Ahh, Byron Bay, a magical place and where I, Paige, used to call home. I was blessed to go to primary school in Byron and lived there for 6 years before moving to the outskirts. Here are our many tips on visiting Byron and surrounding areas from a local (Me) and a tourist (James). We have also included a few places you need to stop in to for a bite to eat, as well as where to stay!
Table of Contents
What are the must do’s in Byron Bay?
Cape Byron lighthouse
If you’re going to Byron Bay, you must visit the lighthouse! The Cape Byron lighthouse stands on the most easterly point of Australia. It is absolutely stunning and a perfect spot to watch the sunrise or set. You can also enjoy some whale watching, it’s a wonderful place to spot humpbacks on their annual migrations. There are two ways to reach the lighthouse, walking via the Cape Byron loop walk, which consists of 3.7 km of tracks, boardwalks, beach paths and resting points – which offer surreal views. The other way to access the lighthouse is by car, just be careful, as it is paid parking and sometimes super difficult to get a park, almost impossible at sunrise and sunset.
The Pass is a beautiful beach between Clarks and Wategos Beaches, located at the bottom of the lighthouse. It is a famous surf beach, one of the great places in Byron to laze around and soak up some sun and have a swim. We also found it a great spot to watch the sunrise from Fisherman’s Lookout, there was something about watching the surfers catch some waves whilst the sun rose and lit up the world. Fisherman’s Lookout is a small stand-alone rocky outcrop with some stairs going to the top, it’s perched in the middle of the crashing waves and is a great spot to watch the dolphins playing in the water.
Kayaking at Belongil Beach
One of Byron bays many iconic beaches is Belongil. With its expansive stretch of sand, we loved relaxing and enjoying its amazing scenery, its fabulous for picnics and long walks. We would highly recommend renting a kayak to explore Belongils sea life.
Just 25 minutes’ drive from Byron Bay, this stunning waterfall is a must visit! The waterhole is bordered by a hollowed out cliffside which creates a huge cave surrounding the waterhole, with water cascading over it. We loved swimming, listening to the tranquil sounds of the water and hanging out under the powerful waterfall. If you are daring enough we suggest you give it a try! Parking for this fantastic waterfall is located at the end of Killen Falls drive.
The Byron Bay markets are always a highlight of my visits to Byron. They only happen on the first Sunday of every month, so make sure you plan your trip to Byron around that time. Covering several acres, the market offers a vast array of handcrafted wares, locally-grown produce, and artworks of every kind, it is also full of activities for everyone. There’s plenty for the kids to do with candle making, face painting, tie-dying and rides. We loved making candles and tasting all the amazing food and drinks!
Photo Credit: byronbay.com
The Farm at Byron is designed to show you how a farm operates, contributes to a healthier lifestyle and supports the environment. You’ll find The Farm just off the highway as you go into Byron. We would suggest you do a tour of the farm and wander around the grounds. The tour showcases many different and forever changing crops, playful piglets, fluffy highlanders and Bobby the farm’s rooster. In season you can also check out their sunflower paddocks for a great photo opportunity. Three Blue Ducks is the restaurant on site and is a farm-to-table culinary dream. We loved our visit to The Farm!
Protestors Fall is beautiful! The walk is stunning, and we thoroughly enjoyed every part of this walk and didn’t want it to end. The walk takes you in amongst the rainforest, along a nice little creek and down to the spectacular Protestors Falls. This place is amazing and not as busy as other waterfalls around the Byron Bay hinterland. If you go at the right time of day, the sun hits the 25m plunge and it can create a wonderful rainbow at the base. Sorry to say swimming is not allowed to protect some of the endangered frogs. You will find this stunning waterfall 1.5 hours out of Byron Bay towards the town of Nimbin.
Photo Credit: nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/
Whale Watching tour
The best time to go whale watching is from May – November, as the humpback whales are migrating from their feeding grounds near Antarctica to warmer waters up north. We didn’t have a chance to do this while in Byron however we have heard great things about Byron Bay Whale Watching. Their personal tours have a max of 12 customers per tour so are really personal. You are also likely to see many other sea creatures such as dolphins, turtles and many different sea birds. Blue Bay’s vessels are equipped with a hydrophone so you can listen to the Humpback whales amazing whale song. They also offer a whale guarantee ensuring that if you do not see a whale, you can return again.
Photo Credit: Byron Bay Whale Watching
Get Surfing Lessons
What better place to become a pro surfer then the iconic Byron Bay! There are loads of different surfing tours available in Byron Bay that cater to beginners, from 2-hour lessons to weekend getaways. A trip to Byron Bay isn’t complete until you’ve had a surfing lesson.
Photo Credit: Soul Surf School
Lennox Head Tea Tree Lake
Lake Ainsworth is a magical body of water walking distance from the main street of Lennox Head. Lennox Head Is about a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay. The fresh water is dyed dark red-brown by the many tea tree trees that surround the lake. The smooth lake is not only popular for its relaxing tea tree oil-drenched water that does wonders for the skin, but it’s also popular for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and flotation devices of all kinds. As I’m local to the area I have many fond memories of swimming here at many times throughout my life.
