Your Ultimate Byron Bay Travel Guide
Byron Bay is considered a hotspot for travelers – and not for nothing! Here you will find a colorful mix of different people, which will immerse you in a truly unique atmosphere.
The city’s motto says it all: cheer up, slow down, chill out.
Byron Bay is one of the most popular stops along the eastern coast and THE surf hotspot in all of Australia. Almost every surfer you’ll meet during your trip to Australia has been here!
But is it worth visiting Byron Bay even if you’re not a surfer? Definitely!
Even if you’re not into watersports, you’ll enjoy this little coastal paradise to the fullest. Keep reading for the best sights, beaches and excursions in the area for all travelers to enjoy. We also share our top tips for restaurants, campsites, accommodations and much more.
Here is our Byron Bay summary:
Sights in Byron Bay
There are many natural highlights to see in and around Byron Bay. Therefore, most of the “sights” are actually beautiful places in nature.
The “Cape Byron” and hiking trail
Cape Byron is a stunning peninsula that juts out into the middle of the sea and is definitely a highlight on any trip. The eponymous “Cape Byron Walking Track” leads around the peninsula, past breathtaking viewpoints, beautiful beaches and a snow-white lighthouse – we’ll tell you more about all three shortly!
The trail itself is approximately four kilometers long, and depending on how many photos you want to take, plan on two to two-and-a-half hours. The difficulty level is easy. There are some ups and downs, but nothing too strenuous – the entire path is paved and in good condition. If you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins or turtles in the water during your hike. There’s also a relatively high chance of seeing humpback whales off the coast between May and November.
Cape Byron Light
The “Cape Byron Light” is the white lighthouse that was just mentioned, and it’s a real celebrity. There are two reasons for this:
It is the oldest mainland Australia lighthouse (1901). It also stands at the easternmost point of the country. Even today, it’s in excellent condition-regularly renovated and always repainted. There is also a small, free lighthouse museum inside the landmark.
Something else that’s great: since it was built on top of a 90-meter-high hill, you have a wonderful view of both the sea and coast from there. It’s supposed to be especially beautiful during sunset and sunrise.
Opening hours: Daily: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
No visit to Byron is complete without completing the Byron lighthouse walk. About a 2 hour roundtrip from the center of town, start along the beach up to the Pass, then take in some incredible views along the coastal path via Wategos before finishing off at the famous Cape Byron Lighthouse. Bonus points if you’re at the lighthouse for sunrise or sunset – well worth it.
There are always gigantic viewpoints along the Cape Byron Peninsula – among the most beautiful you might find during your whole Australia trip. We would like to list a few of them briefly:
- Captain Cook Lookout: is well suited as a start of the hike and is actually gorgeous.
- Fisherman’s Lookout: is a small viewing platform on a rock in the middle of the water. Mega view of the big Clarkes Beach, numerous surfers and the cliffs!
- Cape Byron Lookout: located at the northern end of the peninsula, also with great views of cliffs and rough seas.
- One more: Maybe it’s the most impressive lookout, and there is no name for it. But it is relatively easy to find: Follow the road from the lighthouse about 200 meters south until you come to a hairpin bend. In the middle of the bend you will see a small green area and binoculars. You can expect an astonishing view of Tallow Beach.
Byron Bay City Center
Once you’ve circumnavigated the peninsula, it’s definitely worth taking a quick trip to Byron Bay center – the vibrant, hip center full of young people. Here, one store follows the next and the streets are lined with restaurants, cafés, boutiques and more.
However, there is always a lot going on here – especially on weekends and during peak tourist season between December and February. If you don’t feel like it, though, no big deal! You can easily skip the center.
Beaches in Byron Bay
Now we come to the beaches. There are quite a few of them around Byron Bay, and we will show you the most beautiful ones now. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best beaches that Byron has to offer.
Related read: Best Destinations for Surfing Holidays Around the World
Byron Bay’s main beach is Clarkes Beach, which offers a direct connection to the city center and runs in a crescent shape along the peninsula. The sand here is incredibly fine, really bright and clean, while the water is clear and turquoise – it’s truly a paradise beach. In the morning you’ll also see plenty of surfers: from little kids to older folks who ride waves better than anyone could have thought possible.
