Guide to Byron Bay, NSW: The backpacker and surfer mecca of Australia

Byron Bay is a special place, it’s laid back surfer town vibe attracts an alternative crowd and has a youthful backpacker atmosphere that you can’t help but become enchanted by. With miles of incredible beaches, amazing surf, beautiful round the year weather and a relaxed atmosphere, Byron Bay is one of the most incredible places we’ve ever visited. It encapsulates that surfer vibe you envisage when you first think of visiting Australia and is somewhere you just can’t help but fall in love with! Being in the most northern part of New South Wales the small town sits closer to Brisbane and Gold Coast than it does Sydney and is a perfect stop off whilst on an East Coast Australia road trip. Here’s our things to do in Byron Bay guide.

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Catch some waves on the amazing breaks

Byron Bay has some of the world’s most famous surf breaks and is one of the best places in Australia to either learn to surf or to experiences some world class waves and perfect your craft. Byron has many breaks all around the town which means that in almost all weather conditions there is at least some great surfing to be had. The main beach is a mecca and can get quite busy but there is plenty of space throughout the many spots and getting a lesson or renting a board could not be easier and is one of the must do things to do in Byron Bay! We also learnt to surf on this East Coast road trip, check that out here: Learning to surf in Australia.

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Visit the most easterly point in Australia 

Around the jagged cliffs of Byron Bay there are many incredible coastal walks to take with some jaw dropping scenery. If you don’t fancy spending the entire day at the beach then heading out for a brisk walk is another incredible thing to do in Byron Bay. Walking along here is one of the best things to do in Byron Bay, mostly because of those views!

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Heading up the steep cliffs and beyond the Byron Bay lighthouse rewards you with a visit to the most easterly point of Australia, quite a milestone for us after starting our backpacking adventures off in Milan 2 years ago! The views from this area too are also worth the walk which continues on around the loop track for 3.7 km along the Cape Byron Walking Track.

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Take in the incredible view from the Byron Bay lighthouse

A visit to the Byron Bay isn’t complete without making it up to the beautiful and historic Cape Byron lighthouse that dates back to 1901. Heading up this steep but scenic road the view over Tallows Beach is just an incredible and awe inspiring sight and a must do on our things to do in Byron Bay guide. In fact, you might have come up here to see the light house, but it’s the views of the rugged coastline and the endless azure blue ocean that will really mesmerise most visitors. It is also possible to go inside the lighthouse, though we preferred to see it from the outside and just take in the views from the walkways! 

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Visit some of the local markets and take in the hipster vibe 

Byron has a creative and bohemian vibe to it which means many flock here not just for the beaches and surf for for the independent shops and markets that have sprung up over the years. It won’t surprise you the range of cool, alternative, sustainable and downright wacky food and produce you can buy here. It’s great to support the local producers and keep the market scene alive here in Byron too. Some of those that are on regularly are: Byron Bay Artisan Market (October to March, every Saturday night), Byron Bay Markets (first Sunday of every month) & Byron Bay Farmer’s Market (every Thursday morning). You can also find lots of locally owned surf shops, cafes, bars and galleries too which gives the town a real hipster charm. One of the coolest things to do in Byron Bay is to wander the markets when you’re having a break from the beach! 

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Get out into the surrounding areas, outer beaches and rainforest

There is lots to see and do in the surroundings areas of Byron Bay too depending on you interests. A great day trip is up to the hippy town of Nimbin, it’s like stepping back into the 60’s where anything goes and it usually does! One of the things it’s famous for is the availability of a certain herbal cigarette!!



Around Byron Bay there are also many other quieter outer beaches to visit such as the long and expansive Tallow Beach, the lesser visited Belongii and The Wreck which is North of Byron Bay. We can’t promise you’ll have them entirely to yourself as they are all so epic but they’ll be less crowded than places like Wategos!

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If it’s nature and hiking you are interested in exploring then the beautiful rainforests of Arakwal National Park are a perfect place to start. There is also the Cumbebin Wetland Sanctuary which is a preserved section of the natural swamp like environment that this area was originally like! 

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Explore the wealth of incredible beaches 

Byron Bay has probably the best collection of beaches for one small town that I have ever experienced. It feels like around every winding cover of this chilled out backpacker mecca there is yet another picture perfect beach to explore. It seems to have it all, incredible white sands beaches, turquoise water with perfect surf, magnificent rock formations and rugged cliff edges as well as wonderful coastal shrub and bushland. We just couldn’t get enough of the beaches around Byron Bay!

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The must visit beaches are: Tallow, Cosy Corner, Wategos, Little Wategos, The Pass, Clarkes and Main beach. For us the unique formations of The Pass made it one of our favourite beaches but the top of the list has to be Wategos and Little Wategos, these just felt like we had found paradise and really had that perfect vibe going on with the many surfers down one end and the almost untouched desert island feeling of some of the more secluded areas of the beach. Hitting the beach one f the main things to do in Byron Bay, if not THE main thing!

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The perfect place for a camper van trip

Earlier this year we rented out a camper van and drove from Brisbane to Cairns, Australia is the perfect place to do camper trip and with Byron Bay being a backpacker hub it is an ideal stop off location on your trip. Whether you choose to rent out your van or buy one (Gumtree is a great place to get a bargain) Bryon Bay is a must do on your itinerary as it is so close to Brisbane and Gold Coat.

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Have you been to Byron, what’s on your things to do in Byron Bay guide?

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I have never tried surfing, but this article reminds me I need to try! Haha

If I ever make it to Byron Bay, I’m definitely checking out Nimbin! Sounds like my kind of town :)!

Just few days ago I was talking with my friends in Croatia about their experience of surfing in Australia. They enjoyed the waves, but was terrified of the sharks. Wondering is there any sharks in Byron Bay?

2 years is such a long time! Such a milestone for you guys and I’m sure worth the hiking to get to that point! The most easterly point of Australia is also super cool. A great post, love hearing about the next two years of adventures.

I have not heard o Byron Bay before but it seems like a really beautiful place. Interesting to know that it is the most easterly part of Australia. The views from the Lighthouse are amazing! Being a beach bum , I would love to visit all those beaches too. Thanks for sharing!

I have been! And your right, its a surfers paradise! I cant surf but I did enjoy trying. Although I have to say that the waves were a bit intimidating to me. Still I loved the vibe there. When we went into town there were a lot of people singing on the street for tips. Some really talented acts. Great place to spend a few days. Thanks for the memories!

sunsetsandrollercoasters

The beaches and surfing look absolutely incredible! I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. Your post makes me want to visit more!

I love that rugged view from the lighthouse. How fun it would be to stand at the most eastern point in Australia. I imagine very windy though, especially based on the view of those whitecaps.

Yeah it’s quite a cool spot to say you have visited!! Yeah man, I know, I want to go back right now! It’s too bloody cold in New Zealand at the moment!! Cheers!