In Australia, Byron Bay is synonymous with alternative living. Think artisanal coffee, farm-to-table cuisine, wellness, sustainability and creativity all packaged up and sprawled out along a never-ending sapphire coastline.
There are probably 10,000 reasons to visit but you don’t have time to read them all! You’ve got to get out and experience those 10,000 reasons for yourself. What we can do is inspire you to get out there with a top 10.
As a coalition of local and independent travel agencies, Travellers Choice is the best way to source unique and unbiased advice. We’ve been in operation for over 40 years - so every independent agent in our national network knows their region inside and out.
Read on to find out what we know about Byron!
1. Wellness retreats
Byron is the epicentre of wellness. The rolling hinterland is sprinkled with all manner of retreats and lodges, each nestled in stunning bushland surrounds. Whether you’re aching for a restorative massage, a full day of spa pampering, an endless meditation session or a week-long yoga camp, Byron has the goods for you.
2. Beaches, beaches, beaches
As a coastal city, Byron Bay is embraced by the beach. Some of them are popular with travellers, some are staunchly locals-only, and plenty others are hidden, calm and unpopulated. Cosy Corner is a protected little cove, White’s Beach at Broken Head involves a covert forested access track, and Harry’s Hill Beach requires a canoe! Every one of these looks like a desktop background: pure white sand, crystal-clear water and luscious greenery ascending the rocky outcrops beyond.
3. Farm-to-table cuisine
Byron is one of the earliest pioneers for the slow food movement in Australia. Using only the absolute freshest organic fruit and vegetable, biodynamic pastured meat and locally-sourced pantry ingredients, farm-to-table (and slow food) cuisine is a passionately-practised local art form. The areas surrounding Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers Food Region are known for being particularly fertile thanks to a combination of volcanic soil and pristine subtropical rainforest. Byron Bay is an epicentre of sustainable and localised cooking, with a range of high-profile restaurants available for you to taste the real difference.
4. Artisanal coffee
Coffee snobs, this one's for you - Byron Bay is chock-full of artisan coffee roasters and the cafes they supply to. Many of these roasteries are driven by strong brewing philosophies, which means you get to taste the impact those philosophies have in your morning brew. Whether it’s minimal intervention, organic or single-origin - it’s going to be the best-tasting coffee you’ve ever had.
5. Alternative living
If you are an inner-city soul who lives an alternative lifestyle, prepare to meet ‘your kind of people’. Ayurveda, reiki, naturopathy, kundalini, bongo drums, holistic healing, crystal charging, chakra-realigning and tarot-reading: these are all commonplace activities you may easily partake in at Byron Bay. If that’s not up your alley though, don’t despair: you’re always at liberty to just wine and dine your way around!
6. Bespoke, hand-made wares
Byron is known for its eclectic beachside marketplaces. Whether they’re set up for a single event or a town institution, in all of these markets you can find gorgeous handcrafted, bespoke and artisanal goods. Pottery, flowers, fresh food, jewellery, baked goods, second-hand clothes: it can all be found at any farmers market or flea market in Byron Bay. Just make sure you pack an extra suitcase for all those one-off pieces you’ll be hauling home!
7. Permaculture experiences
If you’re an avid gardener or someone who wants to become an avid gardener, Byron Bay and its surrounding hinterland is the place for you. There are countless permaculture farms in the regions, and most of them offer workshops, courses and volunteering opportunities. This is more of an option if you’re in town for a while, but day-trip activities can always be found. Ever wanted to sleep in a yurt beneath the stars, wake up and start harvesting organic carrots? This is the place to do it.
8. Actually go surfing
Funnily enough, Byron Bay was and still is a surfing town. In fact, the Byron Bay surf club is one the oldest in Australia and has been running continuously for over 105 years. Byron’s coastline houses nine surf-specific beaches for varying levels of experience, some more sheltered than others. If you’re not yet a surfer, it’s the perfect place to learn. Surf schools dot the coast, and you’ll be in the very best of hands.
9. Live music
Byron Bay is home to the Byron Bay Bluesfest, which usually occurs over the Easter long weekend each year. If you're not heading to Byron at that time though, there’s always plenty of live music to be experienced in the town and the surrounding hinterland. It is, after all, a city of creatives.
This one comes last on the list, but it’s the most obvious reason to go to Byron Bay. If there’s one thing Byron is known best for it’s the sunsets. Year-round, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping orange, pink and red tones. Every day, a different vista will find you whether you are perched at the top of coastal cliffs, nestled into a beach cove or parked on top of the rolling hillside. Best accompanied by copious snacks and the companionship of your fellow travellers.
Ready for a slice of Byron Bay bliss? Contact your local agent for all the best advice, deals, packages and tours.