The coastal town of Byron Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia. Best known for its laid-back hipster vibes, stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and the iconic lighthouse.
Tourists love Byron Bay, and so do the locals who confidently say they live in one of the best places in Australia.
For those planning a trip to Byron Bay, this guide will cover the best things to do in Byron Bay, places to stay and other travel tips.
Things to do in Byron Bay
Enjoy the Byron Bay beaches
The beaches in Byron Bay are some of the best in the world. Yep, that’s right. Not just the best in Australia but the best in the world.
The most popular beaches in Byron Bay are Main Beach, The Pass, Wategos Beach and Tallows Beach.
All of the beaches are incredible, but my top pick is Wategos Beach.
Snorkel at Julian Rocks – or Scuba Dive
Julian Rocks is a world class snorkelling and diving destination. It is a protected reserve for the gentle natured Grey Nurse Shark and is home to Sea Turtles and a diversity of marine life.
Surf Byron’s Waves
It wouldn’t be a trip to Bryon Bay if you didn’t surf at least once.
Whether you are a seasoned surfer or a beginner, you will be able to find a wave in Byron Bay.
Local companies offer surf lessons, or you can choose to rent a board and go out on your own.
The pass is a popular place to surf in Byron Bay.
Watch the sunrise
Sunrise is the most magical time of day in Byron Bay. The sun rises directly over the ocean and is best enjoyed on the beachfront or from the lighthouse.
Sunset is also amazing!
Go for a walk
Walking around Byron Bay is one of the best ways to take in all the town has to offer. You could take a long beach walk with your feet on the sand, or you can follow the Cape Byron walking track which leads you all the way from town to the lighthouse. This is a local’s favourite.
If you do plan to take the walking track, allow plenty of time because there are lots of beaches to stop in and enjoy along the way.
Visit the Cape Byron Light House
The Byron Bay lighthouse was built back in 1901 and is best known as the most Eastern Point of Mainland Australia. The lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions in Byron Bay, offering incredible views of the region.
You can walk up to the lighthouse, or you can drive. Parking is available at the top, but it is limited and you must pay.
Go whale and dolphin watching
Humpback whales migrate past Byron Bay from May to November, so during that time you can head up to the lighthouse and if you keep an eye out for long enough, you will see them passing. You can spot dolphins year-round. Or you can book a whale watching cruise here.
Kayaking tours are very popular in Byron Bay. On most kayaking tours you will see dolphins and sea turtles. Kayaking tours generally start from $70.
Visit the local Byron Bay markets
Byron Bay hosts a number of markets, such as the Byron Bay Artisan Market (October to March, every Saturday night), Byron Bay Markets (first Sunday of every month) & Byron Bay Farmer’s Market (every Thursday morning).
The markets are a popular attraction in Byron Bay and a great place to try local produce and find local brands.
Explore Byron Bay by bike
One of the best ways to get around Byron Bay is on a bike, which you can hire from town. By bike you can explore the beaches and rainforest surrounding town, at a slower pace. A helmet is recommended for safety.
Party in Byron Bay
Byron Bay may seem like a sleepy coastal down, but you can be sure that it has a thriving nightlife. The Beach Hotel is a great place to start the night.
Indulge in Byron Bay’s café scene
Byron Bay is home to incredible cafes and restaurants, making the destination a foodie’s dream.
Visit the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve
Just a ten-minute walk from Byron is the Cumbebin Wetland Nature Reserve, a pocket of rejuvenated wetlands. There is a boardwalk that runs through the swamplands where you can enjoy a short walk and admire the local birds and vegetation.
Skydive Byron Bay
Skydiving over Byron Bay will get your blood pumping and give you views you won’t get anywhere else. You can book a skydiving tour here.
Adventure to waterfalls surrounding Byron Bay
Byron Bay isn’t a destination people come to for waterfalls, but the region surrounding Byron Bay has some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Australia.
To explore the waterfalls, you will need to hire a car.
Byron Bay is full of boutique shops filled with amazing brands. If you are into fashion, you will love shopping in Byron Bay.
Disclaimer – this one could be dangerous on the wallet.
