Nimbin is by far one of the most interesting and unique places we visited during our time in Australia. Before embarking on our east coast road trip from Sydney to Cairns I had never even heard of this tiny hippy town. It wasn’t until doing my research on Byron Bay that I discovered this village and knew I had to visit. This post is all about things to do in Nimbin and why you should definitely take time to visit this village in the hills. If you thought that Byron Bay was the hippie capital of Australia then you’re sadly mistaken, Nimbin without a doubt takes that title!
The Story of Nimbin
Before I dive into things to do in Nimbin let me tell you a little about the village and its history. You can find Nimbin nestled into the Rainbow Region hinterland just 43 kilometres west/inland of Byron Bay. If you are visiting Byron then I definitely recommend leaving an afternoon spare to visit Nimbin. In the past, Nimbin was attracted to loggers for the rich forests that surrounded the area. Those forests were quickly cleared back in the 1800s and the region was then used by dairy farmers but with the recession, the number of people living in Nimbin was falling. It wasn’t until Nimbin was chosen as the destination for a festival when things started changing for this small region.
Aquarius Festival 1973
In 1973 the Aquarius Festival would be the ‘party’ that would be the beginning of a great revolution in Nimbin. The festival attracted those interested in an alternative lifestyle, counter-culture some may refer to the people are ‘hippies’. The festival brought those passionate about the arts, music and perhaps most importantly sustainability to the area. Once the festival was over many decided to stay in Nimbin and create communes. And there begins to story of Nimbin.
Over the years Nimbin has become one of the most famous villages in Australia. It’s done great things in terms of sustainability. In 1979 the community fought against logging in the nearby rainforest and in turn managed to save it as a ‘no logging’ legislation was introduced. Nimbin has since been the home to those seeking an alternative lifestyle, is the self-proclaimed drug capital of Australia and holds a heavy sense of community.
Things to Do in Nimbin Australia
So, what exactly can you get up too in Nimbin? Well, the most exciting part about the village is honestly just observing what’s going on around you. I found the culture and vibrancy of Nimbin astounding. It’s probably one of the most colourful places I’ve visited in so long. We have a good habit of making buildings so ‘aesthetic’ these days. Lot’s of white and fewer colours fill our billboards and store signs. The streets and people of Nimbin are colourful and vibrant. These days Nimbin may be a little different to how it once was but not that much different. There is a heavy sense of love, community and still a lot of cannabis.
Simply Explore the Main Street – Nimbin isn’t very big so you can explore the village is just a few hours. I think only spent three hours in total in the village. Walk along the main strip and find plenty of souvenir shops, the dye sellers. And a lot of people offering you cannabis cookies.
Nimbin Candle Factory – Take a look inside the Nimbin Candle Factory! The factory is located just outside of the village but certainly worth a visit. Pick up some unique smelling and looking candles whilst watching how they are made! Nimbin is actually a haven for picking up gifts!
Visit the Hemp Embassy– The Hemp Embassy was first established in Nimbin in 1992 as a non-profit organisation to help reintegrate cannabis into peoples lives and still runs today. They organise the yearly MardiGrass event in Nimbin as well as running a shop.
Clothes Shopping – Nimbin is tie-dye heaven so if you love wearing bright colours then this could be one of the best things to do in Nimbin for you! There are a variety of shops from upmarket boutiques to a cheaper alternative too. You’re bound to find something that you like. They also have the cutest children’s clothes!
Nimbin Rocks – Nimbin doesn’t just have the village to visit either! Nimbin is located in the hills and surrounded by unique and beautiful landscape including the Nimbin Rocks! The rocks formed after a volcano eruption millions of years ago. Though these rocks can only be seen from the world they add such character to the area.
Enjoy the Cafe Culture – Nimbin wouldn’t be an Australian village if it didn’t have its own cafe culture and you’ll find plenty of cafes. Full of culture in Nimbin enjoy a coffee whilst exploring to help out the local businesses who have made such an impact on the sustainability of the area over the years.
World Heritage List Sites – Another popular thing to do in Nimbin is to explore the nature that surrounds the village. Nimbin is built around an array of world heritage sites offering beautiful areas for bushwalking and waterfall chasing. The national [arks sat close by are, Border Ranges National Park, Bundjalong National Park, Mebbin National Park, Nightcap National Park and Wollumbin National Park. The parks are unique to themselves so just click on the park for more information but getting out into nature is a great idea if you have more time to spend in the Rainbow Region!
Visit the Markets – Markets are held in Nimbin on the fourth and fifth Sunday of every month so they’ll definitely be worth checking out if you happen to be in the area on those weekends!
Is Cannabis Legal in Nimbin?
The question on everyone’s lips right? Well no, Cannabis is not legal in Nimbin but over the years there seems to have been a little bit of a blind eye turned towards Nimbin. In fact, there is actually a police station in the village! What I do know is that there have been more crackdowns when it comes to the police and use of Cannabis in Nimbin. But if. You do visit you will no doubt about it be asked if you’d like to buy some ‘cookies’.
How to Get to Nimbin
You can easily drive from Byron Bay to Nimbin and I must say the drive is beautiful! The drive is just under kilometres from Byron taking just over an hour. Like I said before you don’t really need that much time to explore what Nimbin has to offer. I wouldn’t recommend trying to get public transport up to Nimbin as it could take you up to three hours!
Shuttle Bus – There is a shuttle bus that runs daily from Byron Bay but it is costly at $20 ONE WAY per person.
A better deal if you don’t have the luxury of your own vehicle might be an organised tour from Byron Bay up to Nimbin! Some of the popular tours with great reviews are:
The Happy Coach – A day tour from Byron Bay up to Nimbin and the surrounding hinterland including waterfalls! Includes Lunch.
Grasshopper Tours – Similar to The Happy Coach a day out in Nimbin and the landscape!
