As far east as you can go without getting wet, Byron Bay is the main tourism drawcard in the northern New South Wales region. This means there’s plenty to do here to get a unique taste of Australia. Here are our top 7 things to do in Byron Bay, NSW.
The once quiet hippy commune of Byron Bay is now a thriving community of visitors, locals and city tree-changers. This eclectic mix of people has encouraged a rare diversity in what should be a relatively remote coastal region of northern New South Wales.
Instead, Byron Bay town and its quaint surrounding villages and hamlets have a wealth of things to see, do and experience. From world-class beaches to magnificent mountain ranges, and from national parks and rainforests to music festivals and 5-star celebrity-owned spa retreats, your visit to Cape Byron will be a busy one.
And then there’s the food… but let’s see what’s on our list of things to do.
7 things you must do in Byron Bay, NSW
1. Ahoy there, dolphins, whales and turtles – Go Sea Kayak
If you want to get up close and personal with the ocean’s most intelligent, you’ll never have a better opportunity. Go Sea Kayak runs kayaking three times a day from Lawson Street off Clarkes Beach and comes with the guarantee that if you don’t see a whale, dolphin or turtle, you get to paddle again for free.
You also get one of the most unique views of the Cape Byron Lighthouse and the most easterly point of mainland Australia – from the water.
This was one of the best things we did in Byron Bay and we highly recommend it. This tour company is owned and run by a born-and-bred local too, which we really love. Kurk Tutt also happens to be a three-times world surf title medalist, which we also love!
He and his team photograph your trip, and then publish the photos on Facebook for you to download for free.
2. Be the first to see the sun come up – Toast the Sun with Wild Goat Events
The Cape Byron Lighthouse has been an icon of the east coast of Australia for generations. It’s a monument to the sunrise, being the first to see the start to each Australian morning since 1901 when it was built.
Just behind the still-working lighthouse is the Cape Lighthouse Café, where – after watching the sun rise up out of the blue Pacific – you get to enjoy a private breakfast arranged for you by Wild Goat Events.
The Wild Goat Events team will also open the gates for you to drive up to the lighthouse car park pre-dawn – a route all others have to walk up. They greet you with a (much-needed) coffee and blankets if it’s chilly, and leave you to the romance of seeing the first sunrise in Australia.
Between June and November, you’re likely to see humpback whales from this lookout on their annual migration up the East Coast. During our extraordinary Moroccan inspired breakfast, we were lucky enough to see a mother and calf playing as they made their way north.
This is a truly magical experience and perfect for romance – even a proposal – it’s that good.
3. See what you eat and eat what you see – The Farm
Imagine rolling fields, rustic barns, al fresco restaurants, and crops and livestock all in one place. That’s what The Farm is all about, and their mission statement of ‘grow, feed, educate’ is at the heart of what you find here.
Saved from becoming a housing estate, this prime land on the outskirts of town is now one of the most extraordinary, sustainable farms and cooperatives in the world.
Most – if not all – of the produce grown here is used in the restaurant area of The Farm. Notably, Sydney-born Three Blue Ducks Restaurant is here, serving some amazing food, plus The Produce Store and Bread Social You can come for a feed or just to explore the farm’s landscape.
It’s amazing to see what a working farm should look like and what’s possible when you treat animals and produce with respect. The food that comes to your table from this farm is absolutely amazing, and the vibe here is enthralling and so positive.
Perhaps it’s something to do with Byron’s hippy heritage or maybe the fact that there’s just so much amazing fresh, natural produce growing in abundance here. The food you can find in Byron Bay and its surrounds is just beautiful.
We were only here for a few days this last visit, but we ate so well it was hard to go home! From cheese boards in town and burata on the beach to fresh fish tacos and molecular cuisine in the country, you won’t go hungry here.
We’ve written up our top 7 things to eat while you’re in Byron, but there are so many more options available. Good hunting!
5. It’s always beer o’ clock somewhere – Stone & Wood Brewery
Byron Bay’s first premium craft brewery started out with three mates looking to make beer that embraced their Byron lifestyle in 2008. This little big brewery is now turning out internationally award-winning beer that’s sold across the country and the globe.
The three mates bought back their 20% sold shares from Little World Beverages in late 2012 – just before Japanese brewery monster Lion Nathan took control. This means this amazing Aussie craft brewery is now fully independent once again.
The experience of enjoying a taste of Stone and Wood at its birthplace is a real pleasure, and the staff here are clearly proud of the beer that they make too.
6. Pampering is always a good idea – Osprey Spa, Elements of Byron
Part of the Elements of Byron resort, which opened early 2016, this spa is focused on incorporating the surrounding elements of its natural environment into the treatments it offers.
Much like the resort itself, Osprey Spa, which is about 5 minutes from town, beautifully designed and the staff are polite and helpful, and keen to make your treatment a highlight of your visit to Byron.
Mrs Romance’s Gaia Mother Earth facial treatment and my Precious Element full body massage were amazing and left us feeling so relaxed. Both treatments were 60 minutes long using iKOU and LaGaia natural therapy products.
After the treatment you can take a stroll along the beautiful Belongil Beach or pop into Elements for a quick drink at the bar.
7. Explore the hinterland and little villages around Byron
Even though Byron Bay’s growing fast, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself back on the open road and driving through the winding roads of the Cape Byron countryside.
There are some amazing little villages and towns dotted throughout the spectacular landscape here, and each with something interesting to offer.
Visit historic Newrybar for quaint little shops and the amazing Harvest café, restaurant, deli and bakery.
Bangalow is a bit bigger that Newrybar. Its pretty main street has some great cafes and shops. Make sure you check out Town Café or Our Corner Café.
Ewingsdale, close to Newrybar, is right in the edge of the rising hinterland. Driving through these roads, expect to see the rolling hills of the countryside with the twinkling blue of the ocean in the background.
Federal – a bit further out – is set in the heart of the lush Byron hinterland. It’s home to Doma – a Japanese restaurant that also makes some pretty standout burgers by all accounts.
While you’re driving keep your eye open for crops growing here. Local rule of thumb is if it’s tall, it’s macadamias and if it’s short, it’s coffee.
For more information on this stunning part of Australia, be sure to check out Destination New South Wales’ site here.
Have you been to Byron Bay recently? Do you have any tips for visitors? Feel free to add to the conversation below in the comments!