Backpacker’s Guide to Byron Bay

First things first, Byron Bay is beautiful.  From its beaches, to its restaurants and shops, all the way to the gorgeous beach houses along the water, it is one of the most esthetically pleasing towns on Australia’s east coast.  Even though we were not super lucky with the weather, we absolutely loved our time here.  We have put together all of our recommendations for visiting this iconic town, and we hope you enjoy it!

How to get to Byron Bay

The fastest way to get to Byron Bay from any of Australia’s major cities is by plane.  The Ballina airport is less than a 30-minute drive from the town’s center.  The other very popular transportation method to get to Byron Bay is by coach bus.  There are two main companies that offer coach bus services along all of Australia’s east coast: Greyhound and Premier Motor.  They both follow a very similar route but Greyhound offers a larger timetable as well as slightly more hi-tech buses, making it the more expensive option.  If you have any questions about the differences between the two or are looking to buy the best pass to suit your needs, we highly recommend hitting up Ratpack Travel!  They are super helpful and will always give you the best price possible.  

Where to stay in Byron Bay

We chose to stay at the WakeUp Hostel .  It is a beautifully set-up hostel offering dorms as well as private rooms.

  They also offer complimentary activities on most days of the week!  We’re talking FREE wine & cheese, 12$ UNLIMITED pizza night, live music, FREE rides to the top of the lighthouse to see a breathtaking sunrise, and FREE yoga and bootcamps on the beach!  That right there should be enough to sell you!  We honestly have no complaints about our time here.  The staff was amazing and all the facilities at the hostel were super well-kept and always clean.  On top of all that, they are also located a 20-second walk from the beach and they offer a free shuttle service to and from the center of the Byron Bay town from 7 am all the way to 9:30 pm.  They also have surfboards and bicycles that you can hire for free to enjoy the town even more!

  The only thing I would say is that if you are coming to Byron mainly for the surfing, and are planning on hitting the more famous surf spots, they are 3-4 km away from the hostel and the shuttle does not get you there.  You also cannot bring the surfboards to beaches other than the one right in front of the hostel.  It is simply something to keep in mind in terms of location when making your choice.  But if you are not too picky about your surfing, it is possible to surf the beach right in front of the hostel!

What to do in Byron Bay

1.Surfing “The Pass”

“The Pass” is known as Byron Bay’s most famous surfing spot.  It does not always have the biggest of waves, but they are very consistent, very friendly and always a good time.  The location is also pretty scenic and the water is pristine! 

2.Good vibes on Byron’s Main beach

The main beach is where most people visiting the town spend their days.  There are always loads of people hanging out on the grass pitch in front of the beach, and some evenings there are even drumming circles that add to the amazing Byron vibes. 

3.Wategos Beach

Wategos beach is where you can spot some of the more advanced surfers hit the bigger waves that Byron has to offer.  It is also a great spot to have a picnic on the grass pitch and just enjoy watching the waves roll in.  Wategos beach is not just about the destination, the journey to get to it is also quite enjoyable.  The path turns into a beautiful coastal walk where you can take in Byron’s beauty.

4. Have a burger at “Main Street Burger Bar”

As North Americans, burgers are sacred to us. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we made a point of finding a good burger place on our first evening after a long day of travelling. After walking around the town (and studying the local restaurant menus), we decided to stop at Main Street Burger Bar.  It is a classic Burger and Shake bar with a trendy décor, and excellent food. We both got the “Main Street Beef” burger, and were very impressed. They offer a variety of different burger types, and vegetarian options as well. All in all, it was a great first meal in Byron Bay.

5.Sunrise at the Cape Byron Lighthouse

It goes without saying that no trip to Byron Bay is complete without visiting this famous lighthouse; it’s even better if you can make this trip at sunrise. We were so thankful to WakeUp Hostel for providing a FREE shuttle up to the lighthouse at 5:30am to get a perfect viewpoint to watch the sun come up.  It’s a magical way to start the day, and since it’s barely 7:00am by the end, the walk back to town is both cool and scenic. Regardless of where you’re staying, we highly recommend you make seeing this view a priority.

6.Coffee and a treat at “Twisted Sista”

We’ve said this before, coffee is a religion in Australia. In all these beautiful surf towns, there are heaps of cafes to enjoy a hot beverage. Personally, we had an exceptional experience at Twisted Sista! It’s a lovely café with a variety of breakfast and lunch options to enjoy. However, the best part is their incredible dessert and pastry selection. We enjoyed a cheeky afternoon coffee and a MASSIVE slice of lindt chocolate cheesecake (yes, you read that properly). The funniest part about our experience here is that while we stumbled upon this gem by accident, as we were enjoying our treats, we remembered that a few weeks prior, it was actually recommended to us by some friends we met while sailing the Whitsundays. Apparently, the toasted banana bread is also a huge winner.

7.Shopping Byron Bay’s streets

Australian stores are simply the best.  And Byron in particular has some amazing stores for all tastes!  From surf shops, to bohemian stores, to the fanciest of clothes, it really has a bit of everything.  If you are a shopper and fashion lover, prepare your wallets!

8. Be amazed by the street performers

We saw three live performances while we were in Byron Bay and we were blown away by all of them!  Every evening you are sure to find live performances on little street alleys as well as in many of the bars on the main street.

9.Enjoy a night out at the “Beach Hotel”

The Beach hotel is the place to be in the evenings if you are looking for a night out.  It is located right off the beach so the views are amazing, and they have some kind of live performance every single evening.   

We hope you enjoy and that this guide helps you plan an amazing stay in Byron Bay!

Lots of Love,

Ben and Bianca

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