The next beach along the peninsula is Wategos Beach. Compared to Clarkes Beach, it is much smaller, quieter, but no less beautiful. At the picnic areas you will find free BBQ grills. That’s something you find quite often and which is super cool. On the beach are also some pretty nice homes and accommodations with great views of the sea. You could definitely become envious.
Little Wategos Beach
Little Wategos Beach is the perfect place to go if you want a more untouched and quiet experience. There are no houses around, and only a small path leads down to the beach. Depending on the tide, though, swimming might not be ideal since the shore can be rocky with large boulders in the water. But it’s still beautiful nonetheless!
Let’s talk about the stunning Tallow Beach. It is part of the small Arakwal National Park, and at 3.2 kilometers, also the longest beach around Byron Bay. You can get an incredible view of the beach from that lookout, described above, without a name. You can also drive to the “Tallow Beach Car Park” and walk directly to the sea. Parking there is free, but there are only a few spots available. The beach itself is breathtaking.
The Best Activities in Byron Bay
Surf, surf and surf. Or you could relax on the beach or walk around the cape, but also take up a few other activities.
Kayaking in Byron Bay
If surfing is not for you, there is also the possibility to jump into a kayak and with a little luck discover dolphins and turtles on the open sea!
An epic way to see the stunning coastline around Byron Bay, as well as a unique perspective of the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse. The morning tour is the best option for sighting some of the resident dolphins who usually pop up to say hello!
Such kayak tours usually start in a smaller group, last about 2-3 hours, and you even have a guide with you who knows exactly where to look.
Related tour: Sea Kayak Tour with Dolphins and Turtles
Go scuba diving in Byron Bay
Julian Rocks is one of the top dive sites in Australia and is packed full of incredible marine life. Depending on when you visit, you can see manta rays, grey nurse sharks, huge rays, and even curious leopard sharks. And of course, there are always plenty of turtles!
Related tour: Sea Turtle Snorkel Tour in Julian Rocks Reserve
Whale watching in Byron Bay
If you’re lucky enough to be in Byron Bay between May and November, make sure you add whale watching to your itinerary. As the most Easterly Point of Australia, the entire migration passes by the Cape so you’ll get some incredible interactions.
Playing the drums at Wreck Beach
The Wreck is the perfect place to watch the sunset and enjoy some awesome drumming. Every evening, a group of hippies gather to play bongos, percussion and trumpets as the sun goes down. It’s the perfect opportunity to let loose and have some fun!
Skydive in Byron Bay
Looking for an adrenaline rush during your Byron stay? Why not jump out of a perfectly good plane at 15,000 feet? Skydiving should definitely be on your bucket list and Byron is easily a fantastic jump zone – the views are epic.
Not quite the adrenaline buzz of skydiving but another awesome way to see the bay from a different perspective – if you can time it with the right conditions, a hang glide over Tallows Beach is pretty incredible.
Take a Scenic Flight
So, not everyone is into jumping out of planes or swinging from a hang glider to get aerial views. But that’s okay! There are plenty of other options to choose from, like scenic flights. There are a number of different options available, all of which take you on a tour around the Cape and provide views of the lighthouse.
Surfing in Byron Bay
The most classic and popular is surfing. Numerous schools offer courses for beginners as well as advanced surfers and want to introduce you to surfing in Byron Bay in a relaxed way. To accomplish this, visit one of the many local surf schools, check the ratings on the Internet and simply ask for the price. Alternatively, you can also book a surf course online.
Wildlife in Byron Bay
Who wouldn’t want to see tropical animals in the wild? In Byron Bay, this dream can come true with a little luck and attention.
You might already spot a kangaroo on Tallows Beach. Just like the many colorful parrots that fly around Australia like street pigeons in Venice. OK, maybe not that many. Whether blue, green, white or pink: The flutterers make tremendous noise at dusk which is only topped by the enormous bats.
The thing that makes Byron Bay special is the active marine life. Since 2006, the coastal area between Brunswick Heads and Lennox Heads – with Byron in the middle – has been protected as a marine park.
