Byron Bay's excellent beaches, laid-back feel and great weather have made it a long-time destination for surfers, backpackers and alternative-lifestylers. A forward-thinking council moved early to ban all drive-in takeaway food outlets and all buildings more than three storeys high. Now people from all walks of life, including celebrities, flock to Byron Bay for whale-watching, surfing, swimming and relaxing. The town centre has an array of restaurants and cafes, shops selling discount surfboards, New Age products and interesting clothing, and galleries with everything from handmade jewellery to timber furniture. Day spas, yoga centres and natural therapy parlours offer expert pampering.
80 Jonson St, Byron Bay; (02) 6680 8558
Nearby national parks
The looming presence of iconic Mount Warning is at the heart of this national park, a lush rainforest environment on the state’s far...more
Located on the state’s north-east coast, Broadwater National Park’s outstanding feature is its lovely sweep of beach, with...more
A winding drive up into the Gold Coast hinterland leads to a pristine landscape of deep valleys, plunging waterfalls and dense rainforest in...more
When Mullumbimby's economy, based on local agriculture, started to flag in the late 1960s, the town was saved by becoming an...more
Ballina sits on an island at the mouth of the Richmond River in northern New South Wales. The sandy beaches, clear water and warm weather...more
Alstonville is between Lismore and Ballina, surrounded by macadamia and avocado plantations. It's known for its immaculate gardens and...more
Tours and activities: everything from diving and sea-kayaking to surf lessons, skydiving and gliding; contact visitor centre for details.
Beach Hotel: well-established venue for live music and dining, with a beer garden that has ocean views; Cnr Jonson and Bay sts; (02) 6685 6402.
Beaches: safe swimming at Main Beach (patrolled in summer school holidays and at Easter), and surfing at Clarkes Beach and the Pass; look out for 'sandologist' Steve Machell and his fabulous sand sculptures on Main or Clarkes beaches; there's more surfing at Wategos, child-friendly swimming at secluded Little Wategos, dogs are welcome at Belongil and Brunswick Heads, or go horseriding or beach-fishing at Seven Mile Beach stretching towards Lennox Head.
Health and wellbeing: relax and unwind with a massage at Byron's numerous spas, including the tropical day spa at Buddha Gardens Balinese Spa, 15 Gordon St; (02) 6680 7844; and Relax Haven at Belongil Beachhouse, 25 Childe St; (02) 6685 7868, with massage therapy and float tanks.
Byron Bay Arts & Industry Park: arts precinct 3 km from town with artists', jewellers' and sculptors' studios, galleries, cafes and restaurants; Artist Trail guide from visitor centre.
Cape Byron This headland forms part of the world’s oldest caldera – the rim of an enormous extinct volcano (the centre is Mt Warning). It is the easternmost point on the mainland and provides breathtaking views up and down the coast. Dolphins can be seen year-round and humpback whales migrate up the coast June–July and back down Sept–Oct. Cape Byron Lighthouse, the 22 m structure completed in 1901, houses a visitor centre with displays of the area’s cultural and natural history. 3 km SE.
Julian Rocks Aquatic Reserve: protects 450 underwater species and is great for diving; 3 km S.
Broken Head Nature Reserve: rainforest, secluded beaches and dolphin-watching; (02) 6627 0200; 9 km S.
Bangalow: rustic village with magnificent scenery, antique shops, arts and crafts, walking tracks and a popular market on the 4th Sun each month; 10 km SW.
Cafes & restaurants around town
The Balcony Bar &
After climbing the flight of stairs, you may think you’ve entered an Asian and retro furniture shop. But this eclectic mix of decor is all part of The Balcony’s bohemian charm. If it’s a warm night, try... Find out more
Byron Beach Cafe
Make like a surfer and get yourself down to this iconic 1950s-themed surf club cafe, nestled right on the beach. An extensive menu is available, starting off the day with the ‘breaky wrap’: parmesan and... Find out more
Once you’ve found Fishmongers in the laneway behind the Beach Hotel, allow this eatery to re-educate you in the fine art of fish and chips. Hand-cut chips, calamari rings crumbed in-house and dipping sauces made on... Find out more
Italian at the Pacific
Contemporary Italian with great views.... Find out more
This lovely Chinese grocery and homewares store is worth visiting just for a browse. You can expect to find ingredients to cook your own Asian delicacies, as well as Chinese lanterns, antique furniture and slippers. But... Find out more
Twisted Sista Cafe
For a fun, quick and fairly inexpensive light meal, head to Twisted Sista Cafe. The quirkily named place does a roaring daily trade right in the heart of Byron Bay, close to the beach, serving fresh, cafe-style goodies,... Find out more
Stone and Wood Brewing 3 km
The popular coastal holiday destination of Byron Bay is the location for one of the country’s newest and most exciting craft breweries – Stone & Wood. The partners behind the venture include a trio of... Find out more
Campsites around town
Broken Head Holiday Park 7 km
At Broken Head Nature Reserve, lush and fertile rainforests reach emerald tendrils all the way down to long, sweeping beaches, and this holiday park is tucked in right next to the reserve, 7 km south of Byron Bay.... Find out more
Massey Greene Holiday Park 13 km
This is in a top location, right on the Brunswick River and minutes away from Brunswick Heads town centre. The river offers swimming, fishing, snorkelling and boating, and there’s a surf beach only a 10 min walk... Find out more
Rummery Park camping area 23 km
From this roomy, friendly camping area you can take a short walk following Boggy Creek to the beautiful Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park. Other activities include birdwatching and car touring. To get here, turn off... Find out more
Flat Rock Tent Park 23 km
This is a simple camping spot 4 km north-east of Ballina on the Coast Rd (Lennox Head Rd) but it’s quiet and protected despite being about a 3 min walk to Angels Beach. With Ballina and Lennox Head close by,... Find out more
