A guide to Byron Bay, Australia

The hippy, chill, vibing town of Byron Bay. Just over an hours drive South of Gold Coast you come accross the beautiful bay. Full of buskers, hippys, travellers, sufers and free-loving people you quickly get into holiday mode, right off the bat.

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On easter weekend, we left Auckland for Byron Bay with no expectations and high spirits. Flying into Coolangatta, the 6 of us (Mum, dad, my brother Sean, his girlfriend Jo, and Bryn) picked up two rental cars and hit the road. I’m bloody excited, because this is a town in Aussie that I havent yet explored, but have heard epic things about, so as we’re driving in, trying to navigate ourselves to our airbnb, I’m looking around at all the little boutiques, cafes and surf shops and cant wait to get out and explore more.

Where to stay:
We booked an airbnb for the 10 day holiday, and from my experience, airbnbs are the best way to go if you want to have a bit more of your own space + there super easy, affordable and reliable. The apartment we had in Byron Bay was just perfect, see the link for the listing… It had a 2 car garage, a small plunge pool, which sounds lush but its sorta a random idea, a table and couch outside which was pefect to drink and play cards on, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a big kitchen, dining room and lounge area. Best part about it was that it was a short 5 minute walk into the hustlin bustlin town. Another alternative option for accomodation is the many hotels and backpackers around the place. Theres a backpackers called “Aquarious” which looked pretty rad too, for people between the ages of 18 and 28. Nothings super fancy or flash in Byron Bay so you’re guaranteed a cool, chill vibe wherever you stay.

Now the food:
Wowza we ate at some really amazing little cafes and eaterys. Byron Bay is well known for its organic and fresh produce so you’ve got to get amongst some of these cafes during your stay:

  • The balcony – Cool for lunch or dinner, sit out on the balcony if you can, lots to look at out there and also really comfortable. Cool vibe to have dinner and a few cocktails
  • Miss Margaritas – Mexican at its finest! Really yum place, but always busy so expect a wait, not that it matters in Byron Bay as everyones on island time anyway. Yum cocktails and cool interior and setup
  • Italian at the Pacific – not for those on a budget. This is a beautiful Italian restaurant located right next to The Beachy (a must go to bar and nightclub.) Its deffs a more of a fine dining/family vibe but its tasty and good for when theres a lot of you.
  • Sticky Wicket Bar – a bar/nightclub that also has some great food! Think chicken wings, corn on the cob, ribs, tacos – YUM. Turns into a party scene later in the night too!
  • Dip – Ingredients are local and everything is handmade by the Chef. This is a really good place for your morning coffee and break stop.
  • Bayleaf Cafe – My favorite of the bunch. Again, a locally produced cafe that really captures the spirit of Byron Bay. Fantastic food and coffee (make sure to try the Coconut Cold Brew) SO GOOD!
  • The Roadhouse – If you have a car or are happy to jump in a taxi, go out for lunch or dinner at The Roadhouse. Really rustic and chic interior, serving creative brunch and dinner dishes

Hit the surf:
Renowned for its surf, Byron Bay and the beaches next door really know how to turn it on! Perfect for every level theres room for everyone from kids, beginners and advanced surfers. Theres also many surfboard hire shops where you can hire a board and set off for a few hours…This is ideal for people like me, who aren’t any good at surfing but like getting out there and giving it a good go haha. I’ll hand it over to Bryn to run you through the best surf spots: (well the ones we hit anyway)
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  • The wreck
    Great for a beachy surf while the Mrs gets a tan, the shipwreck of Wollongbar not only is good fun for all, but has that Pirates Of The Caribbean feel to it.
  • The Pass
    Hire a board (probably a plank) from one of the many board hire shops in Byron. Hang it under your arm and walk the 20 miuntes to the pass. This is great for learners most of the year but also gets some really decent swell.
  • Watergoes
    5 minute drive from the Bay, it’s a right hand point which breaks almost to the pass. Mint for the longboard or fish, this bay turns it on in and out of the water, with BBQ areas for that dusky surf party. Best at high tide.
  • Tallohs
    A bit more secluded round the lighthouse point, this beachy breaks right and left giving you a variety of waves keeping the crowds at bay. This is a dolphin magnet which makes the experience that little bit more surreal. Best on the incoming tide.
  • Suffolk Beach
    15 minutes south out of Byron and your at Suffolk beach, another beachy for the easterly swell, a little less protected from the wind but still a good option.
  • Broken Heads
    My personal favourite of the trip, right hand point, 4 ft perfect barrels on the incoming tide. Time the drop in and it’s on YEEEW!Beware of the locals…
  • Lennox Head
    A short 20minutes south of byron is Lennox heads. Surf the right hand point, set the Mrs up with the camera on the hill vantage point and your guaranteed a solid session, otherwise one of the many beach spots work during the day when the tide is low. If your rebel enough to break the law, arvo beeries on the beach will go down a treat.
  • Snapper Rock
    Obviously one of the most renounded surf breaks in the world, we timed it right! Go on a weekday around 8:30am when everyone goes to work and you’ll be set. Sit right on the point, pick up your nuts and take that drop, you wont regret it. Surf it all the way through Rainbow Bay and enjoy the sunshine as you paddle back into the lineup.

Board shops are everywhere in the bay. From new boards to second hand to rentals. I bought a brand new board for $500 NZD from The Board Warehouse. Plus you get the tax back on the flight home, yeah boy!. Shop around and you’ll find the perfect stick for you.

What else to do in Byron Bay:
Not to worry…eating food and surfing aren’t the only things to do in Byron Bay. Although those are a must, theres so many other things you can see and do on your holiday.

First up go to Killen Falls, see HERE. You can get directions from this website as well as everything you need to know. We were there on a beautiful sunny day and luckily for us it wasn’t crowded either! You park your car at the top, then head down a reasonably short track (jandles on your feet are fine,) until you come out at a big stream. Follow the stream up a bit and you’ll see the 10m waterfall. There are some deep sections and many submerged rocks and shallower areas so be careful and don’t dive in! Best thing to do is walk around behind the waterfall, the impressive cave is something pretty spacial…we even went and stood right under the waterfall, with the huge pressure from the falls beating down on our shoulders.

The Byron Bay lighthouse walk is also a must! The 2 hour walk is a perfect way to start your  morning before the heat kicks in, stopping at your fav coffee spot on the way home too. The views from the top of the lighthouse are insane, so much blue ocean and so much coastline, making for a bloody good instagram thats fo sho!

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Hit the shops! There are cute boutique one-off stores EVERYWHERE in Byron Bay. From vintage, gypsy & bohemian style clothes, to surf, skate and chain stores like sports girl, the town has it all. Theres tons of accessories too, like felt hats, earrings, belts are scarves, all in the bohemian style that we love so much these days. Along with the shops, theres lots of gelato stores too – so go get an ice-cream and sit on the grass at the beach and enjoy the street performers doing their thing.

If you have a car and time on your hands, take a day trip up to the Goldy to hit one of the theme parks! A kids favorite and an adults playground, you’re never to old for a ride or a waterside! If thats not your thing…head in the opposite direction, South, to Lennox head and spend a day on the beach surfing, tanning and reading.

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Well, sounds chill doesn’t it? If you’ve never been, Byron Bay is a must. I will be back for sure :]

Peace
Leah | free & addicted

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