The Ultimate Byron Bay Travel Guide


The epitome of the Australian beach lifestyle, Byron Bay is the ultimate seaside destination on many a backpacker’s bucket list. Sitting on the most easterly point of Australia, the coastal idyll has carved out a reputation as being a meeting point for hippies, gypsies and creative souls. It’s where you can catch some waves in the morning, let out your artistic side during the day and kick back in the afternoon with a bottle of beer, locally and independently brewed.

The community spirit is fierce and whilst the locals were very vocal in preventing McDonald’s from setting up shop in town, they have unfortunately been unable to stop the impending force that is tourism and development. Demand to witness and experience the magic of Byron Bay does not show any signs of slowing down. This comes down to the region possessing some beautiful beaches and a supportive base to the artisans and entrepreneurs producing high-quality, ethical and unique products; food and drink, hospitality service, clothing, jewellery, gifts, design – everybody wants a piece of Byron Bay in some way or another.

We haven’t resisted the lure of Byron Bay, having made the 2 hour drive down from Brisbane many times. Filled with plenty of charm, the promise of good times and a desirable lifestyle, it’s no wonder that it always feels difficult to say goodbye. We’ve pulled together this Byron Bay travel guide for the first-timers and repeat visitors – so that you can experience some of the magic too.

Sunrise view from Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay Travel Guide



Cape Byron Lighthouse

The renowned icon of Byron Bay offers visitors the opportunity to get the heart rate up and a blissful view of Australia’s coastline. The most popular way to reach the lighthouse is by walking either via Lighthouse Road or the longer route along Cape Byron Walking track. The latter route goes by Wategos Beach, loops to the most easterly point of Australia before a slight uphill finish to Cape Byron Lighthouse. There is a small cafe and museum so take your time drinking in the surrounds before wandering back down.

There is limited parking at the top of Lighthouse Road around the lightkeepers’ cottages. Parking costs $8/hour here (cash only and is manned by the lightkeepers) while the lower car parks charge $4/hour.

The Pass

The Pass is part of the nature area which meets the end of Clarkes Beach. A popular spot for those wanting to surf or enjoy the gentle waves, there is also a wooden platform which you can climb that affords a good view to watch the surfers catching a break from Fisherman’s Point. There is a small car park at the end of Brook Drive, again all paid by the meters.

Tallows Beach

The long stretch of sand from the base of Cape Byron and stretching south towards Broken Head is an unpatrolled beach and a good option for those wanting to move away from the crowds. There are several walking tracks to access Tallows Beach, including Pacific Vista Track, Milne Track and the shorter Cosy Corner Lookout Track which is a short distance from Tallow Beach Car Park. This part of the coast offers swimming, fishing, whale watching and bird watching.

TIP: As it is unpatrolled, please take extra care if choosing to swim here!

Go surfing

As we do not take a natural affinity to bodies of water, surfing is usually a sport we prefer to watch rather than partake in. Surfing schools offer lessons from Clarkes Beach and those with more skill often catch the waves off Wategos Beach.

Hit the Byron Bay Markets

There are regular community markets held in and around Byron Bay. Farmers’ markets are usually held every week during the week whilst many arts and crafts markets showcasing artisanal products are mostly run on weekends. The Byron Bay Markets are on the first Sunday of every month. Keep an eye on this web page for the most up-to-date information.

A couple watch swimmers and surfers from the Pass in Byron Bay
Strolls on the beach at the Pass in Byron Bay

Just outside of Byron

Protesters Falls

Immerse yourself in NSW’s national parks and head west to chase waterfalls. Protestors Falls is approximately 1hr 15 mins drive from Byron Bay and can be found in Nightcap National Park. From the Channon, it’s approximately 15 kilometres and the road does turn to gravel but can handle cars without 4WD. A carpark, BBQ area and toilets are available at the end of the road and the falls are a pleasant 10 minutes walk away.

Minyon Falls

The lookout to Minyon Falls is not as far as Protestors Falls, only 45 minutes drive from Byron Bay. This is another great option for those who enjoy hiking. The lookout offers fabulous birds eye views of the falls and the rainforest below. To see Minyon Falls in all its glory, it is best to visit after recent rainfall. Those who suffer from motion sickness, beware – the last few kilometres of the road are very windy and narrow so drivers also need to take care of oncoming cars and potholes. Picnic tables and toilets are available at the start of the trailhead.

