photo by _Gene_

Byron Bay is a coastal town in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, located just off the Pacific Highway, approximately 800 km north of Sydney and 175 km south of Brisbane. Nearby Cape Byron is the easternmost point on the Australian mainland.


Byron Bay is famed worldwide for its surfing beaches, scuba diving, whale watching, rural beauty and a laid back lifestyle. It is a major tourist centre.

Byron Bay and its surrounding area have a population of about 30,000. The area has experienced a dramatic increase in tourism now standing at 1.7 million+ visitors per year. During summer time getting in and out of town by car can get a little hectic due to the influx of people and the fact that there is only one road in from the north where it sees many of its visitors coming down from Queensland

There are many thriving home-based businesses focussed on alternative, cultural and knowledge industries, with a growing population of artists, writers and filmmakers.

Getting there

By plane

The nearest airport is Ballina/Byron Airport around 30 minutes drive away at Ballina. There are flights from Sydney and Melbourne. There is a bus service from the airport.

Gold Coast airport is around 1 hour away at Coolangatta and has domestic flights and international flights from New Zealand, Malaysia, and Japan. It often has cheaper flights and cheaper car hire than Ballina. There are a number of transport operators from the airport to Byron Bay. For example, Brisbane2Byron and J & B Coaches do pick-up and drop-off at the airport in their runs between Byron Bay and Brisbane and Surfers Paradise for $25.

By bus

Regular coach services travel between Sydney and Brisbane via Byron Bay.

By car

Byron is around 9 hours drive from Sydney. A good days drive, with many possibilities to stop and rest. Traffic on the Pacific Highway gets busy during school holiday periods.

Byron is only just over an hour from the Gold Coast, and just over two hours from Brisbane.

By tour

Many surfing or backpacker tours along the east coast.

By train

Trains no longer stop next to the Railway Hotel. You can transfer to a coach from the train at Casino. You can buy a through ticket. Casino is located quite a distance from Byron Bay and it might often be best to get a bus directly to Byron, saving alot of trouble. Of if you are lucky enough most of the domestic airlines have sales on pretty consistently from most major cities to the Gold Coast, Brisbane and less frequently Ballina. All of these are closer than Casion and may be cheaper if you are lucky enough to find the right sale.

Traveling around

There is limited regular public transport within Byron Bay, operated by - however most destinations within the bay are walkable, including The Lighthouse Walk. The Byron Shire Council has installed parking ticket machines, with the fee being $2 per hour.



  • East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival . Held at Byron Bay each Easter.

  • Splendour in the Grass Music Festival . Alternative to mainstream festival over 2 days in July (winter) each year.

  • Schoolies in Late November/Early December celebrating school leavers from across Australia. (This can be a time to avoid, if this is not your scene)

Find out about upcoming events in "The Bagg', a local publication out Mondays

Things to do

  • Byron Light House, The walk from town along the walking track up to the light house is amazing and recommended to anyone that is visiting Byron.


Byron Bay has good surf with a variety of beaches within the town limits. It has occupied the imagination of Australians for many years for its climate, lifestyle and warm water.

  • Byron Main, the best-known beach in Byron, usually has smaller waves which break close to shore. At the southern end of Byron Main beach lies the Pass. The Pass can be very crowded, along with Byron Main on summer days but is perfect for long boarding with wide rollers that go forever.

  • Watego's Beach is just around the corner from the Pass and Byron Main. It is somewhat hidden from view, lying on the north side of the Byron point. Watego's has a cult longboarder crowd because its waves generally don't have enough push as other breaks. It generally has smaller surf than the Pass. The surf runs west towards Byron Main and takes a bit more skill to paddle out to than the Pass or the main beach. The Pass is always crowded when the winds or swell are right, and because of the easy paddle it has a lot of beginners which can make it very dangerous with wayward boards.

