Things to do in Byron Bay

Last Updated on August 20, 2023


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Written by Claire from Claires Footsteps

Beautiful Byron. This town is the only one that made me stay still and appreciate what was around me in 18 months of travelling.

And let me tell you, when it’s Byron that’s around you, it’s something very special.

Any guide of the things to do in Byron Bay will tell you that it’s one of the most popular destinations on an east coast Australia road trip.

But where is Byron Bay? Well, it’s located right at the top of New South Wales, about 3 hours south of Brisbane and 10 hours north of Sydney.

Even though it’s very famous, it’s a tiny town; most of its businesses are lined up along one road, with a few shops and restaurants branching off to the side.

Those who visit Byron Bay will find a main street that leads up to a beautiful beachfront, where you can walk in either direction for Eden-like sands.

You can also climb up to the famous Byron Bay lighthouse, which is the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.

Unsurprisingly, Byron Bay’s beaches are a fantastic place to catch a good surf!

Find your favourite places to visit in Byron Bay, white sandy beach with patches of green grass and shrubs next to foamy waves under a blue sky with white clouds

Beautiful beaches are definitely one of the main items on a Byron Bay itinerary, but the reason so many people stick around is the atmosphere of the town.

In Byron, shops are bursting with character. There are so many vibrant places to go in Byron Bay; everywhere is colourful.

It’s the kind of place where creativity is encouraged, people can wear whatever they feel without being judged and where talents thrive.

On a typical day in Byron Bay, you’ll walk past buskers, people selling jewellery, street artists and fire spinners – without even getting off the main street!

So, if you’re planning a Byron Bay road trip, here’s a comprehensive guide of the things to do in Byron Bay to help you make the most of your time in the town.

🧳 MUST-HAVE: Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have travel insurance. My #1 recommendation is SafetyWing!

How to Get to Byron Bay

As aforementioned, Byron Bay is a popular stop on an east coast road trip, and it’s just a short detour from the main highway from Sydney to Brisbane.

The ease of getting to Byron Bay will vary depending on which method you choose to travel to Byron Bay.

1. Taking a Coach

If you’re taking the coaches up the east coast, Byron Bay is the main stop for Greyhound and Premier buses. Make sure to check their schedules and timetables for Byron Bay information.

2. Taking a Train

If you want to take the train, it’s possible to catch one from Sydney Central to Casino and then get a bus transfer.

3. Taking a Plane

There are three airports nearby: Byron/Ballina, the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Discover what to see in Byron Bay, person walking on wooden boardwalk through dense green foliage and tall light trees under a clear blue sky

Things to Do in Byron Bay

“Is Byron Bay worth visiting? Why is Byron Bay so popular? What is Byron Bay famous for?”

These are the questions that come up most often when people start asking about Byron Bay. It’s a stop on almost every New South Wales road trip itinerary, so people wonder, what is Byron Bay like?

Well, no Byron Bay travel guide would be complete without talking about the best things to do in Byron Bay, so here are my top picks to include in your Byron Bay vacation.

1. Hike up to the Lighthouse

One of the top things to do in Byron Bay, the lighthouse walk offers spectacular scenes of the town’s many beaches and its gorgeous hinterland.

For best views en-route, walk along Main Beach and climb up toward the lighthouse from Wategos. It’s an easy/moderate hike and takes about 30 minutes from the town centre.

2. Get your Groove On at the Drum Circle

The drum circle runs by main beach almost nightly; it is only called off it is too windy or wet. Expect drums (obviously), jazz instruments and lots of dancing.

If you have your own instrument, feel free to join into whatever beat that they are playing, or if you don’t, dance around while watching waves crash onto the shore.

There really isn’t a more quintessential Byron experience, and it’s one of the many free things to do in Byron Bay.

3. Take a Dip in Tea Tree Lakes

The tea tree lakes around Byron are so-called because of the excreted oil of the surrounding trees that mixes into the water.

They’re wonderfully scenic and are a fantastic chill spot, and swimming in them will leave your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated – the natural way.

Undoubtedly one of the best places to visit near Byron Bay.

Plan your own amazing Byron Bay road trip, poster on indoor wall made up of a collage of photographs taken around the area with the phrase "Byron Bay: Are you ready for a life changing experience?"

4. Browse the Quirky Stores

When visiting a new town, sometimes one of the best things is to go shopping. Wondering what to do in Byron Bay? Just head out to the local Byron Bay main street shops!

Whether you want to purchase a colourful garment at The Rainbow Shop or invest in the materials to make jewellery at Beads, there’s plenty of beautiful items to purchase in Byron.

