Surf boards at The Surf House Byron Bay

Byron Bay Things To Do (2024)

Byron Bay, nestled in the coastal beauty of New South Wales (NSW), stands out as one of my cherished destinations. This Australian town exudes an unparalleled aura of tranquillity and relaxation. My travels have led me to Byron Bay on five occasions, and with each visit, I unearthed new and exciting experiences. In this post, I’ll guide you through Byron Bay things to do.

Embarking on a memorable road trip along the east coast of Australia, including the enchanting Byron Bay, is a journey worth undertaking. Discover the details of this scenic adventure in my post titled “The Ultimate Road Trip on the East Coast“. Explore the chilled-out vibes of Byron Bay and unlock a tapestry of activities that make this coastal town an ever-alluring destination.

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PIN for later reference - Travel guide to Byron Bay
PIN for later reference – Byron Bay Things to do

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About Byron Bay

Situated on the eastern coast of Australia in the state of NSW, Byron Bay is home to Australia’s easterly point. Renowned for its breathtaking beaches, lively festivals, and vibrant atmosphere, Byron Bay has become a destination for locals and visitors alike.

A notable aspect of this coastal town is its association with Hollywood celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon, who have chosen Byron Bay as their residence.

While Byron Bay remains a year-round destination, the optimal time to experience its charm is from September to November, when temperatures are pleasantly mild. To truly delve into the richness of Byron Bay and its surroundings, a minimum of five days is recommended for exploration. Immerse yourself in the allure of this coastal gem and uncover the myriad experiences it has to offer.

How to Get to Byron Bay?

By Road

Located in NSW, which shares its capital with Sydney, Byron Bay holds an interesting geographical tidbit – it’s closer to Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, than Sydney.

Covering a distance of slightly over 750 kilometres north of Sydney, the journey to Byron Bay takes approximately 8 hours and 30 minutes by road. It’s essential to note that the route includes toll roads, and for a seamless drive through these, having a FastTag registered with Service NSW is a prerequisite. Whether you’re making a scenic trip from Sydney or Brisbane, Byron Bay is a unique destination with its coastal charm and laid-back allure.

The distance between Byron Bay and Brisbane is notably shorter, spanning approximately 160 kilometres, with the journey clocking in at around 2 hours and 10 minutes. For a convenient and swift travel experience, flying to Brisbane and renting a car from the airport for the drive to Byron Bay is an excellent choice.

Alternatively, you can fly to Ballina, the domestic airport serving Byron Bay, for a more direct and time-efficient arrival. Whether you choose the scenic drive from Brisbane or the direct flight to Ballina, both routes offer their charm for reaching the coastal haven of Byron Bay.

By Air

For the fastest and most convenient access to Byron Bay, consider flying directly to the town via its domestic airport in Ballina. This airport is approximately 30 kilometres from the Byron Bay Central Business District (CBD) and is a convenient gateway.

Both Virgin Australia and Jetstar operate flights through Ballina domestic airport, with Jetstar offering budget-friendly options for travellers seeking an economical journey to this picturesque coastal destination. Opting for a direct flight to Ballina ensures a seamless and time-efficient arrival, allowing you to commence your Byron Bay exploration upon landing promptly.

Transportation between Ballina Airport and Byron Bay Central Business District (CBD)

For the most budget-friendly option between Ballina domestic airport and Byron Bay CBD, opting for a public bus is economical. While it offers an affordable journey, it’s important to note that the travel time is approximately an hour, and the drop-off may not be directly at the town centre.

If speed and convenience are your priorities, the optimal way to traverse Ballina domestic airport and Byron Bay CBD is through a shuttle bus. Although slightly pricier at AUD 30 per person for a one-way trip, these door-to-door services ensure a direct drop-off at your accommodation. Shuttle buses can be conveniently booked near the baggage counters at the airport.

You can contact Steves Transport at 0414 660 031 for bookings or inquiries.

Alternatively, if you’re travelling with multiple people, Uber or Ola cabs provide a cost-effective solution, with the one-way fare averaging around AUD 60 to 70. This allows for a more personalized and efficient journey between the airport and the heart of Byron Bay.

By Public Transport

Opting for a train ride is one of the most economical means to reach Byron Bay from Sydney, with fares ranging from AUD 60 to AUD 90 for a one-way journey. While this is a cost-effective option, it’s essential to consider that the travel time extends up to 14 hours one way.

For those embracing the leisurely pace of a train journey, tickets can be conveniently purchased through the Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) website. Although the travel duration may be longer, the scenic train route provides a unique and relaxed way to reach the charming town of Byron Bay from Sydney.

Where to Stay in Byron Bay?

