TAKE A BREAK IN BYRON
With its stunning natural attractions and eclectic community, Byron Bay on the North Coast of NSW is one of the world’s most famous coastal towns. You’ll be captivated by gorgeous beaches, breathtaking hinterland rainforest, spectacular coastal trails, amazing marine life and a buzzing food scene.
Unsure where to start in the Bay? See our favourite itineraries to help you get the most out of your next Byron trip.
Byron Bay must-sees & itineraries
Cape Byron Lighthouse sits on Australia’s most easterly point, a shining light over Byron Bay. Take a guided tour, find out about shipwrecks and enjoy spectacular views.
The light that shines by night over Cape Byron Marine Park emanates from a tower as famous as the town of Byron Bay itself.
Built at the turn of the 19th century to protect ships passing along the coast, Cape Byron Lighthouse stands resolute on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. Operated by resident keepers until 1989, its now automated light is clearly visible from Byron Bay township.
You’ll enjoy some of the best views of the ocean and hinterland on the entire coast, including regular sightings of turtles, dolphins and humpback whales.
Credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
You’ll need a good two hours to properly experience the Cape Byron walking track – but it’s so rich in delights, so don’t be surprised if you reach the end and feel like doing it all again. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to spend a couple of hours on the state’s entire coast.
The 3.7km loop leads you on a hike through rainforest and across clifftops with stunning views of the ocean and hinterland.
En route you’ll wander through the shade of bangalow palms and ancient burrawangs, across kangaroo grasslands, along picturesque beaches and up to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Remember to keep an eye out on the water for turtles, dolphins, stingrays and, in season, whales.
If you’d prefer an easier walk, the track can be accessed at numerous points and walked in shorter sections.
Credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
The Farm is principally a working farm, home to a collection of independent businesses all sharing in a common goal - "Grow, Feed, Educate". You're invited to come and visit and see for yourself how a farm operates, supports the environment and contributes to a healthier lifestyle.
Born and raised in Byron Bay, Stone & Wood are proud locals, brewing and bottling fresh approachable beer in the Northern Rivers of NSW. Inspired by the idea of the ‘village brewery’, they strive to operate as a conscious business and give back to the local community.
Their Tasting Room and brewery in Byron Bay – what they call their ‘spiritual home’ – is located in the heart of the Arts & Industry Estate, housing 31 brewing tanks, a canteen run by the local legends at 100 Mile Table and a spacious beer garden.
Since starting out, they’ve been brewing beer that is simply good to drink. Most visitors will know about our Pacific Ale, but many more will enjoy discovering their full range of beers, from the crisp Green Coast Lager to the stone fruit flavours of their Cloud Catcher pale ale.
Alongside their core range of beers is a rotating series of one-off Pilot Batch beers brewed by our creative brewers on-site, plus limited releases from our weird and wonderful Counter Culture series.
Wategos Beach is located 2 km east of the Byron Bay town centre. A peaceful sheltered little beach that is ideal for families, a fantastic place to picnic, play in the sand and swim.
You’ll find BBQ’s and picnic tables are available to cook up breakfast or lunch. At the far end of the beach you can take the steps up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. The Lighthouse precinct is open 8am to sunset.
The small arc of beach is named after the Watego family who settled the area in the 1930’s and grew bananas and vegetables where the houses are now. There are a number of Wategos Beach holiday houses available to stay in.
Waves usually break gradually, spilling over the wide sand bar and patchy reef, producing a friendlier surf suitable for long boards and learners. It is best to swim and surf when the beach is patrolled.
Wategos Beach was originally named Little Beach. In 1933 Murray (Mick) Watego leased one of three available blocks of land above the small arc of beach. He and his wife, Mary and 10 children grew bananas and other fruits and vegetables on the land to supply local and Sydney markets.
Murray was a respected member of the community and a well-known member of the Byron Bay RSL having served in WWI. He passed away in 1953 and the land lease ended in 1959.
In 1961 Council put up for auction approximately 86 lots of land in Wategos. The average price in 1961 was $700, in 1970, $2320. It would take over 25 years for all of the lots to be sold and built on. Wategos is now prime real estate in Byron Bay.