Bangalow Market

Only 20 minutes drive from Byron Bay, the country town of Bangalow holds its famed Bangalow Market on the 4th Sunday of each month. The market is nestled underneath eleven huge camphor laurel trees which provide ample shade and is an ideal setting for the gathering of locals and visitors alike. Visiting Bangalow Market is a real treat so make sure to swing by for this get-together of artists, bakers and farmers and help support this tight-knit community. Parking is available at the market showgrounds for AUD $2 per vehicle. Pets are prohibited from attending due to health and safety regulations.

Entrance to Folk, healthy eating in Byron Bay


The Farm

“Grow, Feed, Educate”

This is the philosophy of Byron Bay’s The Farm and the numerous micro-businesses which operate on the 80 acres of land. The land is home to free-roaming farm animals, rows of vegetable plots that are 100% spray and chemical free and buildings which offer eateries, workshops and event spaces. All those who work and operate on The Farm share a common values and belief system, that we all play a vital role in improving the health and wellness of ourselves and our communities from the group up. Visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds and learn about where food comes from. The Farm is well catered to families offering farm tours, horseback tours and activities specifically for the kids. If you’re visiting in the morning, make sure to visit The Bread Social before their stock runs out. For a special treat, reserve a dining experience at the Three Blue Ducks restaurant.

Opening Hours
  • Monday 7.00am – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday 7.00am – 4:00pm
  • Wednesday 7.00am – 4:00pm
  • Thursday 7.00am – 4:00pm
  • Friday 7.00am – 4:00pm
  • Saturday 7.00am – 4:00pm
  • Sunday 7.00am – 4:00pm

Rae’s Dining Room

This luxurious hotel perches atop Wategos Beach and is where the Who’s Who of Byron Bay frolic and where the rich and famous are likely to stay. So whilst we cannot afford a room (for now), we’ll make do with a seat at Rae’s Dining Room. Contemporary Australian with a Mediterranean influence, the menu proffers several delectable seafood options including natural Australian oysters, Queensland tropical lobster and spanner crab in tagliolini pasta. Fresh entrees and salads are suitable choices too in this elegant al fresco dining space. A tasting menu with wine pairing is available for diehard foodies. Bookings essential.
Opening Hours
  • Monday Lunch & Dinner
  • Tuesday Lunch & Dinner
  • Wednesday Lunch & Dinner
  • Thursday Lunch & Dinner
  • Friday Lunch & Dinner
  • Saturday Lunch & Dinner
  • Sunday Lunch & Dinner

The Top Shop

An old 1950s milk bar turned cafe, one of the best things about Top Shop is that it feels like you’re hanging out at a friend’s place. The grassy space out front is usually always filled up with people lounging on picnic mats in the sunshine. The Top Shop works with local suppliers to whip up brekkie, single-origin coffee (by Single O Roasters) and delicious burgers. Vegan and vegetarians are well catered to and a seasonal fruit juice doesn’t go astray on a hot summer’s day.

Opening Hours
  • Monday 6.30am - 4.00pm
  • Tuesday 6.30am - 4.00pm
  • Wednesday 6:30am – 4:00pm
  • Thursday 6:30am – 4:00pm
  • Friday 6:30am – 4:00pm
  • Saturday 6:30am – 4:00pm
  • Sunday 6:30am – 4:00pm
Buckwheat Banana Hotcakes at Folk Byron Bay


On the outskirts of town, Folk is a local, ethical and organic cafe restaurant. Committed to vegetarian and plant based eating, the eatery is proud to serve home made and house grown ingredients. Place your order at the counter before taking a seat in the lush garden. We recommend arriving hungry as the Folk Burrito and Buckwheat Banana Hotcakes ensured that we remained full and pushed back our lunch plans. Coffee beans are from Dukes Coffee Roasters and the drinks menu also features organic naturopathic teas, lattes and elixirs.

