Planning an epic trip to Byron Bay? Well here’s my ultimate guide – from the best things to do in Byron Bay to accomodation, transport and more!
Byron Bay, Australia is one of my favourite places on the planet – and this super fun little surf town in Northern New South Wales has drawn me back more than any other place I’ve ever visited!
So if you’re busy planning a trip to Byron Bay there’s everything you need to know – from how to get there, where to stay and what to do right through to the best surf spots!
…and if you’re looking for the best breakfast in Byron Bay check out this post afterwards!
The Ultimate Guide To Byron Bay, Australia
Why Should You Visit Byron Bay?
Ok first off why should you visit Byron Bay and what makes it so special?
Well for me it’s all about the vibes of the town – Byron just has this weird feeling about it, something you can’t really describe but as soon as you visit you’ll know what I mean!
Think barefoot lifestyle, incredible beaches, super creative people and all round good times.
For me it encompasses everything I was expecting from my time in Australia – beers, BBQs, beaches and heaps of incredible waves!
But even if you don’t surf I know you’ll fall in love with it too!
How To Get To Byron Bay
- Travel time = From 3 hours 40 mins
- Departs: 4 times daily
- From $27
- Travel time = From 12.5 hours
- Departs: 2 times daily
- From $100
From The Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise
- Travel time = From 2 hours 45 mins
- Departs: 3 times daily
- From $25
- Cairns = 1,849km or 21 hours drive
- Brisbane =166km or 2.5 hours drive
- Surfers Paradise = 93km or 1.5 hours drive
- Yamba = 125km or 2 hours drive
- Coffs Harbour = 239km or 3 hours drive
- Sydney = 769km or 9 hours drive
There are 3 major options when it comes to flying to Byron Bay. The easiest option is a flight into Ballina Ariport (BNK), which is around about 20mins from Byron.
The second closest airport is the Gold Coast (OOL) which is about 45mins away, again you can grab the Byron Easy Bus from here, which runs multiple times per day
The closest major international airport to Byron Bay is Brisbane (BNE) which is about 2-3 hours drive depending on the traffic. As with the other two options the Byron Easy Bus is probably the most cost effective and easy way to drop down.
Byron Bay Accommodation
As you’d expect from a popular tourism destination there is a huge range of hotels to choose from in Byron Bay – ranging from more budget motel style accommodation to full luxury hotels with epic views and 5* facilities
Hostels are always a good shout when traveling Australia – cost effective (to the most part!) and a great way to meet heaps of fellow travellers from all over the globe. Byron has a big selection of hostels ranging from flashpacker style (like Byron Beach Hostel) through to budget friendly options like The Arts Factory.
- Aquarius Backpackers – my personal favourite, one block from the beach and an epic in house bar and cafe
- Byron Beach Hostel – super sleek and modern and 30 seconds from the beach
- Byron Bay YHA – recently refurbished, great for chilled vibes and slightly older crowd
- Cape Byron YHA – not as sleek as the other YHA, but still a solid option
- Nomads – super central, great for party vibes
- WakeUp! Byron Bay – recently refurbished, but slightly out of town by Belongil Beach
- Holiday Village – super central, right next to Woolies and Cheeky Monkeys Bar
- Backpackers Inn – right on the beach, but a short walk out of the main part of town
- The Arts Factory – Byron original hostel, super fun hippie vibes and alternative style accommodation
Head over to RTW Backpackers for some awesome Byron Bay hostel and activity deals!
AirBnB is becoming incredibly popular in Australia with a huge variety of epic options – from budget double rooms perfect for couple looking to escape dorms for a while right through to boutique, luxury holiday homes.
Byron Bay has the full range of AirBnB options and it well worth checking out – sometime they even work out cheaper than hotels and hostels!
What To Do
There are heaps of amazing things to do in Byron Bay for all styles and budgets. Whether you want to chill out and soak up the nature or get your adrenaline going – here are some of my favourites
Learn to surf
Honestly, you can’t come to Byron without learning to surf – this place is all about the beach and the waves! Jump on a half day surf lesson and give it a go…I might be slightly biased as a surfer myself but I know you’ll have a blast!
Cost = $69
Kayak with dolphins
An epic way to see the stunning coastline around Byron Bay as well as a unique perspective of the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse. Jump on the morning tour for the best chance to see some of the resident dolphins who usually pop up to say hello!
Cost = $69
Scuba dive Julian Rocks
One of the top dive sites in Australia – Julian Rocks is packed full of incredible marine life. Depending on the time of year you’re heading to Byron you can expect the likes of manta rays, grey nurse sharks, huge rays and even curious leopard sharks too. Oh and heaps of turtles as well!
