If you make your way to the far-northeastern corner of New South Wales, you will be greeted by the beautiful coastal town of Byron Bay!
Known for its classic culture, the still-lingering-essence of a tight-knit community and obviously the beaches, the town is loved by all, may it be surfers, nature-lovers, families or even group of friends. Not only is the town accommodating and welcoming, but also rich in the attractions, things to do and entertainment options it provides.
Read along and you’ll find how it is more than just being Chris Hemsworth’s resident town!
Byron Bay Lighthouse
Going by many names, Byron Bay Lighthouse is a legendary light station on the Lighthouse Road, overlooking the glittering Pacific Ocean. It was designed in a Victorian style by Charles Harding in 1901 and has been added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register.
The place where it stands belongs to the Bundjalung people, who are considered to be the original custodians of Byron Bay. This story and many other fascinating historical stories are stored in the lighthouse and can be experienced through the Maritime Museum located at the tower’s base.
Equally impressive is its light intensity of 2,200,000 cd, making it the most powerful lighthouse of Australia. Such a popular lighthouse is definitely a must-visit!
Byron Bay is very obviously blessed with beaches, what with it being a beachside town and all! There are around 9 beaches here, all of them offering different things!
There’s Belongii, which is a huge beach providing uninterrupted miles of soft sand to walk on; the Tallow is right behind the Arakwal National Park – peppered with useful facilities and ideal for whale watching! And the Cosy Corner is just like its name, a less crowded beach with amazing sunset views.
Others – Wategos, Little Wategos, The Wreck, Clarke and The Pass – are equally unique too. However, no beach beats the popularity of the Main Beach, famous for its mountain backdrop, white sand and the surf club based here.
Cape Byron Walking Track
Most of the people flock to Byron Bay just to tread down this well-worn path of Cape Byron Walking Track. It is a loop track, collectively spanning 3.7 km, starting from Clarkes Beach, running by the other beaches, before terminating at a spot a little away from the Byron Bay lighthouse.
The walk is grade three, which is perfect for almost all people and will not take more than three hours of your time to complete. The terrain is constantly changing and therefore, challenging, filled with patches of clifftops, grasslands and even the rainforest. But the views served by this path – and at the end - make it all easier, as those are just simply breathtaking!
Byron Arts & Industry Estate
As naturally blessed Byron Bay is, it is artistically rich too! Located a little away from the heart of the town, Byron Arts & Industry Estate is a sprawling place, where art galleries, local artists and creative businesses converge to form the town’s unofficial art capital. Brands like Habitat, Mr. Vintage, McTavish Surfboards and Yoli, among others, have found their home here.
Circus Arts, one of the famous places to learn the art form of circus in Australia, is also found here, where they conduct amazing programs for people of all ages. And once you are done exploring this, make your way to one of the many amazing cafés and eateries to grab some delicious meals.
Arakwal National Park
Arakwal National Park is something of a natural paradise of Byron Bay, combining Indigenous history with flora and fauna. It is looked after jointly by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Arakwal people and falls under the Bundjalung Nation.
The park is dotted with many walking and hiking trails, the longest one in them being the Milne Track, spanning 800m. Apart from hiking, people also visit the Park for birdwatching and wildlife watching, as it is a beautiful home to more than 100 species of birds and some amazing animals, including two rare frog species.
You can also surf on the blue waters of Tallow Beach and go hang-gliding from the ramp. Arakwal National Park is tranquillity personified!
Railway Friendly Bar
For more than 25 years, the Railway Friendly Bar – or fondly known as the Rails – has been the number one spot for hanging out and cracking open a cold one with friends! It resides in a renovated old railway station building, right by the old railway tracks – thus lending the bar its name.
The bar features a bear garden, where you can enjoy as much as 20 brews on tap and some mouthwatering dishes on the side. Local and touring bands frequently pay visits to this bar, thus blessing the bar with free and beautiful live music. In fact, the Rails has been the only pub in Australia to provide musical entertainment every day since it was established!
Byron Community Market
Everything about Byron Bay is interesting; maybe that’s why even the Byron Community Market is one of the tourist spots! The Market is a collection of market stalls, which range from local businesses, food, arts and talents, and last but not the least, authentic local products.
The market is open on the first Sunday of every month, where local charities are allowed to collect donations at the market’s entrance, to boost their fundraising.
The market pleasantly emphasizes more on displaying the essence of community and culture and promoting its prosperity. Byron Community Market gives off mellow and harmonious vibes, as people cheerfully mingle, enjoy the live music, buy local and amazing products and eat tasty food!
Stone & Wood
Stone & Wood is one of the early names in Australia’s craft beers, having been established in 2008. The brewery believes in the idea of conscious business and strives to do good in the local community.