Surfing with dolphins, seals and turtles is therefore the order of the day in Byron Bay! And you’ll never forget surf sessions with dolphins. Usually, whole herds of mother animals show up, teaching their young everything important in the water. Namely, bouncing, surfing and scaring surfers by suddenly surfacing.
Byron Bay restaurant tips
If you’re ever in Byron Bay, be sure to check out “The Hideout”! It’s a bit hidden away but definitely worth seeking out. They’ve got great options for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, plus you can order some vegan dishes if that’s what you’re after.
Give it a go and try the vegetarian burgers. Definitely some of the best you’ll get in Australia. If you’re looking for a delicious meal at a reasonable price, this is the place for you.
Cost: Two vegetarian burgers with roasted vegetables & fries about $17
Address: 6/13 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia
Opening times: Daily 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Their goal is to become 100% carbon neutral and use as much Australian made/grown produce and products as possible, in order to reduce their environmental impact.
This results in some really delicious vegan food – definitely worth a visit when you’re in town.
The artfully crafted imitation meat dishes are not only indistinguishable from the real thing, but actually taste even better.
Three Blue Ducks Byron Bay
The focus at Three Blue Ducks is on organic, sustainable and locally sourced produce. Many of the ingredients come directly from the restaurant’s own farm.
It’s a great choice for lunch and they have an excellent café and a produce store. Alongside dishes such as miso-glazed eggplant with whipped tofu, szechuan, ginger, coriander, peanuts and pickled chili, there is a rotating selection of Australian craft beers, wines and ciders on tap.
They also offer picnic hampers packed full of local goodies to enjoy in their stunning 80-acre grounds which boast views over the hinterland and Byron Bay’s famous lighthouse.
They have a playground for your little ones and live music on Friday-Sunday evenings!
This is a charming Greek paradise in Byron’s Arts & Industry Estate. Here, it’s all about community and home-style feasts.
The taverna-style restaurant offers a $60 three-course banquet, with loads of veggie options. The traditional Greek dishes change seasonally, but you can expect classics like calamari skewers and Greek salad to be on high rotation.
The space is laidback, exuding Greek island vibes, and the leafy courtyard is an ideal spot for balmy nights.
Come here, if you’re looking for authentic, home-style food and warm hospitality. And check out their pop-up events. You’ll be treated to traditional music and dance, along with mouth-watering dishes!
And it’s where you’ll bring your own drinks (BYO).
While they have a whole new menu with Asian-style dishes, shareable items such as prawn toast donuts served with yuzukoshu dipping sauce, salt and pepper tofu, hot and tingly BBQ lamb ribs, and honey king prawns with typhoon shelter crumbs are still the focus.
The space is full of earthy peach and terracotta shades, a glam bar area and vibrant dining area where you can enjoy striped banquet seating.
The soundtrack is fun, the lights are dim, and the vibes are always positive–this rounds out the full experience!
Raes Dining Room
Raes Dining Room, located at the ultra-chic Raes on Wategoes hotel, is across from Wategos Beach – one of the best swimming spots in the region.
If you need more than just relaxing beach surroundings and effortlessly luxe interiors, maybe the dishes will do it for you. Dishes like a Davidson plum glazed free-range pork scotch fillet or spanner crab and sweet corn agnolotti are sure to please.
Byron Bay Markets
The Byron Bay markets are a great place to grab some tasty local produce or souvenirs.
The Community Market is held on the first Sunday of every month.
The Community Market has been a staple of the town since 1987. It’s an eclectic mix of market stalls that showcase Byron’s unique culture and personality. The market supports local businesses and talent, making it a great place to shop and eat.
You can find everything from delicious food to handmade arts and crafts, all while enjoying live music from local musicians. It’s a great representation of what makes Byron such a special place to live.
The Farmers Market is held on Thursdays from 8-11am.
The Byron Farmers Market is one of the longest running farmers’ markets in Australia, having started back in 2002. A handful of local famers saw the potential to sell their produce directly to the public, reducing food miles and ensuring their small farms remained viable.
