An hour flight north of Sydney, the eclectic beach town of Byron Bay is a bohemian surfer’s dream. Known as the center of Australia’s hippy counter-culture, the laid-back boho lifestyle is truly embraced here. If you’re looking for a true bohemian paradise, Byron Bay is the quintessential Australian destination! Brett and I first went to Byron Bay 3 years ago, and we really haven’t stopped talking about it since.
Coming from the states, Byron Bay might be far… but the best places always are! Beautiful beaches, top-notch eats, boutique shopping, and buzzing nightlife have all made ‘The Bay” one of the most desirable vacation spots. There’s a reason the Hemsworth family and Zac Efron have decided to call this special place home! Byron Bay is surrounded by pristine nature in the Cape Byron State Conservation Park, where the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse sits. Be sure to hike up one afternoon to take in all the amazing views!
Spend your sunny days beach-hopping from Wategos to Cosy Corner Beach for some unrivaled beauty. And be sure to catch the bongo drums beating in the drum circles at sunset! Not only are the beaches gorgeous and the vibes good..but for such a small beach town, the quality and quantity of international cuisines are actually pretty impressive. With several critically acclaimed chefs opening restaurants in town, you will be eating quite well in Byron!
There are shuttles to and from the airport or you can take an Uber as well. We used Uber to get into town and then took it to the restaurant Three Blue Ducks, about 15 minutes outside of town. There are a couple of destinations within an hour of Byron and if you’re planning on exploring any of the surrounding areas, a car rental might make sense for you!
Byron Bay packing list:
Eats + Drinks
- *The Mez Club (Mediterranean) – Inspired by the Greek Islands and Moroccan style this hip Mediterranean restaurant is serving up delicious mezze plates and vibrant cocktails in a laid-back and chic atmosphere.
- *O’Sushi (Japanese) – Japanese fusion restaurant with one of the best sushi trains! Don’t go and not get the seared salmon!
- Bombay to Byron (Indian) – Authentic Indian dishes and vegetarian options!
- Targa – (European) Rustic European dishes with some modern twists, served in a contemporary cafe with large windows.
- *Combi – This spot is one of the cutest and Brett’s favorite. It’s a chic raw food restaurant serving up some of the most delicious bites and healthy snacks. From avo toast to acai bowls or raw donuts, you can’t go wrong here. We couldn’t leave without getting their salted caramel bar and raw cheesecake! They’ve got great coffee options as well!
- Bang Bang (Thai) – Delicious Thai fusion serving up some modern twists to Thai classics with some unique cocktails!
- Barrio (Spanish) – Located in Habitat, Barrio is laidback Spanish cuisine with a simple offering of meats, fish and vegetables.
- Locura -A late-night bar nestled above buzzing Lawson Street, Locura is a place to come together with drinks and dance. Take a journey from disco to deep house music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 pm!
- *Light Years (Vietnamese) – Fun and modern Asian spot is serving up amazing food & cocktails in an energetic atmosphere. Everything on this menu is insane!
- The Bolt Hole (bar) – This nautical gin bar has over 200 gin and whiskey offerings and is nestled at the top of a 2 story building with panoramic windows.
- No Bones (Vegetarian)
- Rae’s – Raes on Wategos is an exclusive boutique retreat in an idyllic beachfront setting. Raes Dining Room, serving modern Australian with a Mediterranean influence amongst the idyllic surrounds of Wategos beach. Perfect place for a sundowner!
- Byron Fresh – Perfect place for an afternoon spritz after the beach! Fancy brunch dishes, dinner, coffee, and craft beer, in a casual cafe with streetside tables.
- The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. (Seafood) – Seafood-centric brunch, tapas & seasonal fare in an airy, buzzing space with a balcony & easygoing vibe. They’ve got great cocktails and an extensive menu!
- Loft – Centrally located Just off the sand at famous Main Beach and elevated above bustling Jonson Street & Bay Lane, Loft has the ultimate Byron Bay vibe. Wander up from the beach any afternoon and enjoy an Aperol Spritz and their insane fries with a view!
- The Byron Bay General Store – Located right next door to The Bower, this quaint general store is serving up some great coffee as well as epic smoothie bowls, burgers, coffee, salads, and much more! They also have many vegan and gluten-free options.
- Manna Haven Cafe – A vegetarian café!
