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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!
The locations and types of the market do change each week so keep up to the date with the timetable here!
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
- Folk Cafe
- Spice (Brownies)
- The Pass Cafe
- Suffolk Bakery
A Few Bars to Visit in Byron Bay
- Balcony Bar & Oyster Co
- The Sticky Wicket
- Miss Margarita
- 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!