Over two decades later and the market has grown significantly, with over 70 stalls offering fresh locally grown produce every Thursday morning at Butler Street Reserve. Shoppers can find everything from seasonal fruit and vegetables, pasture-raised meat and eggs, artisan cheese and bread, seafood, pasta, rice, nuts, honey, flowers and more.
Supermarkets may be convenient, but farmers’ markets offer a unique opportunity to buy fresh food directly from the people who grew it. You can also connect with your community at these markets.
The Twilight Market is held every Saturday, 2 October 2021 – 30 April 2022, 4 – 9pm at the Railway Park.
The Byron Bay Twilight Market is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind arts and crafts made by talented local artisans.
With markets taking place during an extended summer season, downtown Byron Bay turns into a creative hub where visitors can browse unique boutique stalls offering handcrafted jewelry, leather goods, clothing and more. Various food vendors are also on site. And you can listen to great music while enjoying incredible eats.
This family-friendly atmosphere provides a fantastic opportunity for artists, designers, healers, producers and musicians to showcase their talents as well as handmade high-quality designs.
Address: 58 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
The Beachside Market is also held four times a year in Jan, Easter, mid July and late Sept (keep an eye out for posters around town).
The Beachside Market is a place where you can find handmade goods, delicious food and great entertainment. Held four times a year, this market is the perfect opportunity to support local artisans while enjoying one of Australia’s most famous beaches.
With a diverse range of products on offer, from clothing and homewares to health and wellbeing services, there’s something for everyone at the Beachside Market. So come along and enjoy all that this unique event has to offer!
The market’s number one priority is incorporating features of authenticity, community and sustainability. It’s the perfect place for local creators and artists to showcase their skills to everyone who attends. With more than 200 stalls taking up space on half a kilometer of beachfront at Byron Bay’s Main Beach, you’re guaranteed to find some amazing products and services that are unique to the Byron Shire area.
Hipster stores & cool events
Visitors from all over the world come here to enjoy the sea as well as the trendy restaurants and cafes. You can find smoothie bowls, bliss balls and really good coffee at these eateries–all of which are becoming increasingly popular in Bali (another favourite vacation spot among Australians).
A great tip if you’re trying to save some money while eating out: have an indulgent breakfast or lunch instead of dinner since dining out in the evening tends to be quite expensive. For instance, you could treat yourself to Coconut Coldbrew Coffee with Dukkah Poached Eggs at Bay Leaf or Acai Bowls at Top Shop or Cafe Combi.
They’ve been serving up great food, coffee, and tunes in the heart of Byron Bay for a while now, and they do their best to make you feel at home while you’re with them.
It’s all part of their plan: to give you an experience that you’ll want to tell your friends about, and hopefully bring you back for more. Their menu is seasonal and full of fresh, local ingredients. Their coffee, roasted by the legends at Blackboard, is a tried and tested blend of ethically sourced beans that they know you’ll love.
Address: 2A Marvell St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
The Top Shop is an old 1950s milk bar located at the corner of Massinger and Carlyle Street, just up from Clarkes Beach in Byron Bay.
The Top Shop
With a vision for something fresh and different, the Top Shop team set to work transforming the little shop on the hill into a place focused on providing the highest quality food and coffee in a fun and welcoming atmosphere.
Address: 65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
This family-run café has been a local & tourist favorite in Byron since 2008. Their philosophy is all about using organic produce from local farmers.
What’s really cool about Combi is the wooden chalkboard by the counter that lists where all of their produce comes from. Most of their ingredients are sourced from small artisan suppliers in Byron and the surrounding towns in New South Wales, which as well top and the way to go.
Cool festivals in Byron Bay
Byron Bay Surf Festival
Don’t miss the legendary Byron Bay Surf Festival – a multi-day frenzy of surf music, surf movies, surf art and outdoor surf market with cool in-labels. That’s when the whole town is on its feet.
Because from the little nipper to the spry senior citizen, everyone can surf here and have a garage full of boards. Don’t be surprised if, with your surfboard under your arm, you immediately get involved in conversations with wave-crazy locals who love to talk shop and swarm in front of their quiver!
The Byron Bay Surf Festival is all about celebrating surf culture. They bring together local and international surfers to share their passion for the sport, art and lifestyle. The festival reflects the values of the Byron Bay community, with a focus on sustainability.
