The magic of Byron Bay is something the town can claim exclusively as its own. Byron Bay calls to people from all walks of life, as it offers something special to literally everyone. From mountains and volcanoes to ancient rainforests and sublime beaches, the land alone is enough reason for a visit. Byron Bay hasn’t stopped there though.
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Alongside the region’s epic nature, you can expect to find yourself immersed in a vibrant energy that won’t want to let you go. Spectacular sunrises mark the start of a new day filled with a whole host of things to do in Byron Bay for its myriad of grateful inhabitants.
People flock here from all around the world to experience the alternative lifestyles and diverse schools of thought. Clean living is big here, so you can find plenty of healthy organic cuisine and countless outdoor activities in Byron Bay… and on the other hand, there are lots of great breweries, distilleries, clubs and bars in Byron Bay!
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT BYRON BAY
It’s a good idea to come to Byron Bay from September to November if the weather is a top priority. At this time you’ll find the most comfortable temperatures, and rainfall is at its lowest (aka perfect weather for long days lounging at the beaches at Byron Bay).
Cost-wise, you’ll spend less cash if you arrive between June and August. Flights will be less, as will rates for the best hotels in Byron Bay. Plus there won’t be quite so many fellow travelers filling the streets.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN BYRON BAY
Check out the beaches at Byron Bay
It’s no secret that the beaches at Byron Bay are incredible, so it would be remiss not to check them out on a visit here! People come to the beaches for various reasons; not least of which is the superior surfing opportunities.
Sunbathing is an obvious reason, as is swimming, snorkeling, diving, and watersports at the beaches at Byron Bay. Sailing and kayaking are popular, especially as a way to see bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales; head to Cape Byron Marine Park or Julian Rocks for the latter.
It’s common to see people meditating and doing yoga on the beaches at Byron Bay, so if serenity is your goal, get down to Beachside Yoga and Massage. Otherwise, riding horses on Seven Mile Beach is one of the more popular activities Byron Bay has to offer. Don’t forget to check out the right-hand point break, The Pass, situated between the Cape Byron Headland and Main Beach.
Explore the hinterland, rainforests and national parks
One way to experience Byron Bay’s famous hinterland is by driving the maze of scenic back routes, passing quaint historic villages and ancient rainforests that have earned World Heritage status.
This land is also characterized by emerald green hills and farmland – there’s simply nothing here that isn’t beautiful. You’ll also find communities dedicated to alternative living and sustainability, and with that comes excellent dining opportunities and cool shops.
If you fancy venturing into the Gondawa rainforest national parks, you have five to choose from in the hinterland: Wollumbin, Mebbin, Border Ranges, Limpinwood, and Nightcap.
The walks are carved out for you so there’s no fear of getting lost. You can take anything from quick stroll to a 35-mile scenic drive. Either way, you’ll encounter incredible landscapes dotted with stunning palms, ferns, orchids and glittering streams. It won’t take you long to see why visiting the hinterlands, and rainforests are some the best things to do in Byron Bay.
Pamper yourself Byron Bay style
Byron Bay is now pretty famous for its diverse collection of therapists. Here you can find healers of all kinds: naturopaths, body workers and even psychics, aura readers, astrologers, and palmists.
If you are looking for restorative things to do in Byron Bay you can relax with a massage treatment, some aromatherapy or reflexology, or an energy healing session. There is even iridology and kinesiology on the menu. Byron Medicine Wheel has a fair few of these all under one roof, so it’s worth checking out.
Among the even more alternative treatments offered are drumming workshops, belly dancing, music and art therapy and quantum alignment. Naturally, Byron Bay has an abundance of spas, which you can pop into for a treatment or an entire day.
Drink gin and rum while saving the rainforest
Another of Byron Bay’s attraction is artisan distilleries and craft beer breweries. There are some independent breweries and distilleries with ethical intentions; they’re always giving something back to the land, so these breweries are a great choice for a tasting experience.
A brewery worth mentioning is Husk Distillers – they take an environmentally friendly approach to their business by only using farm-grown ingredients.
They then feed their distillery waste back to the cattle, and the cycle continues. They also create sensational drinks of a caliber you won’t find elsewhere. Here you can sample their delicious ink gin, Agricole rum and a range of top quality spirits.
Get into the hippie vibe at Nimbin town
Ever since the Aquarius Festival of 1973, Nimbin, a serene dairy farming town, has been a haven for hippies. You’ll need to head about 40 miles out of Byron Bay for this one, but it’s worth a trip.
This place is all about alternative living, and generally, the farms are operating in an eco-friendly way. Sustainability is a top priority, so it’s all permaculture, co-ops, organic and biodynamic farming. Art is a big thing here, so you can see psychedelic painting all over the streets.
Hippies love hemp, so there’s a shop here dedicated to hemp clothing and gifts. Visit the cafes offering exceptional vegan food and treats, as well as delicious local coffee and cake.
