The ultimate travel guide to Byron Bay, NSW

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*This guide was originally published in partnership with Sitchu.com.au


Once a place swarming with just surfers and backpackers, now a tranquil oasis where locals, surfers and holidaymakers sit harmoniously side by side, the serene setting of Byron Bay is a dreamy destination that oozes laid-back charm. 

Whether you're visiting or staying for the long haul, Byron's beauty is all-embracing, drawing in the crowds with its stunning beaches, local boutiques, fresh local produce and a thriving restaurant scene where sea-changing chefs and artisans champion paddock-to-plate ambitions, with sustainability at the core. 

Dramatic coastline and surrounding lush hinterland welcomes a creative community, but to put it simply, people come to Byron for an escape from the daily grind. The welcome sign says it all: ‘Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out’. And when you arrive in Byron, that's exactly what you'll do.

So if you're craving a weekend by the coast where you can switch off and unwind, this is the place to do it. Our handy guide will help you uncover some of the best that Byron has to offer. Just don’t be too surprised if you start to find yourself dreaming of a permanent move — you have been warned.

Where To Eat:

Byron Bay and the surrounding borders have long been a rich environment for fresh, quality produce, matched perfectly with a fusion of fine dining and equally refined, yet, laid-back cafés. From the ocean to the hills, make sure to spread your appetites wide by discovering the very best of the area's culinary delights.

Harvest

Located in the quaint town of Newrybar, about a 20-minute drive from Byron Bay’s CBD, dwells Harvest, a trendy and well-curated eatery offering an extensive, flavoursome menu. Covering all basis, Harvest offers a relaxed deli and café, set within a lovingly restored vintage building, and fine dine in their more upmarket restaurant — a contemporary Queenslander situated directly next door. Either way, a visit here promises fabulously fresh and delicious food.

18-22 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar

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Raes Dining Room

An exclusive boutique retreat with an idyllic beachfront setting. Aside from the gorgeous, stylishly designed rooms (of which there are seven), Raes’ renowned restaurant,  with an open-window framed view of the nearby Wategos Beach, is one Byron's biggest draws. Serving contemporary Australian with a Mediterranean influence, every taste is catered for. Start with some locally caught oysters before delving into their delicious à la carte menu.

6/8 Marine Parade, Byron Bay

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Beach Byron Bay

In a town full of stunning beaches, it’s only natural Beach Byron Bay would sit atop its golden sands. An alfresco hotspot boasting stunning panoramic ocean views — be sure to book a table for dinner, just in time to watch the sunset. 

2 Massinger Street, Byron Bay

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Folk

If you’re on the hunt for a cool, yet casual place to eat, head to Folk — a charming café set within a converted weatherboard cottage with an easy-breezy vibe. The menu features a selection of fuss-free foods, including the likes of zesty avocado toast and freshly baked croissants, that you can choose to devour inside or out. Nab a spot outside on the gigantic cushions, so you can sprawl out with your coffee (and cake) in hand. 

1/399 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay

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Where To Drink:

Top Shop

Coffee before cocktails is essential, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a better cup in Byron than at Top Shop. As the name suggests, this locally loved café sits on the top of a hill, and is best known in town for serving up excellent, single origin coffee, along with a tasty range of burgers and sandwiches. Heads up — this place can get rather busy, so just in case you can’t find a seat, do as the locals do and sit on the grass by the road for a makeshift picnic.

65 Carlyle Street, Byron Bay

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The Mez Club

Located along Byron’s main high street, The Mez Club is a must for cocktail hour. This beautifully designed venue has a rustic Mediterranean vibe, with white-washed walls, floor-to-ceiling doors and beautiful Moroccan-style furniture. The cocktails served here are fresh and vibrant and dangerously moreish. The Turkish Princess’ and ‘Classic Margarita’ come highly recommended.

4/85-87 Jonson Street, Byron Bay

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Barrio

Barrio’, meaning “neighbourhood” in Spanish, has an industrial-style interior, yet still manages to feel warm and welcoming, thanks to large wooden communal tables, an open kitchen with Argentinian wood-fired oven and grill, and outdoor tables and picnic rugs. The food served here is authentic and has a suitably well-refined cocktail list to match.

1 Porter Street, Byron Bay

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The Botanical Beach Bar

For an indulgent splurge Elements of Byron ticks every box. Not only for its luxe lodgings, but for its trendy Botanica Beach Bar — a retro-style caravan, set up every day from 2pm-6pm, bang on Belongil Beach. Here you can order cocktails, mocktails, beers, wine, and even some tasty nibbles — with sand at your feet and panoramic views of Byron Bay Lighthouse.

