JC Travels: What to do in Byron Bay
I just have so many fond memories when I think back to Byron Bay – as I mentioned in my post about where we stayed in Byron Bay, it’s been rather difficult to come back to the ever grey and cold English weather! But luckily whilst wrapped up in several layers and a fluffy dressing gown I can think back and remember all the awesome things we did. Byron is one of those places where you can make your time there as busy or as quiet and relaxing as you want. If you are going at a busy time like we were over Christmas, then I definitely recommend investigating some of the attractions before you get there as they can get booked up quickly!
Go to the beach!
Of course, can you go to Byron Bay without spending some time at the beach? We as a family aren’t really for the whole lying out by the beach (though we did spend some time doing that at the hotel!) but we are quite the fans of walking along the beach. The main beaches near Byron town centre are all slightly busy, though nothing compared to the UK. The closer you are to the town, the more lifeguards there are and flags that you can swim between. If you do want to go for a dip in the sea (it is pretty chilly) then you must do it between the flags.
As you wander away from the main town, the beaches literally go on for miles and get quieter the further you go out – though often dotted with surfers and wind surfers. It was about a 45 minute walk from our hotel to the Byron town centre and all of that was along the beach – and then it kept going! Even if you’re outside of Byron, then you will come across stunning white sand beaches – when we walked to the top of the lighthouse, you could see that they stretch for miles along both sides.
Do the loop walk up to Byron Bay lighthouse
On our second day in Byron we decided to go for a little stroll. Little did we know that it would last all day and almost hit 30,000 steps! That said, the walk up to the Byron Bay lighthouse is a must do. We walked the 45 minutes into town and from there the track is signposted, winding you up the hill to the lighthouse. It’s clearly marked how long and how steep the different parts of the track are which lets you know when to take a break. It takes you past some gorgeous beaches and you get some stunning views as you get higher up back over the whole of Byron Bay.
At the top you can hit the most Easterly point of the Australian mainland. We were very lucky to at that point spot a giant pod of dolphins swimming off the coast line. I rarely see dolphins so I was very excited by these – make sure you keep your eyes peeled for them. It is a very hot walk in the summer, be sure to take lots of water and continually sunblock! We took some umbrellas to shelter under too. This was the only day on the trip where I managed to get burnt – only a little bit but I am obsessed with sunblock so you know to be careful!
Explore the Hinterlands
The coast and beaches are what Byron is known for, but going in land is pretty beautiful too. Surrounding Byron is lots of rolling hills and forests dotted with small towns throughout. We decided to do a day having a bit of a drive around. Our first stop was attempting to visit Minyon Falls – a large waterfall in the national park. The drive itself to the park was pretty impressive, lots of views over to the bay and lots of bumpy gravel roads. After pulling up in the car park we wandered in only to see… not a waterfall, it had been too dry and dried up! But if you go at different times of year then there will definitely be things to see. That said, the forest was a nice place to walk and I saw the biggest lizard ever! Honestly it was like 3 feet long…
We then carried onto Bangalow which is a little town but full of awesome independent shops. We spent ages in one of the book shops looking at loads of weird fiction books before stopping in one of the little cafes. Before we headed back to Byron we booked in at Harvest in Newrybar – it’s a really great independent cafe where we sat out on the balcony and drank lots of local wine. It has a fab deli next door too – we grabbed some bits for a picnic the next day!
Do a tour or get on the water
Now, we were a little unorganised so didn’t end up doing this BUT there are heaps of really great sounding tours in the area. I really wanted to do a horse trek where you get to ride down the beach and into the national park but unfortunately they were shut over the Christmas break. There are also loads of options for getting out in the water too – from surfing lessons to kayaking to stand up paddleboarding. As we learnt from Croatia, I’m not the best with upper body strength so we decided to give these a miss this time!
Visit Lennox Heads
On one of the last days in Byron we decided to explore the nearby village of Lennox Head. It is also on the coast and originally we wanted to visit the tea tree lake there – but it was packed! We decided instead to walk up to the Pat Morton look out which has views out over the bays to Byron and back up the coast. The walk is uphill but not as intense as the walk up to the lighthouse. It ended up being really great as the lookout is where all the hang gliders set off from, so we found a good spot and spent a while watching them take off, float around and then come back down to land. Maybe next time I’ll give it a go myself!
Overall, I’d say if you are heading to Byron Bay be sure to give yourself plenty of time to just relax and read a book in the surroundings. It does have the ability to make you feel so chilled so keeping your itinerary pretty calm is a great idea! Be sure to spend a load of time eating good food, drinking nice wine and spending time with the people you are there with.
Have you been to Byron Bay? What do you recommend?