BEST PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK IN BYRON BAY
Byron Bay is jam-packed with amazing cafes and restaurants. So much so, it’s hard to pinpoint the best coffee Byron Bay has to offer or the best cafe in Byron Bay (but I’ll try). You could never go hungry, and you’ll always find a satisfying meal, no matter the dietary requirements.
Orgasmic, Bay Lane
Orgasmic is famous for the best falafels in town. Here you’ll find friendly staff, outdoor seating, reasonable prices ($12 for a falafel pita with a glass of lemonade), and good portion sizes. You can even get a free sample if you want to try before you buy.
Look out for the delicious platters and pita pockets. They serve chicken kebabs for meat eaters, as well as great hummus and baba ganoush. The vegetables are very fresh and you can ask staff for vegan recommendations if you’re not a meat eater.
If you’re looking for something special, check out The Roadhouse. Although it’s on the way out of Byron Bay, it definitely won’t disappoint. The exposed brickwork, open fireplace and ambient lighting make for a classy atmosphere at any time of day.
During the day, The Roadhouse is an organic wholefoods café. Many locals even claim it is the best cafe in Byron Bay. Go there for lunch and you can dine on lamb cutlets, spicy tacos or vegan/veggie options like sharing platters with sauerkraut and fermented cheese.
If you head there in the evening, you’ll find it has transformed into a whiskey and cocktail den. A must-add to your list of bars in Byron Bay to go to. You can even get alcoholic beverages with a healthy twist; the ‘Tusk’ is made up of coconut water with Kraken spiced rum.
Byron Beach Café
Clarkes Beach is a hotspot in itself, so the chances are you’ll want to head there during your visit.Byron Beach Café is as good a reason to go there as any (another best coffee Byron Bay contender). Here you’ll have a great opportunity to watch the world go by, as it looks out onto the beach. Inside, there are walls crafted from wood collected from Sydney Harbour’s piers and a retractable roof.
The menu is varied. The spanner crab tortellini is popular, you can get fish and chips, or try the best coffee Byron Bay has to offer. There are some very tasty salads for vegans and vegetarians, too. The salt and pepper tofu salad is probably the best on the menu.
Other great cafes to visit are Combi for its vegan pancakes, Folk for their lovely smashed avocado and greens, Three Blue Ducks for huge picnic hampers, or tasty sourdough and cheese by The Bread Social.
BEST HOTELS IN BYRON BAY
As is the case with cafes, restaurants, and bars in Byron Bar there are so many that we’d have a hard time covering them all! Depending on your budget, you might want to splash out on something special for a few days.
Elements of Byron Bay is something special if you like beach-front vibes and natural landscapes. The resort is committed to sustainable design with a minimal 10% building footprint, using the environment to minimize maintenance and irrigation tasks.
They have preserved existing vegetation while planting 65,000 native trees and plants. It’s an eco-friendly resort with traveler experience in mind. It will cost you at least $245 per night for a room or villa, but it’s a stay you won’t forget! It might just be the best place to stay Byron Bay for it’s laidback luxury and sustainable efforts.
The budget options are just as cool in their own right, so don’t worry if you can’t stretch to that. There’s always the Arts Factory Lodge, which is situated behind the Pighouse Flicks cinema – somewhere that should probably also feature on your itinerary. The hostel is also close to one of my favourite bars in Byron Bay- the Byron Bay Brewery.
Arts Factory Lodge is a relaxed hostel where travelers while away a few hours on hammocks by the pool. You can choose from dorms and camping options – there are even teepees if you like a bit of novelty. There’s an onsite café and a kitchen in the hostel if you want to cook. Activities at the Byron Bay Arts Factory Lodge include talent shows, yoga and reiki, drumming sessions, didgeridoo lessons and bush tucker walks. The most you’ll pay is $34 a night for a dorm bed.
Next up is Byron Bay YHA, a member of the local tourism organization that is making a big effort to reduce its environmental footprint via conservation and sustainable practices and services. This place tackles energy and greenhouse gas reduction with a solar hot water system and low energy lighting.
It also conserves water with rainwater tanks, has dual flush toilets, and drought resistant planting in the gardens. Recycling is a big thing, as is organic waste recycling. You can also rent bicycles here, instead of using less sustainable modes of transport.
You can stay in this hostel for $26 per night. It’s been recently renovated so you can make the most of lovely new private ensuite rooms, a tropical pool oasis, and some amazing murals. Expect resort vibes; it’s a chilled, relaxing hang out place.
Find and book these hotels on our favourite accommodation search website: Booking.com
HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD YOU SPEND IN BYRON BAY?
Four or five days is a good amount of time for a short trip to Byron Bay. Spend less and you’ll have a hard time cramming in all of the best things to do in Byron Bay on one trip… and it’s always better to take your time in a chilled out town like this one.
The longer you can spend, the better, of course, but four to five days should give you time to experience most of the things I’ve recommended. Whatever you choose to do, you can’t fail to have heaps of fun in Byron Bay!
Author’s Bio: Cal Bailey runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after two years of backpacking around the world. Cal embraced all of the world’s beauty, and is happy to share his thoughts and views of the places he visited.