The ultimate Byron Bay travel guide

Broken Head Beach, Byron Bay

Mia Woolrich

Posted December 10, 2021


This gem of northern New South Wales offers it all, from world-class music and dining to pristine beaches and lush rainforests.

From a 70s surfer and hippie haven to now being touted as the ‘new Hollywood’, Byron Bay has no doubt seen its fair share of action over the years.

While these days it wouldn’t be uncommon to find yourself waiting alongside an A-list celeb for your morning coffee at one of Byron’s world-class eateries, that’s not to say this once sleepy northern NSW town has lost the charm that put it on the map in the first place.

We’re pleased to report that the combi vans are still there, as are the laid-back surfers, the magnificent lighthouse, the freshest farm-to-table produce, and the long stretches of white sand beaches.

Byron truly has something for everyone, and while you could no doubt keep entertained just staying put in town, popping into the local designer boutiques or listening to some of the world’s best buskers, some of the real gems lie just a short drive away.

Here’s our guide to the region- what to see, what to do, and what to eat.

What to do in Byron Bay


SEE

Cape Byron Lighthouse

Perched on Australia’s most easterly point, Byron’s iconic lighthouse offers breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean and inland over lush national parks.

To get the full experience and a serious sweat up, the walking track from Clarkes Beach at the end of town will take you for a 3.7km loop up to the lighthouse and back.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for residents along the way - wallabies, bush turkeys, dolphins, and whales are all frequently sighted. Sunrise or sunset are the best times to go to beat the heat and see the sky turn some magical hues and driving up to the top is always an option too.

Live music: buskers, the pub and Bluesfest

For a small town, Byron’s music scene is world renowned. Just take a post-dinner walk and you’ll likely catch some phenomenally talented local buskers drawing a big crowd.

The Beach Hotel, or the ‘Beachy’ if you want to sound like a real local, also offers a great line-up of live acts, and is the perfect place to perch up on a Sunday arvo, wine in hand.

For lovers of blues and roots music, the Byron Bay Bluesfest is held every Easter and showcases some of the world’s best artists.

 

Cape Bryon light house

Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay. Credit: Destination NSW

DO

Shop, shop, shop

While Byron is well known for its bohemian style, there’s something for every shopper in the area. Explore town by foot, where you’ll find boutique after boutique of local designers, surf wear, homewares, and small galleries.

Byron’s creative hub lies just out of town at the new Arts and Industrial Estate, a hidden gem showcasing one-off boutiques, wellness spas, cafes and a brewery.

The charming town of Bangalow in the Byron Shire hinterland is also well worth the short drive for a wander down the palm-lined main strip. Here you’ll find some unique shops offering locally made ceramics, understated luxury clothes, and carefully curated antiques.

Check out more attractions and experiences waiting to be had in Byron Bay, like surf lessons, whale watching tours and more.

Explore the natural beauty of the Hinterland

From green rolling hills to lush rainforests, Byron’s hinterland is a nature lover’s paradise. Particularly worth exploring is ancient World Heritage-listed rainforest in Nightcap National Park, where you’ll find walking trails to suit any level of fitness.

The park is also home to a number of stunning waterfalls, so don’t forget to throw the togs in the daypack. For the more adventurous explorer, a trip up to the summit of Mount Warning is well worth the effort. Set the alarm clock for before dawn and take the two hour-ish climb to the top to get the first glimpse of the sunrise in mainland Australia. The panoramic views over the ocean and Byron township down below are simply breathtaking.

Lounge the day away at a pristine beach

If spending a lazy afternoon on the beach is more your holiday style, the Byron area has you covered. One of the prettiest spots close to town is Wategos Beach, which is patrolled in summer, and offers some cruisy longboard waves for the surfing enthusiast.

Brunswick Heads, just a short drive from Byron, also offers a calm and safe swim spot where the mouth of the Brunswick River meets the coast.

 

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay. Credit: Destination NSW

EAT

Farm-to table

The combination of world-class chefs and the most fertile soil offering the freshest produce means the Byron area is home to some seriously good food.

There’s something for every taste and budget too, whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite at one of the township’s many cafes or enjoy a long lunch at one of the area’s fine dining establishments.

The most quintessentially ‘Byron’ pick would have to be The Farm, where you can grab some fresh produce for a picnic or indulge in some of the area’s best farm-to-table dining, all while taking in the picturesque surroundings of the 80-acre working farm.

Go nuts

Don’t forget to sample one of the area’s most prized products- the macadamia nut. The town of Alstonville, about a half-hour drive from Byron, is the macadamia capital of Australia and here you’ll be able to buy buckets of the buttery delights at farm gate stalls for just a few dollars.

 

The Farm, Byron Bay

The Farm, Byron Bay. Credit: Destination NSW

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