Blissing out: the best things to do in Byron Bay

From stunning surf beaches to lush green hinterland, whale watching and boho markets, here’s the best of Byron Bay.

Cape Byron Lighthouse sitting on Australia's most easterly point, Byron Bay. Image credit: Destination NSW
  • Jetstar
  • July 2021

The name Byron Bay has become shorthand for laidback vibes, surfers and beaches, yoga and smoothies. While its star has risen in terms of popularity, and celebrities have moved in, Byron retains its independent spirit. Here you’ll find stunning sunrises over pristine beaches. You can explore the verdant hinterland or neighbouring towns, each with their own unique flavour. If you’re looking for a truly relaxing holiday, you need to head to Byron.

Walk the Cape Byron lighthouse track

Coming in at two hours and just under 4km, the Cape Byron walking track is like a collection of nature’s greatest hits. This coastal trail leads you through rainforest and grasslands, along clifftops and across pretty beaches, with non-stop gorgeous views. Of course, the best view is from the lighthouse, so time your visit for sunrise or sunset for peak photos. If you’re lucky, you might spot whales or dolphins in the water. You can access this track at various stops along the loop, so pick what works best for you.

A girl walking down the Cape Byron track with plant life on the right and coast on the left. Image credit: Destination NSW
The Cape Byron walking track is as varied as it is scenic. Image credit: Destination NSW

Go surfing or SUPing

Byron is a surfing town, with a whole chain of sensational beaches attracting surfers from all over the world. If you’re an experienced surfer, grab (or rent) your board and head to The Pass or Tallow Beach. If you’ve never surfed before and want to give it a try, there are a whole bunch of surf schools in Byron that can show you how. Main Beach and Clarkes Beach are best for beginners. You can also try surf-kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), a super-fun activity the whole family can get on board with.

Surfers catching morning waves at Belongil Beach, Byron Bay. Image credit: Destination NSW
Byron offers some of the country’s best surfing. Image credit: Destination NSW

Hit the markets

The whole Byron Bay region is famous for its lively markets, from farmers markets to flea markets and craft markets. Bursting with a creative atmosphere, they’re an unmissable Byron experience, with live entertainment, kids activities, sizzling street food and a wide range of stalls to browse. The three main ones are Byron Bay, The Channon and Bangalow, although there are lots of smaller ones in the surrounding areas too. Byron Bay has a large creative community of artists and makers, so pick up some one-off pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.

People wandering stalls at Byron Bay Market, with a surfboard sticking up out of the ground in the foreground. Image credit: Destination NSW
Byron’s markets are tasty, eclectic affairs. Image credit: Destination NSW

Watch whales migrating

Byron Bay is one of the best places to watch humpback whales as they migrate north for winter. Whale migration season runs from May to October. With a bit of luck, you might spot them from the lighthouse. There are also good lookout points in Brunswick Heads, Lennox Head and Ballina. If you’ve got your heart set on seeing them, book a whale-watching cruise. It’s a stunning experience. Some boats are equipped with hydrophones – slip them on and listen to the whales singing.

A humpback whale breaching in coastal waters off Australia.
You’ll jump for joy at this unforgettable sight.

Explore the hinterland

If you’re all beached out (impossible, we know) and feel like a change of scenery, hit the road and head into the Byron Bay hinterland. Swapping the beach for the countryside, this sprawling emerald-green area includes World Heritage–listed rainforests, an ancient volcano, rolling hills peppered with historic villages and luscious farmland. Hopscotch from one fascinating town to the next, discovering local crafts and produce, quirky markets, as well as some top-notch dining experiences. It’s only an hour from Byron, so you can day trip or spend a couple of days really exploring.

An aerial shot of rolling green hills in warm gold sun in the Byron Bay hinterland. Image credit: Destination NSW
Hit the road and explore the riches of the hinterland. Image credit: Destination NSW