- Safya Cafe
- Piccolo – Takeaway Espresso Bar & eats in the heart of Byron Bay. Perfect for grab & go on the way to the beach!
- Bayleaf Cafe – Bustling hangout with outdoor seats and a hip vibe, dishing up choice brekkie and lunch options.
- Byron Corner Store – It’s the perfect place for picking up a quick coffee from their take away window or a sandwich from their deli for some eats on the beach!
- The Book Room – Great book shop for book lovers!
- Mr. Simple – Melbourne -based menswear brand with great staples.
- Deus Ex Machina – Comfortable and durable apparel inspired by the surfer & biker lifestyle.
- Citizen Nomade – From home goods to garments, this shop embodies bespoke tropical minimalism
- Hike up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse – Enjoy spectacular coastal views along the Cape Byron walking track that takes you on a hike through rainforest, beach, grassland, and clifftops to the lighthouse. This hike took us about an hour and mostly paved! Highly recommend starting at the lower end car park and making the 35-40min walk along the coastline and then up to the lighthouse for the most spectacular views!
- Take Surfing Lessons
- Snorkle with Sea Turtles
- Kayak with Dolphins
- Little Wategos Beach – Located at the end of the cape beneath the Byron Bay Lighthouse, Little Wategos is Australia’s most easterly beach. The north-facing beach is well-protected and great for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is inaccessible by car, accessed by either walking over the path from Wategos or heading down from the lighthouse precinct.
- Cape Byron Distillery tour – Enjoy a rainforest tour and tasting session at the home of Brookie’s Gin!
- Clarkes Beach – Clarkes Beach is located between the Main Beach and The Pass. It’s a wonderful beach for families with some fun rock and tidal pools.
- Cosy Corner beach at Tallow’s beach – This secluded beach, away from the crowds, is a great spot when the northerlies blow. It’s a popular beach break with local surfers and has stunning views of Broken Head.
Just outside of Byron:
- *Three Blue Ducks at The Farm (15-min drive from Byron) – This one’s a must! Highly recommend heading for brunch or lunch at this true ‘farm to table’
- Frieda’s Fields (25-minute drive from Byron) – Nestled in a working property and surrounded by lush rolling hills, Frida’s Field promises to be a celebration of produce and agriculture from the Northern Rivers while shining a light on sustainable farming practices, with the added bonus of being downright delicious!
- Shelter (25-min drive from Byron) Located in Lennox Head, this Modern Australian restaurant and bar focusing on local and seasonal produce.
- Harvest (20-min from Byron) Located in Newrybar, this airy, weatherboard cottage for brekkie and diverse dishes, sourced from local, organic produce.
- The Eltham Hotel (35-min drive from Byron) – Located in Byron Bay’s hinterland, the newly renovated Eltham Hotel is everything a country pub should be. The beers are cold, the vibes are relaxed, the faces are friendly, and most importantly of all, they serve exceptional pub grub!
- Mavis Kitchen (50-min drive from Byron) – Nestled at the base of the majestic Wollumbin-Mt Warning, this 25-acre former dairy farm is home to a relaxed country-style restaurant, a rich organic kitchen garden, eco-friendly B&B cabin accommodation!
- Federal Doma Cafe (25-min drive from Byron) – This hippy-chic cafe is turning out modern Japanese interpretations of Australian classics. They’ve got excellent breakfast, brunch, and…. sushi (esp tempura rolls)!
- *The Bower – One of our favorite stays, and highly recommend this luxury boutique hotel. The Bower combines the barefoot ambiance of Byron Bay with the discreet and effortless elegance of New York boutique accommodation. The compound is relaxed and palm-filled with accommodation offerings for all experiences. This hotel has been undergone some renovations since I visited last and they’ve added an amazing new pool!
- 28 Degrees – 28 Degrees is a private, luxury guesthouse located in the heart of Byron Bay. Perfect for couples.
- The Atlantic – The Atlantic Byron Bay is home to 4 original Byron Bay cottages located right in the heart of town. Gourmet kitchens in each house provide a place to cook up a breakfast of local delicacies from the farmer’s market or a long lazy lunch by the pool.
- Airbnb – The town has quite a few great houses & bungalows to choose from. Try and stay close to town + the beach so that your stay is easily walkable
Have you been to Byron Bay yet? If you’re going to Sydney or check out the Great Barrier Reef on Australia’s East Coast, I’d recommend spending at least a weekend in Byron. There really is something magical about this place!