When you’re on holidays, local tips can often lead to the most exhilarating experiences.
From restaurant recommendations to knowledge on homegrown designers, from finding the best swells to secret spots where you can witness the glorious sunset, this all-in-one guide is all about tuning you in to the insights of those in the know.
Here’s to the Top 10 things to do in Byron Bay, so you can live and play like a local!
1) Where to Eat
Sampling the local cuisine of any destination surely ranks as one of the great pleasures of life. This rings particularly true in Byron Bay, where the convergence of cultures, eclectic sorts and a devotion to a healthier, conscious way of being has led to a dynamic eating scene.
Don’t miss checking out the best of Byron’s restaurant and bars, like one of our nearby favourites, Barrio. Conveniently located in the Arts & Industrial Estate only five-minutes walk away, this bustling, popular eatery serves modern Argentinian-BBQ style food, best enjoyed with a quality array of good wine. It feels a bit like one of those unforgettable dinners at home with friends and family.
Prefer a plant-based diet? Don’t fret. There are plenty of wonderful vegan and vegetarian places around, too. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to stop in at No Bones. Their meals are so memorable that we constantly hear that non-vegans regularly flock to No Bones as well!
Head for the Trees
Outside of downtown Byron’s thriving hub, passionate artisans of the region can be found sprinkled through the hinterland, serving up delicious food in unique and beautiful settings.
Just a few minutes outside of town, The Farm offers meals inspired by the produce of the surrounding working fields. Or head to Frida’s Field, outside of Bangalow, for contemporary country dining. Harvest, in Newrybar plates up dishes that showcase the region’s exceptional produce, most often grown from its gardens. Another half an hour away, the Eltham Pub serves inspired pub grub with incredible live music that wafts out across the countryside. Check out our guide to the Byron Bay Hinterlands to find out more.
2) Where to Walk or Run
If you want to be active, you might as well go for a brisk walk or sweat-inducing run while enjoying spectacular views – say of a roaring waterfall – or from the summit of one of Byron’s most iconic peaks.
Or you can settle for a relaxed barefoot walk on a seemingly endless stretch of unspoilt beach. We love the Three Sisters Walking Track, a coastal bush trail which starts at Broken Head car park (directions).
Either way, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to combining fitness with time immersed in nature. We’ve done all the grunt work for you on exactly where to walk here. Or why not discover some of the town’s best running routes.
3) Where to Surf
If you were asked to choose one thing to capture the essence of Byron Bay, chances are it would be something to do with surfing! And why not?
Much of the town’s culture has been shaped by this ultimate laidback-yet-daring leisure activity. With our world-class waves (think The Pass), idyllic conditions for surfers of all levels, and amazing selection of high quality surf schools, it’s no wonder Byron has held such allure for surfers the world over.
If you’ve just arrived and can’t wait to dive in, everything you need to know is right here at your fingertips. You can also check out our article on Byron’s best surf beaches and breaks.
4) Where to Shop
Shopping in Byron Bay gives you the opportunity to pick up some distinctly artisanal Byron-created fashion: garments or accessories created sustainably that that also reflect a casual boho chic style, with labels such as Spell or Mister Zimi, known for its vivacious, colourful prints.
With a huge pool of talented local designers busily showcasing their version of the ‘Byron style’ now been embraced all over the world (think relaxed, cool, comfortable and stylish), the only question remains – where to start your shopping expedition?
As it turns out, right here in this two-part shopping guide to must-visit shops in the town centre, as well as our other hive of retail activity – the Arts & Industrial Estate and Habitat. To find out more about this retail and food hub, check out our guide to the Arts and Industrial Estate.
5) Where to Go for Best Beaches
Do you have a yearning for golden sand, azure waters and pristine beaches?
If so, read on… It would be fair to say that no trip to Byron would be complete without spending at least some of your time – if not most – at the beach, especially on one of the most photographed beaches in the world – the picture perfect Wategos Beach.
If you’re looking for gentle waves and protected bays, an obvious choice is Torakina Beach in Brunswick Heads. Make sure to grab some fish and chips to munch in the adjacent riverside park, and check out the local markets if you happen to be there on the first Saturday of the month.
Here are some other local suggestions for the best family-friendly beaches, all an easy 10 to 25 minutes’ drive from Elements of Byron.
6) Where to Go for Day Trips
Say the words ‘Byron Bay’ and, more often than not, people will think of the town centre itself. It’s true Byron has plenty to keep visitors entertained for their entire trip.
But those with the curiosity to venture further afield will be rewarded with charming villages and towns awash with culinary spots in stunning nature-filled locations and artisanal retail finds – not to mention breathtaking nature-based scenery.
In this hinterlands adventure guide, you’ll find plenty of things to fire up your imagination.
Also worth putting on the radar are Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads, both perched on the Brunswick River, and each with a distinct community vibe. Both towns are blessed with their fair share of hip cafés and colourful locals with plenty of stories to share.
7) Where to Relax
Sometimes, the best things are closest to home. To add a touch of necessary indulgence to your holiday, you don’t even need to step outside Elements of Byron to enjoy the best spa treatments at Osprey Spa, which offers rejuvenating spa treatments in a beautiful, serene environment. All our therapists are hand-picked for their specialist skills. We recommend a selection of Osprey Rituals – tailored full-body experiences spread over a luxurious two hours…designed to send you into a heavenly state!
Find out more about why Byron Bay is one of Australia’s health and wellbeing capitals. Or check out our hand-picked health and wellbeing experiences here. On a family holiday? Here are our tips for incorporating family wellness into your trip.
8) Where to Work Out
If your idea of fun is to move your body and get your heart racing, then you’re in the right place in Byron Bay.
From slow, conscious yogic and breath practices (Bende) to high-intensity gym (F45) or martial arts workouts (The Academy), there’s something affordable and accessible for everyone, likely just around the corner.
Boost your fitness levels with a holistic wellness holiday experience.
Just in case you’ve missed it, here’s all you need to know on where to work out in Byron Bay.
9) Where to Watch the Sun Go Down
If you’re seeking Instagram worthy, the obvious spot to enjoy a spectacular sunset is the Cape Byron Lighthouse.
Rather than drive, pack some snacks and hike up the Cape Byron Walking Track starting from the front of the Byron Bay Surf Club. Your reward? Watching the sun go down as you admire the 360 degree panoramic views.
If you’d prefer a more local experience, and that’s equally uplifting, then two words come to mind: Main Beach.
Here, you can seek out a spare patch of grass and rub shoulders with a friendly bunch of locals. Also worth doing at least once (but surely more) is the sunset drumming and dance circle, also on Main Beach. Primal beats fill the air every evening, and you can shake out everything out with wild abandon, along with everyone else.
10) Where to Adventure
One of the things we love most about Byron Bay is its intoxicating mix of chilled out activities and opportunities to stretch people beyond their comfort zones.
If your mind, body and spirit is up for the challenge, adventure’s to be found both in the water and on land.
You can find details of this and more here.
Want more inspiration for things to do in Byron Bay? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Byron Bay.