Sydney to Gold Coast Drive
DAY 13: Byron Bay
Byron Bay is a vibrant mix of hippies, surfers, backpackers, artists and entrepreneurs. It’s on a gorgeous stretch of coast with a headland that juts further east than any other point of Australia, and it’s crowned with a lighthouse. Bongo drums, fire juggling and dreadlocks are not out of place here.
We've put together a list of 26 things to do in Byron Bay along with the best Byron Bay camping and caravan parks. Day 14 covers day trips from Byron Bay including the rainbow coloured hippie town of Nimbin, the Mt Warning climb and Minyon Falls.
Title photo: Richard Rydge via Flickr.
25 Things to do in Byron Bay
- The Lighthouse Walk, also known as Cape Byron Walking Track, is a must. The loop is 3.7 km and includes several lookouts, a valley of palms, and a rocky islet (Fisherman's lookout) that you can climb. You could power walk it in less than an hour, but allow yourself two or more to stop and admire views, spot dolphins and whales, take a swim at Wategos Beach, and enjoy a coffee break or lunch at The Pass Café while you watch the surfers in action. The Pass Cafe has plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
- Surf or learn to surf. Byron Bay has a great winter swell. Beginners can get a half day lesson for around $65 at one of the surf schools.
- Kite surfing takes surfing to a whole new level. Lessons start at $250 for 2.5 hours.
- Hang out on the beaches. Byron Bay has six beaches to choose from. Tallow is fringed with forest. Belongil is less crowded and clothing optional. The Pass normally has the best breaks. At sunset and into the evening you can enjoy drum circles and fire dancers on Main Beach.
- Stand up Paddleboarding and kayaking is a great way to meet the local dolphins. There are several tour operators and hire places to choose from.
- Hire a bike and cycle your way around Byron Bay.
- Festivals. Whether it’s blues, yoga, fashion, art, writing, food or surfing, Byron Bay has a festival just for you. Here’s a full list if Byron Bay Festivals and when they occur.
- Go Art Gallery hopping. Byron Bay has 8 galleries divided into two key clusters. Five galleries are within an easy stroll of each other at Belongil Beach while the other three are in town.
- Hot air Ballooning. For $350 ($175 kids) you can enjoy a champagne breakfast and sail silently above Byron Bay and the lush region surrounding it.
- Scuba or snorkel Julian Rocks Marine Park, which is famous for its diverse and abundant marine life. Swim with dolphins, manta rays, gentle and human-friendly grey nurse sharks and the beautifully patterned leopard sharks, schools of tropical fish, and sea turtles.
- Browse the markets. There are three; Byron Community Markets (first Sunday of the month), Byron Artisan Market (every Saturday night in summer) and Byron Farmers Market (Every Thursday).
- Visit a Day Spa to restore your equilibrium. Check Trip Advisor for a list of the best in town. There are dozens to choose from.
- Taste Beers at Stone and Wood Brewery. This brewery is surrounded by small art galleries, so you could tie beer drinking in with some gallery hopping. While your drinking that nice cold beer, know that your money is contributing to local grass roots organisations.
- Live music is everywhere in Byron Bay. There are drum circles on the beach at sunset, buskers on the street, live music venues (The Rails, Treehouse Belongil, The Northern, Beach Hotel) and festivals dedicated to music. Check the latest listings on Byron Bay’s Gig Guide.
- Take a Nature and wildlife Tour. Vision Walks and Byron Bay Adventure Tours each have something slightly different to offer on their half day, full day, and overnight tours.
- Sky Dive over Byron Bay with Sky Dive Byron Bay.
- Watch Dolphins and Whales with Go Sea Kayak and Cape Byron Kayaks. ($69)
- Join a Food Tour. Nourish Food Safari takes you on a walking tour of Byron Bay. Taste Byron Bay takes you further afield in a fun combi bus into the hinterland where you can visit local farms, markets and eateries.
- Take a Cooking Class. Bangalow Cooking School has the broadest range of classes available including all kinds of cuisines, gluten-free, and desserts, and they can cater to dietary needs. Taste Byron Bay runs a couple of classes. The pasta masterclass offers a vegetarian option. Growing Food Health Wealth is taught by a nutritionist who will teach you the medicinal qualities of food.
- Learn to be a trapeze artist or juggler at Byron Circus Arts. Kids will love this, but so did I!
- Take an art class and rediscover your creative self at Still at the Centre or Byron Bay Art Studio. ($50)
- Go Gliding. Soar silently like an eagle above this stunning region. ($240)
- Try Hang Gliding. From $125 for a tandem flight you can soar like a bird over Byron Bay. You can also complete a course and fly solo. Flight Zone Hang gliding School and Byron Air are the two hang gliding schools in town. (From $125)
- Beach Horse riding through Pegasus Park horse ranch is an exhilarating way to spend a couple of hours. ($80)
- Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens is a 25 minute drive away and is a beautiful sanctuary of ponds, gardens, buddhas and stone sculptures, towering amethyst crystals, a world peace stupa and rainforest walk. Cast off your shoes and take the reflexology walk over smooth stone paths, walk the labyrinth, and visit the amethyst cave. (A day pass is $28 for adults, $22 for kids. The amethyst cave is additional.)
- Take some day trips from Byron Bay. We cover them on Day 14, including the colourful hippie town of Nimbin, the Mt Warning climb, and Minyon Falls.
Byron Bay Camping and Caravan Parks
Caravan parks in Byron Bay vary in quality. Below is a list of those that score 4 stars or more on Trip Advisor and are campervan friendly. Three are in town, one is a short drive on the outskirts of town. If you have trouble finding a vacancy, Brunswick Heads is only 15 minutes drive or a 20 minute bus ride up the road and the three caravan parks there are by the crystal clear waters of the river.
In Byron Bay
- North Coast Holiday Park Clarkes Beach is right on Main Beach and a five minute walk from the centre of town. By far this holiday park has the best location. It is run by North Coast holiday Parks, a non-profit trust established to sustainably manage tourism in places of natural beauty on Crown Land. Facilities include free WiFi, laundry, camp kitchen, BBQs, beachfront picnic tables, kiosk, playground, hot showers and toilets.
RATES: $46 (low season) - $100 (high season) for two. Additional adults $20, kids $15.
- Glen Villa Resort is a resort that also offers sites to campers. It’s a couple of blocks back from the beach and is a short stroll to the main street. It will only accept two people per site. People love the pool, landscaped gardens, and the peace and quiet. Facilities include a pool, camp kitchen, BBQs, WiFi, laundry, hot showers and toilets.
RATES: $45 (low season) - $100 (high season) for two. No kids or additional adults.
- First Sun Holiday Park has a location that can’t be beaten, right on the beach and at the head of the main street. Facilities include two camp kitchens, BBQ areas, undercover picnic tables, laundry, free WiFi, security at night, hot showers and toilets.
RATES: $47 (low season) - $105 (high season) for two. Additional adults $25, kids $15.
Just Outside of Town
- Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park has direct access to uncrowded Tallow Beach and large shady sites and it’s only a ten minute drive from the centre of Byron Bay. Facilities include a camp kitchen, under cover picnic tables and outside picnic tables, BBQs, free WiFi, laundry, hot showers and toilets.
RATES: $39 (low season) and $70 (high season) for two. Additional adults $20, kids $10.
Map: Camping, Caravan Parks and Attractions between Dorrigo National Park and Byron Bay.