A Local’s Guide To Byron Bay

This little town only has about 5,000 residents, but it’s full of life. In fact, the local Arakwal Aboriginal people named the area “Cavvanbah,” which means “meeting place.”

There’s something for everyone here, from lying on the beach to kayaking, hiking the trails to walking the shopping areas in town.

Out and About

When you first arrive, head to the Byron Bay Visitor’s Centre where you can get maps of the area and information on what’s happening while you’re visiting. There are also two weekly newspapers, the Byron Shire Echo and Byron Bazaar, which are free and full of local information.

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If you’re fortunate, you may be in town during one of its many festivals, from music fests to cultural festivals, to holistic and food festivals. You can usually find a garage sale on weekends, especially along Bangalow Road. And from June to November, you can experience the spectacle of migrating humpback whales, which often swim close enough to the cape to watch.

Some of the more eclectic outings include a distillery tour at Cape Byron Distillery, a movie at Pighouse Flicks, or a ride on the world’s first solar-powered train.

The Beaches

There are a multitude of beaches to explore, so your choice may depend on what you want to do. For surfing, The Wreck beach is popular, and you can find it just north of Byron’s public pool. The Pass and Wategos are also good surf spots.

If you’re into swimming, Broken Head, Wategos and Captain Cook’s are ideal spots. Snorkelers will enjoy Main Beach, which has a little-known wreck about 100 metres offshore that attracts sea life. The sheltered nook of Tallows known as Cosy Corner is also a great snorkel spot, particularly if it’s windy.

If you want to take your dog, the only beach in town that allows it is Belongil, where Byron’s main sweep of beach starts. The ideal beachside barbecue and picnic location is Wategos.

Watersports and Other Adventures

Living by the beach means that watersports are a popular way to spend the day. Besides swimming and lying on the beach, you can take advantage of getting out on the water in other ways.

You can surf with the help of local businesses like ESP Surfboards or Dr. Ding. There are dive centres like Byron Bay Dive Centre or Sundive, where you can also book snorkel tours. And there are local businesses to take you out on top of the water as well: Cape Byron Kayaks and Go Sea Kayak.

There are also yoga centres, healers, day spas and hundreds of masseuses.

The beach life itself is enough to keep you entertained in Byron Bay, but don’t limit yourself! There’s so much more to see and do.

Walking and Hiking

There are a few tracks available for those who want to get out for a walk, a run or a hike.

The Cape Byron walking track is a 3.7-kilometre loop that goes from Captain Cook’s through a patch of rainforest and comes out at the base of the of the Cape Byron Lighthouse. It then goes back down the cape via Wategos, The Pass, and Captain Cook’s, with the option to be on the beach or on a wooden boardwalk. Be forewarned that there are a lot of stairs but there are also a lot of amazing views.

The Three Sisters walking track is a 3.6-kilometre trail that goes through the Broken Head Nature Reserve. If you want to stray out of Byron Bay, the Nightcap National Park, which is 30 kilometres west of Byron, has several walking trails.

Shopping

You can also take your walking into town, where you’ll find a huge variety of shops and boutiques. A new area for shopping is the Arts and Industry Estate – and you can get there on the solar-powered train!

There’s also the Byron Market, which is held on the first Sunday of every month, and the weekly Farmer’s Market, held every Thursday. On Saturday evenings the Artisan Market is held in the Railway Park.

You may want to take home some locally made food items, and many stores sell the locally made products of Byron Bay Chilli Company, Byron Bay Coffee and Byron Bay Chocolate Co, to name just a few.

Eating

If you’ve come to Byron Bay hoping to lose weight, it probably won’t happen. There is an endless array of quality restaurants, cafes, local breweries and bars. You’re only limited by what you want to try. The choices are there to help you pick from fresh coffee to lunch, to supper or some nighttime entertainment.

Where to Stay

The options for accommodation are also varied. There are hotels such as Elements and The Byron at Byron Resort, there are guesthouses like the Atlantic and the Bower, and there are several bed and breakfasts in town.

But be adventurous and take advantage of the unique opportunity to stay in cottages managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. There are six cottages dating from the 1920s to 1950s. You can choose from one of two assistant lighthouse keeper’s cottages or one of four properties nestled by the beach between Cook’s and The Pass. Make sure to book well in advance.

There are also plenty of Airbnb options, and campers can take advantage of Clarke’s Beach Caravan Park, which has a seaside setting making it the best of the campgrounds in town.

Your adventures are waiting to happen at Byron Bay, Australia.

About The Author:

Cal Bailey runs www.mountainleon.com – a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, you can read his latest blog posts.

Visiting Byron Bay has been on my bucket list for some time, so it was a real treat when I finally got there last month. I did some prior research on this beautiful beachside town in New South Wales, Australia, but I learned so much more while visiting.

For those who are considering a trip – do it! This eastern point of Australia, located south of Brisbane and north of Sydney, has some of the most beautiful beaches around. It’s well worth the trip, and I’ve put together some juicy info to make the trip even more worthwhile.

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