Insiders' Tips to Byron Bay

Get the lowdown on the best of Byron Bay and surrounds from these Byron insiders.

  • Jetstar

Kelli Wharton, Creative director, Talulah

Top three shopping spots: Byron Bay has beautiful boutiques where you can find leading designer pieces in women’s and menswear, homewares, soft furnishings and accessories. My three favourite stores are: Nami, a shop on Lawson Street that specialises in women’s designer clothing; Girl Overboard, also on Lawson Street, is a place for all things swimwear; and Island Luxe, which is located in Bangalow, stocks quality designer pieces and artisanal handcrafted products.

Best place for outdoor exercise: The coastal walk to Byron Bay Lighthouse, which is at the most easterly point of Australia. There are many stairs and steep hills to climb, but once you’re at the top, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the sea and horizon. Once your hike to Byron Bay Lighthouse is complete, take a dip in the ocean at the famous Wategos Beach.

Best coffee: Bun Coffee's beans are sourced locally and internationally, and their blends are organic and fantastic. Their limited coffee-blend packages would make perfect souvenirs for visitors to Byron Bay.

Best place to try local produce: The Byron Bay Markets are a must – you can buy fresh produce, organic harvests, summer fruits, flowers, and homemade jams and condiments.

Chrissie Caplice, Guest relations manager, The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa

Most beautiful view: The coastline and hinterland offer spectacular views, but for the best vantage point head to Cape Byron Light-house, Australia’s easternmost point.

Unique tourism experience: Once you’ve had the lighthouse experience, try surf lessons with local surf schools, whale-watching tours, kayaking adventures with dolphins and hot-air balloon tours over Byron.

Best local festival: The Bluesfest takes place in the first quarter of the year; the Writers’ Festival occurs in the winter; and Splendour in the Grass is mid-year, with a guaranteed golden line-up of musicians.

Where to take the kids: Crystal Castle, an enchanting natural playground, or The Macadamia Castle, an engaging edutainment space.

Best restaurant to try local produce: Harvest Cafe, Targa Café/Restaurant, St. Elmo Dining Room and Bar, Fishheads, Orient Express Eatery, Kinoko Sushi Bar & Restaurant, and Italian at the Pacific.

Look like a local: Start your day by walking up to the lighthouse, or joining the regular crew on their morning swim from The Pass to the Byron Bay Surf Club. Then have brekkie at The Roadhouse, One One One or The Top Shop.

You need to know: Visit the Byron Farmers’ Market on Thursday mornings at the Butler Street Reserve. If sweating it out is more your thing, take the young ones to Circus Arts for circus and flying trapeze classes.

Brendan Fitzsimon, Delissimo Cookies and Byron Bay Bagels

Best breakfast: OneOneOne opposite the cinemas. They have the best coffee in town and the menu is always surprising and inventive. Don’t miss their poached eggs with soft polenta and parmesan.

Great place for dinner: St Elmo’s in Fletcher Street — a classic Melbourne-style bar/restaurant with a Byron twist. Their selection of wine by the glass is excellent, the staff professional and the shared plates are delicious.

Best night out: Find a friend with a house and pool in the hills, take an esky full of mud crabs from the Bay Fish Market, some champagne, some tunes and a sleeping bag… and then wander back to Byron in the morning for a dawn swim at The Pass.

Must-buy (Money no object!): Anything from Island Luxe in Bangalow or their new store in Byron. Their clothes for both men and women are very funky and the homewares are stylish and unusual.

Insider’s tip: The Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market, held every Friday morning at the showgrounds is a great place to hang out and try local coffee, food, vegetables and to people-watch. Byron Bay mightn’t have too many hippies these days, but you’ll find the rainbow country alive and well in Mullumbimby.

Best place to hang out with the locals: The Railway Hotel and Friendly Bar on a Friday night. It was even more lively when trains pulled in literally behind the bar, but it’s still the place to gather for a beer and to listen to live music. Especially fun when the tin fire drums are roaring.