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The Byron Bay Surf Guide – Everything You Need To Know

The Byron Bay surf scene draws in surfers from all over the globe – descending on this once sleeping town in Australia for the barefoot vibes, alternative culture, epic beaches and of course pumping surf!

With a huge range of waves suitable for all levels of surfers, planning a Byron Bay surf trip is something I highly recommend anyone heading to Australia should do…whether you’re learning to surf or wanting something punchy to sink your fins into!

After living, working and surfing in Byron over the last 10 years here’s everything you’ll need to know when it comes to surfing in Byron Bay…

The Byron Bay Surf Guide – Everything You Need To Know

Where is Byron Bay?

Byron Bay sits on the Northen Coast of New South Wales in Australia – about halfway along the East Coast and just a 3 hour drive south of Brisbane.

How Do You Get There?

Flight

If you’re looking at flying to Byron Bay either internationally or internally there are 3 main options;

  • Brisbane (BNE) – the best bet for international connections, it’s about 3 hours north of Byron
  • Gold Coast (OOL) – another good international option but also internally as well, just over an hour from Byron
  • Ballina (BNK) – the closest airport to Byron, just 20 mins away and great for internal travellers

Bus

best beaches in Byron Bay Australia wategosIf like most people you’re travelling around Australia on one of the Greyhound or Premier Bus Pass you have a few options for heading to Byron from both the North and the South;

  • From Sydney – you can take the overnight Greyhound, approx 12 hours and $100
  • From Gold Coast – multiple service throughout the day, around 2 hours and $30
  • From Brisbane – again multiple daily services around 3 hours long and $50
  • From Cairns – 

Car/Campervan

Self driving a car or Campervan Australia? Well Byron Bay is pretty easy to reach off the main coastal road and you’re wheels will definitely allow you to make the most of the surf spots and beaches all around the Byron Bay Area.

If you’re heading this way here are some drive times and distances to keep in mind;

  • From Sydney – 764km and about 9 hours of drive time
  • From Gold Coast – 93km and about 1 hour of drive time
  • From Brisbane – 166km and about 2 hours of drive time
  • From Cairns – 1,847km and about 20 hours of drive time
 

Best Time To Surf In Byron

Although you can surf in Byron Bay year round those looking for consistent, big swells should head their in Aussie winter time, with the best time to surf in Byron Bay being June to August.

That being said the warmer summer waters are still great for all levels of surfer too, although it’s more suited for fun, playful waves than punchy, barrelling options.

 

 

Will You Need A Wetsuit?

Whether you’ll need a wetsuit for surfing in Byron Bay obviously depends on the time of year you’re heading that way. For most of the year though you’ll be stoked to find that bikini/board shorts is the dress code!

  • Nov – Late April = Boardies/Bikini
  • April – Late May = 2mm spring suit (although potentially 3/2mm depending on the wind chill)
  • June – late Sept = 3/2mm
  • Oct – late Nov = 2mm spring suit or boardies/bikini with wetsuit top
 

 

Byron Bay Beaches

As the most Easterly Point of mainland Australia, Byron Bay boats a number of beach areas either side of the cape – all offering a range of waves and vibes…

Belongil

The most northern beach of Byron Bay, Belongil is also one of my personal favourites as it tends to be much less crowded. A short 10 minute walk up from Main Beach

The Wreck

best beaches in Byron Bay Australia main beachOne of the most iconic areas in Byron due to the rudder of a ship wreck poking out of the water. Great for snorkelling.

Main Beach

The Main section of Byron Bay (who would’ve thought it!) and the only bit that’s lifeguard patrolled so ideal for a swim.

Clarkes

Up towards the corner of the Bay, less crowded than Main Beach and the Pass

The Pass

The most famous section of beach in Byron due to the right hand point break. The lookout rock is also perfect for watching the waves and whale migration too

Tallows

On the other side of the Cape, Tallows is heaps less crowded than the town beaches and there’s even a nudist section down to the right!

Broken Head

About 10 mins drive from town Broken Head is another beach well worth checking out when heading up to Byron or down the coast

Check out my full Byron Bay Beach Guide here for heaps more info.

 

Best Byron Bay Surf Spots

Belongil

best beaches in Byron Bay Australia main beachFun beach break with numerous peaks. Usually a solid right hand bank which often barrels.

The Wreck/Boilers

Easily recognisable by the rudder jutting out of the water. on the right swell a super hollow left off the rudder, or a punchy right hander off the submerged boilers.

Main Beach

Loads of peaks all along this section of beach. Suitable for all levels on a smaller swell but when it jacks up it can get really hollow, especially in the cyclone swells.

The Pass

best beaches in Byron Bay Australia the passThe most famous surf spot by far. A super long, reeling right hand point breaking over a sandy bottom. On smaller swells greta for all levels including beginners – but when it pumps beware of rips. Also super crowded, so be aware!

Wategos

Loved by loggers Wategos offers some really fun right handers and is sand bottomed so great for all levels. When a bigger swell rolls through the outer banks start to break as well.

Tallows

On the other side of the Cape, Tallows is a much wilder beach and absolutely pumps. Not suitable for beginners, beware of rips, heavy hold downs and the men in grey suits!