Where to Stay in Nimbin
Personally, I wouldn’t opt to stay in Nimbin. You only need a short period of time to explore the area and the bigger areas of Lismore and Byron Bay have much more to explore so it makes sense to stay there! Most people visiting Nimbin will stay in Byron Bay but if your looking for a cheaper accommodation option then Lismore may be cheaper as its less popular than Byron Bay and away from the coast a little.
The cost of accommodation varies in Byron Bay depending on the time of year. In high seasons they tend to hike up the prices because of its such a popular traveller destination. That said you can definitely find a room to fit your budget in Byron. There are a range of hostels offering dorm rooms and then heaps of more luxury hotels/villas if that’s what you’re looking for!
Accommodation Recommendations in Byron Bay
Our find time in Byron Bay we stayed at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park in Suffolk which I highly recommend – it’s right on the Tallow Beach and probably one of the cheapest options for powered sites in Byron as it’s slightly out the way!
Lodge at Discovery Park Byron – The second and third time we visited we stayed at Discovery Park which is in a great location. The sites are more expensive so try to stay unpowered but the lodges are beautiful. We stayed in a lodge during low seasons o actually got quite a good deal!
Sharing is Caring!
Either way, it’s quite easy to reach this Nimbin to enjoy all the great things to do in Nimbin. You can easily visit Nimbin on a budget especially if you’re driving – you really don’t have to spend any money at all because just wondering the streets is an experience in itself. You’ll be greeted by colourful houses and shops giving the town a very. Happy vibe promoting peace and love.
I hope you enjoyed this post on things to do in Nimbin Australia. It may only be a small village but it’s certainly interesting, to say the least! If you did enjoy this post then I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends!
Eating and travel go hand and hand. Anyone who disagrees with that notion, well we simply can’t be friends. Seriously though, wherever I go travelling finding good food always finds a place in my travel plans. Whether that’s finding the best street food in New York, best pasta in Italy or best triple chocolate muffin (David’s favourite) in the local cafes. Byron Bay is one of Australias most laid back surfer towns and so inspiring. As a creative, I could live on the shores creating my life away and of course, eating! So, in this post, I’m talking about all of the best cafes to eat in Byron Bay and other places to eat too!
Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission if you book or purchase something through a link on this page at no extra cost to you – thankyou! 🙂
Byron Bay is the ultimate haven for all travellers. It’s hip, chic, urban, relaxing and perfect for everyone. No matter how you travel, as a couple, solo, as a family, you’ll find the perfect place to eat. Whether your a meat-eater or vegan there will be somewhere for you to indulge in! Byron also has some of the best chocolate brownies I have ever tasted. So get ready for some serious mouth-watering chat!
The Best Cafes Byron Bay – In no particular order!
Spice – The hole in the wall serving up some killer brownies.
Folk Cafe – Plant-based goodness served up just as you leave (or enter) the bay!
Suffolk Bakery – Take-Out coffee with a danish pastry or maybe some freshly baked bread?
The Pass Cafe – A perfect pit stop whilst enjoying the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
Mokha Cafe – Sometimes a bit of a wait but the brunches are so worth it!
Fish Heads – The best place for fish and chips in town!
Asia Joes – Authentic Asian cuisine hidden down one of Byron’s side streets that buzzes with independent restaurants!
The Sticky Wicket – Perfect for sports lovers or anyone who fancies some hot wings!
Miss Margaritas – Because Mexican is always a good idea!
Balcony – Happy hour cocktails from 4-6 every day with a gorgeous outside area to people watch over everyone!
Byron Beach Hotel – Perfect for some daytime nachos whilst nursing an ice-cold beer overlooking the beach!
Bella Rosa – Seriously the best ice cream I have tasted, ever!
The Loft – Classy bar with a balcony overlooking the bay – pretty glam so put those glad rags on!
Byron Bay Sunday markets!
Byron Bay probably has hundreds of cafes, take outs, bars, restaurants but these ones are definitely my favourites! We spent a lot of time in Byron Bay during our year in Australia and honestly I could move there tomorrow. So what makes the places the best cafes in Byron? Well, they are all different so if you want a little more information on them then keep reading!
Where to Eat – The Best Cafes and Restaurants in Byron Bay
Spice aka The Place with the Brownies
There’s no point in leaving the best indulgent until last. Splice is literally a tiny cafe nestled in-between two other shops on the street. It serves up dessert treats and great coffees but the brownies are the main star of the show! Choose from an array of gorgeous flavours from white chocolate and raspberry, salted caramel, walnut and many more which I can’t remember – too busy eating! There’s no place to eat in as it’s just a small takeout area so grab a brownie and walk on the beach. The owners also have an adorable German Shepard in tow too so if that’s not a reason to stop by then I don’t know what is!
Mokha is a great place for brunch in Byron! We’ve revisited every time in Byron so far! Its central location makes it a great spot to start off the day. The brunch menu is filled with pancakes, eggs benny, Acai bowls – the lot! The only thing about this place is that the last time we visited we did have a bit of a wait for the meal. But with such a central location it’s a lovely place to watch the world go by whilst you do wait. When the food arrived it was delicious as always. Something else just to bare in mind is that this cafe does get very busy so plan ahead and they only accept card payments over $10, which in Australia is easily done for brunch!
This cute little cafe has quickly become one of Byron Bays most popular cafes. Its location is a little strange so given the popularity not really says something about the place. You can find Folk Cafe on the main road out of Byron next to the Discovery Park camping ground, which by the way is a great camping spot for a weekend in the bay. Folk focus on plant-based eating and vegetarian meals. Even if you do eat meat this place is certainly worth checking out. I’m personally not a vegetarian but the brunches are gorgeous! The drinks are lush too, they do a great Chai latte. So even if you’re just staying at the campsite grab a drink to take away or grab one for the road on your way home. But if you can sit outside in this chic cafe and enjoy a relaxing morning.
