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The article is written by Candice Locklee

Nestled along the Pacific Ocean about a 45-minute drive south of the Gold Coast airport, the super chilled coastal town of Byron Bay in NSW has earned its reputation as one of Australia’s coolest places to live in the country.

There’s a lot to love about Byron Bay, from the food and the fashion to the iconic beaches and annual festivals held in the area, and it’s the perfect place to escape to for those looking to experience a healthier, alternative Australian lifestyle. While you won’t find massive shopping centres here (or even a McDonalds!), there’s plenty to keep you entertained no matter what time of the year you arrive.

So pack some thongs and sunscreen and let us plan your trip with our guide to spending 48 hours in Byron Bay:

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THE SHOPPING

Byron Bay is a town that calls all free spirits to its shores and it’s safe to say they’ve developed their own unique fashion style that can only be described as beach-bohemian. While you’re bound to come across countless surf shops all over town that stock all your favourite international beachwear brands, it’s the local independent fashion boutiques that really grab your attention and offer something special to stand out in a crowd.

Check out local brands like Spell & the Gypsy Collective and Arnhem Clothing for dreamy collections of summery clothes that embrace that inner hippie and perfectly sum up the breezy-boho vibe of Byron Bay.

If you’re the creative sort, you’re going to want to head to Byron Bay’s Art and Industry Estate – a mini shopping extravaganza for those looking to find something that really showcases the talent of the town’s thriving art community. Walk around the Estate and stumble upon everything from artist galleries, handmade jewellery and accessories, emerging indie fashion designers and a bunch of quirky stuff to really remember your time here. There are also some great healthy cafes that use local, organic produce to serve homemade meals, smoothies, and coffee for whatever mood you’re in.

DIRECTIONS

SPELL BOUTIQUE:

Spell Boutique is located at 15 Browning St, Byron Bay. From Jonson St (Byron Bay’s main shopping street in the heart of town), just walk south towards Carlyle St and make a slight left onto Browning St.

ARNHEM CLOTHING:

Arnhem Clothing is on Lawson St. On Jonson St, head towards the beach and turn right at the roundabout onto Lawson.

ARTS AND INDUSTRY ESTATE:

The Arts and Industry Estate is a walkable district that includes a lot of small streets and hidden gems. Head down Ewingsdale Rd and turn right into Sunrise Boulevard where you can then wander your way all over the maze of boutique shopping and galleries in the area.

Check out this useful PDF of a map of the Estate with highlights

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THE BEACHES

No trip to Byron Bay is complete without a visit to one of its famous beaches. Main Beach lives up to its name and is the one you’re most likely to step foot on first. Situated directly in front of the town, Main Beach is a glorious stretch of white sand and glittering ocean – perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkeling or just plain lazing around. The beach is very family-oriented, there are surf lifesavers around in the summer and you can (must!) make the trek up to Cape Byron to visit the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse that towers over the headland with stunning views of the coastline.

Just next to Main Beach is Clarkes Beach. This beach has some great rocky areas that are perfect for snorkeling. For the adventurous, there are also opportunities for windsurfing, body boarding and paragliding, as well as amazing whale spotting if you arrive at the right time of year.

For all the surfers out there, check out the Pass – a famous gap of water between Fisherman’s Lookout and the headland. This is the most popular surf break on the Northern NSW coast and calls surfers far and wide.

Another must-see beach is Wategos Beach – a sheltered, picturesque beauty of a beach that is fantastic for gathering a group of friends and making use of the BBQs on the site after a full day of soaking up paradise. For a bit more privacy, continue on to Little Wategos Beach situated beneath the Cape Byron Lighthouse.

There are plenty more beaches in the Byron area, both tourist-friendly and hidden, so check this website for more info.

DIRECTIONS

All of the beaches listed here are within an easy walking distance of each other. If you’re in the heart of Byron Bay, just head to the main street in town – Jonson Street – where you’ll find the iconic Beach Hotel at the end of it. From here, Main Beach is easily accessible and stretches into Clarkes Beach, the Pass, and Wategos Beach.

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WHALE WATCHING:

If you’re in town between June and November and want to try spotting some whale-watching, book a tour with one of the many companies offering half and full day tours. This company is a great option.

If you’d rather go solo, you can head up to the Cape Byron Lighthouse for free which provides a popular vantage point to spot some whales as they head past the headland. Just don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

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THE HEALTHY LIVING

The folks in Byron Bay enjoy a generally healthier way of living and there’s a whole range of activities on offer if you want to try living it up like a local.

Why not try out some surfing lessons? There’s a lot of surfing schools in Byron Bay that can get you up on a board and on the water in no time, no matter what your level of experience. We recommend Soul Surf School – they offer a half day lesson with all equipment included for just $65. Or if you’re really keen, go ahead and book a multi-day pass and learn to surf like a pro.

If you want something a bit more relaxing, take a yoga class. Yoga is huge in Byron Bay and it’s a great way to unwind and put a little balance back into your mind, body, and soul. The Byron Yoga Centre has over 30 yoga classes on offer each week starting at $18 for a casual class, whether you’re an early morning person or late afternooner. Check their schedule for classes.

Of course, you’re going to need to eat during your stay and what better time to try out some healthy options than at one of the many super trendy organic cafes around town? There’s a lot to choose from – walk around and read menus to find one that really makes you drool. Whether you’re in the mood for a raw vegan cheesecake, a turmeric latte or kombucha on tap, Byron has it all. Check out our top picks: Combi Byron Bay, Folk Café, and The Roadhouse.

DIRECTIONS

COMBI BYRON BAY:

Combi Byron Bay has an amazing assortment of healthy and delicious vegan dishes. Find them on Fletcher St – From Jonson St, turn onto Marvell St and then left onto Fletcher.

FOLK CAFÉ:

Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw…you can find it all here at Folk Café with a funky 70s interior design to match. They’re on Sunrise Boulevard, just off Ewingsdale Rd.

THE ROADHOUSE:

The Roadhouse is a popular coffee house and healthy café famous for their wholesome dishes using fresh organic produce. They are located on Bangalow Rd, just 5 minutes from town.

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THE FESTIVALS

Byron Bay is home to three of Australia’s most iconic annual music festivals and if you plan your trip ahead of time, you could find yourself in town when one of them is going down.

There’s Bluesfest – Australia’s biggest annual blues and roots music festival – held every year over the Easter weekend that draws huge crowds from all over the country to see the biggest international and local acts around. Then there’s the Falls Festival that comes around at the end of December (without a doubt the coolest way to bring in the new year), and Australia’s favourite winter music festival – Splendour in the Grass.

The best thing about these festivals is that they are spread over multiple days, so it’s the perfect excuse to get yourself a multi-pass ticket and spend a few days camping (or glamping) with friends, lazing in the sun and listening to some scorching tunes.

If surfing is more your thing, Byron Bay also hosts the three-day Byron Bay Surf Festival during the summer. The festival combines surfing with music, art, film, and lifestyle so have some fun and celebrate the surf culture that makes Byron Bay famous.

There’s plenty of other fun festivals in and around the Byron Bay area every year including film, fashion, food, writing, art, and culture – you name it, there’s something for everyone.

Check out their website to stay in the know.

IMPORTANT WEBSITES

http://www.bluesfest.com.au/

https://www.fallsfestival.com/byron-bay/

https://www.splendourinthegrass.com/

http://www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au/

 

 

 

 

 

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