Located between Brisbane and Sydney of Australia's eastern coast, Byron Bay is a gorgeous beach town known for its sweeping ocean views, incredible surf breaks, and relaxed atmosphere.
As you step out of the car and the salty air hits your nostrils, it's impossible not to smile knowing everything that awaits you: sunrises at the beach, days spent sunbathing, and meals with freshly sourced ingredients. On top of beach activities, Byron Bay is located just 30 minutes from lush rainforests like Nightcap National Park.
Whether you're spending a day or a weekend, here are the 9 best things to do in Byron Bay.
Sunrise At Cape Byron Lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse is the poster child for this little beach town. Cape Byron is also the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.
From here you can watch wildlife such as dolphins, turtles, and humpback whales--during the winter (June – November) months--in their natural habitat . Once at the lighthouse, continue down the path behind it. With just a short 2 - 3 minute walk, you will end up at a sign that states that you are at the most easterly point where you can take a photo.
The lighthouse area is most stunning during sunrise and sunset. During these times of day, you may also stumble upon kangaroos or wallaby’s feeding on the grasses and shrubs around the Byron Bay Lighthouse.
You can visit the Byron Bay Lighthouse by car, bike or on foot. I suggest cycling or taking a long walk instead of driving because there are only a few parking spots at the top. From the center of Byron Bay, the walk is between 45 minutes to an hour. For a more scenic route, take the Cape Byron Walking Track.
How to get here: From the center, take Lawson St until it turns into Lighthouse Rd. Keep walking along Lighthouse road until you hit Brooke Rd. Here take a left and walk to the end of the paved road and enter the dirt path of Cape Byron Walking Track.
Price: The park around the lighthouse is free. You can get a tour of the lighthouse itself every 20 minutes and it’s by donation ($1 or $2).
Relax At Wategos Beach
Although Byron Bay's Main Beach is easily accessible and provides beautiful ocean views, Wategos Beach and Little Wategos Beach are more secluded. These two beautiful beaches make for great hang out spots during the day. Lay out your towel, lather on the sunblock, and enjoy the rhythmic lapping of ocean waves.
Generally less crowded than Main Beach, Wategos Beach is great for surfing. A little lookout provides an elevated view of the ocean and Byron Bay Cape coast. Many photographers like to climb the stairs to people-watch and take candid shots of the surfers down below.
Brunch At Bayleaf Café
Let’s start with the important things first: coffee.
It’s no surprise Bayleaf Café has incredible coffee since it's owned by Marvell Street Coffee Roasters. While I ordered a slow brewed coffee, Chris ordered a Vietnamese coffee. It came 'deconstructed' which meant he could pour his own desired amount of condensed milk to his liking. Vietnamese coffee isn’t offered in too many cafes so we were prettyyy excited about this drink.
Not only is the coffee fantastic, but the food made me feel like my face became the double-heart emoji. Bayleaf Café serves food made from the freshest ingredients all sourced from local providers. This combination of expertly-roasted coffee and fresh dishes warrants a consistent line out the door.
There are plenty of wooden tables and stools to enjoy your breakfast, however if you are looking for a twist, foodies can spend their meal time sitting on a wooden deck surrounded by ornamented pillows. Due to the length of the line and it's limited hours, make sure you don't miss your chance to eat at the Bayleaf Cafe!
How to get here: Bayleaf Café is in the center of Byron Bay (2A Marvell St, Byron Bay, Australia) There will be a crowd outside the door so it’ll be hard to miss!
Price: Coffees are regularly priced ~ $4.00. The food is between $10 - $20.
Shop At Fletcher Street Boutiques
There are plenty of trendy boutiques lining the Byron Bay streets. With Byron Bay's hippie vibe, there are plenty of boutiques that reflect this style. The stores are full of unique, long, flow-y dresses, pantsuits, flower crowns and sandals.
In addition to Jonson Street that's full of contemporary restaurants, trendy cafes and unique boutiques, is Fletcher Street. Located between Lawson & Marvell St.) you can find Island Luxe Tribe, Hope & May, and Rowie.
At the end of Fletcher Street, you will find Mister Zimi which is known for brightly patterned dresses, shirts and playsuits. In addition, you can find Spell boutique on Browning Street a short walk outside of the center.
Enjoy Unique Drinks At Roadhouse Café
Although it’s on the pricier side, the fresh, whole food menu at The Roadhouse Cafe Byron Bay is worth the extra few dollars. The decorated coffees with exotic ingredients is my favorite part of Roadhouse Cafe. Additionally, all the ingredients are from local farmers as they are big advocates of sustainable farming.
