Belongil beach is a great option for a quieter beach close to town
Byron Bay is one of the most visited coastal towns in New South Wales, Australia. Known for its surfing, beautiful beaches, gorgeous sunsets and laid back vibe, Byron bay has become a popular stop on Australia’s famous east coast backpacking trail. Another great town to stop at when travelling up Australia’s east coast is Port Macquarie - which is perfect if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter to stop for a day or two.
I spent 3 days in Byron bay with my husband whilst travelling Australia’s east coast from Sydney to Brisbane and we both fell in love with it instantly. The town itself is small but packed with surf shops, clothes shops, restaurants, bars and gelato kiosks.
Whether you’re a budget backpacker, long-term traveller or on vacation, Byron Bay has something for everyone. Here’s a quick guide for some of the best things to do in Byron Bay and why you should add Byron Bay to your Australian itinerary.
7 Reasons why Byron Bay is worth visiting
1. Walk The Cape Byron walking track
The Cape Byron Walking track is one of the best things to do in Byron Bay. Start from the path adjacent to Main beach, along Lighthouse road (or walk along the beaches if you prefer and join the path at Clarke's beach) and follow the signs to the lighthouse. The walking track is 3.7km through the Cape Byron conservation area which leads up to the lighthouse. The Cape Byron lighthouse is the most easterly point of mainland Australia and from here you will get spectacular views across the ocean. If you're lucky, you might even spot dolphins playing in the waves! I loved this short walk, it is a great way to spend a couple of hours, and along the way you’ll pass several of Byron Bay’s beaches. I would definitely recommend including this in your itinerary when visiting Byron Bay.
Cape Byron is the most easterly point in mainland Australia
2. Visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse
If you don't fancy walking the Cape Byron track, or you are not able to, then you can drive straight up to the lighthouse. Take your time at the Cape Byron lookout, and see if you can spot dolphins here. You can also take a 20 minute tour of the lighthouse and visit the maritime museum. Even if you only have one day to spend in Byron Bay, I would definitely recommend visiting the Cape Byron lighthouse. It is the most iconic landmark in Byron Bay and the views from here are stunning.
Cape Byron Lighthouse
3. Visit one of Byron Bay’s beautiful beaches
The east coast of Australia is known for having stunning sandy beaches, from the stretches of gorgeous beaches spanning Newcastle, to the famous Bondi beach in Sydney. And when it comes to gorgeous sandy beaches, Byron Bay is no exception, with several great options to choose from:
Belongil Beach - If you don't want to walk too far from town, this beach is a great option. Located on the other side of the promenade to the Main beach, this beach is quieter than Main beach, especially if you walk to the far end.
The Wreck - Located between Belongil beach and Main beach, this beach is popular with surfers, just watch out for the shipwreck that has been sitting in the water since 1921. At certain tides, you can see the wreck pointing out of the water.
Main Beach - Byron Bay’s main beach is right in front of the town and as you can imagine, is the busiest beach. However if you are only in Byron Bay for the day, it is a great place to soak up the atmosphere, especially if you stick around to watch the sunset from here.
Clarke's beach - Clarke’s beach sits in front of Lighthouse road, so you can easily join the Cape Byron walking track from here. In winter you may even spot humpback whales near this beach as they head back to the Antarctic.
The Pass - Located on the edge of the Cape Byron conservation area, the Pass is a popular beach for surfers and also for kayak tours. There’s a cafe here and shady picnic areas. From here you can walk to the Cape Byron lighthouse too.
Wategos (and little Wategos) beach - Sitting side by side, these beaches are not far from the Cape Byron lighthouse - from here it’s just a short walk to the top of the lookout point. There is a cafe, small BBQ area and toilets at Wategos beach, but there are no facilities at Little Wategos, so make sure you bring a picnic if you are visiting this beach.
Tallow beach - One of the quieter beaches in Byron Bay, Tallow beach is within the Arakwal National Park, on the other side of town and is a popular spot for bird watching.
The sandy Clarke's beach seen from the Cape Byron walking track
4. Indulge in Gelato
No beach visit is complete without ice cream and there are several places to choose from in Byron Bay! I recommend In the Pink Gelato for their range of gorgeous ice creams, including several gluten free and vegan options. I opted for the peanut butter and nutella - it was to die for!
Too much choice!
5. Go surfing at one of Byron Bay’s beaches
Surfing is one of the most popular activities in Byron Bay. The Pass and The Wreck are great spots for surfing, and if you don’t know how to surf, then don't worry there are plenty of surfing schools offering lessons.
6. Enjoy an activity on the water
If surfing isn't your thing, then don’t worry, there are plenty more sea based activities to choose from. You can go diving or book onto a kayak tour or boat trip, where you might spot dolphins or whales. If you prefer to go it alone, then you can rent kayaks and paddle boards from the beaches too.
7. Watch the sunset from Main beach
Watching the sunset from the beach is one of the best things to do in Byron Bay in the evening. The Main beach is a great spot for a more lively atmosphere in the evening, as there’s often live music from the grassy park above Main beach. Bring a drink and a picnic and listen to the music as the sunsets. Afterwards, you might even find a fire dancer on the beach!
Sunsets and music make the perfect evening Byron Bay
Where is the best place to stay in Byron Bay?
We stayed in the Holiday Village backpackers which was great value and a really good base, close to the main street and really quiet in the evening. There are several options for backpacker accommodation in Byron bay, but if you are looking for something a little more luxurious, then there are many sea view apartments and hotel resorts around the town too. I love using Booking.com to find my accommodation as it has options to suit all budgets. If you’re travelling in a campervan, then there are also several great options located right on the beach along the front of Byron Bay.
When is the best time to visit Byron Bay?
During the summer months of December - February is a popular time to visit Byron Bay as you will have sunny, dry weather to enjoy Byron Bay’s many beaches, however it can get busy at this time and prices increase. The spring months of March and April are a great time to visit as you will still get nice weather, but the prices of accommodation will be slightly lower.
How long do you need in Byron Bay?
I would recommend spending 2-3 days in Byron Bay. This will allow you enough time to visit a couple of the gorgeous beaches, as well as visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse. You will also have time to book onto a kayak tour, or to spend a day surfing.
I only have one day in Byron Bay, what should be on my itinerary?
If you only have one day to spend in Byron Bay, I would recommend walking the Cape Byron walking track to the lighthouse in the morning, stopping at Clarke’s beach or Wategos beach on the way. Make your way back to town and enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes, then spend the afternoon wandering around Byron Bay town before watching the sunset at Main beach as the evening draws in. This one day itinerary will give you the highlights of the best of Byron Bay.
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I really fell in love with Byron Bay - the whole atmosphere was just so relaxed and laid back. It felt like the perfect stopover on our East Coast road trip and it is definitely worth adding to your Australian itinerary!
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