Photo Credit: Visit NSW
Watching The Sunrise Over The Sea
Not only are all the beaches in Byron Bay spectacular at any time of the day, but they are also even more beautiful during sunrise. We loved taking a picnic blanket, our coffees and some chill tunes down to any of the beaches to watch the sunrise. It’s such a perfect way to start any morning in Byron, you might even get to watch some dolphins swim by or a local guy or gal doing some yoga, and who know maybe you could join in!
Live Music at the Rails
Sadly, I didn’t get to take James to The Railway Friendly Bar to listen to some live music as we didn’t have a baby sitter for Oliver. However, some of my fondest memories from my younger years are grabbing dinner in town on a Friday with my mum and heading over to the rails, listening to live tunes for hours. It wouldn’t be a Byron Bay trip if you don’t make it to the Rails.
Photo Credit: The Railway Friendly Bar
Sky Diving Over the Bay
The best way to view Byron Bay would have to be from the sky! I’m not a huge thrill seeker, however growing up I’ve had many of my friends go sky diving over the bay and they had only great things to share! I couldn’t think of a better place to jump out of a plane, I can only imagine the view would be worth all the fear. Definitely, when in Byron check out the sky diving options.
Many travellers come to Australia to experience breathtaking swimming spots and that is exactly what all the beaches in Byron Bay are. Little Wategos Beach, The Pass, Whites Beach and Clarkes Beach are some of my favourites. They’re stunning, clean, sheltered and family friendly – what more could you ask for.
Climb Mt Warning
You will find the start of the Mount Warning trail about one and a half hours away from Byron. It’s a gentle hike, the only semi-difficult part would be the short rope climb at the end. It’s a great idea to take some torches and do the climb so you make it to the top for sunrise. There is something special about making it to the top just in time to watch everything below you light up with a magical pale pink and orange light.
Viewpoint over Byron
A place you should stop at if given the chance would have to be Scarrabellotti’s Lookout. The lookout is on the way to the hinterland of Byron. You can see all of Byron from this lookout point from way up in the hills, you can even spot Julia Rocks and the lighthouse! the view is spectacular. You will find this lookout point on Coolamon Scenic Drive on the corner of Hinterland Way.
This swimming hole is pretty amazing! It’s filled with super blue water and it could be the bluest water I’ve ever seen. There is no filter needed when you come to this place! I have been swimming here for years and every time is as good as the last, if not better. Make sure you bring some shade equipment and a flotation device for maximum fun. As you are coming into Bexhill from Byron, the quarry is on the right after the Corndale Rd turn off. You’ll find parks just behind a bus stop, look for an overgrown entrance and a track, then follow the track up to the quarry. Side note the swimming hole is on private property and swimming here is at your own risk.
Eating out in Byron Bay
Folk Byron Bay
Folk Byron Bay is one of those groovy places you hate to leave. With their amazing vegetarian and plant-based food, lush atmosphere and hip tunes we couldn’t get enough of this place. Neither of us are vegan or vego however we enjoyed our time here all the same, we definitely left feeling full and super healthy.
This isn’t your typical roadhouse! The Roadhouse is just out of Byron and is one of those places you go to and can’t decide what to eat or drink because everything sounds and looks fantastic. The place has an amazing vibe and is open for all-day breakfast/lunch and wed-sat it’s open for Dinner and drinks.
You haven’t lived until you have tried a burger from Belo’s. Their classic chicken burger with chilli and a side of chips, or chicken strips and chips is liking dying and going to heaven. It’s so amazing that every time we visit family in Byron, we head to Belo’s once or twice amongst our trip. Out of anywhere in the Northern Rivers, this was even Paige’s birthday lunch pick. Their signature aioli x chilli dipping sauce is out of this world!
Where to stay in Byron Bay?
Elements of Byron
This nothing short of fabulous eco-friendly 5 Star resort would be our top pick for staying in Byron! It’s situated on the beachfront and is equipped with many luxurious and spacious villas. The resort has eight different villa styles to choose from, depending on your needs there is a perfect option to suit you. This luxurious retreat is set up for serious family fun as well, with beach frontage, a lagoon pool, an adventure playground and even babysitting options. The old Byron Bay train line has been restored specifically to give guests an easy way to go directly to town, meaning you can leave the car!
The Lord Byron
The Lord Byron isn’t just your usual motel, it is actually refreshingly stylish and chic. But the best bit? Its located right in the middle of town so the beaches, cafes and stores are all only a short walk away. But if your feeling more adventurous, they also provide free bicycle (and surfboard) hire! Everyone will fall in love with the epic pool and hot tub, as well as full-size tennis court.
28 Degrees Byron Bay
You will find this well-appointed guesthouse just 2 minutes from the main part of town. Offering a range of extremely well-appointed rooms from the luxurious French Linen to the complimentary locally sourced minibar. Room types vary from offering a private plunge pool or views of the lighthouse. However, there is also a communal lap pool. Little touches like the free hire of beach towels, umbrellas and bikes make you feel like you are staying at home, albeit likely in much better surroundings!
Want to see more of the best places to stay in Byron Bay? Check here to see all your options!
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