Mount Warning Rainforest Park 40 km
Surround yourself with lush and up-tempo rainforest and mountain streams in this verdant mid-north-coast holiday park at the foot of Mt Warning. Accommodation options include deluxe, ensuite and budget cabins, and tent... Find out more
Cutters Camp camping area 46 km
You’ll find Cutters Camp where Mebbin Forest and Caddell rds meet. Unsealed Mebbin Forest Rd is a 35 km scenic route with wonderful views of the region’s volcanic, forest-clad landscape; you’ll need a... Find out more
Caravan parks around town
First Sun Holiday Park
Every now and then we discover a park in a fabulous position. This place is on the beach at Byron Bay, within walking distance of the town centre, the restaurants and the nightlife. The park is busy year-round and is... Find out more
Glen Villa Resort 1 km
This is a high quality park with good facilities, about 400 metres from the town centre. It has the unusual policy of permitting just two people per site. No bookings are taken, and a minimum-length stay applies at... Find out more
Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park 5 km
A popular beachside holiday park that is busy year-round, this park has good facilities and is 6 km south of Byron Bay. It is close to some popular surfing and swimming beaches. Bookings are required in peak periods and... Find out more
Broken Head Holiday Park 7 km
This stretch of coast is a busy holiday area. The park is located on the beach and has good facilities, and popular Byron Bay is 8.5 km north. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies in... Find out more
Terrace Reserve Holiday Park 13 km
Close to the centre of Brunswick Heads, this is a good quality park on the water and ideal for a holiday or just a few days. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at Christmas and... Find out more
Ferry Reserve Holiday Park 14 km
This park is very easily accessible from the Pacific Highway northbound, but requires doubling back through town for southbound travellers. It is situated on a picturesque estuary, popular with anglers. The grounds and... Find out more
Lake Ainsworth Holiday Park 16 km
Located alongside Lake Ainsworth and across the road from the beach, this is a good basic park in a great position. The surf club is nearby and the popular beach is great for swimming or walking. This is a council park... Find out more
Ballina Headlands Leisure Park 20 km
On a popular holiday coast, this park is about 500 metres from the water and 9 km north-east of Ballina off the Beach Road. It is a good base when visiting the area and has a heated pool for winter months. Bookings are... Find out more
BIG4 Ballina Central Holiday Park 26 km
This park is across the road from the water, at the end of the main street and just walking distance from the shops. The park has good amenities. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies at... Find out more
South Ballina Beach Holiday Park 27 km
This is a very neat park on the south side of the Richmond River. It is in a quiet area and is one of the few parks along this stretch of coast where pets are permitted (except in Christmas and Easter holidays). Bookings... Find out more
Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town
Amber Gardens Guesthouse
Amber Gardens is a gorgeous little guesthouse surrounded by tropical gardens, five minutes outside of Byron Bay. Perfect for a romantic escape, all the guest rooms are decorated in coastal style, with private entrance... Find out more
Byron Retreat is a sanctuary of self-contained plantation-style accommodation surrounded by lush rainforest. Contemporary Spanish design showcases light-drenched rooms featuring garden views. All the home comforts can be... Find out more
This European-inspired, luxury four-bedroom holiday home sleeps up to eight lucky guests amid glorious grounds. Grab a few friends to share the cost and the brilliant experience of staying here. Meals can be served in... Find out more
Rae’s on Watego’s
Endlessly written about, acclaimed and adored, this gem is housed in a sprawling Mediterranean- and Moroccan-inspired building right on the beachfront at Wategos Beach. The seven accommodation options, including three... Find out more
The Garden Burées
A slice of heaven awaits guests at the Garden Burées of Byron Bay. This is Balinese-inspired luxury, catering for every desire and ensuring a special experience. There are three types of accommodation: the premier... Find out more
The Byron at Byron
Nestled in beautiful rainforest scenery, The Byron at Byron is the epitome of indulgence and relaxation, featuring modern and tastefully decorated rooms. The 92 one-bedroom suites offer a king-sized bed, lounge and... Find out more
Eco-friendly places to stay around town
Emerald Valley Villa 16 km
Nestled in the hinterland some 25 minutes drive from Byron Bay, this is way up the high end of ecotourism in this country. You can rent your own five-star palace (they call it a villa), complete with pool, courtyard,... Find out more
Cottages on the Creek 52 km
This 2-hectare establishment is managed as a Land for Wildlife property and the two, onebedroom spa cottages have composting toilets, protecting Currumbin Creek with its turtles, catfish, platypus and yabbies.... Find out more
Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat 53 km
Located near Murwillumbah and surrounded on three sides by World Heritage–listed national parks, this secluded couples-only resort on the Queensland border has minimal-impact, self-contained bungalows and cabins.... Find out more
Rest areas around town
Tyagarah rest area 8 km
36km N of Ballina (L)
Just off the highway. For northbound only.
Yelgun rest area 19 km
50km N of Ballina (R) or 42km S of Tweed Heads (L)
Well off the highway.
Sleepy Hollow rest area 26 km
58km N of Ballina (L) or 32km S of Tweed Heads (L)
Just off the highway on both sides.
Wardell rest area 35 km
22km N of Woodburn (L) or 14km S of Ballina (L)
Large areas just off the highway on both sides.
Woodburn park area 54 km
Adjacent to the highway overlooking the river.