Click here for my full Byron Bay surf spot guide for a more details breakdown

 

What Board Will I Need?

To be totally honest the waves in Byron will suit a whole host of surfboard shapes and whether you’re riding a log, shortboard or a learning to surf on a soft top there’s some waves for you!

Generally speaking though The Pass is a great spot for long boarders, with the inside section being great for those on mals and learner boards.

Main Beach is another great spots for these types of boards too.

Tallows on the other hand is certainly more suited for short boarders – but with that being said pretty much all the spots in Byron Bay are shortboardable when the swell is right – which is frequently is.

Bottom line on this is take your usual board with you and just check the waves before you head out – you can always rent something a bit longer if needed!

 

Surf Shops

As you’d expect from any surfer town there are plenty of Byron Bay surf shops to choose from – ranging from local, independent stores through to big name brands. For those looking to hire surfboards in Byron Bay there’s plenty go choice too, expect to pay around $20 for 2 hours hire.

Boards In The Bay

Next to Aquarius Backpackers and only a short walk from the beach this is the perfect place for board hire and to pick up some new gear too – including a solid range of second hand surfboards.

Ripcurl

As well as wetsuit, boardies and clothing there’s also a small range of boards too.

Surf Dive n Ski

Clothing and a small amount of gear – including range of Firewire boards

McTavish

If you’re a long boarder then a visit to the McTavish shop is a must! They’ve also now go an “outpost” store in town too, although the flagship store is where I’d recommend checking out

 

Surfection

Out on the Arts Industrial Estate, Surfection has a huge range of surf hardware and surfboards, including a range of second hadn’t boards.

Onboard Store

Just opposite Surfection this is the spot to grab a high end board.

Surfboard Warehouse

For those on a tight budget Surfboard Warehouse has a range of budget friendly boards – however I’ve heard mixed reviews about them

Golden Breed

As well as being one of the longest running surf shops in Byron Bay the side wall is also a popular Instagram backdrop!

JS Industries

A small store, but great if you want to grab a new JS board.

 

 

Learn To Surf In Byron Bay

Looking to learn to surf in Byron Bay? Well there are a solid range of Byron Bay surf schools to choose from.

Just be aware that there are only 2 companies that have licenses to teach in Byron itself, the rest have to head up/down the coast to spots like Flat Rock (min 20 mins drive away!) – so check out the rundown below to choose the best option for you.

Style Surf

  • Price = $70
  • Lessons at: Byron Bay Main Beach

Byron Bay Surf School

  • Price = $75
  • Lessons at: Byron Bay Main Beach

Soul Surf School

  • Price = $69
  • Lessons at: Flat Rock/Ballina

Mojo Surf

  • Price = $69
  • Lessons at: Flat Rock/Ballina

Stoked Surf School

  • Price = $69
  • Lessons at: Flat Rock/Ballina

Personally out of all the above I’d recommend Style Surf – the guy who runs it (Gaz) is an absolute legend and has been teaching in the Bay for years so you’re in great hands, plus you get to learn to surf in Byron Bay itself.

If you’re looking to book a surf lesson in Byron Bay or any other days trips head over to RTW Backpackers for a huge range of Byron Bay tours!

 

Weekend At Wilkos

Already surf, want an epic Byron Bay surf experience and push your surfing to the next level with some professional coaching?

Well why not book a spot for a Weekend At Wilkos – with professional surf Matt “Wilko” Wilkinson?!

You’ll kick back at his luxury pad in the Byron hinterland, use his epic local knowledge to score the best waves on the Northern NSW Coastline and get professional coaching, including photo and video analysis throughout.

Oh and did I mention your video feedback will be screened in your own private cinema and that Darren “DHD” Handley will be giving your advice on the best board setup for you?

Just some of the epic inclusion on this unique surf experience!

Click here for more info and to book

 

 

Where To Stay

Whether you’re looking for a hostel in Byron Bay or treating yourself with a stay at a fancy hotel or even a spa complete Byron Bay has a huge range of accommodation options for all styles and budgets…

Hostels

Byron Bay is super popular with the backpacker crowd, so there are plenty of hostel options to choose from – including budget options or flash packer hostels;

  • 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

Hotels

Don’t fancy hostel life? No worries there’s also a huge range of hotels in Byron Bay to choose from too;

 


Booking.com


 

AirBnB

And if you fancy something a bit more unique or want your own space there is a massive range of AirBnB properties all across Byron – from share house rooms through to full house rents.

Click here to save $48 off your booking!

 

 

Other Tips For Byron Bay

As well as the surf there are plenty of other things to see and do in Byron Bay – from dolphin kayaking and the lighthouse walk to skydiving and whale watching!

And as you’d expect from any bustling surf town there are also heaps of places to eat and drink as well. Byron has a huge range of nightlife – whether you want to dance on tables at a backpacker bar or sip cocktails!

Check out my Byron Bay Guide for the full lowdown on waiting, drinking and day trips in Byron Bay.

Have you visited Byron Bay?

Any tips or recommendations you’d pass on?

 

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