Rise early and witness the first rays of sunshine as they peek up from under the ocean, turning the sky to an art show of pink, orange and purple. The sun will appear between the hours of 5am and 7am depending on the time of year, and is best viewed near or around the lighthouse. Follow it up with a dip in the ocean and a coffee from The Top Shop for what Aussies would call a ‘bloody good mornin’. This is easily one of the most adored ways to start the day in Byron Bay Australia.
Explore Byron’s lesser known beaches
While Byron Bay's 'Main Beach' drag gets a lot of warranted attention, there are other ocean gems of equal beauty worth trekking a little further afield for. The calm enclave of Wategos Beach is a must visit just south of the Lighthouse, while Clarkes Beach offers snorkelling spots and The Pass is where you can sit and admire surfers. Those with a little more time and adventure on their side should find a little patch of beach with more privacy on the skirts of Arakwal National Park.
Go on a day trip to Nimbin
Wondering what to do in Byron Bay? Ignite your inner-hippie with a trip to the free-thinking town of Nimbin, where cultural norms and laws are all but dismissed. Home of the colourful cannabis law reform rally, MardiGrass, as well as a substantial counterculture built on ideas of collectivism, sustainability and radical political ideologies, this rainbow region will suck you in and shake your mindset. With great vegan food and plenty of ethical shopping, you don't need to be a law-breaker to enjoy a day trip here.
Take a surf lesson
With arguably the strongest surf culture in the world, taking a surf lesson in Australia is a must do activity. The soft waves of Byron Bay offer a great place for beginners, with learners spotted in the whitewash of Main Beach almost every day of the year. Local surf instructors provide oversized foam boards and a promise to get their students standing on day one. Don your ‘rashie’ and experience the first time rush of cruising along the coastline on a surfboard - a Byron Bay surf will soon be your daily addiction.
Get a massage or some crystal healing
Ease your tired travelling bones in typical Byron Bay fashion with an alternative body treatment. So much more than a standard relaxation massage can be found in the area, with many reputable Zen settings available to choose from. Venture to Buddha Garden Day Spa to have a massage teamed with a dip in a heated plunge pool and a bout of sauna time; sign up for a session of Reiki at Byron Massage Clinic; or experience flotation therapy at The Haven. Meanwhile those wanting something a little more experimental out of their Byron Bay experience could have their Chakras balanced and tarot read at Byron Bay’s Holistic Massage Centre.
Things to do in Byron Bay
Splendour in the Grass
Australians from all over the country gravitate to Byron Bay each winter for Splendour in the Grass. So much more than a music festival, the 3-day event with on-site camping has grown into a celebration of culture, arts, international food, and fashion.
Bluesfest Byron Bay
Byron Bay becomes a mecca for blues and roots music for 5 days each April. Running for almost 3 decades, Bluesfest now attracts an audience of over 100,000 each year, with an inspiring line-up of local and international acts such as B.B.King, Ben Harper, and Lauryn Hill.
Byron Bay International Fashion Festival
Known as a hub of bohemian aesthetics, Byron Bay has a distinct fashion scene admired the world over. With a keen focus on relaxed dresses and inspired swimwear, the Byron Bay International Fashion Festival will bring out the shopaholic in many a traveller.
Arts & Culture
Nestled within the Bluesfestival of Byron Bay Australia sits one of the country's most holistic and accessible celebrations of Aboriginal culture, Boomerang Festival. Visual arts, panel discussions, workshops, dance, theatre, film and comedy come together with a whole lot of music and positive spirit.
Byron Writers Festival
A strong literary culture exists in the Northern Rivers region of Australia, perfectly exemplified by the annual writers festival of Byron Bay. Attracting over 12,000 visitors to its 150 sessions each August, it has evolved over 2 decades and is now highly regarded for celebrating storytelling in all its forms.
Top 5 Festivals In Byron Bay
The festivals found in the Northern Rivers nod to Byron Bay’s alternative mindset and progressive culture. Home to two of the country’s greatest annual music events - Blues and Splendour - expect more than a small spattering of regional events to keep you busy.
Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum
Boasting Australia's biggest collection of naval and merchant ships, Ballina Naval & Maritime Museum is worth the 30-minute drive out of Byron. It is home to historical river boats and a working steam engine, also standing as a tribute to women in the Navy. Not forgetting a trip to Ballina also means visiting a 6-metre tall prawn.
Cape Byron Headland Reserve Trust
Here at the most eastern point of Australia, visitors can admire more than just ocean views and abounding rainforest. The lighthouse and lightkeeper's cottage sit proudly by Cape Byron's cliffs, overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. An intimate museum and thousands of years of Aboriginal history make this a must-do activity in Byron Bay.
Tweed Regional Museum
Take a drive into the mountains on an excursion of art and history, visiting Muwillumbah's Tweed Regional Museum. Located in a historic, 100-year-old building that was once the region's Council Chambers, the museum tells the stories of the Tweed through over 10,000 objects and 8,000 photographs.
Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre
Videos, artworks and traditional dance are just part of the experience found at Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Sign up for a tour guided by an Aboriginal, who can impart the wisdom and knowledge of the lands and traditions of days in Byron Bay gone by.
Bangalow Heritage House Museum & Cafe
After a stint of shopping through the endearing town of Bangalow, a visit to the Heritage House Museum is essential. Learn of the area's history through relics dating back to the late 1800s, and admire recent art and photographic works on rotation. Best enjoyed with scones lathered in jam and cream from the museum's cafe.
Top 5 Museums And Galleries in Byron Bay
For a regional area Byron Bay is bursting with museums and galleries, both contemporary and historic, thought provoking and charmingly simple. Learn of Aboriginal culture at Minjungbal and admire a lightkeepers' cottages at Cape Byron, before venturing into the mountains to visit the Tweed Regional Museum of Murwillumbah.
When a naughty treat and fresh Australian fruits collide, you know you are onto a good thing. Layers of meringue and whipped cream make for a textured dessert delight, topped with numerous berries, passionfruit and occasionally kiwifruit. Take a day trip to Mavis’s Kitchen by Mount Warning for homemade free-range egg pavlova you’ll dream of forever.
Best eaten at Mavis’s Kitchen, 64 Mount Warning Rd, Uki NSW 2484
Traditionally this may be an Italian dish, but parmigiana has well and truly established itself as an Australian favourite. Settle yourself in at Byron's iconic beachfront pub for a slab of chicken lathered in a tomato sauce and topped with grilled cheese. Hot tip: The Aussies have abbreviated its name, look out for the word "parma" or "parmy" on pub menus.
Best eaten at Beach Hotel, 1 Bay St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
All-day Australian breakfast
There's nothing Australians love more than kicking off a day of outdoor adventures with a hearty breakfast. Join the crowd of locals at Bayleaf for a tempting menu featuring the likes of spiced rhubarb with yoghurt, pancakes covered in fresh berries and eggs with avocado in numerous variations.
Best eaten at
Bayleaf Cafe, 2A Marvell St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Adopting the art of afternoon tea from their British ancestors, Australians have a knack for baking great banana bread to serve with a hot brew in the hours between lunch and dinner. Its best tried in Byron Bay’s Succulent Cafe as a follow on from lunch of dumpling salad with ponzu sauce.
Best eaten at Succulent Cafe, Shop 3 8 Byron St, Byron Bay, NSW 2481
One of very few food items that Australians can call their very own, the yeast extract food spread of Vegemite is an acquired taste that makes many foreigners squirm. Found in just about every supermarket across the country, it should be spread lightly over buttered toast for the perfect Vegemite introduction.
Best eaten at DIY at a local supermarket
Food in Byron Bay
Offering a banquet of culinary delights abounding in fresh produce, Byron Bay will have you licking your lips around the clock. Traditional Aussie meals, great seafood are sweet treats are in strong supply here, along with many international cuisines that have been given a unique local spin.