How to Spend a Weekend in Byron Bay, NSW
Whether you’re flying in for a couple of days or passing by on a road trip, Byron Bay is well worth a visit. As soon as you arrive, there’s something about the place that makes you feel immediately relaxed. Perhaps it's the beautiful beaches, the laid-back cafés or the vast amount of stereotypical chilled-out surfers strolling the area, if I could bottle up the vibe and bring it back to London then I would!
If you’re flying to Byron Bay for the weekend, the airport is a 30-minute drive from the main town. When you book a taxi at the airport, they will usually put you into a group and take you into town via minibus. You’ll see from the theme of my itinerary that the locals of Byron Bay are extremely committed to living in an eco-conscious way as much as possible - too right too, when you live in a place as beautiful at Byron Bay.
Sunrise Hike to Cape Byron Lighthouse
Cape Byron Lighthouse is the easternmost point of mainland Australia, meaning it’s the first place to see the sunrise in the whole country. There’s something so magical and serene about hiking in the dark, reaching the top and waiting for sunlight to arrive. You’ll need a torch to light your way up and you can reach the Lighthouse from two directions. We started from Tallow Beach Car park and finished at Main Beach. This way, you finish near the main town and can grab some much-needed breakfast afterwards.
Make sure you check the time of the sunrise as it differs throughout the year. When we visited, sunrise was at 6am so we started the walk at 5am to allow enough time to get to the top. This early morning walk is quite popular, but you can still get a good photo and enjoy the silence and nature along the way.
8am - Wategos Beach Swimming
On the way down from Cape Byron Lighthouse, make sure you pack your swimmers so you can cool off with a dip in the sea. Wategos beach is perfect for this, famous for surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking. You’ll notice the picturesque beach immediately. We visited in October and managed to spot lots of dolphins and quite a few whales!
10am - Brunch at Bayleaf Café
By now you should have worked up a pretty good appetite. Head to Bayleaf cafe on Marvell street, just off Fletcher street, which serves up delicious, locally sourced food and great coffee. If there’s a queue, you can grab a coffee while you wait from its sister cafe, Leaf & Grain, next door.
After breakfast you’re in a perfect position to chill at Main Beach or explore the town and the wonderful local brands that Byron Bay has to offer. Among my favourites are Spell, Rowie, Afends and Posie candles.
7pm - Dinner and Drinks
When it comes to choosing a restaurant in the evening, Byron Bay has plenty of options, almost too many, so I’ve narrowed down a few of my favourite sustainable and locally sourced dinner choices:
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co – here you’ll experience an easy-going vibe, buzzing balcony space, great wine, cocktails and tapas.
Byron Fresh Cafe – expect to dine on superfood, organic, fresh ingredients focusing on a healthier lifestyle. We went on a Saturday night and sat outside where we enjoyed a local musician playing, which contributed to the wonderfully authentic atmosphere.
Rae's on Wategos – here you can sample contemporary Australian food with a Mediterranean influence, specialising in seafood. This boutique hotel-eatery is situated in the perfect location, with al fresco dining overlooking Wategos Beach.
(Photo Credit: The General Store)
8am - Breakfast at The General Store
Popular with the locals, The General Store is an absolute must-visit and was a real highlight for me. Aside from its easy-going, relaxed atmosphere, the menu offers sustainable and locally sourced food along with incredible coffee. I recommend the Peanut Butter Cacao bowl or the Halloumi burger.
10am - Visit the Local Markets
Byron Bay is a hub for creatives and craft entrepreneurs. After breakfast, head into town and check out their work at the local markets. We were lucky enough to be visiting whilst the Byron Bay Community market was on, which takes place every 1st Sunday of the month. This market offers an ample collection of artwork, clothing and local food produce. You can browse the stalls at your leisure and enjoy the featured busker along the way.
1pm - Kayak with the Dolphins
Byron Bay offers a range of tours and activities including whale, dolphin and turtle spotting, all of which can be done either by boat or by kayak. You can also experience the wonders of Julian Rocks marine reserve by snorkeling or diving. We chose to snorkel and saw many different species of fish, a couple of turtles and the tip of a leopard shark (which terrified me even though they’re harmless).
3pm - Stone & Wood Craft Brewery
Born in Byron Bay, Stone & Wood Brewing Co. are an independent craft beer company. A quick call in to try its local handcrafted beers makes for a great afternoon. You can visit the brewery via a short taxi journey from the main town.
Visit The Farm Byron Bay
If you’re travelling with kids in tow or have a few extra hours to spare, visit the Byron Bay Farm. Although The Farm Byron Bay is a little out of town, you can get there by driving or by taxi and can easily spend a morning or afternoon there. The Farm is a working farm with a collection of micro-businesses dedicated to supporting the environment and contributing to a healthier lifestyle. You can take part in a guided tour and see the black pigs, chickens, vast collection of vegetables along with macadamia and pecan nut trees. There is a cafe, restaurant and produce store run by Three Blue Ducks who endeavor to source as much from The Farm as possible.
Images: Emily Tyson
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