Day trips from Byron Bay
If you have the luxury of plenty of time to spare in Byron Bay, and you’re looking to do some day trips, these are the best!
Day trip to Nimbin
Nimbin is one of the most unique towns in Australia, best known for its funny smelling cigarettes if you get what I mean. If that is your thing, you will enjoy a trip to Nimbin. The drive through the Byron Bay hinterland to Nimbin is incredible.
Day trip to Lennox Head
Lennox Head is another small coastal town just 25 minutes South of Byron Bay. Lennox Head has the same stunning beaches as Byron, with fewer crowds.
If you day trip to Lennox Head, don’t miss Lake Ainsworth. Lake Ainsworth is a refreshing tea tree lake that you swim in.
Day trip to Brunswick Heads
Brunswick Heads is the town 15 minutes north of Byron Bay, best known for its inviting river and Brunswick hotel. The Brunswick Hotel hosts amazing bands that attract many people from all over the region.
In Byron Bays hinterland you will find Crystal Castle, which is home to some of the most beautiful crystals in the world. Visitors can wander through 5 hectares of botanical gardens and rainforest, discovering a huge collection of crystals along the way.
Mullumbimby and Kiva Spa
Mullumbimby, locally known as Mullum, is one of Byron Bays hinterland towns. The adorable town is one of the most laid back in Australia, and worth a visit if you have a spare day in Byron Bay.
For those looking to relax, Kiva Spa should be on your itinerary. Kiva Spa has spa baths, a sauna, steam room and cold pool. For just $25 you can enjoy the facilities and relax. Afterwards, head to the local pub for a beer where you will be greeted by the friendly laid back locals.
Springbrook National Park
If you are looking for even more hinterland adventures, a trip to Springbrook National Park will not disappoint. The drive to Springbrook National Park will be just over an hour each way.
For the ultimate Springbrook National Park bucket list, click here.
Mount Warning is the highest peak in the Northern NSW region and the first place that sees the sun in Australia. Because of this, it is a popular sunrise hike, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
The hike to the top of Mount Warning is strenuous, at 9km return and taking 2 – 5 hours to complete.
For a complete guide to hiking Mount Warning, click here.
To book a tour to Mount Warning, click here.
Byron Bay Tours
Where to stay in Byron Bay
Byron Bay has a range of hotels, Airbnbs and hostels to choose from.
When looking for accommodation in Byron Bay, the ideal place to stay is in the centre of town, along Main Beach, especially if you don’t have a car.
I recently stayed at the Terraces in Byron Bay and highly recommend it.
The Byron Bay Terraces are located in the centre of town, just 100 metres from the beach. They come equipped with a full kitchen and laundry facilities, making it ideal for those who are coming for a longer stay, or with a family. You can book your stay here.
Getting to Byron Bay
Byron Bay is approximately a one hour drive South of the Gold Coast. If you are coming from afar, the Gold Coast airport is most likely where you will fly into. From the Gold Coast Airport, you can hire a car or arrange a transfer to Byron Bay.
Once in Byron Bay, you can walk around the town, hire a bike or rent a car. Having a car will allow you to experience all the region has to offer.
Public transport is limited.
Best time to visit Byron bay
Byron Bay is great at any time of the year. In my opinion the best time to visit is in Spring (September to November) or Autumn (March to May). During these times you will enjoy perfect temperatures and low rainfall. Summer can get extremely hot and busy, and winter can get quite cold.
But you could happily visit Byron Bay at any time of the year.
Camping near Byron Bay
If you will be camping in Byron Bay, there are plenty of options.
There is a campsite in the centre of town and many on the outskirts.
The only option you don’t have is free camping as local authorities have a strict policy that is frequently policed.
For a full guide on the best camping gear, click here.
Planning your trip to Australia
If you are in the process of planning a trip to Australia, this article will tell you everything you need to know about visiting. Including visas, flights, accommodation, budget, itineraries and more.
Other tips for visiting Byron Bay
- Having a car will allow you to explore more of the area. In my opinion, you are missing out if you don’t explore the Byron Bay hinterland.
- 3 – 5 days is the perfect amount of time to stay in Byron Bay.
- Bring good vibes only!
- Respect the locals.