There’s so much more to Australia than just Sydney and Melbourne. Take for example, Byron Bay, a beach side town located in the state of New South Wales, known for its stunning beaches, lush rainforests and a free spirited, unique culture. Here’s an insider guide to the best of Byron Bay.
The trip from Sydney was super short, taking about an hour and a half to fly from the Gold Coast. We opted to fly there and rent a car, driving the last hour to Byron on a smooth, easy highway through the beautiful countryside.
TIP: Another alternative was to drive from Sydney to Byron, but this is known to be a dangerous and challenging 10-hour drive, so we decided not to risk it.
BEST TIME TO GO: Year-round! There’s definitely more to do in warmer months (September-April) as you can spend more time at the beaches, but the climate is beautiful anytime of year.
– Asia Joe’s for simple, modern Asian food.
We recommend: The Chicken Bikini Bowl stir fry with green beans, snow peas, water chestnuts, mushrooms, pak chou and chicken, their specialty Thai wok sauce was quite literally the best stir fry we’ve EVER HAD! As well as the Crunchy Thai Salad.
– Miss Margarita’s for mouth-watering Mexican:
We recommend: The chicken burrito with guac, and the chorizo and pineapple quesadilla.
TIP: Go here super early at around 5pm as this is when their Happy Hour starts. It gets super packed pretty much immediately when they open at 5pm, a line starts forming even earlier than this.
– Combi Byron Bay – A well-known and popular breakfast/brunch spot. The acai has a super thick consistency, covered in nuts, coconut and fruit. The avocado is obviously a show stopper.
- Byron is much more expensive than you’d expect – we found the average prices of food, drinks and shopping to be much higher than Sydney.
- It gets super busy in the warmer months, so go to dinner really early if you don’t want to wait for a table for ages or book ahead.
- Visit all the beaches, don’t just stick to one! Take binoculars to Wategos – you never know what you may spot!
- Renting a car is a good idea as many of the hotels are located in the forest and while it’s close to town, there are no footpaths to walk on, so it can get quite dangerous, especially at night when it’s difficult for drivers to see you. Also, while everything is close by, it’s good to have the option to venture further out of Byron to places like Broadbeach and Noosa.
- Hike up to the Byron Bay Lighthouse. Tip: parking is expensive, you’re better off walking.
WEAR: The weather is super warm in Summer/Spring, so you’ll need a uniform of a bikini/swimmers and something light like a jumpsuit or denim shorts and a t-shirt to throw on top in between beach hopping. It’s still warm during the winter months, so jeans will suffice with a light jumper or jacket.
– Broadbeach on the Gold Coast: a short road trip from Byron Bay (approx. 1 hour). The beach is lined with tons of high-rise apartment buildings and hotels. A different vibe than Byron. but good for a change of scenery.
– Spell and the Gyspy Collective:
The store itself is stunning – covered in different patterns and vibrant colours, and so intricately decorated with little knick knacks. The clothes were super expensive though, and while we left empty-handed, we were glad we’d visited.
– Pacific Fair Shopping Center:
The centre has a huge water feature in the middle of an awesome open-air courtyard in the middle of it with heaps of comfy chairs and lounges for relaxing in. It was such a beautiful shopping centre, and there are tons of great shops to explore with less expensive options as opposed to the super expensive shopping in Byron.