  • Tallow's Beach is the least known and least used Byron beach for those who don't surf. Tallow's Beach is on the south side of the Byron headland, is very long and has a variety of breaks along its length. The surf is generally larger as most swells go straight into it. It is very uncommon to see tourists along this beach because the only place from which it can be seen in Byron is the top of the Byron headland.

It is not uncommon to surf among pods of common dolphins as the evening winds down in Byron, especially if you are surfing Watego's or the Pass.


  • Swimming. Byron Main Beach is patrolled all summer, with other beaches patrolled during the Chistmas School Holidays, including Wategoes. In winter, it can be a bit chilly to consider swimming at Byron with daytime temperatures on average only reaching around 20C.

  • Sunbake. Topless sunbathing is common and accepted in Byron.

A clothing optional beach is situated north of the Byron Beach Club at Tyagarah. Access via Grays Lane and a walking track from the Pacific Highway.


  • Byron bay whale watching.

Diving and snorkeling

Byron Bay has some of New South Wales's best scuba diving. Most diving is at Julian Rocks, only five minutes off shore. The depths around Julian Rocks are 5-25 meters, and it's suitable for snorkeling. You can dive with the following operators:

  • Byron Bay Dive Centre , +61-2-6685-8333 or 1800 243 483 (within Australia), +61-2-6685-8333 or 1800 243 483 (within Australia), 9 Marvel Street, Byron Bay Dive Centre runs diving and snorkeling trips to Julian Rocks. Certification is available through , and . Non-certified dives are available after taking a short SSI Passport Diver course.

  • Sundive , +61-2-6685-7755 or 1800 008 755 (within Australia), +61-2-6685-7755 or 1800 008 755 (within Australia), Weekday trips depart 10am and 1:15pm, weekend trips depart 8:30am, 11am and 2pm, 8 Middleton Street, Sundive has multiple daily trips to Julian Rocks, and offers PADI dive certification.

Walking and Cycling

  • Mt Warning Summit Track. The summit of Mt Warning sees the first light to hit the mainland of Australia. It takes around 2-3 hours to walk to the top. It is possible to start the climb in order to reach the top for first light. You will need torches, water etc. It is not recommended by the National Parks people to walk the track in the dark. Steep, with LOTS of steps.

  • Byron Bay Cycleway. There is a cycleway along the beach at Byron. Bicycle hire is available.


  • Popular with backpackers, Cheeky Monkeys Restaurant & Party Bar is a great value night out.

  • The best value for money is The Railway Friendly Bar

  • The Great Northern makes great pizzas from a real Italian pizza maker

  • The Buddha Bar has some good meals and a relaxed atmosphere

  • For the top end of the market is Rae's at Wategos

  • For Thai, there is Red Hot and Green in Bay Lane behind the Beach Hotel.

  • For Indian there is Yellow Flower in Suffolk Park where you can occasionally chill out to the sounds of a musician

  • For vegan or vegetarian there is Cardamon Pod on Lawson St or Soul Bowl up on the beach front. There is also a host of other places that cater for vegans and vegetarians due to how common the life style is in the Byron region.


Byron Bay has a very vibrant social scene for a town of its size. Bands play most nights at the Beach Hotel (on the beach) and the Railway Friendly Bar. The Great Northern hosts the more important bands. The Buddha Bar serves backpackers from the Piggery Backpackers and has a very chilled out bar and attached restaurant and cinema.

Nightclubs are Cocomangas (get a Jam Jar), La La Land (Lawson St), Play (Woolworths Plaza) and the backpackers' favourite, Cheeky Monkeys (dancing on tables ahoy!). This can also be a good place to go out on Mondays and Tuesdays when everywhere else is quiet.

Find out what to do about town by picking up a copy of 'The Bagg', a gig and entertainment guide out every Monday.


Byron Bay is now a well established destination for backpackets, schoolies, families and couples, and there are choice of accommodation styles catering to all of them.

Most local real estate agents handle holiday house rentals, and there are many in the beach areas, and even further into suburban Byron. There are several backpacker lodges to choose from. Motels, and bed and breakfasts. Some bed-and-breakfasts have been created by building additions to once suburban Byron houses.

