Prepare for an unforgettable weekend with our ultimate guide to the best things to do in Byron Bay.
Byron Bay is made for catching the perfect sunrise, the perfect wave and the perfect moment. Here, on the most easterly point of mainland Australia, travellers from all walks of life flock to the iconic beaches, laidback hippy lifestyle and world-class dining scene. With so many unforgettable experiences to be had in only 48 hours, get the best out of your adventure with our ultimate weekend guide to things to do in Byron Bay.
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Friday: Beaches & espresso martinis
What’s a trip to Byron Bay without visiting its famed beaches? Get in early on Friday to kickstart your weekend with some surf, sand and sun. First things first: slip on your swimwear and head to peaceful Wategos Beach. The beach is ideal for the whole family, with rock pools to explore plus a grassy picnic area with tables and BBQs. If you’re a budding surfer, the waves here are perfect for learners. If you’d like to add a leisurely coastal walk to your beach afternoon, start in town and follow the Cape Walking Track from Lighthouse Road along the cliffs, past the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse, and into the sheltered cove of Wategos.
There’s nothing like a good meal after a long day at the beach. Jonson Street is a smorgasbord of incredible restaurants and bars: everything from pub meals to Mediterranean bites and fresh-from-the-sea oysters. Our pick for tonight’s dinner is tacos and margaritas at Miss Margarita. This fun and eclectic Mexican cantina serves up mouthwatering dishes like salt and chilli squid tacos and mushroom and zucchini enchiladas, alongside an extensive range of ‘margies’ to thrill margarita enthusiasts: opt for a classic or go wild and try the pineapple, watermelon and basil, or a chipotle chilli and lime version with mezcal.
The good times don’t stop there. Right next door, up a wide flight of stairs, you’ll find Loft, a stylish cocktail bar and restaurant. The low murmur of chatting patrons and enthusiastic rattling of expert bartenders shaking up an espresso martini make the perfect soundtrack for a post-dinner drink. From 9pm every night of the week you can enjoy two of Loft’s signature espresso martinis for $20. Silky smooth and perfectly foamy, even the most caffeine-averse will find it hard to resist a taste. Enjoy these with a spot of people watching while seated high above Jonson Street and Bay Lane.
Once you’ve had your fill, head to your accommodation for a sound night’s sleep. Treat yourself to a five-star escape at the adults-only Blackbird Byron in the lush valleys of the hinterland or take your friends to an incredible clifftop hideaway at Koonyum Range Retreat.
Saturday: Heart-racing fun & a gin masterclass
Today’s activities will have you bounding out of bed: rise and shine for a surf lesson on Main Beach. There’s no better place to learn how to surf like a pro than in Byron Bay, one of Australia’s most iconic surf spots, thanks to its right-hand point breaks and winter swell. All levels are welcome at Let’s Go Surfing, from complete novice to intermediate. It’s a great activity for the whole family, with private group classes available, or join a small group made up of other budding surfers.
Those who are keen to hit the water in a different way can join a sea kayaking tour on Clarkes Beach. Armed with a paddle, life jacket and two-person kayak, head out on the water with an experienced guide and spot the inquisitive bottlenose dolphins who frequent this area. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a sea turtle gliding to the surface, or a humpback whale spouting water from its blowhole in the distance.
From sea to sky, adventure is in abundance in Byron Bay. Just the words ‘sky diving’ evoke a thrill of excitement that’s unlike anything else. See the ocean, the golden sweep of coast and the lush green hinterland from a unique birds-eye perspective at 15,000ft, then take the plunge and free-fall at over 200km an hour before the parachute opens and you can float under the canopy, soaking up the views. It’s the perfect combination of action-packed adventure and breathtaking aerial panoramas.
End your day with more down-to-earth thrills, learning how to blend your own signature gin at Lord Byron Distillery. This family-run establishment hosts the ‘LBD Ginstitute’, where you can take part in a bespoke gin-blending class. Craft your perfect gin with a mix of botanicals, before bottling and labelling your concoction in a 500ml bottle to take home and enjoy.
Sunday: Hot air balloons & hinterland magic
The perfect way to start your final day in Byron Bay is to wake up before the dawn and head out on an unforgettable sunrise hot air balloon adventure with Byron Bay Ballooning. This is definitely not the day to leave your camera at home! For one spectacular hour, drift over Byron Bay’s stunning coast, hinterland, or Mount Warning as they’re caught in the golden glow of sunrise. No two days are the same on a flight, so views vary but are all equally as spellbinding. Afterwards, be treated to breakfast at the iconic Three Blue Ducks at The Farm.
On the first Sunday of every month, Dening Park at the Main Beach foreshore is buzzing with its popular Sunday Market. Come to the open-air market for live music, face painting, fresh coffee and market stalls. It’s best to get here early and take your time inspecting the stalls for the best pick of the bunch. Main Beach is just a stone’s throw from the market, so a post-market beach walk caps off an excellent start to the day.
This afternoon, head towards Minyon Falls, a magnificent 100-metre drop waterfall in Nightcap National Park. Just a 40-minute drive from the centre of town, it’s an easy half-day trip. Be sure to fuel up for the trip at The Byron Bay General Store. This landmark café has been hosting locals and travellers in Byron since 1974, serving up meals made using the freshest produce from local and organic farmers. The menu is predominately vegan with a small selection of non-vegan meals. Try the truffled mushroom toast with house-made cashew cheese, the acai bowl topped with blueberries and banana, or a halloumi burger packed with spinach slaw and salsa verde.
Once you reach the national park, listen for the distant roar of the falls as its cascade plummets into the creek. Be sure to head to the lookout where you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the deep gorge, eucalyptus cliffside forests and the waterfall itself.
Back at your accommodation, enjoy a final Byron sunset with a personalised gin and tonic, and toast to a weekend well spent.
For more 48-hour adventures: Things to Do in Surfers Paradise: Your Weekend Guide