Belongil Beach stretches north from the seawall at Main Beach car park up 2.5km to the Belongil Creek mouth. Beyond the Creek mouth is Tyagarah Beach. Belongil is ideal for a long beach walk being less crowded than Main Beach. It is relatively safe for swimming however it is best to swim on the Southern end nearest to Byron Bay and when the beach is patrolled.
Looking north you will see a small part of a shipwreck coming up from the water. This is the rudder bar from the SS Wollongbar and is referred to locally as ‘The Wreck’. Surfers enjoy waves created by the sandbar around The Wreck when the swell is big. Sitting on the seawall indulging in some local fish and chips while watching the surfers at The Wreck is a fun way to spend some time.
There is an off-leash area from Manfred Street Belongil continuing to Main Beach car park that includes the Cavanbah Reserve. For more information please refer to our dog friendly beach map of Byron Bay.
The closest toilets are located at Apex Park near the Surf Club.
Use the northern end of Main Beach car park. This is a paid parking car park (current rates are $4.00 per hour) with a 4 hr parking limit enforced between 9am to 6pm Monday to Sunday including Public Holidays. Free if you have a Byron Shire Residents Parking Exemption. There are also numerous smaller car parks on Border Street, Don Street and Childe Street.
Belongil Beach is a good beach for all levels of ability although children and beginners should surf when the beach is patrolled. Of course it all depends on the size of the swell. The waves are best on a southeasterly swell with an offshore southerly or southwesterly wind.
The area known as The Wreck at the southern end of the beach (look for the piece of ship sticking out of the water) is very popular with locals. It produces hollow waves due to the sandbank that the shipwreck creates and works best in a south east swell with southerly winds.
Cape Byron Distillery is perched in the heart of the Brook Family’s 96 acre Farm (Brookfarm) in the hinterland of Byron Bay. From the top of the farm, you can see the first light pass over the lighthouse. The distillery itself rests amongst the macadamia orchard & rainforest that the Brook’s have regenerated. The distillery was purpose-built on one of the only bare plots of land remaining. Inside you will find our custom-made copper pot still (named George), next to our cellar door bar made from locally sourced Norfolk pine and recycled materials.
Credit: Cape Byron Distillery
The Byron Community Market takes place all year round on every first Sunday of the month with additional markets in December and January. This popular market is one of the biggest markets in the Northern Rivers region and offers something for everyone with over 300 craft stalls, fantastic local musicians and delicious food and drinks.
Credit: Byron Farmers Market
If you thought the world’s best beaches were all in the middle of nowhere, Byron Bay is going to make you think again. Australia’s most famous beach town beguiles everyone from backpackers to Hollywood celebrities with its stunning stretches of sand and world-class surf breaks, right alongside an amazing array of restaurants, resorts, wellness activities, alternative culture and adventure.
Elements of Byron Resort, Byron Bay, New South Wales © Elements of Byron
Pick up your hire car at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and take the 30-minute drive to your Byron Bay accommodation. Elements of Byron has been called one of the coolest hotels in the world, so head straight there and check in to your private luxury villa among the gum trees. Like many of the best things in Byron Bay, Elements is right by the beach, in this case, Belongil Beach, which offers 10 kilometres (six miles) of golden sand that feels like it could be miles from anywhere, but happens to be right next to one of the funkiest towns on the planet. Stroll to the surf, have a dip and soak up some sea air, then wander back to jump aboard the world’s first solar train for the 10-minute ride into town.
Your lunch destination is Beach Byron Bay. Sophisticated but relaxed, it offers superb seasonal dining and views over Clarkes Beach that will make you want to linger all day. Not that you will – because a few minutes’ walk away is the starting point for your afternoon adventure with Go Sea Kayak, on which you’ll paddle beyond the breaking waves to get close to dolphins, migrating humpback whales and turtles, and quite possibly be moved to tears by the beauty of it all. Afterwards, a 10-minute walk will lead you to a cold drink at the famous Beach Hotel on Main Beach, where you can watch an eclectic array of visitors and locals walk by. Around the corner, you’ll have oysters and dinner overlooking the town from the Balcony Bar & Oyster Co, after which a 10-minute taxi ride will take you back to your hotel.
