Australia’s most eastern point, Byron Bay is a bustling coastal surf town with tons of charm and character. Filled with the cutest cafe’s and wonderfully filled linen shops, Byron Bay also boasts a creative and culinary scene.
Located quite literally half way around the world from New York, I traveled to Byron Bay in February with a group of friends to enjoy the Australian summer. Expansive white beaches, beautiful turquoise waters, fun waves, delicious food and days spent at the beach until sun down was what I enjoyed most while in Byron Bay on holiday.
Keep reading to find out what to do in Byron Bay, NSW, Australia. Including where I suggest to Eat, Stay, Shop & Explore.
Where to Eat in Byron Bay
Folk – Right off Ewingsdale Road just a little bit outside of the main area of downtown, Folk does it right. All items have a healthy component and always something extra to make your dish special. I had the buckwheat pancake with rose syrup and there were flowers on my pancake.. flowers! Plus, this was my favorite latte in Byron! A little garden oasis.
Bay Leaf Cafe – Come here to be impressed. The breakfasts were delicious & the banana bread is a must try here! If grabbing a coffee and a small bite is what you’re after they have a smaller shop on the side of the cafe. You can’t miss the Bay Lead Cafe because there is a crowd around it at all times but the wait time is usually not that long (10 mins or so) and well worth it.
Byron General Store – Down the road from our Air Bnb on Bangalow Road, Byron General Store was my go-to morning spot. Although convenient, the general store was a gem! The atmosphere was all encompassing and the lattes were on point! If you’re into banana bread with butter – you must try it here. The acai bowls and smoothies were so yummy and refreshing. To say the least, I was pumped this was only a two minute walk down the road from us. (not sure how I can not find one photo of this place!)
Combi – For the healthy minded. Combi has many vegan options plus delicious avocado toast with the best feta I’ve ever tasted. You don’t even need an egg on top. Plus the decor is super cute. Sit outside on the sidewalk and enjoy!
The Farm Byron Bay – A big open warehouse feel, The Farm Byron Bay has a florist, bakery & to -go as well as a full service restaurant, Three Blue Ducks, outside overlooking the Farm. The restaurant is a Farm to Table concept and the food and cocktails are so delicious and special. Definitely more expensive than other restaurants but its a special place and worth coming. After lunch or before dinner walk around the grounds and say hi to the piggies.
Top Shop – A Byron Bay gem! This spot is a quick and casual breakfast or lunch a few blocks outside of town away from the hustle. Top Shop is a super simple concept of burgers and sandwiches but man is the food good. I recommend the fish sandwich and fries.. always fries. Perfect after a late morning surf!
Chihuahua Taqueria – Amazing little taqueria stand hidden in the middle of Jonson street. I came here fora a late afternoon snack to hold me over until dinner and it was perfect.
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. – A Byron Bay Staple, The Balcony is on the corner of Lawson & Jonson St. right in the middle of the downtown area on the second floor. Brent and I sat at the railing and watched the bystanders below and watched the sky change from blue to pretty pinks and purples as the sun set (although you aren’t facing the right direction!) None the less, it was still pretty and the food was pretty good too! They have an Oyster special during happy hour on Wednesdays.
Miss Margarita – If you’re craving Mexican food while in Byron Bay, Miss Margarita is your spot! Super casual, but there is always a wait so come earlier than you think and be prepared to wait a bit. Great tacos and burritos. Didn’t knock my socks off (OK we aren’t in Mexico) – but it was good.
The Roadhouse – The Roadhouse‘s saying is slow-food and yes the food is SLOW. We started making jokes about the service it was that slow.. but honestly I would come back! Australians know how to make some good wood fired pizza (shout out to El Capitano in Noosa that had the best pizza I’ve ever had – and I’m from NY). Outside of town a little on Bangalow Road you can sit outside under a big tree and enjoy the warm night with good company, slow service, and amazing pizza.
Bang Bang – Craving Thai? Bang Bang had a great atmosphere right on Fletcher Street with a spin on Thai classics.
