Byron Bay is everything you’d expect and more. Sunset acoustic sessions on the beach, the smell of gluten-free/vegan baked goods wafting through the air, and more surfers than sand. You judge – but you’ll be singing along to Jack Johnson with a kombucha in hand in no time.
You’ve got the choice of flying into Ballina or the Gold Coast (Coolangatta) from all major Australian cities. Both have frequent shuttle bus services that get you to Byron Bay in under an hour, or you can rent a car.
$- It’s no surprise that Byron Bay is littered with hostels. However, it’s all about the location. Nomads is set right in the middle of town and is only a short walk to Main Beach. You’ll be sharing with up to 10 people but the rooms are clean and air-conditioned. Not bad for $31 a night.
$$ – For something mid-range, AirBnB have hundreds of Byron Bay options. Entire apartments, studios and rooms for your weekend away.
$$$ – If you’re wanting to go big, the Villas Of Byron are arguably the sharpest in town. The villas are understated luxury both inside and out. Featuring oversized bedrooms, heated mineral pools, and chic furnishing from AU$565 a night.
There’s more Mexican in Byron Bay than in Mexico City itself. Tacos, empanadas, and nachos on every corner, but nothing compares to the local favourite, Chihuahua. This little hole in the wall is serving up fast, fresh, and damn tasty Mexican street food. The menu is brief and not too straining on the wallet. Hit up the slow roast pork tacos, you won’t be disappointed.
This is the ideal cafe to ease you into the Byron Bay lifestyle. It’s open planned, features high ceilings and a lot of caramelised buckinis (Google it). Yes, it’s slightly overpriced – avo toast will set you back $17 – but you can’t afford that house deposit anyway, right?
Where all the locals hang out. Thursday to Sunday features live beats from local and international performers. Woodfired pizzas, cocktails, music, and Ferrero Rocher ice cream…what more could you want?
If Chris Hemsworth goes here, that’s a good enough reason for us to visit. The 80-acre farm is a few kilometres out central Byron Bay and is all about sustainable, local and organic produce. So fresh you’ll make a vegan order a plate of bacon (true story).
For those of you wanting to keep your rig in shape, we suggest heading to The Roadhouse. You’ll be seeing a lot of coconut sugar, agave, and alternative nut milk, so you can feel less guilty about that milkshake. This is not beginners Byron Bay, this is intermediate. Save this for when you are well and truly riding the Byron wave.
If you haven’t done the sunrise walk to the Lighthouse, have you even really visited Byron Bay? You’ll pass Wategos beach on the Cape Byron walking track, watch the locals catch waves and dream about quitting your job to become a top international surfer.
If you fancy escaping the crowds of Main Beach, pack a day bag and walk to Tallow Beach. Through the Arakwal National Park, this beach is almost completely deserted and a welcome break from the weekend crowds. Just keep an eye out for the tides and blue bottles.
For those with an SUV, make sure you visit Whites beach. It’s a short drive out of town and can be a little tricky to locate, but is worth the expedition. There’s a reason it was named Australia’s number one secret destination. The northerly winds make great waves and the water is as blue as it gets.