Quick Guide to Byron Bay and Surrounds
Planning a trip to Byron Bay or needing inspiration for your next destination? Read my guide to Byron Bay and surrounds.
Located thirty-five minutes south of the Gold Coast, the idyllic Byron Bay has become a bustling hub for beach lovers, travellers and backpackers alike.
I first came here more than ten years ago to celebrate the end of high school, or "schoolies" as we call it. At that time Byron was different. It was not as luxe as it is now, or at least that's not how I saw it. The Byron of my school years was all about having the most fun, finding the cheapest drinks and having much needed beach recovery days. So this time around I was looking forward to living it up a little more - although I very much still enjoy a good happy hour deal and beach time.
If you're visiting, make time to visit these places below:
We stayed at Banjo's on Paterson, a great abode in a peaceful part of Byron Bay. It sleeps six people with two main bedrooms and one room with bunk beds. With two separate outdoor areas - including an outdoor shower, a coffee machine, washer, dryer and a full kitchen, it has everything you need for a comfortable stay. It is a quick fifteen minute walk into town or a thirty minute walk up to the lighthouse. It is also two minutes away from Top Shop, a trendy little burger bar.
EAT AND DRINK
- The Mez Club - the food is delicious and fresh, think dips, calamari, pita and salads. The happy hour here is also a winner!
- Balcony Bar & Oyster (upstairs on the main strip) - $1 Oyster Happy Hour on Wednesday nights. It's worth it! Reservations recommended.
- Roadhouse - A little bit out of town, the Roadhouse serves naturally-grown local produce on their daily changing predominantly-paleo menu.
- Top Shop - We only ordered coffee from here, unfortunately never staying for a bite to eat but this place comes recommended for burgers and is super close to Banjo's on Paterson if you stay there. Cafe-goers spill out onto the grass enjoying the sun. So relaxed, so very Byron.
- Thai Lucy - On our last night in Byron, we felt like staying in and eating Thai. We ordered take-away from here and it was pretty good.
- Cape Byron Walking Track to the lighthouse - Start off each morning with a walk to the lighthouse. Roughly thirty-forty minutes each way depending how fast you take it or a 3.7km loop, the steps can be challenging if you take them at pace but the views are worth it. There is dolphin-spotting here on the regular and in June/July you might catch the whales migrating to warmer waters. A hat, walking shoes and water is recommended. Parking is limited on weekends.
- The Farm - set just a five minute drive outside of Byron Bay, The Farm is a working farm which provide a space for micro agricultural businesses to set-up shop. From Apiarists (bee keepers), pigs and chicken farmers to an Australian plant shop and cafe and restaurant - Three Fat Ducks. It's a great place to see how a farm operates or stop in for a coffee or meal.
- Cape Byron Distillery - At the top of my list of things to do around the area is the distillery and rainforest tour at Cape Byron Distillery. The two-hour tour begins with a Brookie’s Gin & Tonic garnished with Native Finger Lime & Aniseed Myrtle, followed by a guided tour through the Brook family's thirty-year-old regenerated rainforest. Afterwards you learn how they combine the native flavours of the rainforest to make their award-winning Brookie’s Gin. Their new Slow Gin made from their locally-grown Davidson plums. Tours are $35 and include a Brookie's Gin and Tonic on arrival. Reservations highly recommended.
A fifteen minute drive from Byron Bay, the historic town is lovely and quaint. Walk up and down the street and visit some of the cute shops and cafes along the way.
- Shopping and food: I love The Flower Bar Bangalow, the beautiful and historic Bangalow Pharmacy, which sells luxury cosmetics including Aesop, Cire Trudon, Santa Maria Novella, Laura Mercier, and Bisque, a bohemian lifestyle and fashion store.
- Walk down Station Street and you'll come across Woods Bangalow Cafe (the new little sister cafe of Folk Byron Bay) plus a few little shops within the area. We also ate at Town Cafe on the main street, the food was lovely and fresh and the cakes were delicious.
Newrybar is a one street town. It used to be situated on the Old Pacific Highway. Although it is now bypassed by the new Pacific Highway, it has become a destination in its own right. With a one hat restaurant and excellent shopping, there is no reason to miss Newrybar.
- Harvest Restaurant - This celebrated one hat rated restaurant by The Good Food Guide 2018, this is one of the best places to eat in the Byron Bay area. I recommend sharing the dishes so you can try a bit of everything. Very romantic any time of year. We watched the rain fall through the open windows, it was delightful. Reservations recommended.
- Harvest Deli and Bakery next door is great to get a quick bite and coffee.
- Newrybar Merchants - Newrybar Merchants is collective of local artisans and curators of fine goods all housed within a beautiful old cottage. It's the destination to buy a bunch of flowers, find a gift, books, art, decor, plants or furniture for your home. Yes, you can really buy (nearly) anything stylish and wonderful here.
- Fly into Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport (OOL) over Ballina Airport. From my research there are more flight times and they are generally cheaper.
- Hire a car. While you can take a shuttle bus to Byron from both airports and Byron Bay town is very walkable, it is easier to have your own mode of transport to discover all the small towns on the coast and in the hinterlands.
- Go mid-week if possible. It is quieter than the weekends.