Byron Bay offers diverse accommodation options to cater to various traveller preferences. From charming Airbnb to budget-friendly hostels, the town provides many choices to suit different budget ranges. Having explored numerous stay options during my travels in Byron Bay, I’ve experienced the variety available for all types of travellers.


Certain motels and hotels in Byron Bay may not feature an in-house café or restaurant. This is due to their proximity to Jonson and Lawson streets, where many dining options abound. These streets are lined with numerous eateries, offering ample choices for those looking to dine out during their stay.

The Surf House

Located conveniently on Lawson Street, The Surf House is a great place to stay in Byron Bay. Themed on surfing, this accommodation provides cosy and premium rooms and a rooftop bar.

Click here to check for prices on

The accommodation has very relaxed vibes, with young surfers chilling at the lobbies and rooftop bar.

The Surf House Byron Bay
The Surf House

YHA Byron Bay

As an avid traveller, I usually stay at budgeted places, so my go-to places are hostels. I stayed at the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) Byron Bay for the first two times. There are two YHA hostels in the town: one is the Byron Bay YHA, and the other is the Cape Byron Hostel YHA.

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Even though these are hostels, they are some of the cleanest hostels in Australia, and the vibes are cool.

Hibiscus Motel

An enjoyable stay close to the town centre is the Hibiscus Motel. Just 2 minutes walk from the beach, the Hibiscus Motel offers spacious and bright rooms.

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The check-in was straightforward, and the lady at the reception (at Waves Hotel) was very considerate and checked us in at 10 AM, even though the check-in was supposed to be at 2 PM. I would stay at this place again, as it was a great, enjoyable stay.

Wollongbar Motel

During my recent travel and because of COVID restrictions, I decided to stay in a motel and not at a hostel. Located on Shirley Street, Wollongbar Motel is a comfortable stay close to the town centre.

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The staff was friendly, and the room was spotless. This motel has many amenities, including a swimming pool, barbecue area and a free parking space.

Byron Bay Things To Do

To fully savour and explore the activities listed below, allocating a minimum of 4 to 5 days in Byron Bay is recommended. However, for those with limited time, a concise guide titled One-Day in Byron Bay is available for a quick overview of key attractions and experiences.

Solar Train ride

Outdoor Activities

Let’s start by delving into my preferred activities in this coastal town, primarily centered around the outdoors. Byron Bay is renowned for its outdoor pursuits, particularly water activities like surfing and scuba diving.

Scuba Diving at Julian Rocks

Julian Rocks stands out as one of Australia’s most renowned dive sites, serving as the primary motivation behind my recent journey to Byron Bay. This underwater marvel is a thriving habitat for diverse marine life, featuring the graceful presence of turtles, grey nurse sharks, and rays. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) acknowledges that Julian Rocks is one of the world’s premier scuba diving destinations.

Two notable scuba dive centres in Byron Bay offer exceptional experiences for those eager to explore this aquatic wonder. The Byron Bay Dive Centre (SSI) and Sun Dive Centre (PADI) are reputable providers, with the cost for a boat dive, inclusive of complete gear, averaging around AUD 150 for certified divers.

Despite multiple visits to Byron Bay, I’ve yet to embark on a dive at Julian Rocks. Unfortunately, challenging weather conditions, including storms and strong winds causing swells of around 5 meters, have thwarted my previous attempts to explore this captivating underwater realm.


Snorkelling with turtles should undoubtedly be on your agenda if scuba diving isn’t your preference. Julian Rocks is the ideal spot for snorkelling, boasting abundant marine life. Recognized as the top snorkelling site in Australia by Australian Geographic Magazine, this location promises a remarkable underwater experience amidst the vibrant marine ecosystem.

Kayak with the Dolphins

Having kayaked in the ocean with dolphins gracefully swimming alongside, I can attest that the word “magical” doesn’t quite capture the enchantment of the experience. Priced at approximately AUD 90, this adventure is a must when visiting Byron Bay. Go Sea Kayak or Cape Byron Kayaks are reputable providers that offer captivating kayaking expeditions, allowing you to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the ocean accompanied by these playful marine companions.

Coastal Walk to Cape Byron Lighthouse

Numerous scenic walking trails trace the coastline, with one standout route leading to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. This active heritage-listed lighthouse is a captivating destination positioned on the easternmost point of Australia. The coastal walk from Byron Bay town centre spans a mere 3 kilometres one way, offering breathtaking views along the journey.

See the Humpback Whales (Seasonal)

Witness the majestic spectacle of gentle giants during the whale migratory season between May and October. Humpback whales undertake a remarkable journey from Antarctica to Queensland and back, creating a significant annual event Australians cherish. Head to the Cape Byron Lighthouse for a prime whale-watching experience in Byron Bay.

