Saturday 15 September 2018

Byron Bay travel guide

Despite growing up in Sydney and living there for 27 years, I had never in all those years ventured up to the gorgeous Byron Bay area. So, when Dave and I were thinking about where we wanted to travel this year, we thought that Byron Bay would be the perfect place, as it is not too far away, the weather is a lot warmer that Hobart's winter, and we could make a stop via Sydney to catch up with friends and family (which happened to coincide with by 30th birthday). Within 24 hours of stepping foot in Byron Bay, I absolutely fell in love with the place, so thought I'd put together a travel guide based on where we stayed, what we did, and most importantly, where we ate.

Where to stay

We decided to split our time between two places - Beach Suites, which offers beachfront apartments smack bang in the centre of town, and Elements of Byron, which is a resort located about 10 minutes' drive north of the main town.

The location of Beach Suites was amazing - we were staying in one of the ground level apartments, which meant we could walk out our back door, cross the road and have our feet on the sand in less than a minute. The room was incredibly spacious, with a large bathroom, a king size bed, a relaxing lounge area, and a backyard with a private pool and deck chairs. We spent our first four nights at Beach Suites, which was a great way to be able to get a feel for the local cafes and restaurants in Byron, which were literally on our doorstep.

For the remainder of our trip, we stayed at Elements of Byron. As it is located away from the town centre of Byron, it does feel more isolated and it is a bit harder to get into town from there (though the solar powered train that runs between North Byron and the town centre during the day was very handy), however it was a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing by the pool with a cocktail, playing tennis, swimming, and taking part in morning yoga by the beach.

The rooms were very modern and tranquil, the adult pool with a swim up bar was wonderful, and the continental buffet breakfast was incredible (although it was not included in the cost of the stay) with its range of muesli, yoghurt (including coconut yoghurt), fruits, breads, pastries, meats and cheeses. However, if we were to visit Byron again, I think we would just stay in the centre of town, due to the variety of amazing cafes and restaurants and the general vibe of Byron that you don't quite get at a resort outside of town.

What to do 



As it had been over a year since I'd been surfing, I was really keen to get on a board in Byron, so I hired a board a couple of times from Soul Surf School, which was about 50 metres from our accommodation at Beach Suites. The waves on Main Beach were pretty small, but I had a lot of fun paddling around and catching a few 2-3 ft waves. If you have a car, there are endless beaches to choose from along the coastline of northern NSW.

Walk or run to the lighthouse

One morning we decided to wake up early and go for a run up to the lighthouse. You get some stunning views of the coastline on the way up to the lighthouse, as well as from the top, and if you're lucky you can see some whales and dolphins in the distance. It took us a bit over an hour to get there and back (with a mixture of running and walking), so it is fairly easy to get there by foot.

Whale watching tour

As it is whale watching season in August, we decided to book a tour with Wild Byron, which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. It cost us $89 each, they picked us up from our hotel, drove us to Brunswick Heads where we hopped on the boat and went out on the water for about 2.5 hours. For the majority of that time, we were able to see humpback whales either in the distance, or coming right up to the boat, which was a truly incredible experience.

Visit the beaches

Even if you're not into surfing, or don't want to step foot in the water in winter, a visit to Byron's beaches is definitely worth it for the beautiful scenery and long stretches of sand to walk along. The main beaches at which we spent our time that I'd recommend checking out are Main Beach, Belongil Beach, Wategoes, The Pass, and Lennox Head.


There are a number of incredible local brands in Byron that are worth having a look at, particularly for their ethically and sustainably made clothing. My favourite shops to peruse in Byron were Tigani Lux, Hope and May, Rowie the Label, Fok and Stuff, Arnhem Clothing, Enzo & Toto, Mimosa, Auguste the Label and St Agni.

Where to eat




Safya - for their Egyptian style brunches, including the smashed avocado with poached eggs and dukkah

Byron Fresh - for their buckwheat hotcakes with banana, marscapone, fresh berries and a very generous serving of salted caramel

Combi - we ventured here a few times (it is probably my favourite of the breakfast spots), and can highly recommend the acai bowls, coffee, hotcakes, and definitely a takeaway slice of the home-made raw caramel slice

Bayleaf Cafe - for their granola with fresh fruit and yoghurt, and their iced lattes

Folk - for their buckwheat banana hotcakes and beautifully presented hot drinks

Barefoot Blender - for takeaway smoothies and acai bowls



Japonaise Kitchen - for incredibly fresh sushi, particularly the raw tuna and avocado roll

Mainstreet Burger Bar - for the best burgers in Byron, particularly the Old Mate Joe burger with BBQ beef brisket and a beef patty (they also do awesome milkshakes and sweet potato fries)

Kinoko Japanese - for a tasty sushi train with a great variety of sushi and hot dishes
In the Pink - for the best gelato in Byron, especially the king caramel flavour



No Bones - for tasty vegan (yep, that's right) alternatives of some mainstream favourites, like duck pancakes, pad thai and truffled mac and cheese

Chihuahua Taqueria - for incredibly fresh tacos, parmesan and lime corn on the cob and jalapeno poppers

Miss Margarita - for their fresh tacos and fajitas, great margaritas and a relaxed, chilled vibe

Three Blue Ducks - for a fun atmosphere and amazing local, fresh meals (including the market fish with fish broth, pickled daikon, XO butter, farm turnip and greens)

The Italian Byron Bay - for authentic Italian food and an incredible chocolate and hazelnut dessert (with flourless chocolate cake, nutella mousse, candied hazelnuts, truffle, ice cream and crumble)

Thai Lucy - for street-style Thai (particularly the jungle curry and coconut rice)

Graze at Elements - for a more up-market meal, particularly their fragrant snapper curry

Hopefully that has given you an idea of the best places to hit up in Byron...I certainly can't wait for the next opportunity I get to venture north to the incredibly relaxing and inviting town of Byron.

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