  • Byron Bay Visitor Centre - Official non-profit tourist information , +61-2-6680-8558, +61-2-6680-8558, Old Stationmaster's Cottage at 80 Jonson Street, Byron Bay NSW 2481 Australia, Right in the centre of town between the main bus stop and the old railway station

  • Aquarius Backpackers Motel , 61-1800-028-909, 16 Lawson Street Byron Bay NSW 2481, Backpackers

  • The Arts Factory Backpackers Lodge provides accommodation from teepees, camping, to dorm rooms and private rooms. Ph: 02 66857709

  • Nomads Byron Bay Backpackers provides accommodation ranging from King Rooms with Plasma TV's and fridges to shared backpacker accommodation. email:

  • Byron Bay YHA , +61-2-6685-8853, +61-2-6685-8853, 7 Carlyle Street, A hostel with a barbecue, swimming pool and television room.

  • Cape Byron YHA , +61-2-6685-8788 or 1800 652 627 (within Australia), +61-2-6685-8788 or 1800 652 627 (within Australia), corner of Middleton Street and Byron Street, A hostel with a barbecue, swimming pool and television room.

  • Planula , +61-2-6680-9134, +61-2-6680-9134, Lot 1, Melaleuca Drive, Planula is a bed and breakfast 3km from Byron Bay's town. It focusses on scuba diving; both the hosts are divers.

  • Gaia Retreat and Spa , +61-2-6687-1216, +61-2-6687-1216, 933 Fernleigh Road, Brooklet

  • Broken Head Holiday Park , +61-2-6685-3245, +61-2-6685-3245, Beach Road, Broken Head, Surrounded by National Park rainforest, and situated next to Broken Head beach. Suits those who prefer to stay a little further out from the township of Byron Bay. Body board and surf board hire available. Reception 7.30am-7.30pm.

  • Tallow Beach Motel , Located 5 minutes south of Byron Bay township right across the road from the beach.

  • Byron Bay Holidays , +61-427-847-057, Sommerset Court, 5-9 Sommerset Street, Byron Bay, Fully self contained, self catered accommodation. From $150 per night.

  • Byron Bathers , 61 2 6680 7775, 2 Fletcher Lane, Byron Bay, Fletcher Lane runs off the southern end of Fletcher St approx. 50m from Marvel St), Byron Bathers is a quality bed & breakfast. An oasis located in the hub of Byron Bay. Three


Be careful of drink spiking - always keep your drink in view and don't accept drinks from strangers.

Get out

Explore the 'Rainbow Region' - rural towns and sleepy villages, set in lush and particularly scenic countryside. The area is famed as a haven for alternative culture. Nimbin and the Channon are the favourite towns to visit in this region. There is a popular market in the Channon once a month. There are many scenic wonders in the area. Byron area has many rainforests & parks. The ever present volcanic plug of Mt.Warning (Wollumbin - the cloud cathcher) is a favourite tour. It can be reached by driving into Murwillumbah and following the roads to the small village of Uki. There are many waterfalls like Minyon Falls (direction Federal-Rosebank), Protester Falls (the Channon area) and Wanaganui Falls (Wilsons Creek). The drive to these falls is very scenic as it follows the creek and a narrow valley a some nice rainforest.

Brunswick Heads is also a nice day trip. The pub is a good place to relax for a meal by the river and it has some quieter beaches. Between Byron Bay and Ballina there is a nice coastal drive which passes through the quiet coastal town of Lennox Head. If you stick to the coastal roads you can see a lot more beaches.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

_Gene_, Andrea Schaffer, Bradii, ben britten, David Taus, Robert Nyman

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

D. Guillaime, Nev, Denis, Hibba Nagrial, David and Niels Elgaard Larsen, Inas, Nurg, Tarcus, Abstraktn, Hypatia, Jonboy and Pjamescowie

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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