The 39 Best Things to do in Byron Bay

Byron Bay is a magical place – so much so that I’ll readily admit it changed my life. It’s a beautiful town, full of gorgeous beaches, and somewhere where you’ll never be far from hearing music on the streets. Byron Bay is a place where people are free to be who they want to be with no judgement, and somewhere where tourists visit – and often get stuck in.

I arrived in Byron Bay one September, planning on spending two weeks there. Five months later, I had to drag myself away, knowing that I had a huge continent to explore and limited time to do it.

I couldn’t really write a ‘how to spend a weekend’ post for Byron Bay, because it really is that kind of place where you need to spend the extra time in. To be honest, if you’re backpacking in Australia and looking for a true Byron experience, I’d really recommend getting a job here and living in Byron Bay for a few months.

There are so many unique things to do in Byron Bay that will help you really feel the magic of the beach town. You’ll find opportunities to surf, dive, and kayak with dolphins here – but there are also dozens of ways to tap into the magic that makes Byron Bay special. Interested in the best things to do in Byron Bay? Here’s my pick…

Walk up to the Byron Bay lighthouse for sunset

A favourite for both locals and visitors to the beautiful town, Byron Lighthouse stands at the most Easternly point of mainland Australia – so it’s unsurprising that the views from it are incredible! Sunset is a great time to hike up to the lighthouse (make sure you go via the beach for the most beautiful scenery!), as the afterglows over the sea are spectacular.

Try to make it up for sunrise!

Sunset at Byron Bay lighthouse is beautiful, but the sunrises are breathtaking – definitely one of the best things to do in Byron Bay. The sun rises majestically straight over the sea, lightening the town and all of its surrounds. Be sure to try and catch a Byron lighthouse sunrise while you’re in town!

Go surfing at The Pass

Byron’s beaches are all affectionately nicknamed, ‘The Pass’ being the beach with a large rock turned viewing platform. Surfing here is awesome for beginners and professionals alike; and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins! Which brings me to another amazing thing to do in Byron Bay…

See dolphins from The Pass or the hill toward the lighthouse

These are some of the best dolphin-watching spots on the east coast of Australia; dolphins frequently congregate around these coastal areas. You might need to wait some time to see these beautiful creatures – but keep your eyes peeled, and you might just make them out!

Go Stand Up Paddleboarding

Have you tried stand up paddling yet? Byron is the place to do it!

Byron Stand Up Paddle offers a top-rated tour that includes an introductory lesson on big buoyant boards, making it great for beginners to experience the fun of stand up paddling.

Before you know it you’ll be soaking up the serenity while paddling along the beautiful (and flat) Brunswick River in the Cape Byron Marine Park, and with any luck spotting some wildlife too.

The team at Byron Stand Up Paddle think of everything; floating sunglass straps, a mat as you enter the water, refreshing cold drinking water and delicious homemade snacks. You’ll even receive free digital photos of your relaxing adventure!

Need more of a reason to jump on one of their daily tours? Go and check out the hundreds of 5 STAR reviews!

The start times vary depending on the tides, so it’s best to call or text 0434 250 830 for further details. You can see their website here.

Eat the champion of all breakfasts at Byron Fresh Café

Byron Fresh Café has a mouthwatering menu where even the pickiest of eaters will find something to tickle their tastebuds. They have some great vegan options!

Dance away at the drum circle

The drum circle is on every single night (weather permitting) and is exactly what it says on the tin; a circle of drummers, playing music as the sun goes down. It’s a place where you can really dance like nobody’s watching, or just sit on the rocks enjoying a cider while admiring the gorgeous sunset.

Walk to Tallows Beach

There’s a lot of beautiful beaches around Byron and Northern NSW, but this has to be my favourite ❤ Where’s your favourite beach?

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The first time I arrived at Tallows Beach, I couldn’t help exclaim ‘if this beach was in England, it would be packed!’ How British of me. You’d be pushed to find a beach with sand so white and sea so blue in the United Kingdom, and it’s pretty much deserted all of the time.

Actually, walk to ALL the beaches

Byron Bay is home to an array of amazing beaches, all with different character. The beach strip of Byron isn’t as well known as some of Australia’s, like the Great Ocean Road or Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

Here are the best beaches to tick off:

  • ‘Main Beach’ is where everyone hangs out.
  • ‘The Wreck’ is where a shipwreck sticks out of the water.
  • ‘Belongil’ is a bit further away but well worth the walk for the views, tea tree lakes and quietness.
  • ‘The Pass’ is where a huge rock with accessible steps makes an ideal whale-watching spot.
  • ‘Wategos’ is where dolphins are often spotted.
  • ‘Tallows’ as I previously mentioned, is my favourite.