The stores one the main street of Byron Bay are a hippie shopaholic’s paradise.

Even if you’re strapped for cash, just wandering around and window shopping is a great Byron Bay weekend experience too.

5. Visit Tallow Beach

A true Byron Bay must see, many people will tell you that an an amazing week in Byron Bay will involve a visit to Tallow Beach.

All of the beaches in Byron Bay deserve a mention, but Tallow is pretty special. It’s the furthest from the town centre, which means that it gets about 1% of the number of tourists that visit Main Beach.

It’s home to white sand, blue seas and some of the aforementioned tea tree lakes! Make sure to add a walk along this stunning beachfront to your Byron bucket list.

You should also consider spending the night under the stars at the nearby Tallow Beach campground.

💡 PACKING TIP: Make sure you bring a good snorkel, water shoes and a fast-drying towel for all of the beach-going you’re about to do!

6. Go to the Tree Sanctuary

Once upon a time, Byron was covered in rainforest.

Sadly, a lot of that has been destroyed, but there is a tree sanctuary halfway between town and The Arts Factory Lodge that is open for visitors.

A boardwalk ensures that no damage is made to the fragile ecosystem – and will also make sure that you’re not bitten by any snakes!

It’s a lovely place to relax and be with nature on your Byron Bay trip. The best time to visit Byron Bay to get the most from the sanctuary is in the spring or autumn months!

7. Take a Yoga Class

Places like Byron Bay practically scream ‘zen’, but if you’re having trouble finding your inner peace, try taking a yoga class.

Some hostels offer lessons, and there is also a yoga school very near The Arts Factory Hostel.

If you’re keen to try meditation, there are classes at the community centre. It’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Byron Bay

And if you really want to get in touch with your inner chi, there are plenty of opportunities to try reiki (natural healing) in Byron, or even the chance to become a reiki master yourself!

8. Attend the Arts Factory Lodge Talent Show

If you’re travelling with friends and wondering where to go in Byron Bay for something spontaneous and surprising, look no further than the Arts Factory Lodge!

This bohemian hostel, which is located a 10 minute walk out of town, attracts one thing in particular; talent. And every Tuesday, the best of this is shown to guests of the hostel.

Singers, dancers and hula hoopers all provide weekly entertainment at the show, so grab a bag of goon* and some pals and come and appreciate the best talent that Byron has to offer!

9. Catch some More Talent at the Beachfront

There’s one more thing that Byron Bay is famous for that is sadly not allowed at the Arts Factory talent show: fire spinning.

However, there are often free demonstrations along the beachfront, which are loved by tourists and locals alike. Watching these is one of the best things to do in Byron Bay at night!

If there’s no fire spinning, there’s probably busking or another circus trick. Just head down to the beachfront on an evening and discover what to see in Byron Bay!

📸 PRO TIP: My go-to camera for all my travels is the Sony A7iii – I highly recommend it!

Enjoy an amazing week in Byron Bay this year, wide photo showing road sign pointing to Byron Bay next to green fields and trees under a cloudy blue sky

Where to Eat and Drink in Byron Bay

Enjoying the local cuisine is a must do in Byron Bay.

There are heaps of great places to eat and drink in Byron, so many that it’s hard to choose just a few! Here are some of my favourites.

Restaurants

BayGer – This small takeaway-style restaurant serves up burgers of all kinds. The vegetarian options here are a delight – my favourite is the portobello mushroom burger.

I can’t comment on the meat options, but vegetarians and omnivores alike have commented on BayGer’s deliciousness – a great place for dinner in Byron Bay!

Bombay 2 Byron – Byron Bay’s only Indian restaurant, Bombay 2 Byron has a diverse menu featuring curries and sides for every palate.

There are special lunchtime deals and it’s possible to bring alcohol on a BYO basis.

Miss Margarita – Feeling spicy? Miss Margarita is the idea fast-paced restaurant; it’s right by the beach, it serves delicious cocktails and amazing Mexican food.

It’s heaving at peak times, so maybe try to go for an early or late dinner!

Byron Fresh Café – My breakfast favourite, Byron Fresh has a huge variety of breakfast treats with lots of vegetarian and vegan options.

Its cappuccinos are to die for, and the juices are incredible too (I actually once bought three drinks in there because I couldn’t decide)! Choose from eating in the café or dining al fresco.

Balcony – Balcony Bar serves cocktails and posh nosh. It’s not cheap, but it’s well worth the splurge.

Because what beats sitting on a huge balcony in Byron Bay, sipping on a delicious cocktail?

