There are a lot of good reasons to visit Byron Bay year-round. It’s got the natural beauty, the beaches, the bars, and a restaurant scene that’ll have you going back for seconds and thirds, all wrapped up in a classy white linen bow. Although it’s changed a lot in just the 23 years I’ve lived in the area, there are some things that have thankfully remained the same.
Thinking of visiting Byron Bay? Here are five essential things to do.
Do the Cape Byron Lighthouse walk
If there’s one experience that showcases the diverse natural beauty of Byron in one package, it’s the Byron lighthouse walk. Taking around 1-2 hours to complete (depending on how often you stop to enjoy the view), the 4km trail winds along the foreshore from Main Beach, skirts the waters of The Pass and Wategos beaches, and ultimately reaches the lighthouse standing atop Cape Byron. You can read more about the experience here.
Kayak on the bay just after sunrise
The town’s namesake bay is spectacular at any time of the day, but early mornings are when it’s at its best. Rather than just watch it from the shore, get out on the water with the teams from Cape Byron Kayaks or Go Sea Kayaks. The serenity of being on the water, dolphins and turtles stopping by to say hello. It’s easily one of the most memorable ways to experience the area. It can be a bit of a hard slog if you haven’t paddled for a while though, so make sure you partner up with the right person.
See the sunset from Main Beach Carpark
There’s something about watching the sunset over Belongil Beach. It’s the vibe, the feeling of anticipation as the sky begins to fade from blue to shakes of pink, purple and red. The procession of visitors all flocking to the northern end of Main Beach carpark to watch the daily display – drummers and dancers adding to the festival-like atmosphere. It’s magic.
Ride the world’s first solar train
The Byron Shire is well known for its love of all things green, whether its protesting large-scale developments or embracing alternate technologies that reduce our impact on the planet. And though people often attribute this to the green movement of the 70s, it goes back much further. Mullumbimby, for example, became one of the first country towns in NSW to receive electricity thanks to its own hydroelectricity scheme back in 1925.
That spirit of alternate power sources still lives on – and the Byron Bay Solar Train is one of the most visible elements. Although the track is quite short, just three kilometres in length from Byron town centre to the North Byron precinct, it’s not about the length. It’s about what’s possible. The world’s first solar train has been running since 2017, with a trip on the converted heritage train taking around 10 minutes. You can view running times here.
Scuba dive or snorkel at Julian Rocks
If you think Byron Bay is stunning on land, wait until you see it below the water’s surface. Just 10 minutes boat ride from The Pass, Julian Rocks Nguthungulli Nature Reserve (the small island you can see offshore) is one of Australia’s greatest diving and snorkelling sites. Why? Because of the biodiversity. Positioned at the meeting point of the warm waters of the north and the cooler waters of the south, it welcomes the best marine life of both. Sundive Byron Bay and Byron Bay Dive Centre operate snorkelling and dive trips daily.
Got any other tips? Let us know.