Other Spots Worth Mentioning But We Didn’t Get to Try:
Where to Stay in Byron Bay
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- The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa
- The Atlantic
- The Bower Byron Bay
- The Lord Byron
- Air Bnb – my favorite way to get to know a town. My friends and I rented a great beach house just outside of town and rented bikes to get around.
What to do in Byron Bay
Cape Byron Lighthouse – This was one of my favorite things to do in Byron Bay! Walk to Cape Byron Lighthouse at sunrise/sunset – Brent and I did this hike at sunrise. Get up early and just do it. Start at Captain Cook’s parking area and start walking along the trail. Surprisingly, there were tons of people also walking along the trail. Some tourists, some locals, and people exercising. Be prepared for your booty to burn because there are a lot of stairs. Make sure to time it right so you are at the lighthouse when the sun rises over the ocean, a view you don’t want to miss! Even the walk back was beautiful in the early morning light – we even saw a pod of dolphins playing in the surf!!
Rent a Bike – Depending on your proximity to town (I suggest you rent a place close!) see if your Air Bnb offers beach cruisers or go into town and rent one for the week. You will see lots of people getting around by bike, plus its fun! (and Australia has very strict drinking and driving laws)
Stone & Wood Brewery – The Brewery is housed in a huge open warehouse- like building right off Ewingsdale Road. Get a flight from the bar and order some snacks from the food counter. You can also get the tour of the brewery. We did this on a cloudy afternoon. My favorite beer was their Pacific Ale which is also in cans everywhere, enjoy 🙂
Byron Bay Farmers Market (Thursday 7a-11a) – If you’ve come to Byron Bay and plan to stay for a bit and cook your own meals, I suggest you come down the the Farmer’s Market on Thursday and get fresh local produce. Tip: the passion fruits are amazing!
The Pass – this was our spot during our stay in Byron Bay. We would come down every afternoon for a surf and to hang on the beach with friends and a few bottles of wine and some local beers. Stay until sunset and just enjoy the beauty of Byron Bay.
Surf Lessons – The Pass is a great spot to learn to surf as the waves are small and gentle. However, if you don’t know how, hire a lesson. The Pass is the most crowded break I’ve ever seen with hundreds of people out at a time. You need to be careful not to hurt yourself or someone else while in the water.
Tallow Beach – On the other side of the lighthouse Tallows is a long expanse of white sand and turquoise waters. This side of the point is more exposed to swell so it tends to be more rough and windier – but oh is it pretty.
Picnic at Watego’s Beach – Pack lunch & bring hydration to last the day! Parking is limited so come early to find a spot and stay for the day. Watego’s is a little cove just past The Pass and before the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Explore One of The Towns in The Hinterland!
The great thing about staying in Byron is that there are plenty of day trips if you drive into the hinterland. Below are a few options but Newrybar was the only town I was able to see and it was so cute!!
- Newrybar – definitely come to eat at Harvest Cafe and stay to shop at Newrybar Merchants.
- Bungalow – farmers market on Saturdays & a super cute Main Street.
- Federal – eat at Doma Cafe.
- Mullumbimby – eat at Milk & Honey for pizza.
- Gold Coast
What I Wish We Had Time For:
Byron Bay Nightlife
Our group was not in party mode and all about rest and relaxation while in Byron Bay. We went out one night to The Northern and had a blast! Here is a blog post with where to go out that I found.
Where to Shop in Byron Bay
If you’ve come to Byron Bay without the intention of shopping you will quickly change your mind. The downtown area is filled with the chicest boutiques full of earth toned linens, buttery swimwear, and the coolest denim. Below are a few of my favorites!
- Spell & The Gypsy | @spell
- Auguste | @augustethe label
- Rowie | @rowiethelabel
- Hope & May | @hopeandmay
- Eleven| @1111oclockbyronbay
- Marr-kett | @marrkett
- Miss Brown Vintage | @missbrownvintagebyronbay
- Sea Bones | @seabonesbyronbay
- Habitat (collection of stores)
- Be mindful of the exchange rate! I use the app Currency Converter.
- Drinking and driving tolerance in Australia is more strict than the US.
- It is a very long flight from the US. Try to beat jet-lag by sleeping on the plane with the time it is in the destination you are heading to.
- Do NOT swim in the hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset 🙂
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