Cost = $150 (certified dive), $215 (intro dive)
Want a bit more adrenaline with your Byron stay? Why not. jump out of a perfectly good plane at 15,000 feet? Skydiving should definitely be on your bucket list and Byron is easily one of my favourite jump zones – the views are epic.
Cost = $275 (+$35 skydive levy)
Not quite the adrenaline buzz of skydiving but another awesome way to see the bay from a different perspective – if you can time if with the right conditions a hang glide over Tallows Beach is pretty incredible.
Cost = $140
Ok, so some people don’t fancy jumping out of planes or swinging under a hang glider to get those aerial views – so how about a scenic flight instead? There are a number of options to choose from, all taking in a trip around the Cape and views of the lighthouse.
If you fancy something a bit more unique you can also do it in a WW2 Tigermoth by plane…complete with full old school flying attire!
Cost = from $149
If you’re lucky enough to be in Byron Bay between May and November make sure you add whale watching into your itinerary. As the most Easterly Point of Australia the entire migration has to pass the Cape so you’ll get some incredible interactions. The best way is a dedicated whale watching boat…although you can get some fun sightings from the beaches and lighthouse too
Cost = $89
Head over to RTW Backpackers and save 10% off all Byron Bay activities using the code STOKE10
Free Things To Do!
Who doesn’t love free stuff? If you’re looking for free things to do in Byron Bay these options will keep you entertained without even spending a penny!
No trip to Byron is complete without completing the Byron lighthouse walk. About a 2 hour roundtrip from the centre of town start along the beach up to the Pass, then take in some incredible views along the coastal path via Wategos before finishing off at the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Bonus points if you’re at the lighthouse for sunrise or sunset – well worth it
Sunset drum circle
Head to the beach car park at The Wreck each evening for some awesome sunset drum circle vibes. Think crazy hippie types with bongos, percussion and trumpets dancing around as the sun goes down. Loose you inhibitions and get involved!
Explore the beaches
Byron is all about the beaches and there are plenty to choose from. Main Beach sits right out front (funny that hey?!) or escape the crowds with a trip out to Tallows. There’s even a nudist beach if you fancy bearing it all….just be aware of sunburn!
Check out the buskers
There are heaps of epic busking spots all over the town so take some time in the day and evening to go check them out. You might even spots some famous faces – with the likes of Wolfmother and Angus and Julia Stone occasionally gracing the streets for some tunes!
Byron Bay markets
Grab some tasty local produce or some souvenirs from the array of pop up markets in the Bay;
- Byron Community Market = First Sunday of every month
- Farmers Market = Thurs 8-11am
- Artisan Market = Sat 4-9 (only during Oct to March)
- Beachside Market = 4 times a year in Jan, Easter, mid July and late Sept (keep an eye out for posters around town)
Surfing In Byron Bay
And now my main reason for loving Byron Bay so much – the surf! From world famous point breaks to super fun beach breaks and beginner spots, there are waves in Byron that will keep everyone happy!
Here’s a quick rundown of the main spots;
- The Wreck
- Main Beach
- The Pass
- Little Wategos
- Cosy Corner
- Suffolk Park
- Broken Head
Check out my full guide to all the surf spots in Byron Bay here
After a lazy day on the beach you may want to let off some steam and hit the town as the sun goes down. Luckily Byron has more than a handful off awesome spots for a cold beer and some dancing on tables – so whether it’s a cheeky drink or an all night bender it’s got you covered;
- The Beach hotel (aka the Beachie) – right on the beach it’s a great spot for sunset and live bands/DJs
- AQ Bar – cheapest drinks in town and great spot to meet other travellers
- The Northern – huge range of live bands year round
- The Rails – local vibes, great live bands and firepits in the winter time
- Cheeky Monkeys – a backpacker institution! Dance the night away on the tables!
- The Balcony – for those looking for something a bit more sophisticated!
- Bolt Hole – awesome spot for cocktails and chilling
- Stickey Wicket – the local sports bar playing all manner of football, rugby, UFC and more
- Loft – think white washed walls and posh cocktail
Where To Head Next
If you’re heading North from Byron Bay the closest big stop is Surfers Paradise, often described as the Miami of Australia. Think skyscrapers, beaches, nightclubs and debauchery!
From there it’s Brisbane and Noosa before hitting the main part of Queensland with spots like Rainbow Beach, Fraser Island and the Whitsundays from Airlie Beach.
Many people jump straight on the overnight bus from Byron to Sydney but if you have the time spots like Yamba, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquaire are also well worth checking out
Have you been to Byron Bay?
Anything you’d add in?