I’ve been travelling to Byron consistently over the last 10 years, ever since my “schoolies week.” And even though I’ve seen it change A LOT, it still holds a really special place due to its semi sleepy beach town vibe that I love. Even though its’ full of backpackers these days, its home to some great bars & restaurants, some amazing beaches & has some really cool things to do. So if you’re into a laid back weekend away – then here is my checklist of must do’s!
Flights run most days to Ballina (30 mins from Byron) or the GC (1 hr from Byron). If you’re only doing a weekend then there isn’t need for a car, but if you can afford to stay a bit longer, it’s worth hiring one.
There is a tonne of accommodation in town, as long as you book ahead. I use airbnb mostly. For something more up market, try Watego’s Beach. It’s a 10 min drive out of town but the beach is amazing. Rae’s is amazing – but be prepared to pay for it… if not there’s always Nomad’s (the backpackers) for the really adventurous.
1. Do the lighthouse walk
Byron bay lighthouse walk is the most popular walk in Byron. It takes a couple of hours round trip but the view is worth it. Plus you get to stand on the most easterly point in all of Oz. I’d recommend getting up early one morning to do it with the sunrise.
2. Spend the afternoon bar hopping.
Byron has some really cool bars & pubs along the main strip so I’d recommend starting at one end and finishing at the other, and if you happen to love the vibe at one, stay all night. But try these:
- The Beach Hotel has great food, live music, an awesome outdoor beer garden & is just across from the Main Beach so is a great place to start
- Skip down the road to The Northern to see live music and people watch from their downstairs bar that opens up to the main street
- Wander across the road to the newly renovated Sticky Wicket that doubles as a sports bar
- Head a little further up the road to The Rails, a bar & live music venue that’s been converted from an old railway station
- As you head later into the night, dance on tables to awesome 90’s and 00’s hits at Cheeky Monkeys
- And you can go full circle to end up dancing the night away at La La Land, back up near the beach
If you’re not up for a full bar hopping day, you could visit the 2 brewerys in Byron – the Byron Bay Brewery or the Stone & Wood Brewery. I’m not a beer fan, but love cider & if you’re going with a group of mates (particularly guys) these 2 places have a great atmosphere about them.
3. Visit the Farmers Markets
- The Farmers markets in Byron or Bangalow are world class. The farmers are local & sell the most amazing fresh produce you end up eating your way through each stall. They run in Byron on Thursdays, and Bangalow on Saturdays – but don’t fret – there’s a free shuttle that gets you there – it’s about 20 mins out of Byron.
4. Beach hop!
You can’t visit Byron without beach hopping for the day. Start at Main Beach, wander down (it’s a long beach so a big wander) to the right to Clarkes Beach & then park yourself at the Pass. It’s a really small beach right beside Fisherman’s lookout & the headland, so is tucked away in the corner. If you have the time, keep going to Watego’s Beach, which has a nice grassy knoll to lie on if you don’t like the sand. Other beaches to visit is Tallow’s – about a 10 min drive & a good surf beach, or Belongil – which is on the left side of Main Beach in Byron.
5. Boutique Galore!
Byron has a plethora of cute boutiques for guys and girls ranging from high end to cheap and cheerful. Wandering down the main strip, you’re sure to pick up a few goodies.
6. Eat, Drink and Repeat
I can’t really mention Byron without mentioning the foodie experience. Byron has some amazing cafes for “brunch” – my favourite meal of the day. I’d recommend any of the below to try:
The Top Shop, tucked away at the back of byron this is one of my favs – they specialise in burgers, coffee & breakfast. The breakfast burger is amazing.
Bayleaf , their bircher – nom nom nom. They also do everything organic (like most places in Byron).
Espressohead, as the name suggests – amazing coffee. Their Cuban sandwich is delish!
The Farm / Three Blue Ducks, this is an absolute must! If you can drive & get a reservation, well worth visiting! This paddock to plate restaurant, has so much to offer. The food is incredible, all the vegetables and produce are source from the on-site farm and are 100% spray and chemical free. Really take you time here to soak up the natural landscape while enjoying your food. Afterwards you can explore the farm and to met the animals :D
For dinner & drinks I’d recommend:
Miss Margarita – located right near the beach they have a great spot where you can nibble on share food, whilst sipping on a deliciously large Pina Colada!
St Elmo’s – Spanish tapas eat your heart out. They also have a GREAT wine menu!
This place is certainly on fire, in a good way @StElmosByronBay #StElmosByronBay. Serving up mouthwatering morsel tapas, this urban groove joint is filled with the right spark to enjoy a night away from the crowds and share plates with mates. #seeaustralia #stelmo #byronbay #byron #nsw #tapas #delish @visitbyron
Beach Byron Bay – with panoramic beach views, you can’t really find a better spot to appreciate Byron than here. Reservations for dinner are essential!!
The Roadhouse – this place is interesting because they are always changing their menu up – a hunter / gatherer approach.
Some other faves worth trying:
7. If you happen to have more time on your hands I’d also suggest:
A trip to Nimbin. You didn’t hear it from me, but the weed is good. It’s about an hours drive, and they do bus tours out there too.
Go for a country drive through the hinterland. You will get to see Byron from up in the mountains, check out all of the local produce and see some of the most beautiful country landscapes around.
There you have it, my checklist of how to do Blissful Byron. And GO!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jess is a passionate sun chaser and lover of all things travel. A self claimed corporate hippy, Jess has recently stepped away from the media world to get a life. A lover of good food and wine, being around people and a big talker, she’s happiest talking about travel, food, music and celebrity gossip.. so get in touch!
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