Go to the Tree Sanctuary

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon I made a decision last week. I’m going to leave Byron Bay in under a month and spend a few months travelling before working again at the other side of the country. Byron Bay has literally changed my life. It’s taught me so much more than I ever learnt in school, it’s made me smile, laugh and cry harder than I ever have before and it’s made me look at a lot of things from an entirely different perspective. But even though I feel like Byron could never stop giving, I know it’s important that I hit the road again, to discover new things and find other places to fall in love with. But until I do, I’ll be savouring every bit of Byron possible ❤?✌ Have you ever visited somewhere that’s changed your life?

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Affectionately known to many locals as just ‘The Sanctuary’, the Tree Sanctuary is a preserved a chunk of rainforest which the whole area of New South Wales was once covered in. A boardwalk makes strolling through the peaceful sanctuary accessible, and many an hour can be passed just sitting and listening to the birds here!

Go scuba diving or snorkelling

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new” – Brian Tracy I panicked BIG TIME when I tumbled into the water on the first day of my open water diving course. I had problems with my breathing, my goggles and my ears – most of the major issues with scuba diving! But I knew there was no going back, I just had to press on and try and accustom to being underwater. I’m not going to lie, I hated my first dive. I even felt a bit weird on my second dive. But by the time I dunked myself under water for the third time, I realized how stunning the ocean around me was. I noticed peaceful leopard sharks, colourful fish and chilled out turtles. It was a very surreal experience, but once I’d got used to being underwater, I loved it. BIG example of life begins at the end of your comfort zone. If I’d stayed in mine, I wouldn’t be a qualified scuba diver right now. Get out of your comfort zone – it’s the only way to grow! Have you got out of your comfort zone recently? Tell me stories! PS. Huge apologies for the big gap in my posts, being true to my clumsy self I broke ANOTHER phone by dropping it in the sea. I wouldn’t be your favourite clutz blogger if I didn’t have a technical breakdown issue every now and again, would I?

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Byron Bay is located at the confluence of two types of marine life; tropical, coral fish from the North and coldwater animals from the South. This makes for very interesting scuba diving or snorkelling; here you can swim with dozens of leopard sharks and colourful fish aplenty in one session.

Skydive over the town

Byron Bay is an amazing skydive location (and a great deal cheaper than further North!). You’ll be able to see Australia’s easternmost point as you descend 14,000 feet from sky to ground. Not to mention the gorgeous scenery you will witness –  miles of rainforest meeting a golden coastline which spills out into the deep blue sea… there’s nothing quite like it!

Take an Aboriginal Tour to learn about the history and culture of the region

Learning about Aboriginal history is a must-do while in Australia. The entire place is full of history going back tens of thousands of years, which tell beautiful stories of Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal cultural tours are now available in Byron Bay. On this tour, guests are taken on a moderate 1.5km (2hour) return walk while learning about significant places and hearing local history and traditional stories. There are opportunities to learn some Bundjalung language and about bush food, natural medicine, tools, weapons and artifacts.

Cape Byron Aboriginal tours are available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, starting at 4:30pm. Broken Head Aboriginal Tours are every Friday at 10am. Bookings are essential and can be made through this website. The company also offers a free pick-up and drop-off services for guests within 6km of the Byron Bay CBD.

Go to Reggae Night at the Beach Hotel

The Beach Hotel hosts a weekly reggae night every Monday. It often hosts semi-famous acts, but even if it’s just the resident DJs, the tunes are always cheery and aplenty and there’s always a great vibe there.

Catch some live music at The Railway Bar

Known by locals as ‘The Rails’, The Railway Bar hosts live music every Friday night and has a great ‘al fresco’ pub vibe.

Get a BAYger

Bayger is on the outside just a fancy takeaway burger joint, but its menu is so elaborate that you’ll be taking forever to make up your mind… and no doubt be returning to try the rest! Bayger’s especially great at vegetarian options, with a delicious mushroom cheeseburger, and lots of vegan choices too. Mmmm…

Get a falafel from Orgasmic

Imagine if your food was so great, you could give out free samples all the time and still make money? A waitress from Orgasmic is always standing by the beach hotel giving out falafel samples, and they’re GOOOD. Of course, by the time you’ve tried these a few times, you do owe it to Orgasmic to actually go and purchase something. It’s worth it!

Learn macramé

As previously mentioned, Byron is a hub for everything creative. You’ll definitely want to pick up a new skill if you’re here for a while, and macramé is a great one. Learn how to make these necklaces from the street vendors and build a collection to give as gifts, sell or just wear yourself all the time…

Start slacklining

If you walk to the grassy spot above Clarkes Beach, you’ll nearly always find someone slacklining. This is kind of tightrope – walking, and it’s incredibly hard, and also great fun. If you see anyone with one set up, just ask if you can have a go – they’ll most likely be more than happy for you to, in true Byron spirit!

