We’ve picked five ways to squeeze the most out of a long weekend in Byron Bay, the rustic seaside township at the northern tip of New South Wales.
1. Eat well
Byron Bay is brimming with wholesome places to nourish your body with delicious, healthy cuisine. Three Blue Ducks is a delightful café and produce store boasting zero food miles – all fresh food consumed and sold here is harvested from the onsite garden and farm. Enjoy a meal and watch the bakers knead their daily dough. Nestled under the shade of leafy tropical plants you’ll find Folk Café. Go here for nourishing organic and plant-based goodies. Sit in the courtyard gardens and enjoy meals sourced from the café’s own vegetable patch.
Follow the Cape Byron Walking Track, which takes you to Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse and the most easterly point of the Australian mainland. As you’d imagine, views are spectacular along the way; beautiful vistas include sandy beaches and soothing greenery. Keep your eyes on the horizon too – between May and November thousands of migrating humpback whales pass through the waters hugging the Cape Byron State Conservation Area. In the surrounding sandy coves and turquoise bays and you may see pods of playful dolphins, which are also in abundance. The lighthouse is a popular spot to watch a magical sunrise.
3. Stay and wander
Byron Bay township is a treasure trove of bohemian fare. Wandering the main streets you’ll find shops displaying feathered dreamcatchers, Buddha statues, crystals and gemstones. Grab a cuppa from one of the hole-in-the-wall-style coffee shops or find something more substantial to eat at The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. On the first Sunday of every month, the Byron Bay Markets sell fresh olives, bread and honey alongside eye-catching and beautifully made clothing, ceramics and paintings. There are buskers and face painters, too, making it an experience the whole family will enjoy.
4. Take to the sea
Surfing is a popular pastime in the aqua blue waters of Byron Bay, thanks to its seven major surf breaks. No matter the season or weather, there’s a wave for everyone here. Consider a surf lesson from one of the many schools or pick up a rental board and wetsuit from hire shops in the main street. For a slower-paced aquatic experience, join a kayak excursion, or if exploring beneath the surface is more your style, opt for a snorkel or scuba dive at Julian Rocks off the coast of Byron Bay. As one of the premier diving destinations in Australia, the protected reserve is home to the gentle-natured Grey Nurse Shark and is a great place to spot sea turtles along with 500 different species of fish.
5. Cross the State line
Although technically in New South Wales, Byron Bay is just a 45-minute drive from Queensland’s Gold Coast. Here, a walk along the vast stretch of shoreline is an invigorating start to the day. For the thrill-seekers, there’s plenty of action on rides and rollercoasters at the theme parks north of Surfers Paradise. To soak up the sunshine at a more relaxed pace, Burleigh Heads, to the south, offers boutique clothing and homeware stores. Cafés serve refreshing acai bowls and other delicious artisan produce. Grab a bite to go, and sit beneath the shade of trees in grassy parkland parallel to the beach or visit Burleigh Head National Park, a slice of tranquillity nearby.