Suffolk Bakery is a great cafe to visit whilst in Byron Bay. It’s more of a takeout cafe with a few tables outside but the coffee is great and pastries so yummy! It is located in a little way out of the town centre but. No more than a ten minute away though, if you take a trip a Nimbin then you can stop off on the way! There’s also a great campsite down the road from the bakery which is sat right on Tallow Beach – one of the best places for sunrise in Byron Bay! I recommend staying there is want a cheaper campsite than those closer to the beach.
The Pass Cafe
The Pass Cafe is a little hidden gem in the hills of Byron. We came across it whilst hiking the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk which is a Byron must-do by the way! The cafe does drinks and food but it’s a great place for a cold beverage before reaching the lighthouse especially on a hot summers day! Sit outside and enjoy the views across the ocean. Whilst at The Pass Cafe be sure to keep looking up at the area is surrounded by eucalyptus trees – the home of the fluffy koala! We saw our first wild koala in Byron Bay!
Like a true Brit I think there is nothing better than walk on the beach eating Fish and Chips at the end of the day. Good fish and chips can be so hard to come by these days and in Oceania so can fish chips and curry sauce! It may sound gross but back in the UK, I lather the curry sauce on like no tomorrow. But in the absence of thick curry sauce, I’ll settle for gravy. But in Australia, even gravy is hard to come by at the chip shop! At Fish Heads in Byron Bay, I was very pleased to see gravy on the list of sides!
But all jokes aside this chippy does the best fish and chips in Byron at a great price. For a takeaway Fish, Chips and Gravy is just $12 which in terms of Australian eating out prices is fairly decent! Fish Heads also have a sit-down restaurant but booking in advance is recommended especially on an evening. The restaurant is actually in a great location on the beachfront so you can watch the waves whilst you eat definitely, one of the best cafes to eat in Byron Bay.
Byron Bay has a lot of Australian and American cuisines but if you fancy a taste of Asia then Asia Joes is the place to go. Located just off Johnson Street, the main Byron strip, Asia Joe’s is nestled in with a few other independent restaurants including the Cyprus Tree and Thai Lucy. Having eaten at both Thai Lucy and Asia Joes I think I have to give Asia Joes the best marks for Asian cafes! The masaman curry is perfect, definitely worth a visit during a trip to Byron Bay.
The Sticky Wicket
A little different to most other places on the list and definitely more of a bar than a cafe but still worth a place on the list. The Sticky Wicket is a great place for sports and music lovers. They play sports on the screens and often have gigs going on upstairs so it’s a strange mix. The best thing about this bar in Byron Bay is the prices! The happy hour consists of very cheap wine and $1 wings – pretty good deal! It’s a great place to visit whilst waiting for a table in some of the restaurants and cafes in Byron Bay.
Miss Margaritas serves up some of the best Mexican in the world! Honestly, I’m not kidding the Mexican is so good. Every time we’ve been to Byron Bay there’s a queue out of the door, down the street and usually a wait time of up to an hour. But honestly, it’s worth it. Unfortunately, they don’t take bookings so it’s getting there early unless you’re happy to wait. If there is a wait when you arrive then it will be worth it. There’s plenty of bars and shops open late to hang around in whilst you wait or you can always take a stroll on the beach. Miss Margarita is more of a Mexican restaurant opposed to a cafe but the vibe is completely chilled!
Balcony Bar is another popular evening spot in Byron Bay. It’s a super nice bar with a great happy hour every day from 4-6. You can even enjoy $1 oysters if you really want it to. Balcony Bar is one of the more upmarket spots in Byron Bay so get dressed up and enjoy some great food and drinks! Though people do get dolled up for the evening it’s definitely more of a casual drinking place in the daytime. The Balcony that runs around the building looks over the town.
Ice cream at the seaside is a must-do and there is plenty of the places selling ice cream all over in Byron Bay. That said, Bella Rosa serves some of the best ice creams I’ve tasted. It’s super light with all of the rich flavours. The coconut or peanut butter are a few of my faves. Even after a big meal, these ice creams don’t leave you feeling bloated. Great for a hot day whilst enjoying the beautiful beaches.
Byron Bay Beach Hotel
The beach hotel is on the corner of Johnson Street looking over the beach. It’s completely chilled out and the ideal bar for daytime cocktails and snacks! The nachos or hot chips are great to indulge in the middle of the day hiding from the hot sun!
The Loft is a little like Balcony bar and definitely one of the nicest bars in Byron. We haven’t ever eaten here but the drinks are lovely and the view out onto the shops is lovely.
Byron Bay Sunday Markets
The Byron Bay Sunday markets are on every week and have some awesome food stalls worth tasting! Choose from nachos, Moroccan wraps or maybe a healthy smoothie or juice! The markets host independent artists, fashion designers, foods and loads more! It’s a great market to have a look around even if you don’t want to shop or eat there!
So, I hope you enjoyed this post on the best cafes in Byron Bay. As well as some other great places to eat whilst relaxing in the best surfer town Australia has got! If you’re thinking about visiting Byron Bay then you might like my posts on ‘Things to Do in Byron Bay’ and ‘The Ultimate Weekend in Byron Itinerary’. If you did enjoy this post then I would love it if you could share it with your friends!
Cheer Up, Slow Down and Chill Out. The words painted on the welcome sign as you approach Byron Bay have you instantly break a smile. Byron Bay has everything you need to make this exact remedy come alive. It’s the ultimate hub of relaxation where nobody is in a rush and all that matters is what time you’re heading to the beach. As one of the most popular backpacking towns on the East Coast of Australia, hundreds of travellers make their way to Byron Bay for a slice of the magic every day. It’s the town famous for its laid back surfer lifestyle with some of the best waves in Australia. A question that has been asked to me many a time is, how long do you need in Byron Bay? And I simply cannot answer that question.
Because I adore Byron Bay with every inch of my body. I know I could spend months even years here without getting bored or feeling the need to move on. But that won’t be the same for everybody. After all wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all loved the same places? That said, in terms of travelling and experiencing some of what Byron Bay has to offer a long weekend is a good place to start. We had planned initially to stay three days and ended up staying five but that’s because we simply fell in love. You can explore a good chunk of Byron Bay in a weekend which is why I’ve put together this Weekend Itinerary for you to follow or at least get some ideas of what to do in Byron Bay from.