Buy something tye-dye from the Rainbow Shop

Help me I think I’ve fallen in love with a shop… ? Isn’t this the happiest place you’ve ever seen?! If not, then where is? ?

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It’s incredibly cliché, but I can’t help but love the Rainbow Shop. There’s tye-dye everything there, and have you really visited Byron Bay if you don’t own a rainbow vest top? 😉

Browse magical crystals at Soul Life

Soul life is everything I love about life within a shop. There’s inspirational books, incense sticks and crystal after crystal after crystal. So many that you could spend all afternoon reading about each crystal’s meaning. (I’ve only done that once, I swear…)

Try hula hooping

Hula hooping is NOT just for kids! As soon as I got to Byron, I met the most incredible hoopers doing insane tricks – and wanted to give it a try for myself. I’m no pro now, but I have a hoop and can hoop it around various parts of my body (nothing too fancy!) If you’re visiting Byron Bay, you’ve got to at least give hooping a try.

Or wait until it’s dark and use glowing poi balls

Poi is basically twirling balls on a string around. At dark, these super cool glowing balls cause amazing effects! At a beach party, they’re seen all over the place, and some people can work them amazingly.

Go to the Friday free BBQ

Speaking of free falafel, head over to the free BBQ at the rails park every Friday at around 4-5pm. It’s run by the church group, but everyone’s welcome and they normally have both vegetarian and meat options. I used to go every single Friday…

Find a fire spinning show at the main beach

These happen pretty frequently; a semi-professional fire spinner will take a dragon staff and all sorts of other toys and play with fire right by the main beach. It’s enchanting to watch!

Experiences at the Arts Factory Lodge

So here’s the entrance to the beautiful place I call home now. There’s a kitchen, toilets and communal seating area, and the tents lay beyond. There’s about 200 of us here at any one time. Some people just come for a few days, others a few weeks and some have been here months or even years! If you take a walk around this place, you’ll understand how so many get stuck here. So many people are extraordinarily talented – there’s always people jamming with guitars or someone singing – and it’s the perfect place to pick up a new skill, like juggling or hula hooping. There’s always someone to hug and chat to and the whole campsite has a wonderfully peaceful atmosphere. I’m feeling super blessed to have the chance to live in such a wonderful place ❤? I’m definitely in a bit of a bubble at the moment, but I’m very content to be stuck here!

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I spent five months living in a tent at the Arts Factory Lodge. It’s a hostel a little out of town with a distinct hippy vibe, and contains various dorm-style and private room accommodation. It ALSO is home to ‘The Jungle’, the wonderful community that I spent my time in. ‘The Jungle’ is a campsite on the edge of the hostel, that quite literally backs onto the jungle. If you’re in Byron for any amount of time, you should spend at least a little time at the jungle. Yes, that means camping for an unlimited amount of time (there’s a kitchen with power sockets, toilets and showers on site though!) but the atmosphere is just incredible, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

Watch the Arts Factory talent show

The talent show is brimming with amazing singers, professional dancers and people doing circus skills that you didn’t even know existed. Catch it at the Arts Factory every Tuesday night

Hang around in the Jungle Hut

If you missed out on the talent show, don’t worry because most people performing jam nearly every night in the jungle hut! This is a hut in the middle of the campground where people come together to play music and hang out. It’s got a wonderful atmosphere day and night.

Take a drumming workshop

Byron Bay’s home to lots of musical people, making it a great place to learn drumming. Take a one hour class three times a week to learn about how to get the right rhythm and play these instruments. It’s great fun!

Have a reiki treatment

There’s normally somebody at the Arts Factory who is able to perform Reiki which is a form of healing. One of these treatments will help you get rid of any stress and tension, or any negativity weighing you down.

Take a didjeridoo lesson

I’ve updated this post to remove the didjeridoo lesson recommendation. I did play the didjeridoo a few times during my time in Australia, and at the time, I was unaware of the fact that it can be seen as culturally insensitive to the First People of Australia.

It has recently been brought to my attention that in some communities, Aboriginal women do not even touch a didgeridoo, let alone play it, and it can be seen as offensive if any non-Aboriginal women play it.

Some communities encourage non-Aboriginal men to try it, but it could also be seen as offensive to others. Therefore, I no longer recommend didjeridoo lessons here or anywhere else in Australia.

Do yoga every day

There’s nowhere better to do yoga than Byron! There are often yoga lessons available at The Arts Factory.