The multi-day festival activates a variety of events, including surfing, art, music, film, special guests and environmental aspects with an awareness and focus on sustainability, education and innovation.
Camping in Byron Bay
Looking for a place to camp around Byron Bay can be tricky. Although there are some paid campsites, they can be quite expensive, especially during peak season. However, free camping is practically nonexistent in the area. If you’re considering wild camping as an option, think again—you’ll likely get caught by police patrols who issue hefty fines.
Byron Bay Discovery Parks
You’ll probably have to choose a paid campground. Compared to the other options, this one is one of the cheapest during the high season, and it has pretty good ratings. You should be satisfied with that choice. The toilets and showers are clean and modern, there’s a nice pool on-site, Wi-Fi, and a large camping kitchen that you can use.
If it suits you, there are also large (but expensive) camping cabins with real beds and private showers available. That kind of “luxury” can be nice to have, especially when you’re traveling long-term through Australia.
Note: Be sure to book in advance during the busy season between mid-December and late January!
Unpowered Site: ~$35 per night
Powered Site: ~$50 per night
Camping Cabins: ~$150 per night
Hotels and other accommodations in Byron Bay
If you’re not traveling with a camper or tent, don’t worry – there are plenty of hotels in Byron Bay to choose from. There are options for every budget, from relatively cheap hostels to luxurious accommodations with a sea view.
Low Price Range:
Glen Villa Resort
Glen Villa is the perfect place to get away from it all and relax in style. With its own private tropical gardens, lush saltwater pool and relaxed sunny atmosphere, you’ll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But with all the comforts of home just a short walk away, you’ll never want to leave!
Address: 80-86 Butler St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Byron Bay YHA
The YHA Byron Bay is a centrally located traveller property that’s just a few hundred metres from the beach. It’s right in the heart of Byron, with lush private ensuite rooms, a tropical pool oasis and phenomenal murals. You can expect resort vibes, hostel budget, and nothing but good times.
Address: 7 Carlyle St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
The Arts Factory
Byron Bay’s original hostel, super fun hippie vibes and alternative style accommodation. The Arts Factory Lodge, a budget-friendly accommodation in Byron Bay, was originally created in the 1970s by hippies and local and international artists. In the 1980s, it became an internationally recognized rock and roll venue. Some say that it’s The ‘Birthplace’ of much of the fame and spirit of Byron Bay.
The Arts Factory Lodge still maintains that original spirit today. Guests can relax by the pool, swing in the hammocks, and soak up the friendly atmosphere for which they are universally famous.
Medium price range:
Wake Up! Byron Bay
This bohemian-inspired resort-style accommodation is the perfect place to escape the ordinary. Located just steps from the beach, you can relax and enjoy a series of innovative spaces, including a restaurant, beach-style bar, outdoor courtyard, bright and open communal spaces, and modern facilities.
Address: 25 Childe St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Surf House Byron Bay
The Surf House offers a unique, premium accommodation experience in the heart of Byron Bay. A relaxed ‘surf inspired’ space that fuses quality facilities with bespoke design and style. Just 50 metres from the beach, guests enjoy convenience and comfort with bright, modern private and shared rooms, rooftop bar and complimentary surfboard hire.
Address: 23 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Cape Byron Retreat
Cape Byron Retreat is a place where you can find balance. It’s a sanctuary in the hinterland that feels like it’s worlds away, even though it’s only four minutes from the heart of Byron Bay.
Every room is designed to celebrate the beauty of the natural surroundings, so you can feel serene and relaxed inside. There are plenty of opportunities to focus on wellness during your stay, from the pool and outdoor spas with views of the hinterland to the massage and yoga pavilion. You’ll find wellness around every corner at Cape Byron Retreat.
Upper price range:
28 Degrees Byron Bay – Adults Only
As you step into 28 Degrees, you’ll instantly feel as though you’ve been transported to a chic and stylish friend’s home. This private sanctuary is just footsteps away from Byron’s famous beaches, offering conscious travelers the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Whether it’s lazy mornings lounging in plush linen sheets, afternoons spent relaxing by your private plunge pool or evenings enjoying crisp champagne under the palms, 28 Degrees provides the perfect setting for your slow living reset.
