From its hippy roots to trendy bars, Byron Bay is one of the most popular holiday destinations in New South Wales, if not Australia. If you’re lucky enough to be coming to this picturesque area for Splendour In The Grass, get out of the festival site, head into the town and stick around for a while to discover these gems.
When you come to Byron Bay, you’ve got to head to the beach. The most popular are Main Beach and Belongil Beach, with The Wreck, The Pass, Wategos Beach and Cosy Corner buzzing with surfers for those famous breaks. The Byron coast is wildly breathtaking with the most dramatic views found at Cape Byron, the most easterly point of the Australia mainland with the lighthouse perched atop. From here, you can see the whales migrating north between June and August (the perfect time for Splendour ticket-holders), and making their way back down from September – October. Besides the beaches, Byron boasts a coastal rainforest with towering palms and hidden villas, providing a taste of the tropics in northern NSW.
By the beach and the bush, Byron Bay offers plenty of things to do while you’re in town. Have an adventure with hiking and mountain-biking through the hinterland, take a night vision walk to meet the nocturnal wildlife, or visit one of the may galleries that echoes the creative flow of Byron Bay. On water is where you’ll find the majority of Byron’s activities that make it a true Aussie destination including kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, stand-up paddle and fishing, throughout which you could bump into turtles, dolphins and whales! If you want to see Byron from the air, you can go hot air ballooning, hang gliding or skydiving.
Where To Eat
Byron Bay’s location and laidback atmosphere makes eating out a dream for foodies. From the super healthy to the deliciously naughty, everyone’s catered for. Those of you with a vegan diet are taken care of at Manna Haven, Naked Treaties and The Cardamom Pod, and those that want to take advantage of the local, fresh seafood can head to Fishheads or The Cyprus Tree. Due to the influence from Asia, there are also plenty of sushi bars and Thai restaurants including Spice it Up, Red Ginger, Izakaya Yu and Kinoko Sushi Bar & Restaurant.
Where To Drink
For a good beer with a good vibe, your first port of call would be the Byron Bay Brewery. With a beer garden, band room, food and entertainment, it’s an ideal place to discover the old Byron merging with the new. If you’re more of a cocktail drinker, The Balcony Bar & Restaurant, St Elmo Dining Room & Bar, and Italian At The Pacific all offer delicious and creative cocktails with outside seating to enjoy that warm Byron sun. Aside from alcoholic beverages, like pretty much everywhere in Australia, coffee is also taken very seriously in Byron Bay, with Byron Bay Coffee Company served in Byron Beach Café, Aquarius Café, and Treehouse On Belongil to name a few.
It’s actually a joy to go shopping in Byron. With everyone so relaxed, you don’t need to rush around. If you have any time at all while you’re here, you have to head to a market, even if it’s just to browse the produce and wears of local farmers and craft makers. Byron Community Market is the largest in the region with over 300 stalls and takes place the first Sunday each month, while Byron Artisan Market is every Saturday evening at Railway Park with local people selling handmade jewellery, leathers, clothes and accessories. For the freshest of fresh produce, Byron Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday morning with only local and seasonal goods including pumpkin, avocado, grapefruit and passionfruit. For anyone seeking to purchase some art, there are many contemporary art galleries selling creative works in the from of painting and sculpture, and there’s a very popular yoga shop, Divine Goddess Yoga Clothing, for anyone that really wants to immerse themselves in the lifestyle of Byron Bay!
From shopping to eating out and endless fun on water, on land and in the air, if you’re coming to Byron Bay for Splendour In The Grass, don’t rush home – hang around and see just what this amazing place has to offer.