It was short, it was sweet, and it was sunny. Byron Bay; what a place. I stayed just three days and wished we could have extended the trip longer.
Three days was not nearly enough to enjoy everything Byron has to offer. It’s got something for everyone. It’s a fun mix of surfer dudes, backpackers, party goers and chilled locals. The pace is very much relaxed but there is still a vibrant enough nighttime scene and active outdoor lifestyle to tip the balance nicely.
Where to stay
The hostel we stayed in, Nomads (above), was absolutely buzzing with people from all over. There was a stag party with the bachelor proudly sporting a pink tutu and fairy wings – and nothing else. A huge group of New Zealanders partied by the jacuzzis all day and a nice mix of blow-ins rocking out on hammocks and trying their (drunken) hand at beer pong.
We set off on some sightseeing and I immediately fell in love with the town. Everyone was so friendly as I weaved my way through the little jewellery stalls and nic-nac stores, gazing at the handmade dream catchers and multi-coloured sarongs.
As I strolled down a little street, a dread-locked smile popped out from a vegan van and offered me a free smoothie for my troubles. I glanced at his attire and the Bob Marley-inspired colours of the van, and wondered would I be feeling the effects of this smoothie in twenty minutes time!
We spent most of our beach time at Clarkes Beach. It’s east of the main beach and a little quieter with BBQ facilities and grass to stretch out on. Main beach is where all the buzz is with plenty of water sports and surfing.
The Pass is another gorgeous beach we accidentally stumbled upon. As I gazed out toward the water while sunbathing here and spotted a little dolphin bobbing up and down close to the shore, pure bliss!
What to do
The marine and wildlife around Byron is particularly amazing. An absolute must-do is Cape Byron Lighthouse. Park your car and follow the trek up on foot towards the lighthouse. It’s a steep walk but the views are worth it. From the top is where you can really appreciate Byron’s beauty.
Wintertime is the whales’ migrating season and looking out over the ocean they can be seen every few SECONDS breaching the water. Pods of dolphins can also be seen bobbing in and out of the surfers and playing in the water.
Up at the Lightiuse make sure to keep an eye out for goannas. They’re camouflaged but over a metre long!
Along the walk on Cale Byron is another great attraction, the most easternly part of the Australian mainland.
We were lucky enough to do an ocean kayak tour with Cape Byron Kayaks and dolphins and their young weaved their way in between our boats for two hours. I’d highly recommend this tour group. Our guides were super nice and we stopped on a small secluded beach to have some hot coco and Tim-Tams!
There’s also a keen surfing scene in Byron Bay as well as tonnes of outdoor activities like skydiving, hang-gliding over the ocean and paddle boarding.
As I’m on a backpacker budget, my nightlife scene isn’t overly exciting. We’ve been cooking at our campsites or hostel kitchens then walking by the restaurants, salivating at the mouth. We decided to treat ourselves in Byron as it was the weekend and the town just looked too good to pass up.
After drinking our fill of goon, we made our way to a popular bar in town Woodies. This is a great venue for backpackers, I rocked up in flip flops and a hoodie and I want one bit out of place.
The next night we wined and dined in a nice Mexican place called Miss Margarita. They do happy hour on margaritas which went down nicely with our enchiladas.
Straight across the road is the well known Beach Hotel or locally known as Beachies. This is a great spot for food and live music. It’s got the most chilled out vibe with fairy lights strung up all around its decking with a gorgeous ocean front view. The night we were ther a popular Australan band we playing. It was a bit awkward, the crowd were going wild and we had no idea who they were!
If you’re on a tight budget like we were don’t worry, there’s still plenty to keep you occupied around Byron. Backpackers, locals, dog walkers, couples and just about everyone else gather on the grassy area of Main Beach to watch the sun go down. Bring a cooler with a few beers and enjoy the entertainment around like fire breathers and buskers.
When we have to make the journey home from Carins to Sydney, we’re definitely going to revisit Byron Bay again. It was our last stop in New South Wales before we move onto state number two: Queensland!
Here’s some more Byron pics to enjoy: