Nestled on the far north coast of New South Wales is the glittering jewel of Byron Bay, a pristine coastal town where soaring emerald rainforests meet crystal blue sea, and where whales, dolphins and turtles cruise.
There are so many attractions and activities to while away the hours here that choosing what to do in Byron Bay can become a bit of a wood from the trees, or wave from the sea, moment.
So, we thought we’d compile this guide to help intrepid travellers out with their planning.
It’s chock-full of secret beauty spots, local gems, tours, attractions, places to eat and drink, and much, much more.
Only the very best things to do in Byron Bay have been included, so if you’re planning a trip, bookmark this page now.
And please, get excited.
Your escape to an Australian paradise is right around the corner.
1: CATCH A SUNSET AT CAPE BYRON LIGHTHOUSE
If you’ve plugged ‘what to see in Byron Bay’ into Google, no doubt you’ve heard about the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. This shining beacon sits on Australia’s most easterly point and is over 120-years-old.
We recommend taking in the majesty of the white tower as the sun sets over the ocean. There is parking, as well as cafes, but you can also walk to the lighthouse. The loop takes 1- 2 hours and will take you through rainforest, beaches and across grassy clifftops.
2: VISIT A COFFEE FARM AND ROASTERY
If you’re a fan of a morning brew check out Zentveld’s Coffee Farm and Roastery, set in the hills of Bundjalung Country. The farm is pesticide-free, meaning everything is grown naturally. The eco-conscious site is also home to a well-stocked general store, so you can also pick up some coffee to take home gifts for family and friends…or yourself, we’re not here to judge.
3: HIKE TO A SECRET WATERFALL
If you’re looking for things to do in Byron Bay for free, why not go chasing waterfalls? The region has plenty of them, from the more well-known sites like Killen falls and Minyon fall, to secret waterholes. Ask our staff for some of their favorite cascades off the beaten path. Just remember to leave nothing behind.
4: TAKE A FIRST NATIONS TOUR
One can’t visit Byron Bay without going on a First Nations tour to learn about the history of the area before – and after – European settlement. For background, there are three traditional custodians in the shire; the Arakwal people, the Widjabal people, the Minjungbal people.
Delta Kay, an Arakwal Bundjalung woman, is passionate about sharing her culture and conducts walking tours at Cape Byron.
5: TAKE IN THE SUNRISE
For more free things to do in Byron Bay catch the sunrise at one of the many beaches or cliffs that dot the coastline. We promise, the sight of the sun rising over the eastern waters is one that will live with you forever – and is simply priceless.
6: UNWIND AT A BREWERY
If you’re into all things chemistry, and or beer, check out Seven Mile Brewing. With rotating food trucks every Friday – Sunday, and drop after refreshing drop, this craft brewery is a place where you can truly unwind. Just promise us you won’t leave without trying the Watermelon Sour, it’s summer in a pint.
7: KAYAK WITH DOLPHINS
Did you know you can kayak with wild dolphins in Byron? Seeing these marine mammals in their habitat is a magical experience. Cape Byron Kayaks have been offering tourists this close encounter since 1995.
8: GO SKYDIVING
This one is for the true adrenaline junkies! If you want to take in all Byron has to offer, why not do it from the sky? Skydive Byron Bay offers tandem skydives daily, and is located only 15-minutes from town.
9: LEARN HOW TO SURF
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at surfing, you should do it at Byron. Soul Surf School is mobile, and will track down the best waves daily at one of the region’s many beaches.
10: GO WHALE WATCHING
June is prime time to watch humpback whales as they migrate up Australia’s east coast from Antarctica. To have a close encounter with these gentle ocean giants book a whale watching tour. It’s an unforgettable experience.
11: BROWSE BYRON’S MARKETS
Whether you’re a bargain hunter, foodie, or art appreciator, you’re sure to find something at one of Byron’s many markets. We’re fans of Byron Farmers Market, and the Byron Community Market. Check their websites for the next scheduled events.
12: VISIT BROOKE CLUNIE’S POTTERY STUDIO AND GALLERY
Potter Brooke Clunie is always ready to welcome guests at her Red Door Studio and Gallery. Set in the rolling hills of the Byron hinterland, it’s perfect if you’re after things to do around Byron Bay. Tour her workspace and learn about what goes into hand-making artistic stoneware and earthenware vessels, which “celebrate space, vitality and imagination”.
13: EXPLORE NIGHTCAP NATIONAL PARK
If a day among the trees is calling to you, put Nightcap National Park on your list. This World Heritage-listed rainforest is just over an hour from Byron Shire. Offering walks, picnic areas – and stunning view after stunning view – it makes for one fulfilling day trip.
14: RELAX AT SUMMERLAND FARM
Upon arriving at Summerland Farm one of the first things you’ll notice is the rich red soil. This is because the agriculture hub is in the centre of an ancient volcano, one that gifted the region with fertile soil. With farm animals, an adventure playground, retail hub, farm cafe and restaurant, it’s one of the best things to do with kids at Byron. The award-winning attraction also happens to be one of the most successful disability enterprises in Australia and was featured on Better Homes and Gardens.
15: HIT UP A DAY SPA
If rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation is on the cards, we’re happy to report Byron has many day spas to choose from. Our favourites include Endota, and Eléme Day Spa. Word to the wise though – whether you’re after a facial, massage, or package – you should book your treatment well ahead of time.
16: MARVEL AT THE CRYSTAL CASTLE
One of the most unique things to do in Byron Bay is a visit to Crystal Castle, which is “home of the biggest and most beautiful crystals in the world”. At this glittering attraction, set in the hinterland, you can unwind and explore 10 hectares of Shambhala Gardens and rainforest, discovering treasures along the way.
17: SOAK IN THE OCEAN
Remember the many beaches we mentioned at the start of this guide? Well the time has come to soak up some sun, sea and surf for we reckon you need to spend at least one day beach-hopping. If you ask locals what the best beaches in Byron are you’re going to get a myriad of answers – so why not have some fun? Ask at least four people what their favourite is and go from there.
18: GO STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING
One can’t neglect their fitness while on holiday, so you’ve got to give stand-up paddle boarding a go. Trust us when we say it will work your core in ways you didn’t think was possible. A lot of companies hire the boards out, we recommend Soul Surf School – and remember, falling is part of the fun.
19: WANDER CUMBEBIN WETLAND SANCTUARY’S BOARDWALK
If another stroll in nature is needed check out Byron’s fascinating wetlands. At Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve you can enjoy a beautiful boardwalk through Melaleuca forest, and experience this fascinating and diverse environment firsthand.
20: ENJOY SOME FISH AND CHIPS
Is a trip to the seaside complete without tucking into fish and chips on towel and sand? We think not. So grab your thongs, pick up a meal from Beach Byron Bay’s kiosk, and dig in. Just mind the seagulls.
21: ENJOY LIVE MUSIC
Lovers of good music will get a kick out of The Railway Friendly Bar, which hosts live gigs every night of the year. Best of all, the venue has lots of outdoor seating to make the most of the gorgeous Byron weather.
22: DO SOME YOGA
There’s no shortage of yoga classes in Byron Bay, and it’s a perfect way to unwind. Byron Yoga Centre occasionally hosts free classes, so check their website for planned events. Otherwise you can even go it alone and take a towel or mat to one of the many beauty spots Byron has to offer.
23: DINE ON NATIVE INGREDIENTS
The use of native indigenous ingredients in cooking is growing, and Karkalla restaurant is a masterclass on how it’s done in Byron. It’s run by former MasterChef contestant Mindy Woods, a proud Bundjalung woman of the Widjabul Wia-bul clan. Please note, you’ll need to book a reservation in advance.
24: CYCLE AROUND TOWN
Byron has many cycleways – indeed there’s over 140 – so hiring a bike is a great, cost-effective way to get the lay of the land – especially if you don’t drive.
25: CHARTER A BOAT
Hiring a yacht or boat is perfect for those after a memorable, and more private, experience in Byron. You will beat the crowds, while discovering some of the bay’s best hidden beaches. Chat to the team at What Charter Boat to craft your adventure.
26: BROWSE A GALLERY
27: SNORKEL WITH SEA TURTLES (AND MORE)
Julian Rocks Nguthungulli Nature Reserve is a thriving marine ecosystem just off Byron’s coast. You can get up close and personal with friendly ocean creatures like sea turtles, manta rays and more, by booking a tour with Byron Bay Dive Centre.
28: RIDE IN A HOT AIR BALLOON
If you want a sky-high adventure, consider a sunrise air balloon flight over Byron. Balloon Aloft, gold winner in NSW’s Tourism Awards, offers unique fights each day based on wind conditions. Best of all, breakfast at Three Blue Ducks, located at The Farm, is included afterwards.
29: VISIT BYRON ARTS AND INDUSTRY ESTATE
Byron Arts and Industry Estate is a local gem for those who have shopping on the mind. It’s full of boutique stores, galleries, and cafes; and is great for picking up souvenirs, while diving head first into Byron’s creative hub.
30: COMPLETE A COASTAL WALK
There’s no shortage of coastal walks to help you take in the area’s beautiful beaches and coves. In terms of coastal walks, you’ve got the: Cape Byron Walking Track, Lennox Head Boardwalk – and one of our faves – the Three Sisters Walking Track. Just remember to bring a backpack, snacks, and to put on your sunscreen.
31: RIDE THE BYRON BAY SOLAR TRAIN
The world’s first solar train is a great way to explore what Byron has to offer. Sit back and unwind in a restored 1949 era carriage, and take in the winding three kilometre coastal track that links the town centre, with North Beach and Byron Arts Estate.
32: GO HANG-GLIDING
Take in Byron from all angles with some tandem hang-gliding. While it’s not for the faint-hearted we promise it will give you a sweeping eagle-eye view of the coast and rolling hinterland.
33: BOOK A SCENIC RIVER CRUISE
If a glass of wine and winding waterways appeal, book a scenic river cruise to take in the wetlands. For two hours, Out Of The Blue Adventures’ tour will allow guests to discover the diverse waters of the Richmond River Nature Reserve around Ballina Island.
34: GO HORSE-RIDING
Trust us when we say, a horse-ride along an isolated beach is a great holiday memory. Indeed, it will feel like something right out of a movie. Pegasus Park Equestrian Centre will set the scene at Seven Mile Beach, a quiet stretch of coast teeming with wildlife.
35: SIP AT ‘SUPERNATURAL’
If you’re a connoisseur of natural wines, or want to dip your toe into the world of organic drops, ‘Supernatural’ is a must-visit. Described as “a slice of Paris by the sea”, this restaurant and bar offers an exclusive biodynamic and organic wine list. We recommend locking in a booking ahead of your visit as it’s very popular.
36: WALK TO TALLOW BEACH
Tallow Beach is another must-visit during your time in Byron. This pristine beach is located around 3.2km from town and can be accessed via a quick walk through national parkland. Once you arrive all you have to do is soak up the sun, swim, birdwatch, whale watch – you name it, relaxation is the goal. Just note the beach is unpatrolled so do take care while swimming.
37: GO SNORKELLING
Snorkelling has to be on your ‘what to do around Byron Bay’ list as it’s a great, cost-effective way to take in the area’s rich marine life. Best of all, you don’t have to do a tour to enjoy this activity. Most dive shops will hire out snorkels and fins. Just ask the attendants for their tips on sites to visit.
38: VISIT BYRON BAY GENERAL STORE
Byron Bay General Store is one of the oldest buildings in town, established way back in 1947. Today it is home to a great cafe and sells merchandise, great for gifts or personal souvenirs. It’s a great addition for anyone who appreciates a good brunch/lunch.
39: CHECK OUT THE VIEW AT FISHERMAN’S LOOKOUT
If you want sweeping ocean and beach views then definitely head to Fisherman’s Lookout. It’s one of the best beauty spots in town, and can be accessed from The Pass, a beach home to a steady surf break.
40: TRACK DOWN MAGICAL GLOW WORMS
The glow worms of the hinterland are one of Byron’s most enchanting attractions; one which you can experience through a guided tour with Rise Up – Byron Conscious Tours. Guides will take you to a secret location, teach you all about these fascinating critters, and the land they call home.
41: EXPERIENCE LIFE AT THE CIRCUS
Should the weather not be the best, or you’re after a high-flying experience with the kids, then check out Circus Arts. They have lessons for kids of all ages – yes, even adults! Everything from parkour, to trapeze and trampoline classes are on offer, so pack your comfortable clothes and get ready for a day at the circus.
42: DO A WILDLIFE SAFARI
If you want close encounters with a variety of Australia’s unique fauna, then a wildlife safari is definitely calling. Byron Bay Eco Tours will take you to three different, and distinct, ecosystems so you can see the animals that grace our golden soils in their natural habitat.
43: LEARN HOW TO SCUBA
If you’ve always wanted to experience life under the sea, and observe marine animals up close, we recommend booking a scuba course with Byron Dive Centre. Your licence is something you can take with you when you leave. Because, who doesn’t love a smart investment?
44: TOUR CAPE BYRON DISTILLERY
At the heart of a family-run Macadamia farm in the lush hinterland you will find Cape Byron Distillery, which is producing premium craft spirits just 15-minutes from the town centre. It’s not often you find great whisky and gin distilled in a rainforest, and that’s why the distillery has become one of the area’s most enduring, and popular, attractions. Their gin features 25 botanicals, of which 17 are sourced locally, while their whisky is co-created by one of Scotland’s most awarded Master Distillers, Jim McEwan. Please note the distillery operates by appointment only, so you will need to book in advance.
45: BOOK A SCENIC FLIGHT
Ok, we recommend saving our final entry – a scenic flight over the region – for your last day. Now let us explain why. It is the perfect way to say goodbye to Byron after what was surely a rewarding and regenerative trip. You can experience the majesty of Cape Byron Lighthouse from above, while soaring over Tallow Beach and the rolling hills of the hinterland, which you explored just days before. We love a full circle moment, and for us there’s no better way to book-end a holiday. Fast Aviation has a range of flights, and even allows you to craft your own adventure. Prices start at around $565 for one to five passengers.
And there you have it; the definitive list of what to do in Byron Bay. We hope you found it useful.
From the wealth of options listed above, hopefully we’ve stopped you wondering “what is there to do in Byron Bay” – but we’ll leave you with another word to the wise.
No two days are the same, so if you wake up one day and just feel like relaxing, let yourself.
Byron is a place to rejuvenate and sometimes we just need to push our well-intentioned plans to the side and listen to what our body is telling us.
This is your holiday after all, so allow yourself to sit back and enjoy it.