Byron Bay is a unique, laid-back oceanfront town about 10 hours north of Sydney. While the trek to get there is long, it’s worth it for the zen atmosphere and gorgeous views. If you’re looking for a beach vacation that’s unpretentious, fun, and even a little mind expanding, then Byron Bay is worth the journey.
Where to Stay in the Bay
Byron Bay has plenty of luxury resorts and upscale hotels, but I like to stay at places with character and a local hippie surfer vibe.
First Sun Holiday Park’s location can’t be beat as it’s right on the beach and an easy walk to town. Stay in a beachfront cabin with perfect views or save a few bucks by camping, caravaning, or staying in a dorm. Enjoy the free Wi-Fi and meet other travelers in the community kitchen with televisions and indoor seating.
Byron Beach Resort has even more of a hippie vibe with its beachside yoga and adjacent Treehouse on Belongil cafe. You can stay at a range of price points, from a single or mixed-sex dorm to a private spa room. I recommend grabbing a wood-fired pizza from the cafe and a private room with a hammock.
If you’re looking for more of a spiritual quest or quiet away from the beach, I recommend staying at Arts Factory. While this camp is only a ten minute walk from the beach, it’s deep in the subtropical jungle. Chill out in a teepee or private room. Enjoy the free drumming and yoga workshops. Arts Factory even features a weekly talent show.
Best Places to Eat
There is plenty of great grub in Byron Bay, and I love how much the local restaurants emphasize healthy, fresh fare. If you have a dietary requirement, you should have no problem getting it met here. There are plenty of vegan, vegetarian, organic, and gluten-free options.
I never thought I would find Mexican food I loved in Australia, but I’m a convert now that I’ve been to OzyMex Cafe. This little restaurant run by a Californian expatriate brings some CalMex flavor down under. I recommend the fresh chips and salsa, as well as a burrito.
There are many vegetarian options in Byron Bay, and Manna Haven is my favorite. Everything there is ultra healthy and ultra fresh. Get the Munchy Crunchy Tortilla Bowl Salad. The crunch is incredible, and I love the tzatziki sauce it’s topped with. The vegan chocolate mousse cake is a decadent, guilt-free delight.
Like America, Australia has many Italian immigrants and delicious Italian restaurants. Italian Pacific serves authentic and fresh Italian inspired dishes. I love the four cheese ravioli topped with grilled courgette (zucchini) and walnuts. The beetroot cured salmon with avocado is also worth ordering.
How to Have Fun
Head over to Cape Byron for some beautiful views and easy hiking trails. Walk up to the victorian lighthouse to look out from the easternmost point of Australia.
Take a surf lesson at Byron Bay Surf School. I like the relaxed vibe here, and people of all ages take classes. The instructors are knowledgeable and will tell you how to read the waves.
If you’re looking for some evening entertainment, head over to Woody’s Surf Shack . This casual bar has kept its laid back surfer vibe over the years and pays homage to 1970s Byron Bay surf culture. Try the on-tap cider and dance the night away.