Address: 12 Marvell St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
Cape Beach House
Cape Beach House is a locally owned, stylish boutique guesthouse that captures all the cool, relaxed vibes of Byron Bay.
It’s perfectly located within walking distance of the beachfront, cafes, and restaurants, so you can easily stroll around and soak up all the sights and sounds that Byron Bay has to offer. The guesthouse includes a lap pool for a refreshing dip, or you can unwind with a drink or a book in one of our cosy corners in our beautiful communal lounge area.
Address: 94 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
The Lord Byron
Located in the heart of Byron Bay within a tropical setting, The Lord Byron has everything you need to escape from it all.
The pub has a large garden with a kids play area. The bed & breakfast rooms have their own annex, which matches the style of the original building.
Satara Byron Bay
Satara has all the chic, coastal vibes that Byron Bay is famous for. Surrounded by stunning rainforest, it’s the perfect unassuming hideaway to relax and recharge.
This beautiful property offers flexible accommodation options, making it ideal for a couples getaway or family holiday. It’s situated only minutes from downtown Byron Bay, so you can enjoy all the city has to offer without being too far from nature.
Daytrips from Byron Bay
If you’re looking to spend a few days in Byron Bay, then checking out some of the area’s attractions is definitely worth your while. Here some great options for things to do.
Nightcap National Park
Nightcap National Park is absolutely massive – to be specific, it spans an area of 8,081 hectares. So there is plenty to see and do there.
For instance, the gargantuan Minyon Falls: a waterfall that plummets over 100 meters into the depths and at the top of which a stunning jungle panorama awaits you. Those are best when it rained enough. Otherwise the waterfall is somewhat dry. Nevertheless, it is still an incredible sight! See beneath for more info.
Hike the “Historic Nightcap Track”. At least the first five of 19 kilometers. Since it’s a point-to-point hike and you will have no way to get back to the start at the end, you will have no choice but to turn back.
The first five kilometers are also different than you might expect: Instead of great viewpoints, you will walk through dense jungle for the entire time. Instead of panorama views, you will hear rustling leaves from birds, lizzards and snakes.
If you’re looking for an adventure in the Non-Cap National Park, be prepared to encounter some wild animals. Australia is home to plenty of hiking trails, so you won’t be short on options when it comes to exploring the great outdoors.
Hike to the Minyon Falls
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, this is the perfect spot. The cell phone service isn’t great here, so be sure to print out a map or ask for directions before setting out.
The road leading up to this parking lot is gravel, but it’s an official road – don’t worry about getting your car dirty. Attention, rental cars are often not allowed to drive on these roads. But here there is no way around it.
This is a great spot for hiking and taking in some fresh air.
As you hike off into the rainforest, keep in mind that it can quickly get hot–up to 30 degrees. Make sure to bring enough water with you to stay hydrated. The further you hike into the rainforest, the more shade you’ll find from the trees.
In the beginning, the trail is easy to follow. But after about 45 minutes, it starts to get narrower and narrower. Eventually, the only way to know you’re still on the right path are the small orange arrows painted on the trees. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself practically alone on the trail, undisturbed by crowds of tourists. The cicadas can be incredibly loud at times, making it hard to concentrate on something else.
If you get lost, don’t worry — you’re not the first person to have trouble interpreting the signposts. Just keep calm and backtrack until you find your way again.
After a good two hours of hiking, you should start to hear the sound of the waterfall. The last leg of the journey includes climbing over large boulders to reach it.
The hike to Minyon Falls is a great way to experience the rainforest up close. The waterfall itself may not be the most impressive, but the journey there is definitely worth it. What makes this hike special is that you are relatively isolated from other people. There is no guide or large groups. It’s just you and the rainforest.
Nimbin is a small, hippie village located about 60 kilometers from Byron Bay. And when we say hippie, we mean it.
The houses in the center of the village are all brightly painted, and you’ll see plenty of Rastafarians and other hippies roaming around town.