As a result of this. Stone & Wood is big on community prosperity and sustainability and has launched many useful initiatives, including supporting the local suppliers, efficient waste management and employing Karma Kegs, among others. And with its 31 brewing tanks, a beer garden and a locally run canteen, it serves the most amazing beers.
In fact, one of their original beers, the Pacific Ale is so popular that it has starred in the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) Hottest 100 many times.
As the name suggests, The Farm is a working farm, but attached to it are a variety of small businesses that have the same goal, i.e. building a healthier lifestyle.
Located on the outskirts of the town, one can drop by anytime to see how an actual farm functions as well as get a glimpse into that beautiful lifestyle. Spanning across 80 acres of land, it brings together everyone who has a passion for growing food – and this passion manifests itself in the on-site restaurant, café and produce store.
You can tour the whole area and learn about their mission, say hi to the animals, eat some delicious meal and make it an adventurous day!
Cape Byron Marine Park
Cape Byron Marine Park, a recent addition to the now four Marine Parks in the whole of New South Wales, is a beautiful place to experience in Byron Bay.
It stretches willingly for 5.6 kms, from the Brunswick River to Lennox Head. Featuring in between those borders are the sprawling ocean, rocky beaches and Brunswick River and its tributaries’ tidal waters.
Even more impressive is the submerged world, where you get to swim amidst more than 400 species of sea turtles, tropical fish and wobbegong sharks, among others. can go birdwatching or hiking, and even fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding here. The Cape Byron Marine Park is, as you can see, the best place to explore both, above sea and undersea!
Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary
Surprisingly, Byron Bay used to be a swampland before it became the fascinating town that it is now. A little of that swampland has been protected and transformed into the mesmerizing Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary.
This reserve spans across 92 hectares but the only patch made available for the public is accessible from the Cumbebin Wetland Boardwalk. This Boardwalk is accessible from Byron CBD, which offers ample seating spaces around, along with being perfect views of the shallow lagoons, which are dotted with amazing Bangalow palms and bird-nest ferns.
People flock down to the Boardwalk to see these paperbark wetlands, watch the flying birds and jumping frogs and have a little picnic in the cool canopy of the trees.
Byron Bay is known for many things – and one of them is whale watching. As the town happens to be the easternmost point of the Continent, the humpback whales pass Byron Bay very closely, as they move to the Great Barrier Reef and then back to home again in Antarctica.
During these migration times – from mid-June to early October or early November – the town organizes many tours to gaze at these magnificent creatures! These tours take people on special whale-watching cruises, where you can get a fairly closer look; maybe you will even see dolphins and other native marine animals.
There are also some fantastic coastal viewing points, including from near the lighthouse and the coastal walkway.
Known as one of the ‘top 10 Australian Mountains to Climb’, according to Australian Geographic, Mount Warning is a mountain full of surprises! Standing tall at 1156m above sea level, it was originally named by the Bundjalung people as Wollumbin.
The name was changed by Captain Cook, who named it Warning as a ‘warning’ about the harmful offshore reefs for the sea travellers. The Mountain not only looks over the beautiful Gondwana rainforest but also houses a plethora of native flora and fauna.
And one can experience all of this by scaling the Mountain, which is moderately difficult, in spite of the incomprehensible height. What’s more, being the most Easterly point of Australia, the sun rays touch the Mountain first! With the mesmerizing sunrise and pleasing nature all around, the experience is just spectacular.
Probably the best breakfast spot in Byron Bay, Bayleaf Café is rather perfect in every sense. The café, aligning with the spirit of the town, makes use of everything local, may it be their vegetables, fish, coffee, or even tea, which they make all by themselves!
Located on Marvell Street, the meals range from breakfast items and salads to sandwiches and beverages. Some of the popular dishes include poached eggs, falafel, gnocchi and obviously, their amazing coffee!
The café features an eclectic design, cosy seating, yummy food and top-notch service. The only problem is that you will have to wait for a table – but that’s just more proof of how famous this café really is.
Gaia Retreat & Spa
Everyone knows how relaxing a good spa can be after a stressful day. So, after the amazing but exhausting trip to Byron Bay, head over to Gaia Retreat & Spa to nicely bookend your visit! Located on Fernleigh Road, the spa stands on a 19 acres property, known as the spiritual and healing centre of the country.
The spa provides more than 10 treatment rooms along with a sauna, a hot tub and a steam room. The spa has won many awards for its impeccable treatments, which range from acupuncture and energy therapy to aromatherapy and even reflexology.
As you can see, Gaia Spa – Gaia meaning Spirit of Mother Earth – has successfully manifested the healing essence of the land and the spirit, providing you with a much-needed restorative experience.
Byron Bay certainly offers a much different experience as compared to an average touristy place on earth. It is still rooted in spirituality and community living and makes sure it’s preserving nature as much as it nurtures us. Even then, the town is also painted in modern shades, making it appealing to every person that visits this captivating beachside town!