You can easily find what you’re looking for in this guide by clicking through the menu below!
What to Do in Byron Bay – Ultimate Weekend Itinerary
Inside this travel guide, I’m going to share all of my tips when it comes to visiting the beautiful Byron Bay for the weekend. Of course, it can be used for any other day of the week too! When it comes on to deciding on what to do in Byron Bay during your visit you won’t be short of options. Even though it’s small Byron Bay has an array of things to do for everybody. Backpackers young and old, couples, families, friends and solo travellers, from lounging on the breathtaking beaches to hiking to the lighthouse spotting wildlife Byron Bay is a place for everybody. In this guide on what to do in Byron Bay, I’ll be exploring the highlights of Byron Bay, where to stay, eat and play! (FYI, By play I mean giving you tips on the best bars!)
You can also download this guide as a PDF and I’ve even put together a cafe checklist which you can download or save to your phone, just fill out the form below!
Getting to Byron Bay
Byron Bay may be one of Australias smaller tourist towns but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to get to. Located just an hour south of the Queensland border and a mere two-hour drive from Brisbane it’s very easy to reach!
If you’re driving from Brisbane simply follow the M1 straight down the coast, you can see the map below for driving instructions from Brisbane:
From Sydney, the journey is a little longer but again quite simple. A lot of people incorporate Byron Bay into their East Coast road trips which is exactly what we did the first time we visited. You can see another map below for driving instructions from Sydney:
If you’re going to Byron Bay for the weekend then flying is the easiest option! It’s quick and you can fly to Byron Bay from most airports in Australia. To fly directly into Byron Bay the airport you want is Ballina which is the gateway airport into Byron, you can check out their website here. The airport is located approximately 25 minutes away from Byron Bay so your usual modes of transport from the airport are available! Bus, Taxi or Shuttle. Please note that there is no train service. I’d advise booking in advance to Ballina airport as fares do have a tendency to skyrocket, we always fly into Brisbane and drive down to Byron to save money. The other closest airport to Byron Bay in the Gold Coast.
Public Bus Service: The public bus running from Ballina Airport to Byron Bay is the 640 service which runs daily to and from the airport. The easiest way to check up on the latest bus time tables in New South Wales is to download the NSW Transport App or visit this website to plan your journey.
Taxi: You’ll find a free taxi phone at the airport that you can use but this will probably be your most expensive option. A taxi into Byron Bay will cost anything from 40 AUD/20 GBP upwards.
Shuttle Bus: Another popular option is the shuttle bus. There is an information desk at the airport to give you all the information you’d need about getting into Byron from the airport. The airport uses a few different shuttle bus companies which you can have a look at here. Shuttle bus prices start at $20 and $35 return.
Where to Stay in Byron Bay
Before I dive into how to spend your weekend in Byron Bay I want to talk about where to stay. In my opinion the closest to the beach you are better! On our various trips to Byron Bay, we’ve always stayed at campsites and I can’t recommend them more! The first time we hit Byron in October 2018 we had our trusty campervan so where we were staying wasn’t up for negotiation. The second time we went with a group of friends and found staying in a lodge on the campsites cheaper than both hotel and Air BnB options! Of course, Byron Bay is full of backpacker hostels where you can stay if you’re looking to save money or perhaps meet other travellers.
Hostels in Byron Bay
Wake Up!With many a hostel all over Australia, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this hostel. Located about 1.6km from the centre of Byron it’s within a short walk, public transport or cycling distance to all the excitement. Ideal for backpackers looking to save on accommodation so that you can spend more on the important stuff like beer! A night in Wake Up! will set you back 40 AUD/20 GBP.
Aquarius Okay now this hostel from the outside looks like a five-star hotel, not a backpackers! Located on the road out of Byron and up to the lighthouse, you’ll find this gorgeous little hostel. Complete with five-star reviews it seems to be one of the top picks for backpackers in Byron Bay! This hostel comes with an abundance of shared dorms for up to 10 people and various privates rooms too. There’s entertainment on site every night and a bar/grill to enjoy as well, it seems like the perfect place to socialise with other travellers when deciding what to do in Byron Bay! Oh, and did I mention the pool?! A stay here will cost you anything from 31 AUD/16.70 GBP per night.
Campsites in Byron Bay
Travelling the East Coast of Australia, in my opinion, is best done in your very own home on wheels! Yep, I’m a huge lover of the camper van life after this road trip and can’t wait to embark on it again at the end of March 2019! There are some beautiful campsites in Byron Bay and you’ll find them a lot cheaper than the hotels/hostels too. There are over six different campsites in the heart of Byron Bay so you can be close to the action! When you do decide what to do in Byron Bay during your stay I’m guessing most of it will be near the beach so you don’t want to be too far away!
I’ve been lucky enough to stay in both of the campsites below and had a fantastic experience both offering something a little different!
Discovery Parks – Byron Bay Located on the main road into Byron Bay discovery parks is one of the most popular choices when staying at campsites in the bay. These parks are well known all over Australia with a glistening reputation in offering you a wonderful stay! When we stayed here we actually stayed in one of their modern lodges. Not quite sure what to expect, we were thrilled we turned up for the weekend to a gorgeous 2 bed, 1 bath, 1 living room/kitchen unit. It was kitted out with everything we could’ve needed and perfect if you’re visiting with friends/family on your trip to the bay! For a night in one of these lodges, you’re looking at around $50 per person per night. It isn’t the cheapest option but worth the money if you don’t like camping or hostels – definitely cheaper than most hotels/Air BnB in the area!
If you do have a campervan/tent then a night for a site here will cost you 30-50 AUD/16-27 GBP depending on if you need powered/unpowered.