Opening Hours
  • Monday 7.30am - 2.30pm
  • Tuesday 7.30am - 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 7.30am - 2.30pm
  • Thursday 7.30am - 2.30pm
  • Friday 7.30am - 2.30pm
  • Saturday 7.30am - 2.30pm
  • Sunday 7.30am - 2.30pm

Light Years Asian Bar & Diner

Tucked behind the boutiques on Lawson Street, don’t let the pastel pink walls and white lattices of this little Asian diner fool you into thinking that you’re in for sweet and delicate flavours. The menu packs a punch where oyster sauce, chilli and kaffir lime rule. We loved sharing the Fried Cauliflower (the strange flavour sauce is actually delicious), Crispy Pork Belly and Asian Greens. The cocktail list would certainly serve a date night or girls night well. We were lucky to nab an early dinner table on a Sunday evening with no reservation but if you have a party larger than two, then a recommendation would likely be necessary any night of the week. Sister restaurants located in Queensland at Noosa and Burleigh Heads.

Opening Hours
  • Monday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Tuesday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Wednesday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Thursday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Friday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Saturday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Sunday 5.00pm - 10.00pm
Delicious tacos served at Mexican restaurant Chihuahua in Byron Bay


Bars and Breweries

Stone & Wood Brewery

Born and bred in Byron Bay, Stone & Wood has been proudly and independently brewing since 2008. One of the best exports to come out of the region, the brewery continues to use beer as a force of good. The company remains regional and independent and wears its B-Corp accreditation with pride. Book a tour at the original Byron Bay brewery where you’ll get a chance to taste Stone & Wood’s beers in the tasting room. If you’re lucky, you may even get a sip of some work-in-progress pilot batches.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Tuesday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Thursday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Saturday 12.00pm - 6.00pm
  • Sunday 12.00pm - 6.00pm

Beach Hotel Byron Bay

Not to be confused with Beach Byron Bay down the road, The Beach Hotel is arguably Byron’s most famous pub. Occupying a large corner plot a few steps down from Byron Bay Surf Living Club, The Beach Hotel features a large beer garden with ample seating for a few beers and pub classics. Bands or DJs play music every evening so be sure to check the gig guide during your stay.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 8.00am - late
  • Tuesday 8.00am - late
  • Wednesday 8.00am - late
  • Thursday 8.00am - late
  • Friday 8.00am - late
  • Saturday 8.00am - late
  • Sunday 8.00am - late

Byron Bay Brewery

This casual joint is a few blocks back from the main part of town and it was by chance that we discovered Byron Bay Brewery on our most recent visit. The eclectic, creative spirit reigns supreme in this brewery from the beer menu to the large gig space out back. The coasters exude some personal flair with the names of famous bands who have played gigs at the brewery since its opening in 2008. The brewery sits behind Pighouse Flicks which showcases indie films in a casual lounge setting, as well as Arts Factory Lodge hostel. If you don’t fancy partying with the young folk, come for an IPA or lager in the afternoon and hang with the lizards in the beer garden.
Opening Hours
  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 12.00pm - 12.00am
  • Thursday 12.00pm - 12.00am
  • Friday 12.00pm - 12.00am
  • Saturday 12.00pm - 12.00am
  • Sunday 12.00pm - 10.00pm

Supernatural Cellars

When a biodynamic winemaker and restaurateur combine their wealth of expertise and knowledge, the result is a kick-ass space where natural wine, delicious food and a damn good time is guaranteed. Supernatural Cellars takes the pomp out of wine drinking and has created a wonderful establishment where the community and visitors can enjoy the best things in life together. Select a glass from their list of over 50 natural wines, order some salty snacks to share and let the good times roll.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 5.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Tuesday 5.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Wednesday 5.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Thursday 5.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Friday 3.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Saturday 3.00pm - 11.00pm
  • Sunday 3.00pm - 11.00pm

The Bolt Hole

“We are purveyors of good times and tasty cocktails”

Now doesn’t that sound enticing? Sometimes, you may want to escape the crowded Byron Bay streets and seek refuge in a dimly-lit haven – enter The Bolt Hole. A 6 metre tarnished copper bar with recycled timber features jam packed shelves heaving with over 200 whiskeys and gins. Hunker down for an evening in one of the squishy green couches in the corner or place your butt on one of the bar stools and let the staff do their thing with a cocktail shaker. And once you’ve knocked back a few, take care when walking down those stairs on your way out.

Opening Hours
  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday Closed
  • Wednesday 5.00pm - 12.00am
  • Thursday 5.00pm - 12.00am
  • Friday 5.00pm - 2.00am
  • Saturday 5.00pm - 2.00am
  • Sunday 5.00pm - 2.00am
Cafe goes at Barefoot Coffee Roasters, Byron Bay

Byron Bay Coffee

Sparrow Coffee - Byron Bay

We’ve now had the pleasure of drinking coffee from two of the Sparrow Coffee branches and we’re happy to report that the coffee brewed is up to scratch. The Byron Bay branch is next door to the ALDI and clearly a popular go-to for locals. Brewing with Allpress Espresso coffee beans, the baristas are friendly and nimble. The cafe itself is a little hole in the wall with limited seating so selecting the takeaway option is most common.