144 Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay

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Where To Stay:

From boutique Palm Springs-inspired villas right in the heart of town, to private and secluded country cottages perched high up in the hills, Byron has plenty of unique places to rest your head. Here's our pick of the best...

Bask & Stow

Tucked away quietly in a back street, just 10-minutes away from Byron's buzzing dining and shopping strip, this bright and sunny guesthouse is all about style and simplicity. Laid-back and effortlessly chic, the casual beachy vibe wafts through Bask & Stow as cool as Byron's fresh sea breeze. Towering palm trees, swaying hammocks and clusters of cacti bring a taste of coastal living, and there's a small plunge pool with umbrellas where you can cool down from the sweltering summer heat.

40 Marvell Lane, Byron Bay

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Byron View Farm

Although first and foremost a wedding venue, Byron View Farm also holds a charming, self contained cottage on its property — where the 360-degree uninterrupted views, from ocean to mountain, act as the main attraction. This one-bedroom retreat is perfect for couples who are looking to experience all of the beauty that Byron’s hinterland has to offer. The large, wrap-around verandah is perfect for watching the sunset, and by night, you can even sit back and watch Byron’s iconic lighthouse spin round and round.

194 St Helena Road, Bangalow

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Elements of Byron

If you’re looking to stay somewhere a little more high-end, you will find this and more at Elements of Byron. As the only beachside resort in town, Elements is the very definition of indulgence. A paradise within a paradise, featuring ninety-nine modern villas with all the trimmings, two resort-like pools. But's the ‘adults-only pool’ – with a swim-up bar, pop-up taco van, blue pastel coloured deck chairs, and bright-white cabanas – that you'll want to nab a spot at. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a world-class spa  and restaurant  onsite, along with a private access to Belongil Beach.

144 Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay

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Where To Explore:

The best part of being on holiday is planning out how to spend your newfound hours of freedom. Fortunately, Byron has an infinite variety of leisurely pursuits. Whether it's spending an entire day soaking up the sun on the beach, browsing through one boutique store after the next, or taking a short drive out to one of the many surrounding villages —  Byron's bounteous selection is guaranteed to surprise and delight. 

Wategoes and Whites Beach

It’s no secret that Byron is famed for its many spectacular beaches, dotted up and down the coast. There's Main Beach right on the edge of town, The Pass,  with one of the best surf breaks, and Tallow Beach’s long sandy stretches. But for an option that’s just as beautiful, with easy access, Wategos Beach is where you should lay down your towel. Tucked in below the cliffs of Cape Byron, you can park right in front, and skip down the few steps to the sapphire waters below. When you’re done basking for the day, just pop up and grab a coffee, juice, or a cocktail from the nearby Raes

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The Farm Byron Bay

This 80-acre working farm located in Ewingsdale, houses a collection of micro-businesses, all operating with the same motto — to grow, feed, and educate its guests. Here you'll find the celebrated Three Blue Ducks, a much-loved restaurant and produce store, The Garden Shed, a nursery hub with a mission to connect people to real food and the land it comes from, and The Bread Social, an artisan bakehouse baking everything from bio-dynamic sourdoughs to light buttery pastries. As well as food, there are farm tours, sunflower fields and picnic areas where you can BYO. 

11 Ewingsdale Road, Ewingsdale

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Spell Boutique

If you’ve ever come across the brand Spell & The Gypsy on Instagram, then you've probably already fallen under their magical spell. Known for their beautiful boho and carefree clothing, this brand derives its distinct aesthetics to its birthplace, Byron Bay. An absolute must visit, their boutique store, Spell Boutique,  is located on Browning Street — the main road into town. Because if you’re going to eat and drink your way through Byron, you might as well dress the part.

15 Browning Street, Byron Bay

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Marr-Kett

Byron Bay is bursting at the seams with gorgeous homeware stores, so much so, it’s almost impossible to leave without an item (or five) to take home with you. One of our favourites? Marr-Kett, a treasure-filled space located along one of Byron’s main stretches, Fletcher Street. This store specialises in vintage and custom-made Moroccan rugs, as well as artisan-made homewares, sourced both locally and globally. And just in case you can't fit that coveted rug in the car or in your suitcase, you can always make your purchase through their website and meet your one-of-a-kind rug at home.

Shop 5a 21/25 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay

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Pauline MorrisseyComment