As far as the facilities go you really do get great value for money here! Clean toilets and bathrooms for those camping and camp kitchens. You’ll find multiple BBQ areas around the park and plenty to do! Complete with a tennis court, swimming pool, waterpark and jumping pillow you won’t be stuck for anything to do on the campsite. I’m not a family blogger but this campsite would be ideal for children! We went with our friends and their 18-month daughter who loved playing in the water park! They also offer free yoga on Saturdays and Sundays! As for ease it’s just over a mile into Byron and takes about 25-35 minutes to walk so easy to get to and from if you don’t mind stretching your legs!
Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park Located in Suffolk a mere 10-minute drive from Byron Bay was where we stayed with our beloved camper the first time round in Byron Bay. This holiday park was a little cheaper than the others but well worth the extra driving time. This holiday park is located on Tallow Beach one of my favourites in Byron! If you read my top things to do in Byron Bay then you’ll see the sunrise is a must do! The beach is a 2-minute walk from your van, tent or lodge so you don’t have to go far at all!
The facilities at this park were equally as good with clean toilets and camp kitchens. This site doesn’t have a pool but who needs one when the beach is on your doorstep? A night here will cost anything from 39 AUD/20 GBP a night. You can also stay in a safari tent which looked pretty cool!
If you do stay here make sure you check out Suffolk Bakery, you’ll go past every day on your drive out to Byron! The food and coffee are simply sensational!
Ultimate Weekend Itinerary on What to Do in Byron Bay
For this purpose of this post, I’m going to chat like your in Byron Bay for the weekend. That said, you can do most of the things in this post on any day of the week! Just be careful when it comes to the markets because these are specifically on a weekend!
Day 1 – Friday
Arrive too Byron Bay early on Friday morning so you can make the most out of your long weekend! You’ll hopefully miss the traffic that way too! Head to check-in at your accommodation if you can but if not you’ll find a free car park on Butlers Street Reserve, this isn’t always available due to the markets but make sure you take a look there first! More on parking here!
First things first, change into your swimmers and head for the beach! Follow the crowds into the centre of Byron and head towards the ocean! Starting at the main beach you’ll walk past the lush grass area where there will be someone playing live music! You can soak up the sunshine and atmosphere here or head down onto the Main beach. Hang out on the main beach, bathing, hire a surfboard and make sure you’re swimming between the flags! This area is popular with swimmers and families and often quite busy.
If you fancy escaping the crowds (what I recommend) then take a walk all the way along the beach. Walk towards the right-hand side (if you’re looking out to sea) and take in the views. If you keep walking you’ll eventually come to The Pass, the best waves to surf in Byron Bay are found here so expect some great surfers to watch/join if you want too! If you do swim here just be mindful of the surfers.
As you keep walking past The Pass you’ll see Fishermans Lookout, a lookout that stretches back over the beach. Carefully make your way up the rickety stairs for sensational views at the top. Make sure you go when the tide is low so you can access the stairs.
All that relaxing has got to be thirsty work and no doubt you’ll be a little peckish too! Head to the Byron Bay Beach Hotel for reasonably priced food and drinks! The cocktails are awesome and the pizza looked amazing too! You can also get nibbles like chips and nachos for as little as 10 AUD/5 GBP.
Cook at the campsite!
Once you’ve enjoyed a cocktail or two why not chill out at the campsite for the evening have a BBQ and enjoy being away from the big cities. Or if you’re a partier you’ll find bars open until the early hours all over Byron, you won’t have to search far!
Day 2 – Saturday
Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk! My most favourite part of Byron Bay is the Cape Byron Light House Walk! The views along this walk are unbeatable and will you speechless for days! The walk starts down near the beach and weaves in and out of cliff tops, grassland, beaches and walkways. A total of 3.7km it’s a decent trail and is difficult in some parts. You won’t be able to take a pram or wheelchair unfortunately due to the uneven walking tracks, stairs and steep inclines. I’ll be honest me and Dave are in pretty good shape but even we were knackered by the time we reached the lighthouse! That said, it was totally worth it!
You can find heaps of information about this walk here!
Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk Map
Highlights – Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
The lighthouse walk is simply beautiful and will always steal my heart when it comes to coastal walks in Australia, it’s the best. But there are a few highlights on the way that make it extra special.
Dolphins being the main attraction
Yes, you heard correctly Byron Bay lighthouse is a great viewing spot for wildlife. On both of our visits to the bay, we’ve been lucky enough to see multiple pods of Dolphins (can you spot them on the photograph below?). It’s magical to be able to watch these creatures in their natural habitat. As a native Brit seeing creatures like this in real life blows my mind. It’s something that I’ve only ever watched on Blue Planet before! Hopefully when you visit you’ll be lucky enough to see a Dolphin or two!
Also another favourite of mine! This gorgeous beach is away from the hustle and bustle and offers a tranquil spot popular with families and locals. You’ll find plenty of facilities at Wategos beach including toilets, BBQ pits, an outdoor weight training area and an all round chilled vibe.
The Most Easterly Point of Mainland Australia
Have you stood on the most Easterly Point in mainland Australia? Because I have! So if you’re visiting Bryon Bay you have to go up to the lighthouse simply to grab this tourist photograph! It’s great for the gram and of course amazing memories, of which you make plenty here in Byron Bay.
Driving up to the Lighthouse
If walking isn’t your jam or you can’t for health reasons, children etc then you have to visit anyway! You can drive all the way up to the lighthouse to enjoy the views and try to spot some Dolphins. Just follow the signs straight through Byron and head for the lighthouse. I’ll give you a map below!
Grab a Brownie from ‘the hole in the wall’
After the adventure to the lighthouse, you’ve definitely deserved a treat after that walk! Head back down to Byron to the main street and you’ll find a gorgeous little brownie shack. Spice sell the best brownies in Byron Bay from a tiny little hole in the wall! Don’t worry they aren’t ‘Byron Bay’ brownies or from Nimbin, these are just pure gold chocolate brownies! The walk back to Byron takes about an hour. It can take up to 2 hours to reach the lighthouse but it’s uphill mostly and the amount of stops for photographs is high!