The large menu of coffee coffee & tea concoctions was the first thing that jumped out at me. Many were ones that I had never heard of. While I settled on trying my luck with the medicinal 7 mushroom coffee, Chris ordered butter and MC oil brewer coffee. His was rich and creamy due to the butter and oil. Mine came out spicy, sweet and topped with stirred-in cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
How to get here: The Roadhouse Cafe (6/142 Bangalow Rd, Byron Bay, NSW) is outside of the main hub of Byron Bay. Driving down busy Bangalow Road--away from Byron Bay--you'll see the Bluesfest office to your right. Take the right turn before the office, and Roadhouse Cafe's small parking lot will be immediately to your left. Park here and head straight into the café.
Price: Drinks such as coffee, organic juices, and kombucha are between $4 - $10. Meals are between $15 - $30.
Rent Kayaks Or Surfboards
Due to it's beautiful coastal location, it's no surprise Byron Bay attracts water-lovers.
Surfing is one of the main activities at Byron – people come from near and far to surf the waves and take in the sunset views. Although I'm not a surfer, I've been told Byron Bay has some of the best waves. If you get lucky you may even get to surf with dolphins! Shark sightings are common, so keep this in mind while surfing, and always be aware of your surroundings.
For those who don't want to surf, ocean kayaking is another popular Byron Bay attraction. Several companies rent kayaks for confident kayakers. For a more structured experience, try a kayak tour! You can either go with Cape Byron Kayak or, according to a locals recommendation, rent with Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay.
How to get here: Both companies are located on Lawson Road, just outside the town center, on the way to the Byron Bay Lighthouse.
Price: Kayak tours range from $59.00 to $99.00
Sunset Drinks At Beach Hotel Bar
The Beach Hotel has plenty of open air seating, umbrellas for shade, and cold drinks to keep you hydrated all night. The food is served in large portions and you can easily split a plate with a friend. As the sun goes down, the music gets louder, and a massive dance floor is set up for the first brave (or drunk) person to let loose on a Friday night.
Drinks are poured from metered bottles--something I had never seen before--due to Australia's strict alcohol laws. The drinks are pricey since it's a central place, but it’s a fun place to watch the sunset and dance the night away.
How to get here: The Beach Hotel (1 Bay St, Byron Bay, NSW) is located at the end of the main road (Jonson Rd) right across from beach access on Bay St.
Price: Breakfast meals are between $14 - $21 while dinner main plates start at $20. Cocktails are pretty regularly priced between $10 - $20. During the week, The Beach Hotel has $15 meal specials so check their website or their specials board when you visit.
Wander Around The Farm Byron Bay
The Farm Byron Bay is exactly that, a farm! It's complete with cows, pigs, chickens, and vegetables. On top of a functions farm, it attract visitors with several businesses on its property such as Three Blue Ducks, The Produce Store, The Bread Social Bakery and Flowers at the Farm.
Walk around to see the animals, browse the shops, and eat fresh and locally made food. The Three Blue Ducks always serves quality meals and drinks and even has live music on the weekend. Making a wonderful ambiance, the decor is rustic and lighting is purposefully dim. It’s a fun spot for a date night or with a group of friends.
How to get here: After taking the Byron Bay exit, take the first left on the roundabout onto Woodford Lane and then take the first right. You'll arrive at The Farm Byron Bay (11 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale, NSW).
Price: You can walk around the farm for free. The menu prices range depending on the meal.
Hike Minyon Falls In Nightcap National Park
Located within Nightcap National Park, Minyon Falls is one of the best things to do in Byron Bay due to its stunning 100 meter (328 feet) waterfall in the middle of the dense forest. The track is 13km (8 miles) which should take about 3-4 hours depending on your speed and fitness level.
Starting at Minyon Falls Lookout, you can hike all the way to the bottom of the waterfall. From there, you can either go back the way you came or continue the loop. The walking track is beautiful and dense with tall trees. While we were walking we kept hearing this loud screeching sound which we found out later were yellow-tailed black cockatoos.
Especially during a rainy day, watch out for leeches at the bottom of the falls. Wear long socks, long pants and trekking boots to protect yourself from them. Chris and I had a very unpleasant run with the leeches as they started crawling up our boots while we were enjoying the view of Minyon Falls from the bottom. Although I was wearing long socks, one made it all the way up my leg without me realizing it until it rolled out during out drive after the hike. Safe to say, I freaked out and made Chris pull over to chuck it outside.
How to get here: It’s about a 45 minute drive from central Byron Bay to Minyon Falls. 33 km (20 miles) from Byron Bay, the road can get windy and once you enter Nightcap National Park some of the roads are unpaved. If you are in a smaller car, take care driving through the dirt roads as they may be muddy and rocky.
Price: It's free to bushwalk the Minyon Falls walking track! Rental car fees vary, but are usually around $60 a day. If you have a group of friends this can be a cheap option as you can split the rental car fee.