Harvest Café, Newrybar, New South Wales © Destination NSW
Salute the sun with yoga on the beach. It’s a particularly apt way to start proceedings on a day when you will be exploring the Byron Bay hinterland, and its thriving counterculture movement. The mountains, rainforest and rolling hills inland from Byron are as stunning as the coastline, so jump in the car and head for your first stop, Bangalow, which is just a 12-kilometre (seven-mile), 15-minute drive away. This pretty little village has become a not-so-secret gourmet hotspot in recent years, so grab a coffee at one of the cafés such as TOWN and have a stroll among the shops – perhaps picking up some stylish Byron-esque clothes and homewares from Island Luxe, or a gift from quirky selection at the Wax Jambu Emporium.
Just six kilometres (four miles) down the road is Newrybar, another charming village and home to your lunch venue, Harvest. A restaurant, deli and bakery housed in a classic Australian style of architecture, a ‘Queenslander’, it offers a relaxed atmosphere and a much-lauded menu featuring lots of local and organic ingredients. Now you’re venturing into Australia’s hippy heartland. Long-haired youngsters flocked here to the Northern Rivers region for the Aquarius Festival back in 1973, and many of them never left. Their finest hour was in the late ’70s, when they kept loggers away from the rainforest around the spectacular and now aptly named Protesters Falls. It’s 50 kilometres (31 miles), or an hour, from Newrybar and can be accessed via an easy 30-minute bushwalk. From here, it will take another 50 minutes to cover the 33 kilometres (21 miles) to Australia’s counterculture capital, Nimbin, a colourful (in more ways than one) village where alternative lifestyles are the norm. Have a wander up the main drag, Cullen Street, buy souvenirs at shops such as Hemping Around, and call in on the fascinating Nimbin Candle Factory. It’s just 74 kilometres (46 miles), or a little over an hour’s drive, back to Elements, to dine in style at Azure Bar and Grill.
Cape Byron Lighthouse, Byron Bay, New South Wales © The Legendary Pacific Coast
You can’t visit Byron without going up to the lighthouse. Its perch atop Cape Byron is the most easterly point in mainland Australia, and this is the first spot in Australia to see the rising sun, so head up there for sunrise. The lighthouse is just an eight-kilometre (five-mile), or 15-minute drive from your hotel and offers unforgettable views, particularly if there are dolphins splashing about in the ocean below. Next, jump off the cliff. A tandem hang gliding flight will have you soaring like a bird over the Byron Bay coastline and give you a whole new appreciation of this incredible landscape in a surprisingly relaxing experience that ends with a soft landing on the sands of Tallow Beach. If that's not wild enough, try freefalling over Byron Bay from an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,572-metres) on a skydiving adventure.
Time for lunch, which is going to be overlooking yet another Byron beach – Wategos. It’s just a 10-minute drive to Rae’s on Wategos, where you will enjoy some stylish al fresco dining overlooking what many people say is Byron’s prettiest stretch of sand (which is some accolade). Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity here; Byron’s mix of natural beauty, laid-back style and alternative thinking is becoming ever more popular with Hollywood types, and Rae’s has always attracted A-listers.
A tour of the hugely successful local artisan brewery, Stone & Wood, seems in order, followed by a bit of retail therapy (check out the very Byron bohemian fashions at Spell & The Gypsy Collective, and the beach-lifestyle clothes and homewares at Hope & May). Then head to The Farm. Just eight kilometres (five miles) from the centre of town, it’s a collection of sustainably-minded micro-businesses that raise animals, grow food, and sell fresh produce. Take a self-guided tour to admire the chickens and piglets and stay for dinner at Three Blue Ducks, where all that sustainably grown food is turned into something sensational on a plate. Then it’s a 10-minute drive back to your hotel for your last night in Byron.