Dine at Miss Margaritas!
A lover of Mexican food? then this is the place for you! For the best Mexican food and cocktails make sure you get tonights out dinner at Miss Margaritas. Happy Hour on all cocktails is 5-6pm so time if for then if you can. We ate here on our first visit to Byron and have been dreaming of eating it all again soon! See the bottom of this post for a list of other bars I recommend visiting.
Top Tip: It’s very small and extremely popular, you’ll need to either book a table or be prepared for a long wait! It’s 100% worth it though!
Day 3 – Sunday
Sunrise at Tallow Beach/Lighthouse
Rise nice and early on your final day in the bay to watch some amazing sunrises. We watched the sun come out to play on Tallow Beach and it was gorgeous, the lighthouse is also supposed to be an epic view for the sun rising! We haven’t done the lighthouse sunrise but from Tallow beach you can see it so I know it would be amazing!
For your final day in Byron Bay, or maybe you’ll extend for a few days if you loved it as much as we did, there’s still plenty to enjoy! The main attraction in Byron Bay every Sunday is the markets!
Byron Bay Butler Reserve Markets
Remember that huge free car park I was talking about? Well, you can’t park there on Sundays because it’s home to the markets! Every Sunday you’ll find the majority of the Byron population hanging out at the markets and you’ll find everything from gorgeous food, clothes, candles, artwork and pretty much everything you can think of! If you need to take something home for a loved one then the market is a great place to grab something. Most of the designers are local and most sold items locally or hand made. Even if you buy nothing it’s great to go and have a look!
Now even if you opted not to stay at Discovery Parks you have to go anyway so you can visit Folk Cafe. A cute little plant-based cafe with something for everyone! I must admit I’m a big meat eater and definitely am not plant-based but I did really enjoy the egg roll that we ate here! The chai latte was also beautiful! They have featured in the Good Food Guide as one of Australias Top 20 destinations, so must be worth a visit right?
Depending on how much time you’ve got in Byron to spare on Sunday I would recommend visiting Nimbin. About an hour inland from Byron Bay lives the hippy central. It’s hard to explain the vibes Nimbin to anyone unless you’ve been. If you know you know kind of thing. But imagine rainbow painted houses and being offered ‘cookies’ on the street and that’s Nimbin. It’s a far cry from anything I’ve experienced before but you just have to go and see it for yourself! You can read here for a little more detail into the history of the town
You’ll find during your three days in Byron that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. You’ll also see that’s it has an amazing cafe and bar culture which is why I’ve put together two lists of Cafes and Bars to visit during your stay! You can find these below!
A Few Cafes to Visit in Byron Bay
The Pass Cafe
A Few Bars to Visit in Byron Bay
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co
The Sticky Wicket
Byron Bay Beach Hotel
There’s definitely plenty more than just these few but these are some of my favourites and ones I think you should try on your next visit to Byron Bay! I hope that you enjoyed reading this post on what to do in Byron Bays even if for only three days! If you liked it don’t forget to share it because your friends might like it too! Also, don’t miss out on any of my upcoming adventures in Australia and New Zeland by subscribing below!
Heading to Byron Bay this year? Well if you are I’ve got a great bunch of Things to Do in Byron Bay in 2019 right here! PS. I’m extremely jealous and hate you a little at the moment.
As we crossed the border from Queensland to New South Wales we could hardly believe that we were heading into the last week of our road trip. We had spent the three weeks before this one exploring the beauty of the Australian East Coast. From golden beaches longer than you can imagine, 92% silica sand, floated in freshwater lakes and danced in breathtaking waterfalls. So as we approach our last leg or the trip, I had one question on my mind, can this possibly get any better?
From the moment that we joined the queue of rusty old camper vans, yes I was lusting over each one, Byron Bay captured my heart almost instantaneously. Famous for being one of Australia’s most sought after backpacking destinations I was a little dubious to how I’d like Byron Bay. I had imagined a town bursting with students and eighteen-year-old brits knocking back too much goon on the beach! Whilst, of course, there was some of that I was greeted completely by surprised as we drove through the town taking in the sights we were greeted with. From young families, students newlyweds to retirees, it appeared that nobody would be stuck for things to do in Byron Bay this year (or any year), no matter how candles you blew out on your last birthday.
In this post, I want to chat about all the remarkable things to do in Byron Bay in 2019. Because this surfer town, believe it or not, has so much more to do than surf! Whether you’re into lazing around on the picture-perfect beaches to hiking through the hinterland, Byron Bay has you covered. You even might be lucky enough to meet some of the locals (No I’m not talking about the local guitarist either!)
Things to Do in Byron Bay!
Cape Byron Light House Walk
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (thank you) then you’ll know that as well as being a beach babe I love being active! Growing up in Sheffield in the UK hiking is a way of life for us in the Peak District so any chance for a good walk to keep the muscles going, I’m in! My favourite way to explore a new place is on foot, that way you don’t whizz past anything incredible by accident! So we knew immediately that we would tackle the Cape Byron Light House Walk! If you’re in good shape/active, I say this because there are a fair few steep hills on this trail, then you must do the lighthouse walk! You are seriously missing out on some of the best views that Byron has to offer if you don’t do it – It just isn’t an option right?
The Cape Byron Light House walk is a 3.7-kilometre walk and will take anything from 1-3 hours, but plan for the latter because you’ll be stopping a lot to take in the scenery. The walk starts from the bay but you can choose various starting points whether it’s from the beach or the real start of the trail! We started at the trail because we walked from the campsite (which took our walk up to about 5 kilometre’s, cue one very sweaty couple!). You can check out this website for the official trail route, maps and tonnes of information about the walk. As you make your way up to the lighthouse, an architectural wonder itself, you stroll along beaches, clifftops, bush walkways, rainforests and even a café/bar if you fancy a beer or wine to get you up those hills!