Especially when you know that your only responsibilities for the day are relishing in the moment and maybe making it on time to catch the sunset?

Find the most vibrant places to go in Byron Bay, outdoor street art depicting a mixture of eyes and hands with lyrics from John Lennon's "Imagine" next to other psychedelic colourful shapes

Bars

Railway Bar – Located by the old railway station, the Railway Bar is often the first point of call for people going out in Byron Bay.

As well as drinks, they serve ‘pub grub’ during the day if you need a bite to eat.

Weekends are the best time to go to Byron Bay and visit the Railway Bar, as they have live music to enjoy.

Many locals in Byron Bay travel here, so it’s always got a busy atmosphere, and the drinks are fairly priced. Open until midnight.

Beach Hotel – The home of Byron Bay’s famous reggae night, the Beach Hotel has a large bar space that’s perfect for drinking and later, dancing.

Reggae Night is every Monday, but there’s often live music events over the weekend as well.

The Northern – Both a pub and a music venue, the Northern is open for drinks every night, but often hosts concerts in its large backstage area. It’s open until later on the weekends.

The Sticky Wicket – The Sticky Wicket is foremostly a sports bar, but its monthly Apotheka night draws in crowds to the bar above, who come to dance away to techno beats.

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Why not travel to Byron Bay this summer, lots of people lying on a white sandy beach next to mild waves on clear blue water in front of green hills in the distance under a clear blue sky

Where to Stay in Byron Bay

Budget

There’s no place quite like the Arts Factory Lodge – it’s one of the best cheap places to stay in Byron Bay.

Spread out over 5 acres, guests can enjoy didgeridoo lessons, yoga classes, an on-site café, weekly talent show, weekly quiz and guided bush walks.

Choose from staying in a dorm overlooking the pool, an ‘island retreat’ cabin, a tipi or even on the on-site campground.

🛌🏼 Check out the best accommodation options here!

Mid-Range

Byron Sunseeker Motel is close to town but still enjoys free parking, as well as a pool, super clean rooms, BBQ facilities and helpful staff.

It’s walking distance to all the main things to do in Byron Bay but far away enough to get a peaceful night’s sleep – perfect for any trip to Byron Bay.

🛌🏼 Check out the best accommodation options here!

Luxury

If you’re looking to travel Byron Bay in style, the Crystalbrook Byron Luxury Resort is in possibly the best area to stay in Byron Bay.

It’s perfect for those visiting Byron Bay on a special occasion or just seeking some top quality relaxation.

When you’re working out how long to stay in Byron Bay, don’t forget about this resort’s amenities!

With complimentary yoga classes, a beautiful pool area and surrounding rainforest, the hotel is perfect for a bit of R&R and unwinding time.

🛌🏼 Check out the best accommodation options here!


Your Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay

Claire is a travel blogger and freelance writer who posts about her overland adventures and eco-travel ideas at Claires Footsteps. She has just returned from an epic road trip around the whole of Australia, and is currently contemplating her next adventure!


Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How long should I stay in Byron Bay?

Your travel style will dictate how many days in Byron Bay is best for you. Usually, 3 days will be enough to cover a lot of the best things to do in Byron Bay. If you want to match the relaxed pace of the town, a week will give you time to soak up the atmosphere. Just one day in Byron Bay is definitely not enough!

✅ What is the main street in Byron Bay?

Jonson Street is the main road in Byron Bay, and wandering through this unique environment is a Byron Bay must do. Head there for everything from restaurants and bars to shops and cafes – it even leads to the beach!

✅ How far is Byron Bay from Sydney?

It’s an 8 hour drive from Sydney to Byron Bay. You can also get a train most of the way from Sydney to Casino and catch a bus for the last leg of the journey.


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The Comments

  • Roxana Oliver
    February 6, 2018

    This is an awesome guide! 🙂

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Roxana Oliver
      February 13, 2018

      Thanks Roxana!

  • Rowan Sims Travel Photography
    February 27, 2018

    I haven’t been to Byron for years, but can’t wait to go back. I’m planning an Aussie road trip for later this year and Byron will definitely be getting a few days!

    • Anita Hendrieka
      > Rowan Sims Travel Photography
      February 28, 2018

      It’s such a cool relaxing place! All the best on your Aussie road trip!

  • Gina Gomez | Migration Expert Australia
    July 3, 2018

    You must read this blog before you go for a vacation to Byron Bay Australia, it was really a great help to you to enjoy your visit to Byron Australia.

  • aFabulousTrip
    July 9, 2018

    It looks like a nice getaway for a weekend !