Opening Hours
  • Monday 6.00am - 2.00pm
  • Tuesday 6.00am - 2.00pm
  • Wednesday 6.00am - 2.00pm
  • Thursday 6.00am - 2.00pm
  • Friday 6.00am - 2.00pm
  • Saturday 7.00am - 12.00pm
  • Sunday 7.00am - 12.00pm

Barefoot Brew Room

Barefoot Brew Room is owned by the Barefoot Coffee Roaster, Rodney, a hospitality veteran who now roasts his own coffee beans on a vintage 1982 Probat Roaster. Barefoot Brew Room is a little hole in the wall spot tucked down a laneway with a couple of crates outside. Offering house blends and seasonal single origin coffees (sourced locally and internationally), Rodney and his crew invite you to come and taste Barefoot’s roasts, to sit and have a chat. Furry friends also welcome.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 6.00am - 4.00pm
  • Tuesday 6.00am - 4.00pm
  • Wednesday 6.00am - 4.00pm
  • Thursday 6.00am - 4.00pm
  • Friday 6.00am - 4.00pm
  • Saturday 7.00am - 12.30pm
  • Sunday 7.00am - 12.30pm

Bayleaf Cafe

The tables and chairs are hardly ever empty at Bayleaf Cafe and for good reason. This popular Byron joint serves some of the best brunch dishes in the Northern Rivers. Bayleaf supports local suppliers, sourcing their ingredients from around town and nearby. Their coffee is supplied by Gold Coast based, Blackboard Coffee Roasters. Make sure to head around the corner to check out the art featuring on this brick wall. This is a free art wall and changes regularly so you will always come across unique artwork in this space.

Opening Hours
  • Monday 7.00am - 2.00pm
  • Tuesday 7.00am - 2.00pm
  • Wednesday 7.00am - 2.00pm
  • Thursday 7.00am - 2.00pm
  • Friday 7.00am - 2.00pm
  • Saturday 7.00am - 2.00pm
  • Sunday 7.00am - 2.00pm

Beach Byron Bay

Smack bang in the middle of Clarkes Beach and Byron Beach, this beautiful waterfront restaurant offers beach views and modern Australian cuisine. The open-air patio is perfect for lunch or dinner and to select a glass of wine from Beach’s extensive drinks menu. It’s also a fab place for an iced coffee – just pop by the kiosk, place an order and then head to the beach!
Opening Hours
  • Monday 7.00am - 8.30pm
  • Tuesday 7.00am - 8.30pm
  • Wednesday 7.00am - 8.30pm
  • Thursday 7.00am - 8.30pm
  • Friday 7.00am - 8.30pm
  • Saturday 7.00am - 8.30pm
  • Sunday 7.00am - 8.30pm
Coffee up at Barefoot Brew Room, Byron Bay


Spell & The Gypsy Collective

A born and bred Byron Bay fashion label, Spell now has a cult following throughout Australia and worldwide. Known for its flowy bohemian designs, Spell’s feminine apparel with florals and age-old lace speak to gypsy, hippie souls. The gorgeous white-wood flagship store is a fair walk from the centre of town but the spirited woman will undoubtedly find her way there.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Tuesday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Thursday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm

Rowie The Label

Another success story from Byron Bay is the women’s fashion brand, Rowie The Label. Producing flowy feminine apparel in monochromatic and earthy palettes, Rowie’s aesthetic breathes a laid back, effortless feel. The brand looks to create its garments from mostly natural fibres and has worked hard to establish strong ethical and sustainable relationships with its suppliers and producers in Bali and China. Rowie inhibits a bohemian spirit and is best worn during balmy nights and sun kissed days.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Tuesday 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Wednesday 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Thursday 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Friday 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Saturday 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm


Originally a swimwear label established in Sydney, Australia, Tigerlily has evolved to become a premium fashion brand. Evoking a love for summer holidays at the beach, Tigerlily’s designs are renowned for its distinguishable prints across its swimwear, apparel and accessories. Make a bold statement with a Tigerlily addition to your holiday wardrobe.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • Tuesday 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • Wednesday 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • Thursday 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • Friday 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • Saturday 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm

Hope & May

Inspired by “exotic islands, nomadic travel and a lust for raw luxury”, Hope & May’s flagship Byron Bay store offers an extensive array of women’s apparel, accessories and homewares. You’ll find own brand pieces, Poppy and Co., on the racks amongst a number of Australian brands. Neutral monochromatic tones dominate here, perfect for those with a clean, minimalist aesthetic.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Tuesday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Wednesday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Thursday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm
  • Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm

Yӧli and Otis

The beautiful Yӧli and Otis showroom in Byron Bay is airy and full of light, as is the clothing which adorns the tables and rails. Designing apparel for men, women and children, discover silk crepe and linen fabrics in neutral tones cut in flattering romantic designs that blend in perfectly with the Byron lifestyle. Yӧti and Otis garments are ethically made and all are herbal dyed.
Opening Hours
  • Monday 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Tuesday 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Wednesday 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Thursday 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Friday 10.00am - 4.00pm
  • Saturday 10.00am - 2.00pm
  • Sunday Closed
Pastel colours - the ultimate Byron Bay Travel Guide


Byron Bay

Nowadays, there is hardly an “off-peak season” when it comes to booking a stay in Byron Bay. Accommodation prices are now through the roof. Options vary from OTT luxury to questionable cleanliness at camping sites and hostels. The best advice is to book in advance but also be willing to stay a bit further out of town if it means you stay within your budget!
Sunset view over Tallows Beach in Byron Bay

Alternative towns to staying in byron bay


A mere 20 minutes drive away, Bangalow is a great alternative for those with a smaller budget but who are still searching for a bohemian vibe. The inland community spirit is strong and proud. You’ll find plenty of modern rooms, cottages and suites nestled here in the hinterland.

Brunswick Heads/Mullumbimby

Two smaller towns only 20 minutes north of Byron Bay, there are several camping and holiday parks accommodation options here. The parks and Brunswick River are popular spots for families too. The Mullumbimby farmers’ markets are held every Friday and the Mullumbimby Museum Market (Mullum Market) is the third Sunday of each month.

Broken Head

Broken Head is 20 minutes drive south of Byron Bay. There are country cottages listed on AirBnb perfectly located to access the hinterland the coast. The Three Sisters walking track is an easy 1 hour return trail walk offering the opportunity for whale watching whilst Macadamia Castle is just off the M1, a theme park alternative suitably attractive to children and adults.

Colourful murals at bus stops in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia


Setting up a spot at one of the beaches in Byron Bay



Byron Bay’s creative scene is constantly thriving and this is no less the case for musicians. You’ll often find buskers in front of the Westpac branch on Jonson Street and many of the markets held during weekends. Tones and I was discovered in the heart of Byron Bay!

Music Festivals

If you’re a music fan, you may want to time your visit accordingly. Byron Bay and the surrounding play host to some of Australia’s most popular music festivals. These include Byron Bay Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Music & Art Festival. During the festival period, expect accommodation to be at capacity and prices to skyrocket. Conversely, if you’re not a music fan, avoid visiting Byron Bay at these times.

Pay As You Park

People want to visit Byron Bay and the council knows this! So they charge visitors extortionate parking charges. Most parking is in designated bays or parking lots and signs stipulate the length of time. Payment is usually by nearby parking meters. The going rate is AUD $4/hour in most areas which can add up quite quickly! Alternatively, you can look into local bus services, hiring bicycles or walking from a free street car park which are a bit further away from the main hub.

Roads are horrendous

The roads in and around the main town of Byron Bay is pothole central. Take precaution when driving, particularly if you have hired a vehicle. It always makes us frustrated when we visit as given the amount of money that tourism undoubtedly brings to the area, we would expect the roads to be in better condition. We sincerely hope that the local and regional councils and/or the state government invest funds into improving the roads soon.

Weekend and Public Holiday Surcharges

Byron Bay is no longer the sleepy, hippie surf town that it once was. As mentioned earlier, there is plenty of demand from people who want to visit. You’ll discover that many restaurants and bars add a Sunday and Public Holiday surcharge to your bill so be prepared to shell out a bit more coin if you choose to eat out on these days.

Have you visited Byron Bay? Share your memories with us!


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