As if the natural beauty of the walk wasn’t enough you’ll also get to see some epic landmarks too! Like, did you know that Byron Bay is home to the most easterly point in Australia? Well you do now and you’re going to walk straight through it (and take an obligatory photograph of course!) And to top it all of you’ll get to meet some of the locals too.
I think that’s what made this walk so magical for me was the wild and sea life we were lucky enough to spot! As much as we enjoyed spending time at Australia Zoo it’s always a magical feeling when you see animals in their natural habitat, which is exactly where they should be. During our hike we got to see not one but TWO pods of dolphins, a lizard that totally freaked me out because it looked like a snake with feet (see photograph below!) and little did we know that Byron Bay would be the place that we spotted a Koala in the wild, which if you’ve been to Australia you’ll know they can be hard buggers to spot!
I may be a little biased because of the blissful weather we had and the wild and marine life we got to see but the Cape Byron Walk has to be on the top of your list of things to do in Byron Bay! But if you are unable to make the walk due to health reasons or you simply can’t be arsed then at least take a drive up to the lighthouse as the views really are breathtaking and this is where we spotted our pods of dolphins!
Close your eyes and imagine a rainbow coloured street, rainbow-painted houses, shops, public toilets you name it, everywhere is painted the colours of the rainbow. Imagine vintage shops lining the streets and shops so full that whatever they are selling is spilling out of every nook and cranny, there’s a certain smell in the air, not dirty but definitely not clean either. And if you’re really creative you might even imagine being asked if you’d like to try one of Nimbin’s speciality cookies on several occasions as you walk down the street mesmerised by what you’re witnessing before your eyes.
If you’ve already been to Nimbin then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! When you visit Byron Bay you have to take a drive up to see it, a tiny rainbow-infused town nestled in the hills of the hinterland.
About an hour or so inland from Byron Bay is the town where people sell you weed on the streets and offer you cookies, yep you guess it full of weed as well. For the locals, it’s their way of life and probably really normal but it’s something I haven’t experienced too much of – very hard to write this without sounding like a total snob (Which I really am not!). If I could explain Nimbin to you it’s the exact definition of free-spirited land hippy living. I guess Nimbin is what I expected Byron Bay to be like. Which if you’ve ever visited both places you’ll know how different they really are!
We arrived in Byron Bay late afternoon on our first day so we decided to head to the main beach and take a stroll and boy am I glad we did! What was meant to be a short walk for some fresh sea air and to get the sand between our toes again turned out to be major beach exploration! We ended up walking a good length of the beach from main, all the way down to The Pass. The Pass is one of the most famous places in Byron Bay to surf but the waves were tame so the beach luckily for us was tame too. If you are heading to Byron Bay in the summer be mindful that this section of the beach will be jam-packed! That said it’s still worth a visit just to see Fisherman’s Lookout.
You won’t be able to miss Fisherman’s Lookout, sometimes called staircase rock when you reach The Pass! The lookout is a rock formation that looks back on Byron Bay and out into the glittering ocean and is simply stunning. The lookout is a natural landmark made from rocks that have been formed over the years. Make your way up the rickety steps and take it all in!
Visit the Byron Bay Markets
One of the things I adore about Byron Bay is its vintage chic feel. From the shops to the people Byron is full of a hippie, free-spirited and relaxed vibe. It even comes through in some of the shops you visit and the markets in Byron Bay are incredible! Byron Bay has markets twice a week and extra ones dotted around the year, so you’ll no doubt stumble upon one or two no matter when you visit! We were lucky enough to be in town during the Twilight Markets which are held every Saturday from October to Easter.
These markets gave us everything from glorious food to some talented local artists, photographers, dressmakers and heaps more! Byron Bay also holds a large flea market full of everything you can think of every second Saturday! You can check out this website for a list of the local markets and what dates they are on, so you can be sure to be in town!
Take a Surf Lesson with Let’s Go Surfing
Okay, so I may be kind of cheating a little with this one but don’t give up on me just yet! The ultimate activity we longed to do in Byron Bay was to surf! I mean come on Byron Bay is the place to surf! It’s where every Aussie hit’s up for the holidays to get out on the waves! But we kind of had a freak out when we saw the price, yes surfing is expensive and decided to be sensible sausages and save it for another time! That said we have had now had three epic surfing lessons in Sydney with the same company that run the surf lessons in Byron Bay!
Let’s Go Surfing is the only surfing company on Bondi Beach down south and teach hundreds of amateurs to surf a week! The experience we’ve had with these guys has been world-class and I wouldn’t recommend any other surf company! We even managed to stand up on the boards on our first lesson! The surf is good in Sydney but I know it can be better in Byron and whilst you’re visiting the ultimate surf town it would be rude not to give it a go right? But if you’re like us and strapped for cash because you blew it all on the rest of your roadie, then fear not you can hop on aboard when you get to Sydney!
Sunrise at Tallow Beach
What is it about the sunrise that makes you raring to go for the day? I can remember the day we headed to watch the sunrise at Tallow beach like it was this morning. As the alarm rings in my ears at 5:30 am I’d already been lying awake for half an hour prior. You see, camper-vans aren’t very soundproof and those Australian birds are singing at the top of their beaks way before the sun is up! But I could think of a lot worse noises to wake up to, I loved listening to them as I lay in the back of our home on wheels.
When Dave is eventually ready to head to the beach we look like two ninjas in the dark stumbling out of the van! Without a care in the world, we walk 500 yards and we are on the beach, crazy I know, it was 5:30 am and I was stood on a beach in Australia, in my pyjamas waiting for the sun to rear its head. It honestly felt like it was a movie.
I vividly remember being shocked at how many people were out at that time in the morning walking their dogs, jogging or just having a stroll! But if I lived that close the beach then I reckon I’d be there most mornings (note to self, get to Bondi Beach in the mornings more often!). The sky was clear with just two strands of pink cloud, looking a lot like candy floss in the distance. The sunrise was simply spectacular and well worth getting up early for!
