Back in the day, “heading north” usually meant taking a trip to nearby Queensland.
Today, it’s taken on a whole new meaning as the area just north of Byron Bay’s town centre has blossomed into a bustling destination. With its newly opened shopping precinct and kaleidoscopic range of places to eat, shop and play, North Beach has emerged from the shadows to become a priority attraction in its own right.
Close enough to town, but with a cultural pulse of its own, we invite you to discover all that North Beach has to offer.
We’ve pulled together some tips to get you started:
The word ‘habitat’ harks back to the Latin word habitare meaning ‘to live or dwell’. It’s a place where you feel at home and want to keep returning to, which is why we feel it’s an apt name for the area’s latest shopping and design precinct.
Catch up with friends over a super-charged smoothie, book in for a fitness class, check out some of Byron leading design labels, or pamper yourself with a beauty treatment…you can do it all here.
Immerse yourself in the multitude of cutting edge businesses and retailers at Habitat, or mix it up by heading to Belongil Beach for a dip. For a great bird’s eye view of the location, scroll down to the About > Location section on the Habitat website.
Get your goatee trimmed at the Byron Bay Barber Co, provoke a serious case of denim envy with some new threads from One Teaspoon, or pick up a head-turning traditional Moroccan rug at Tigmi Trading.
Conceived as an environmentally-friendly mixed-use neighbourhood with a relaxed village vibe, Habitat also includes commercial and residential projects.
2) Byron Bay Train
If you haven’t visited Byron since late 2017, there’s another irresistible experience to put on your bucket list – a ride on the Byron Bay train.
The project, spearheaded by Elements of Byron and Byron Bay Railroad Company development director, Jeremy Holmes, has the honour of being the world’s first solar-powered conventional train.
Specifically, it uses “6.5 kilowatts of solar power panels on its roof charging a big lithium battery”.
Shuttling between North Beach (the station is at the end of Bayshore Drive) to Byron Beach platform, the three-kilometre journey offers a relaxing, and affordable, way to get into town. It’s $4 for adults and free for wee ones.
Whether you’re a train buff or not, you’re sure to enjoy the adventure.
What’s there not to like about chugging along in a volunteer-restored two-carriage heritage train? The original train was built after the Second World War using aluminium aircraft technology to be high performance, yet lightweight.
3) The Arts and Industrial Estate
Just a short walk from Elements of Byron is the booming Arts and Industrial Estate, a place which definitely deserves more than one visit. You’re bound to discover something unexpected every time.
Over the past decade, the area has evolved into a hub for all that Byron is best known for – creativity, feel-good vibes and a touch of quirkiness.
Put on your walking shoes and meander through the estate’s eclectic mix of stores. Artist studios, wellness spots and boutique stores showcasing ethical threads and uber chic homewares are all part of the mix in this fabulous zone. For a little energy boost, drop into one of the estate’s many fantastic cafes for a well-deserved chai latte and slice of raw food cake.
Plan your trail using this Arts and Industrial Estate Village Guide map. Or simply enjoy the thrill of deliberately getting lost!
4) The Sun Bistro
Light-filled and spacious, the Sun Bistro is a firm favourite in this part of town for locals, visitors and families alike (the grassy knolls out the back are wonderful for rolls and tumbles, plus there is an enclosed play area).
Savour some hearty pub fare with a fusion twist while enjoying the natural bush setting. We recommend the lemon myrtle spiced squid and the sweet potato chips. There’s a great selection of vegetarian options, too.
The bistro is open 10am till 9pm daily, later on Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re feeling plucky and in need to release some creative juices, head down on a Saturday night for the regular open mic, which starts at 6pm.
Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.