you get the best of both worlds, share a few plates.
The Farm www.thefarmbyronbay.com.au Easily my favourite place in Byron Bay to eat and wander, The Farm had recently opened when I was in town and I literally had one of the best lunch experiences of my life at Three Blue Ducks. Whilst it may be little on the expensive side, what it lacks in affordability, it makes up in deliciousness and ambience. After lunch, walk the grounds of The Farm and say hello to the chickens in their big coop at the end of the farm. This place is heaven for parents as the guys behind The Farm have also created a very cool play set for the little kids.
Harvest www.harvestcafe.com.au For a trip out of Byron Bay and for a breakfast which will make your taste buds dance, make sure you go to Harvest. After your meal, make sure you pop into the little deli as well. You’ll easily walk out with a selection of cheeses, cold meats and fresh bread in your arms.
Mavis’ Kitchen www.maviseskitchen.com.au If you want a true hinterland experience, look no further than Mavis’s Kitchen. Although book ahead! It can get very busy. And hopefully it doesn’t rain, because it has been known to be unreachable when the creeks overflow.
Footbridge Café www.facebook.com/BrunswickHeadsFootbridge Known for it’s fresh, tasty, seaonsal menu, this is a little local hotspot loved by many Byron Bay locals who drive 20 minutes up the coast to enjoy a meal here. The chai here is utterly perfect as is everything on the menu.
Rae’s www.raesonwategos.com If you are looking for something a bit more fancy on the foodie scale, look no further than Rae’s at Wategos Beach. Bring the cash and make a booking right on sunset. You won’t be disappointed!
Yo Flo www.facebook.com/yoflo.yoghurt Owned by a friend of a friend, Yo Flo is some of the best frozen yoghurt I’ve tried. Simply choose your yoghurt, natural or flavoured, pile on the healthy or no so healthy condiments, get your cup weighed, pay and enjoy till your hearts content!
The Treehouse www.treehouseonbelongil.com This little gem in Belongil is one of my favourites. A hippie café set amongst a grove of trees, The Treehouse will delight all of your senses. Don’t be fooled by their website or Instagram – just get out there and enjoy one of the best meals of your life.
The Topshop www.facebook.com/TopShopByronBay Served out of a tiny house in Byron Bay, join the hipsters and hippies basking on the grass out the front. I don’t drink coffee but I’ve been told its great here.
Yami’s www.facebook.com/YamiVegetarian If you love vegetarian and want falafals, then Yami’s is the only place to get them. Don’t be fooled by the simple setting and deck at Brunswick Heads, get inside and order everything you can. Oh! And order the Calmer Sutra Chai. Trust me.
Download and print for free from here: Byron Bay Travel Guide by Mister Weekender
The outdoor shower was my favourite thing to come home to. Alluxia always knows my style!