Now, Tallow Beach is about a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay in Suffolk and I highly recommend you get up there for sunrise if you can, you can see the lighthouse in the distance as well as the glistening ocean with your feet buried in the sand! Another popular option for the sunrise is actually heading up to the lighthouse – we are saving this one for our next trip!
After the sunrise make sure you head to Suffolk Bakery and grab a pastry and coffee – they honestly do the best of both in Byron! There wasn’t a day or time when this bakery wasn’t bustling with people, the smell of homemade baking goods lures you in from the street and honestly, it tastes just as good as it looks!
Soak up the sun on some of Australia’s most stunning beaches!
The Byron coastline is full of fantastic beaches! From the gorgeous Main beach to the more quiet and mellow Tallow Beach, you are spoilt for choice! They all ooze beauty with glorious waters to swim, paddle and splash around in! There is even a tonne of water sports activities you can get on board within Byron Bay! You can go here for some more details on those!
It can be difficult when choosing which beaches to explore especially when you’re on a time constraint – we had the same problem so I feel ya! That said we did manage to get around a few of them like a pair of beach hussies on the loose! So below are our favourites & the ones we think you should visit!
Stating the obvious I know, but it’s impressive how many people avoid the main beaches of coastal towns like Byron Bay because of the high volumes of tourism people expect to find! The Main beach in Byron Bay wasn’t like that at all and it has so much more to offer than just a beach. Begin on the grass near the car park and you’ll be invited in by acoustic music!
We listened to a fair few talented guitarists during our visit! You can bring a picnic up the grass and just listen and hang out on there if you like! Or you can drop down onto the beach which yes, will be busy but still beautiful. Main Beach importantly has lifeguards patrolling which is somewhat lacking on the other beaches! So if you’re up for a swim in the sea the best place to be is Main Beach so you can stay safe and swim between those flags!
I know I’ve already talked about how tranquil this beach is but that isn’t just at sunrise. Tallow Beach is stunning at all times of the day! The view of the lighthouse makes it extra special as does the lack of people! If you’re looking for a quieter strip of sand so that you can fall right into the pages of that holiday read then Tallow Beach is the place for you! You won’t find any facilities at Tallow beach so make sure you’ve plenty of food and an empty bladder!
We stumbled across this lovely little bay and beach area when we were hiking up to the lighthouse! A gorgeous little cove makes for an idyllic place for a sunbathe, swim and BBQ! There is a car park, a grassed area and plenty of facilities for your toileting needs! A perfect place for a group get together and family fun!
I briefly mentioned The Pass in an earlier section but I just want to touch on it a little more here. This can be one of the busiest spots in Byron due to the awesome waves that surfers love to ride when the conditions are right!
My advice would be to stay out of the water if you find yourself here on a day like this – best not to get wiped out by a surfboard, unless you’re a pro that is! But this beach is definitely worth a visit. I don’t know about you but I love watching surfers and it’s home to Fisherman’s Lookout, a perfect place to spot marine life and gaze onto the horizon. As well as that, like every spot in Byron, it’s perfect to sunbathe!
The great thing about Byron Bay is that it’s surrounded by trees, whether it’s pandanas, palm trees or pine trees you’re bound to find a spot of shade on any of the beaches! The most open of the four I’d say is tallow beach.
Eat Your Weight in Gelato
Okay, so I’m for sure not a foodie blogger but god do I love my food and Dave certainly loves his deserts! I had to give this place mention in this post because the Gelato we had from this counter was unreal! I have never tasted anything so light, like ever! Bella Rose has every flavour you can think of from coconut to Ferrero Rocher and it doesn’t make you feel all frumpy afterwards – it’s honestly THE BEST!
Bonus Tip: Where to Park Your Home on Wheels
Before you go I just thought I’d add one more piece of information to this post! Of course, the best way to travel the Aussie east coast is by camper van! So if you’re like us and jumped on the bandwagon, or van in this case! You’ll notice as you drive further south the pricing for the campsites slowly starts to increase! When in Byron Bay I recommend staying at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park! Though about a 10 – 15-minute drive from the centre it’s a lot cheaper than some of the sites nearer the city & a bonus is that it’s set back from Tallow Beach! You can have a look at their website here but I couldn’t recommend it more!
We had more than two during our five days here! There are, of course, countless ice cream counters throughout the town, you only have to turn your head sideways and another one will most certainly be in you’re view!
So, in case you didn’t quite get the message in this post-Byron Bay has a very large chunk of my heart. I would go as far as to say I could happily live in Byron Bay for a long period of time. The people, the culture, the lifestyle isn’t anything short of perfection! & some of those houses dotted around the bay – wow! I might want to live there but whether I could ever afford would be another story, I’ll let you know if I ever make it!
But honestly, I would happy in the back of pastel green VW camper van for the foreseeable future! There are so many things to do in Byron Bay and we only scratched the surface but I look forward to updating this post the more we get to go back and explore!
Why is Byron Bay Special to us?
Byron Bay is a magical place and honestly it was the most at peace with ourselves we felt the whole road trip. We even made a huge decision whilst strolling the beach.
When we first arrived in Australia we were adamant we going to undertake the 88 days of rural farm work you have to do to extend you’re working holiday visa (Check out my post about WHV’S here). But in reality, neither of us were really being honest with each other. I was secretly dreading the whole thing, so much so that it was stopping me enjoying Australia to the full! Dave, on the other hand, would be able to hack the farm work but was wondering how I’d handle it! Turns out I ’m just not cut out for it and that’s okay.
So it was as we walked hand in hand on Wategos beach that we decided, no farm work! I suddenly felt a weight lifted from my shoulders and a deeper love from Byron Bay! It might sound crazy but this place for sure has something special about it!
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Byron Bay was just one of the amazing spots we loved on the East Coast of Australia. I’m so excited to finally be writing about each and every place! You can take a look at all of the destinations we hit up on our road trip in part 1 (Queensland) and part 2 (New South Wales) – click on the states!