Consider enhancing your encounter by opting for whale-watching tours during this season. These boat trips provide an up-close and personal view of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for deals on Viator, where you may find whale-watching tours at more affordable or discounted prices, ensuring a memorable and budget-friendly experience.

Learn to Surf

Reiterating, Byron Bay is renowned for its vibrant surfing culture, standing as one of the premier destinations in Australia. The entire atmosphere, from the shops to the activities and the people, is deeply intertwined with the spirit of surfing. Numerous spots offer opportunities for learning to surf, with the beaches at the bay serving as the ultimate playground for riding the waves. On warm and picturesque days, these beaches become bustling hubs, teeming with surfers eager to carve through the ocean’s waves.

Go on the Hunt for Beautiful Street Art

Byron Bay boasts captivating street art, particularly along the streets adjacent to Lawson or Jonson streets. These areas showcase expansive street art, featuring life-sized murals that are truly mesmerizing. The town’s vibrant graffiti scene adds an extra layer of artistic charm to the atmosphere, making a stroll along these streets a visual delight.

Mural at Byron Bay
One of the street arts

Ride the First Solar Train

Adding to the list of distinctive activities in Byron Bay is a 10-minute train ride on the world’s first solar train. Operating between Byron Beach and North Beach, this eco-friendly mode of transportation provides a unique experience. Passengers can engage with the train driver to learn more about this innovative solar train. Tickets for the ride can be conveniently purchased on board, with the cost set at just AUD 5 per adult for a one-way journey, payable in cash.

Attend Music Festivals

Upon my initial relocation to Australia, I was frequently regaled with tales of vibrant and sensational music festivals, with many of them unfolding in the lively town of Byron Bay. Notably, the annual music extravaganza, the Byron Bay Bluesfest, gained prominence. With its inception in 1990, the Bluesfest has become a staple event during the Easter long weekend in April, further contributing to the town’s reputation as a hub for outstanding musical experiences.

Indoor Activities

Byron Bay, a coastal town predominantly focused on water-based activities, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and ocean lovers. However, when stormy weather strikes, compelling individuals to seek shelter indoors becomes the only option.

During my recent visits to Byron Bay amid pouring rain, I discovered that the town has much more to offer beyond diving, surfing, hiking, and kayaking. Here is a list of indoor activities to explore:

Explore the Cafes and Restaurants

Jonson and Lawson Streets in Byron Bay boast many dining options, making it a culinary haven. Treat yourself to a coffee at one of the charming, picture-perfect cafes, and relish in delectable dishes catering to diverse tastes. Here are some of my favourite eateries:

  • Miss Margarita – A haven for Mexican cuisine enthusiasts, Miss Margarita offers a delightful experience. I highly recommend trying the Jalapeno Poppers and Chicken Tacos for a flavorful treat.
  • Orgasmic Falafel – A must-visit for falafel enthusiasts, Orgasmic Falafel delivers a fresh, crisp, and tantalising experience. Despite its somewhat pricey menu, the exceptional quality of the food makes it a place I never miss during my visits to Byron Bay.
Falafel Plate at Orgasmic Falafel Byron Bay
Falafel Plate at Orgasmic Falafel

Get a Relaxing Massage

Byron Bay offers numerous massage centres, and treating yourself to a soothing massage on a rainy day is genuinely worthwhile.

Please note: It’s advisable to call the massage centre in advance for bookings, as spots tend to fill up rapidly, especially during rainy weather. In my experience, I had to reach out to at least four centres before securing a place for a relaxing massage.


Discover the exquisite beauty of the clothes in local shops – a temptation worth indulging. Treat yourself to one or two, contributing to the support of local businesses. The array of souvenirs, notably the surfboards and vibrant vans, is genuinely awe-inspiring, offering a distinctive essence of Byron Bay. Consider bringing these unique mementos home, capturing the spirit of this coastal town and ensuring lasting memories of your visit.

Go to the Cinema

Explore the town’s unique, vintage cinema showcasing classic movies, an opportunity I regret missing. I highly recommend immersing yourself in the charm of an old film, providing a nostalgic journey back in time. The distinctiveness of this cinematic experience adds an extra layer to the town’s character, offering a chance to relish the magic of bygone eras. Don’t miss the opportunity to step into the past through the lens of this remarkable and historic cinema.

Visit Art Industrial Estate

Tailored for art enthusiasts, Art Industrial Estate is aptly named. Considering its slightly distant location from the town centre, a car is essential for this excursion. Venture beyond the familiar to delve into a realm of artistic wonders, exploring this offbeat gem that beckons those with a passion for creativity. The journey, though requiring a vehicle, promises a unique experience for aficionados seeking to discover artistic treasures that lie just a bit off the beaten path.