Live in a tent in ‘The Jungle’

Go on… you know you want to!

Things to do near Byron Bay

The surrounding country of Northern NSW and Southern Queensland make for some great day trips. Here’s some more great things to do around Byron Bay…

Visit Nimbin

First I found a rainbow shop then a rainbow cottage… Can the rainbow girl stay in this part of the world forever please?

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Nimbin is the real hippy capital of Australia, a tiny village packed with quirky shops, buildings painted with pacifist quotes and sayings. It’s known as somewhere where people go to buy weed, but I don’t smoke and found plenty of other things to do there!

Escape Byron at Brunswick Heads

Brunswick Heads is a quieter, beachy area 20 minutes North of Byron Bay. The beaches here are amazing – jungle literally spills into sand here – and it’s the perfect getaway if you want a break from Byron’s business.

Stroll around Springbrook National Park

I just dropped completely off the radar for over a week. Well, first I dropped my phone and smashed the screen and only just got round to getting a replacement. That and being incredibly busy meant that I kinda disappeared for 10 days or so… Whoops. But I’ve had a fantastic 10 days. I rented a car and hiked in Queensland, visited Nimbin and found the most gorgeous hippy temple in the Byron Bay hinterland. I went surfing for the first time in 7 years (which is a work in progress!). I spent lots of time with my best friend (she’s currently with me in Byron Bay!). I had some fantastic Halloween celebrations. I started a new job. I just won a 2 for 1 skydive! And you know what? I didn’t miss my phone once. This might sound a bit rich coming from a blogger, aka someone who updates social media several times a day, but I’ve been reminded how futile phones and other material possessions really are. What counts is how we explore this amazing world we live in and connecting with the people we share it with ❤? Do you ever feel the need for a digital detox?

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Springbrook is a beautiful national park in the Gold Coast Hinterland, filled with waterfalls, sloping hills and vast jungle. It’s worth spending a day getting acquainted with the place!

Spend a night at The Rainbow Temple

The Rainbow Temple is the ultimate retreat. It’s a temple built on the foundations of peace and togetherness, with beautiful quotes and mottos adorning the walls. You can pop in for tea, or stay the night for $30 (this rate includes some food).

Be awed at the Crystal Castle

The crystal castle contains some of the oldest and largest crystals in the world and discusses their meaning and significance.

See one of the many waterfalls in the area

There are loads of waterfalls in the Byron Bay hinterland; check out Minyon Falls, Protester Falls and Killen Falls which are all reachable in a few hours from the coastal town. They’re beautiful and you can swim in most of them; making a refreshing day trip from Byron Bay!

The Best things to do in Byron Bay

There you have it, the best things to do in Byron Bay. If you’re just here for a weekend, do try and experience a few of these, but I’d really recommend staying for longer… Byron is a place that helps you heal and grow, a place that teaches you about yourself and leaves yourself feeling rejuvenated, refreshed and transformed. Stay a while in Byron Bay, and nothing will ever be the same again, in the best possible way.

Byron Bay is magical.

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Planning a trip to Byron Bay? Here's a list of the best things to do in Byron Bay that are perfect for any Byron Bay trip; whether you're backpacking the East Coast of Australia or travelling around New South Wales, check out this post for the best activities in Byron Bay, restaurants in Byron Bay and the most amazing day trips from Byron Bay!

7 thoughts on “The 39 Best Things to do in Byron Bay

  1. James says:

    Claire – thank you for sharing these tips. I’ve been at Byron Bay in 1992 and while it does make me realize how old I am it also brings a lot of memories back! Just such a gorgeous place!

    • Claire says:

      Aw I wonder what it was like in 1992! I bet lots has changed but I’m sure it always has and will be a beautiful beautiful place <3

  2. Hannah says:

    You’ve definitely made me want to visit!! I was just in Australia (again lol) but STILL didn’t make it to Byron Bay and I really need to. I was chatting to one of my flight attendants on Qantas though and they mentioned the tree sanctuary and I really would love to visit that too!

    • Claire says:

      Ah did they! I wasn’t sure if many people knew about it!! You definitely have to visit sometime soon 😀

  3. Lindz @ I've Been Bit! says:

    I’ve heard stories of how awesome Byron Bay is, but when you’ve outlined it so nicely – WOW! It sounds like another world! Next time I make it to Australia, I’m definitely spending some quality time here!

    • Claire says:

      Byron Bay is the best! Let me know if you end up there and need any recommendations 🙂

  4. Emily says:

    I go EVERY single year for two weeks. I really want to live there as I have been going my whole entire life 🙂 and I can’t wait to go this year. Only 77 more days to go!

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