There’s Byron Bay, and then there’s the real Byron Bay.
It’s a place where the institutions are celebrated and the new are welcomed; honest, simple and always ready to deliver. And so, if you’re looking for that version of Byron Bay, you’ve found it.
Give yourself 48 hours, and with our handy guide to Byron Bay, let us help you devour the hippy slash surf culture that Byron is famous for.
You made it, you escaped at lunch time and home is far behind you. Let’s not think about the loads of washing waiting on your return. Let’s think beers on tap and simple G and Ts. The Beach Hotel it is.
What is it about fish and chips on a Friday night that seems just right? Fish Mongers is the go-to spot. The batter is crisp, the chips more like whole fried potatoes, and when you eat yours in the park across from the beach it’s hard to find a more back to basics (or delicious) activity. Dressed up and want to dine in? Fish Mongers serves up a mean tempura vegies with grilled fish. Did we mention it was BYO?
This is optional, because we don’t know about you, but come Friday night we’re totally beat. That said, The Balcony or sultry St Elmos both do a fine nightcap. Or a place to kick the night off from. Totally up to you.
Get up you good thing. Here’s what you’re going to do. Start on the walking path by main beach and head south towards the headland. You’re going to peel off left with the boardwalk and head up and over to Wategos, then begin the steep ascent to the famed Byron Bay Lighthouse (no trip to Byron is complete without it). Stop off for a breather if you need, but the view from the top just can’t be beat—especially with the high likelihood of spotting dolphins or a whale. Ah, nature!
It’s time for eating and we can’t go past something off the menu at The Top Shop. The coffee is great, the service so chilled (but super efficient) and there’s a reason it’s been running hot for years. There’s no must-have here. Whatever you choose will be choice.
Two options await you. An afternoon exploring Byron’s darling boutiques—locally-grown Spell, Arnhem, 11:11 O’Clock, Pompidou, Hope and May, and Ahoy Traders are our faves. The second? This ain’t surfer-bum paradise for no reason. Grab your board or hire one—then hit up The Pass or Wategoes and get amongst it.
It’s time to get out of the sun (or give the credit card a breather) and you’re probably beginning to get a little famished. Try the gorgeously-rustic Bayleaf Café or for more lovingly-created wholesome eats, nip out to The Roadhouse near Tallow Beach.
‘Cause it’s never too early to start drinking, or at least tasting…Byron is home to much-loved Stone and Wood. Their Belongil-based brewery will walk you through the process and let you try the product direct from the source (tours start at 4pm and run for an hour—but be sure to book!).
For some pre-dinner fun have a drink at old-time fave The Railway Friendly Bar (aka The Rails) or pull up a stool at The Great Northern. You might want to check if there’s a gig on for your late-night reference.
We love The Tree House at Belongil. Partly because the crowd is always a pleasant mix and because the pumpkin pizza is bloody delicious. Meat eaters, it’s good enough to convert you from your regular pepperoni slices. Oh, and if this joint couldn’t be any more perfect, there’s live music every weekend. Vacation bliss.
Want something a little fancier? Take your date (or gal/guy pals) to The Italian at The Pacific.
So you’ve had too many wines with dinner and now want a dance? Sure thing. Lose yourself at bohemian La La Land on Lawson Street.
The market is where it’s at, but here’s the thing, the location rotates so you’re going to need to Google ahead of time. The Lennox market along the river is wicked. Or if you time it right, the long-running Byron Bay Community Markets pops up the first Sunday of every month. It’s an eclectic blend of hippy locals and visitors, and a wholesome celebration of the wealth of creative talent and fresh produce in Northern NSW. If you’ve not already decided you want to pack up and live the simple life in Byron, this will be the deal-maker.
There’s time for one last dip under Byron’s glorious waves before you check out. Our pick? Wategoes, Clarkes or Dolphins Beach.
Harvest Café is not in Byron, and you will need your car to get there (heck, it’s even worth a cab fare, if you’re willing). The food and environment is beyond expectation. 100%.
Are you beat yet? It’s time to bid adieu to this NSW paradise, but before you do, call by The Farm to stretch the legs. Paddock to plate in every sense of the word, it’ll be impossible not to grab something sweet for the road. If you’re yet to discover The Farm, prepare for your mind to be blown. It’s worth the trip to Byron alone.