This is a place where you can find some truly unique stores. They offer an amazing variety of items, including books on the healing power of hemp. The store decorations are also very whimsical and colorful. You’re sure to find something interesting here that you won’t be able to find anywhere else, including hemp products.
Is there really cannabis in Nimbin?
In Nimbin, you won’t be able to just walk into a store and buy marijuana over-the-counter. There is probably cannabis cultivation happening in the town itself (which is apparently tolerated by the state, even though it’s illegal in Australia). You’ll see signs everywhere in the stores that say cannabis is not sold there. In the end, you probably just have to go through the back door and then get offered something…
You can also expect people to strike up conversations with you regularly while you’re walking down the street.
If you’re looking to get your hands on some marijuana, just be aware that possession of the drug is illegal in Australia. The police also regularly patrol the entrances and exits to Nimbin.
Extra tip: At sunset, the Nimbin Showgrounds come alive with the sound of tens of thousands of bats flying overhead. For about 20 minutes, you can watch these magical creatures fly by in a truly unique experience. This alone makes it worthwhile to come to Nimbin for one night.
Getting to Byron Bay
Here’s a quick overview of the best ways to get to Byron Bay.
Driving to Byron Bay
The best way to travel to Byron Bay is definitely by car or camper. Not only will you have a lot of fun on an Australian road trip, but you’ll also be the most flexible and able to make changes on the fly if need be.
From Sydney, it’s about 770 kilometers to Byron Bay, but the route isn’t very complicated. In the end, you just have to follow the Motorway M1 northwards until it automatically becomes the Pacific Highway A1 and shortly before Byron Bay turns into the M1 again. So you stay on pretty much on the same road for almost your entire journey.
Only shortly before reaching your destination do you need to exit onto Ewingdale Road and then follow signs that will lead you right into Byron Bay!
Parking in Byron Bay
Unfortunately, free parking in Byron Bay is scarce: you can find parking machines that charge $4 per hour or $12 for the whole day almost everywhere. But here are a few free parking possibilities for you.
- Parking spot: On Lighthouse Road on the right side of the road, directly across from the paid parking at Captain Cook Lookout.
- Parking spot: Lee Lane – a small alley that branches off Lighthouse Road. Here, all parking is free.
Both parking lots are also a perfect starting point for the Cape Byron Walking Track.
The only important thing is to come as early as possible! The free areas are quickly filled up. We recommend 8 o’clock in the morning. At that time you should be able to get one of the few free spots. Otherwise, make sure that you get an accommodation with free parking.
Long distance bus to Byron Bay
If you don’t wanna drive yourself, you can also use a long-distance bus to Byron Bay.
We recommend the provider Greyhound Australia. It is very well known, has a large route network and the prices are not too expensive. You can either book one-way tickets for a certain route or the much more extensive Whimit Pass. The pass allows you to travel as often as you want on a Greyhound bus without paying extra. The only important thing is that you choose how long you want the pass to be valid for when booking it!
If you wanna travel by bus for an extended period of time and at the same time stay extremely flexible, then getting yourself a Whimit Pass is definitely worth it!
Getting to Byron Bay by train
You can also arrive by train. There is no direct line to Byron Bay, as the city hasn’t their own station, but there is one in Casino. From there, you can take one of the two bus lines – C 161 or C 173 – for the 80 kilometers to Byron Bay.
To get to Casino by train, you can use the T31, T32 & T33 lines, which cover large parts of the East Coast. This means you can start in Sydney, Brisbane or any other stop where one of the three trains stops.
You can book tickets on the official transport website of New South Wales.
Good to know: Learn some Aussie English
Of course, standard English is sufficient in Australia. But chatting with the locals is even more fun if you can sprinkle in a little Australian slang.
Friends are suddenly “mates” and instead of having a barbecue you meet for a “barbie“. Australians love to use shorthand when they speak, so it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of Aussie slang words.
Here are a few more popular Australian phrases that will help you fit right in Down Under.
Ace – Very good
Arvo – Afternoon
Exy – Expensive
Lollies – Sweets
Maccas – MacDonalds
Roo – Kangaroo
Young kangaroos – Joey
Stoked – Super Excited
Straya – Australia