Explore the Habitat

Explore the vibrant shopping precinct of Habitat, offering more than just retail therapy. This area boasts various restaurants and cafes, creating a haven for those seeking culinary delights and unique experiences.

Immerse yourself in the diverse offerings, from delectable dining to charming cafes, adding an extra layer to your visit. Habitat provides an opportunity to savour the thrill of shopping and the flavours and ambience that make this locale a distinctive and enjoyable destination. A visit here ensures a well-rounded exploration, combining shopping with delightful culinary discoveries in a lively atmosphere.

Coffee in Byron Bay

Stretch and Do Some Yoga

Discovering an unexpected yet pervasive yoga culture in Byron Bay was truly surprising. The town offers numerous venues for indulging in invigorating yoga sessions. Beyond the casual classes, specialised yoga retreats are tailored for those seeking a more prolonged immersion.

With its serene atmosphere, Byron Bay has become a haven for yoga enthusiasts, providing various options for individuals at multiple levels. Whether you seek a brief session or a more extended retreat, the town’s yoga influence offers a rejuvenating experience, inviting visitors to embrace the holistic and tranquil side of Byron Bay.

Chill and Unwind

Embrace tranquillity in Byron Bay as you unwind and release stress, allowing your days to be a soothing retreat. Let the coastal serenity wash over you, creating moments of relaxation that define your stay. Whether lounging on pristine beaches, engaging in calming activities, or indulging in wellness pursuits, Byron Bay offers a haven for rejuvenation.

Immerse yourself in the laid-back ambience, relishing every moment as you disconnect from the hustle and bustle, making your time in this coastal town a truly restorative experience. Let Byron Bay be your sanctuary for peaceful and stress-free days.

Visit the Bookshop

Nestled in the town is a charming bookshop adorned with a cozy café, making it an ideal spot to savour a coffee while immersed in a good read. The allure of this haven lies in the harmonious blend of literature and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

Indulge in a tranquil escape as you sip your coffee, turning the pages of a captivating book. This delightful combination transforms the bookshop into a sanctuary for bibliophiles seeking a leisurely retreat, where the simple joy of reading intertwines seamlessly with the pleasures of a comforting cup of coffee.

Attend an Interview of a Chef

Playfully exclaiming, “Just kidding!” However, to my surprise, I was unwittingly involved in an interview with a Japanese chef at a local café during my recent trip. The unexpected encounter was an excellent and memorable experience, offering a unique glimpse into the culinary world.

Around Byron Bay

Beyond the enticing activities within Byron Bay, the surrounding areas offer equally captivating experiences. Enveloped by rivers, waterfalls, and hiking trails, the town becomes a gateway to nature’s wonders.

For a seamless exploration, a car rental is available at Ballina airport or ByronBay Rent a Car on Ewingsdale Road (5 kilometres from the town centre). Opting for full insurance with a nominal AUD 1 excess ensures a stress-free road trip, allowing you to venture into the scenic landscapes surrounding Byron Bay.

  • Visit the Waterfalls – The Whian Whian Falls and the Minyon Falls are exquisite natural wonders approximately 30 kilometres from the town centre. Regrettably, during my last visit to Byron Bay, the national park and the falls were closed, denying me the opportunity to witness their beauty in person. Despite this, the allure of these cascading waterfalls remains, beckoning visitors to explore their breathtaking splendour when circumstances permit.
  • Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens – The Crystal Castle, adorned with vibrant crystals and lush trees, presents a picturesque setting. However, I questioned the value of the visit at an entrance fee of AUD 39 per person. While the place boasts numerous sculptures and tourist attractions within its gardens, I didn’t feel that the experience justified the cost of admission. Despite the beauty of the surroundings, the subjective perception of worthiness raises considerations for those contemplating visiting the Crystal Castle.
Crystal Castle
Lord Ganesha at Crystal Castle

Is Byron Bay Safe for Solo Female Travellers?

Byron Bay provides a secure environment for solo female travellers. As a tourist-friendly destination, most individuals encountered are fellow tourists and travellers. Having visited multiple times and consistently travelled solo, I have experienced no issues.

Main Beach at Byron Bay
Photograph taken by thealphasnapper

However, exercising caution, especially during nighttime, remains essential, as in any location. Being aware of your surroundings and taking necessary precautions ensures a safe and enjoyable experience in Byron Bay, allowing solo female travellers to revel in the town’s charm and welcoming atmosphere.

Closing Notes

Byron Bay holds a special place in my heart and will remain my favourite, prompting frequent visits. If you find yourself in New South Wales with some time to spare, I highly recommend adding Byron Bay to your itinerary. The town is worth the visit, offering a captivating experience that is well worth the stay. If there’s anything I might have overlooked or if you have additional recommendations, feel free to share your thoughts by writing to me at

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